A major river used by the Romans, the Fleet is the largest of London’s lost subterranean rivers. Flanked by great wharves, for centuries it was a gateway to the City. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, its purpose had changed completely. By then little more than a sewer, it had been bricked over and all but forgotten.

Lashed by the twin tides of London politics and finance, the Fleet Tube line has enjoyed a similar history. Seen for many years as a high-profile new addition to London’s Tube network along the line of Fleet Street, at some periods of its history its planned route changed almost every year. Eventually it would emerge, repurposed and renamed, as the Jubilee, with its Fleet origins all but forgotten.

In this article we explore the plans, built structures and remnants of that forgotten Fleet line and its path to becoming the Jubilee. We look at the many proposals and plans, the Fleet line works that were actually started, those abandoned, and explore the changes and the thinking that took place thanks to London’s changing political makeup right up until 1979, when the newly-christened Jubilee line finally opened.

The origins of an idea

Notwithstanding the plethora of plans from the 1930’s onwards for a line on a northwest to east or southeast corridor, the first concrete plan for a Tube along the Fleet Street alignment appeared 1965. In that year, London Transport (LT) and British Rail (BR) jointly produced “A Railway Plan for London.”

The report argued that an 8% decline in inner suburban mainline rail commuting to Central London would occur between 1966 and 1973. Beyond that, there would be growth in outer suburban London commuting through into the 1980s whilst inner mainline demand would continue to decline.

As far as the report was concerned, this forecast meant that there would be a net commuting gain, but that this would be focused on outer London and the Tube, which would become increasingly crowded at peak times.

A report unpublished

In effect the 1965 Railway Plan was a ‘Beeching for London’, suggesting a major reduction in British Rail (BR) inner suburban London services due to the decline of inner London main line commuting.

The then-new Labour government had a wafer-thin majority though, and post-Beeching a vocal anti-rail line closure campaign had sprung up. Memories of the North London Line being marked for closure were still fresh, and the publication of anything which had suggested cut-backs for this or other mainline London railways would have lit the fuse on a London-wide reaction.

Critically aware of the political dynamite it contained, the government effectively suppressed the report by never officially publishing, nor was it widely circulated even behind closed doors.

Hidden positivity

Though the report might, on the surface, seem like part of the then-prevalent trend to downplay the role of the railways, reading between the lines it is clear that in fact the opposite was true. Both LT and BR, its authors, were deeply unhappy about railways being side-lined in prevailing planning policies nationwide, and the report was actually a polite and pragmatic protest against this.

Indeed its recommendations were couched in more positive terms than the problems and trends it posited. It argued for a rationalisation of some existing BR lines and services certainly, but also (amongst other things) extensions of the Victoria Line to Brixton and the Piccadilly Line spur from Aldwych to Waterloo.

The Fleet emerges

The report also specifically recommended a new “Fleet Tube” to take over the Stanmore section of the Bakerloo line. This, it stated, should also relieve the Bakerloo in central London by then tunnelling to:

  • Bond Street
  • Trafalgar Square (now Charing Cross)
  • Strand (Aldwych)
  • Fleet Street
  • Ludgate Circus (future City Thameslink station)
  • Cannon Street
  • Fenchurch Street

The choice of stations made sense. Each proposed stop, as with the Victoria Line then under construction, was aimed at providing interchange with as many other Tube and mainline rail lines as possible for maximum network connectivity and redundancy. Fenchurch Street was also the only London mainline railway terminal without a direct Underground interchange and it was thus seen as important to have the Fleet serve it.

A proposal accepted

These days, as with the birth of Crossrail and current efforts to bring Crossrail 2 to fruition, it is most often securing central government funding that is the major problem to overcome. This was not the case with the Fleet, which was in fact cautiously welcomed by the Treasury. They were prepared to commit a percentage of funding to the first stage of the project should it proceed. This they felt was justified on the back of the early Victoria line success, and because since the 1940’s the West End section of the Bakerloo (which had two busy suburban branches feeding it) had been the most overcrowded on the network – a situation the Fleet was specifically intended to alleviate.


Fleet Line proposed in the 1965 Railway Plan for London Report

Transport planning, however, always happens within a larger context of political policies and priorities, and the Fleet’s development was hindered not by central government obstinacy but by London’s own changing governance, and by a political obsession with the car.

The politics of London and the car

The 1960s and 1970s were to be a period of political upheaval in London. The 1963 London Government Act had created the Greater London Council, which was operational from January 1965. It was a much larger area than the former London County Council, which had become outdated due to its late Victorian era boundaries.

The GLC was meant to be a strategic body, so transport featured as one of its policy pillars. Yet the London Transport Board, a nationalised industry board, remained independent from the GLC from 1965 right through to the end of 1969. The British Railways Board also stayed independent, so this limited the range of transport controls and inputs that the new GLC could actually embrace.

The GLC was Conservative-led from 1965 to 1973 and was mesmerised by the projected doubling of car ownership in London from 1962 until 1984. As a result, its approach was to focus on investment to accommodate cars for suburban travel and to access London’s town centres right up to the edge of Central London, assisted by new radial roads and the Ringways motorways as a Primary Road Network. These ideas were submitted to the 1969-74 Greater London Development Plan (GLDP) inquiry with only token recognition of public transport as a priority mode for Central London commuting in the plan.

In total, the GLC planned to invest £1.1bn in roads and Ringways, and hoped to secure the bulk of funding for this from the Government. It was only in Phase 3 of the London Transportation Study (the ‘Movement in London’ report of 1969) that modelled options for improvements to public transport began to be taken seriously.

A backlash begins

The size of planned road spending and the unavoidable urban destruction along the length of the new roads, however, did not appeal to all within the Capital. Indeed it further encouraged the belief among many inner London communities and stakeholders that the private car was not appropriate for high density parts of London. They were not alone in this thinking. The 1963 Buchanan Report ‘Traffic in Towns’ had argued the same.

Eventually this counter-road reaction coalesced into groups such as Homes Before Roads and the Campaign Against the Lorry Menace (CALM), as well as vocal concerns from many civic societies and the more environmentally-aware elements of the national media.

All these tensions and the changing wider belief in the need to focus on public transport ultimately had an effect. Rather than follow the GLC’s line, the GLDP inquiry’s main transport outcomes were ultimately a much-reduced roads programme and increased priority for public transport. In parallel, London’s population levels had bottomed out by the mid 1970’s and started recovering, and the GLC had gained control of London Transport. Both gradually helped wean the GLC off its roads-first policies, and to adopt a pro-public transport/walking policy in inner and Central London.

Initial planning of the Fleet line

Unsurprisingly, given that the full Fleet line build out to New Cross and Lewisham was forecast in the late 1960’s to cost only £57m (approximately £900m in 2015), it had been clear throughout to London Transport that this Tube line would be more affordable to construct through inner southeast London than additional roads.

The shift in GLC thinking thus put its development firmly on the table and the council agreed to fund 25% of the Fleet line’s overall development, although the government remained committed to provide 75% for Stage 1 only – as it was the relief this stage provided to the Bakerloo that they felt represented the best value for money.

In this area, the Fleet was something of a pioneer – for it was one of the first instances in which the now-familiar process of evaluating a business case for a new line was used. This business case evaluated the benefit-cost ratio of the Fleet Line as only around 1.0, but it was understood at the time that relief of other Tube lines and other benefits were not monetised in this calculation. These benefits were recognized to be:

  • Increased frequencies on the Bakerloo line north of Baker Street, by the Fleet Line taking over the Stanmore branch and simplifying the Bakerloo’s operations and increasing throughput.
  • Relief of the Central and District Lines in Central London, as well as eventually the BR Southern Region’s south east division.

The transport models available at that time could not calculate the financial benefits of affected tube lines, so educated estimates were made.

A London Transport (LT) Fleet Line planning committee in 1969 also looked at a degree of integration with the then dominant car policies prevailing in the GLC. A 1,000 space car park was intended at Lewisham to pull in car commuters to the (later stages of the) Fleet line, linked to intended new road schemes including an A2 spur from Kidbrooke alongside the railway through Blackheath.

Parliamentary powers for Stage I of the Fleet line were granted in 1969 to Charing Cross, and the corresponding construction was approved in 1971 as Victoria Line construction was winding down, LT having successfully argued that keeping this line’s construction team together would save on costs.

Construction of the Fleet was to be split into stages to spread out the funding, as it had been on the Victoria Line:

  • Stage I – Stanmore to Charing Cross
  • Stage II – Charing Cross to Fenchurch Street
  • Stage III – Fenchurch St to Lewisham, boring tunnels under the Thames; or
  • Stage III and IV – Fenchurch Street to Thamesmead

The staged plan would also allow lessons learnt from earlier stages to be applied to later ones, spread out construction expenditures and, as there was considerable doubt over the final destination of the line, provide flexibility for route changes. Furthermore, work planned or already underway along the preliminary route was altered to allow for the new Tube, such as
the reconstruction of Cannon Street in 1968-70, at which provision was made to allow access for Stage II of the Fleet. Cannon Street Fleet Line station was to be double-ended, lying between the mainline railway station and Monument, providing an interchange to the Northern line via Bank station at the latter.


Preliminary tunnel map at Aldwych, 21 March 1967, courtesy MRFS


Preliminary tunnel map at Ludgate Circus, 21 March 1967, courtesy MRFS.

In the above map, note at the centre of Ludgate Circus the “Fleet Bridge, site of” annotation which refers to the bridge over New Canal (Fleet River) built by Christopher Wren in 1680. Also note the Snow Hill (now Thameslink) tunnel tracks just east of the Circus, with City Thameslink station since built at the south east quadrant. In the 1760s New Canal was filled in and arched over from Fleet Street to the Thames to become New Bridge Street.


London Transport Board Fleet Line Preliminary tunnel map near Fenchurch Street station, showing the Fleet line station at far left, and the reversing siding east of the station as befitting the end of Stage II, 21 March 1967, courtesy MRFS

The Fleet line would then proceed into southeast London in later stages to take over BR’s Hayes Line. Interestingly, this Hayes Line has since been mooted to become an extension of the Bakerloo Line (aka the Haykerloo), as described in LR article Death, Taxes and Lewisham: Extending the Bakerloo.


London Transport Board Fleet line preliminary tunnel under New Cross station, 1967, courtesy MRFS


London Transport Board Fleet line preliminary tunnel map near the Surrey Canal Fleet train depot, 1967, courtesy MRFS

Construction gets underway

Unfortunately by the late 1960s the backlog and neglect of transport investment since the 1940s required immediate funding of new Tube trains and buses, as well as completing the Victoria line and its new Automatic Train Operation system, so little was left for the Fleet line. Beeching’s 1965 Railway Plan for London proposals were actually implemented in a less drastic form in South London than North London, so there was also less of a ‘knock-on’ urgent pressure for new Tubes in South London.

Even as the original scheme (via New Cross to Lewisham) went through the stages of design, parliamentary approval, government funding authorisation and initial construction, its objectives continued to be tweaked in response to changing demands. Indeed during the process the potential need for a rapid transit line to serve the Docklands redevelopment area also emerged, for which various Fleet line route options were considered. Nonetheless it was hoped that all four phases of Fleet line construction would be completed by 1980.

Preparatory works, and New Cross (Gate) and Lewisham

As of 1971, the Secretary of State was tasked with investigating improvements to the Docklands. This led to Stage III of the original Fleet line being given Royal Assent to extend to New Cross. The line would then continue towards Lewisham and possibly take over a commuter rail line. The Fleet line Stage III plan was changed towards Wapping to take over the East London Line’s Thames Tunnel, which would save the cost of boring a new tunnel under the Thames. The East London Line (ELL) would then have been cut back to a Shoreditch – Wapping shuttle, or just closed.

As the ELL then had only 10 million passengers per year, only slightly more than the 9 million passengers carried by the two station Waterloo & City line, and did not enter central London, sacrificing it for a busier Fleet line made sense. No mention seems to have been made as to whether extending Wapping and Rotherhithe stations for full-length (Fleet) tube trains was considered or just closing them.

What is certainly true is that an alternate alignment was studied for a new tunnel under the Thames dedicated to the Fleet, which could handle more capacity and did not require platform lengthening on the ELL – where short platforms are still problematic on today’s London Overground.

Some preparatory work on stages II and III was also authorised at the time:

  • Overrun tunnels beyond Charing Cross under the Strand to about 100 metres short of Aldwych, which was to be the first station of Stage 2.
  • A passage at Holborn Viaduct (since replaced by City Thameslink).
  • A short station box under Cannon Street station forecourt to allow access to the future Fleet line.
  • The deep piled foundations of Bush Lane House near Cannon Street station. These were designed in a complex advanced structure to make room for the Fleet line going through.
  • Geological drilling to determine the extent of difficult soil conditions in south London.
  • Station land was purchased at Lewisham.

Stage I begins

Construction started on the first stage of the Fleet in 1971 with a cross-platform interchange between the Bakerloo and Fleet lines constructed at Baker Street, a passenger convenience adopted from the Victoria line.

LT Fleet Bond St Cutaway

Cut-away of Bond Street Station layout for the new Fleet line, with the line map at bottom. By London Transport

At Baker Street the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line was joined to a new 4km tunnelled segment to Bond Street, Green Park, and Charing Cross, with lasers used to align the tunnelling machines. These were run past the final station to dig overrun tunnels under the Strand almost to Aldwych station in anticipation of the go-ahead for Stage II. The Charing Cross Fleet line station was constructed between the Bakerloo line’s Trafalgar Square station platforms and the Northern line’s Strand station platforms, to merge the three stations into one complex for better passenger interchange. This work was complicated by the need to underpin the 300 ton Eleanor Cross which was atop the ticket hall extension. The existing Charing Cross station just to the south on the District and Circle lines was then renamed Embankment.


Diagram of Charing Cross station which formed an interchange with two other lines, courtesy Lemmo

There are excellent photos of the abandoned Charing Cross station on the Abandoned Stations site.

Aldwych station’s unused platform and passageways were used in 1974 to create a full size mock up to design the new Fleet tube Bond Street station.

Experimental Tunnelling in South London

South London’s soggy, water logged soil had always been a barrier to Tube tunnelling, resulting in only one Tube line being tunnelled extensively south of the Thames (the Northern).
In February 1972, to prove a Tube could be dug along the newly approved tunnel alignment south of the Thames to New Cross, LT built a short stretch of experimental tunnel. The goal was to discover how the recently invented Bentonite Shield would work in the water-logged soil without using compressed air. This tunnel section just north of New Cross station, facing northwest, was intended to form part of the eventual northbound tunnel to Lewisham and was thus dug for approximately 180 meters. This could also be viewed as a further LT attempt to get investment priorities committed towards the Lewisham extension.

Although the later Jubilee line did not ultimately progress along this New Cross alignment, the test tunnel demonstrated the efficacy of the Bentonite Shield through water soaked soils. Modified versions of the Bentonite Shield were later used on the extension of the Jubilee line from Green Park to Westminster, which pushed British civil engineering practices forward by using compensatory grouting techniques to prevent Big Ben falling into the Thames. This Bentonite Shield technique was further improved to an exact science by Crossrail. For more details on the tunnel, read Ianvisits excellent article on the subject.

Developing Docklands

As development of the Fleet plans continued, so did the need for a focus on the Docklands increase. This had not been foreseen as a planning priority until the late 1960’s, when the traditional docks started to decline. The GLC’s Deputy Leader at that time, Horace Cutler, launched a review of initial Docklands planning and regeneration issues, with a large two-volume ‘Docklands’ report developed between 1970 and 1972. This report favoured a spine transport corridor (road, minitram or rail) cutting across the Thames at numerous places. This was because the existing Docklands railway geography had radial lines that shunned the area, leaving service only by occasional freight (and even more occasional passenger) spurs and branches.

LDDC Fleet maps 1960s 1973 1974 1985

1960s proposal for the Fleet line on the left (1. Baker St to Charing Cross 2. to Fenchurch Street 3. to Lewisham 4. to Addiscombe); 1973 Fleet line plan on the right, including potential branch to Barking, courtesy London Docklands Development Corporation

This wasn’t the only report that increased pressure to factor the Docklands into the equation. In 1973 Travers Morgan produced a Docklands Study, commissioned by the Department of the Environment and the GLC, to investigate possible rail connections to meet the area’s needs. As little redevelopment was expected in the area at that time, this study recommended an LRT or rubber-tyred minitram connecting to the Stage II Fleet line at Fenchurch Street. This soon mutated into a Tube scheme, however.

LT in parallel published a Docklands Land Use report in 1973 by Llewellyn Davies Forestier Weeks & Bor which advocated that the Fleet line should serve Surrey Docks with a new high-density housing development there which could take advantage of the route. So here were more planning options – should the Tube follow the Docklands Spine logic, or should redevelopment follow part of the original Tube route? Surrey Docks was of course a valid Docklands option.

The GLC gets its way

We have already noted that the London Transport Executive was devolved in 1970 from nationalised industry status to being a subsidiary of the GLC. Thus the paradox of LT in 1973 still trying to justify its Fleet line extension to Lewisham, whilst its parent GLC was forging ahead with alternative aspirations for a Docklands spine. The desire to serve Lewisham, with intermediate high density housing echoes today with the Old Kent Road regeneration area on the current Bakerloo extension scheme as an intermediate point towards southeast London.

After several years’ struggle though the GLC began to insist that LT work to its direction, not to LT’s own internal priorities. This was signalled at the end of 1974 by the departure of ex-civil servant LT chairman Sir Richard (Sam) Way, and a more politically amenable LT chairman being installed, Kenneth Robinson, a former Labour MP and Minister.

Thus eventually the GLC won out and, amongst larger changes, Fleet line planning was redirected to a cross-Thames Docklands corridor/spine. Powers were secured in due course for a Fleet line extension via the Royal Docks to Woolwich and Thamesmead.

The River line

The GLC support for a Docklands-focused Tube option instead of a southeast Tube to Lewisham really shines through in the 1974 London Rail Study (LRS), a joint Department of Transport and GLC report with huge input from LT and BR. This was intended to provide an agreed basis for railway priorities for the next decade and beyond and focused very much on the Docklands option.

Unsurprisingly, this proposal attracted a new name of its own, the ‘River line’, to reflect the river spine corridor that it would serve.


Mid-1970’s original proposal for the Fleet Line taking over both of the ELL’s branches to New Cross Gate and New Cross stations and the extension to Lewisham, as well as the later River Line option. Cannon Street Fleet/River line station is missing for an unknown reason. Courtesy Greg Tingey

The LRS recommended the line extend from Fenchurch Street to serve the east Thames, with stations planned at:

  • St. Katharine’s Dock
  • Wapping (near the East London Line station)
  • Surrey Docks North (near the current Jubilee Canada Water station)
  • Millwall (near the current Canary Wharf station)
  • North Greenwich (now North Greenwich Jubilee station)
  • Custom House (now a DLR station and soon to be a Crossrail station)
  • Silvertown
  • Woolwich Arsenal (a NR and now DLR station)
  • Thamesmead West
  • Thamesmead Central

An alternative route from Custom House to Thamesmead via Beckton was also proposed.

Fleet River & Chelney Lines Map[Ben's]

A number of rail line proposals from the London Rail Study 1974, the Fleet line alignment in Fleet grey, the River line in medium blue. Map drawn by, and courtesy of, Ben Traynor

Innovative Thinking

During the course of the planning process the GLC and LT were also getting more innovative, and the eastern Fleet line powers included provision for one of the cross-Thames tunnels between Custom House and Woolwich to be designed at mainline gauge, and to potentially be built early to enable North Woolwich Line trains to run through to Woolwich. Another option was an early continuation to Plumstead to facilitate through passenger and possibly freight trains ahead of the Fleet line.

The River line proposal made it into the London Docklands Strategic Plan (LDSP) of 1976, its ‘spinal’ character closely reflecting the earlier plans from the ‘Docklands’ report. Unfortunately, the related land use and economic growth benefits weren’t adequately established in the LDSP, so for once this was a case of a railway scheme being ahead of the underlying economic and spatial strategy that justified it.

The LDSP didn’t have dense enough proposed centres of community and economic activity to justify much more than a tram, but unfortunately there was a Tube-scale cost attached to the rail project.

Not that it mattered. The chances of these plans being turned into reality were low in the mid-1970s. There were always going to be central Government and Treasury limits to permitted expenditure, and this was made plainer from 1976 when the UK financial crises put severe caps on total government expenditures.

Fleet - Thames Cabin Letters 1976

London Transport Executive 1976 proposed signal cabin letters. Note the unannounced and unpublicised “Thames line” name. Courtesy MRFS

River Line strip map Londonist

Rail Study/London Docklands Strategic Plan River line proposals. The map is broadly representative, but is missing Cannon Street station and Surrey Docks wasn’t renamed to Surrey Quays until 1989. Courtesy Londonist

Fleet to Jubilee

With Fleet line stage I being scheduled to open in 1977 in time for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, Horace Cutler – by then the GLC’s new Leader – announced the renaming of the Fleet line as the Jubilee line. This cost London Transport £50,000 in 1977 prices, worth £310,000 in today’s money.

Notwithstanding this political indulgence, the very tight fiscal situation in the economically turbulent 1970s, plus labour strikes and fitting-out problems, meant that actual opening of the line was delayed until 1979, two years after the Jubilee celebrations. Furthermore high inflation throughout the 1970’s meant that all the monies planned for stages II, III, and IV had been spent on completing stage I to Charing Cross by 1979. Initially budgeted at £35m in 1971 prices, stage I ended up costing £90m by 1979 (£325m at current prices). Despite this, the Jubilee quickly achieved one of its principal objectives, abstracting away almost half of the Bakerloo’s passengers south of Baker Street.

The Fleet Line Tube map colour was planned as battleship grey to honour the Royal Navy. But with the name change to Jubilee, a lighter grey was used (Corporate Grey – Pantone 430 for DIY aficionados) instead to approximate silver. It is interesting to note that the Royal Navy actually used several variations of grey on its battleships, depending on the theatre in which they were deployed, from the Mediterranean Fleet light grey to darker grey for more northern fleets.

Following the opening of stage I of the Jubilee line in 1979, the successive stages (now known as phases) along the original route were to be:

  • Phase 2: Extending the line along Fleet Street with stations at Aldwych, Ludgate Circus, Cannon Street, and Fenchurch Street as originally planned. Aldwych (Strand) station was to be rebuilt with a new ticket hall underneath Strand and Arundel Street, a new flight of escalators to the Piccadilly stub line platforms and a further flight down to the Jubilee platforms. The original surface station would be closed as too small.
  • Phase 3: Continuing the line under the river to Surrey Docks (the current Surrey Quays Overground station) then taking over both of the ELL’s branches to New Cross and New Cross Gate stations, with an extension to Lewisham. The ELL would terminate at the disused bay at Surrey Docks station.
  • Phase 4: Taking over suburban services on the Addiscombe and Hayes suburban branches.

The following works for stages II and later were constructed:

  • A ventilation shaft and emergency access for the Charing Cross overrun tunnels near Southampton Street and Maiden Lane.
  • The passage safeguarded for the Fleet line at Holborn Viaduct (now City Thameslink station).
  • A short station box for Fleet platforms under Cannon Street station forecourt to allow access to the future Fleet line.

A path to opening

Ultimately, it was the 1976 River line route from the Docklands Strategic Plan that was to be again proposed in 1979 – and which would eventually emerge as the Jubilee. This thus seems a sensible time to pause in the story of the Fleet. In part 2 of this series we will look at how, and why, the line finally emerged in the form that it did.

Our thanks to Graham H, and to all those who provided images and maps

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There are 312 comments on this article
  1. Anonymous says:

    So what is the deal with the mysterious tunnel stubs to nowhere that exist between North Greenwich and Canning town just outside of NG on the Jubilee Line Extension? Were there plans to take the Jube to the docks as well?

  2. Anonymous says:

    My apologies, I see this will be coming in Part 2

  3. ngh says:

    Several parts of the early Fleet proposal have found other Transport uses:

    1. The site for the proposed eastern entrance to the double ended Cannon Street (originally for Fleet /Northern lines interchange) is going to get used as a new entrance to Bank when the Northern platforms etc rebuild takes place soon.

    2. The site of the proposed Fleet Line sidings* has been used for the recently built Silwood Sidings for the New Cross ELL depot extension (more space for 5th cars and extra units)

  4. Bryn Davies says:

    The GLC was Labour controlled from outset (1st April 1965) until the 1967 election.

  5. Anonymous says:

    An excellent article, thank you – I knew a fair amount about the different routes proposed but not the full background.

    Out of interest, who or what is MRFS, as credited for several images?

  6. @Anonymous

    Thank you. It was a labour of love spreading over 18 months. Indeed it is still ongoing, with Parts 2 and 3 still in work.

    I cannot say who MRFS is or was, who like many commentators, requests anonymity.

  7. Jonathan Roberts says:

    @ Bryn Davies
    4 September 2015 at 15:17

    Thank you. Yes we should have that point right, not least in view of the political engagement in the Fleet/Jubilee schemes!

    I think we allowed ourselves to be confused by the forgotten change in electoral periods, in 1972, which took the electoral cycle to four years instead of three. Since 1973 saw Labour taking over at the GLC, counting back (erroneously) 2 x 4 gave 1965 which made sense! Whereas you correctly point out there was a 1965-1967 period with Labour in control, and then 2 x 3 year periods beyond with Conservatives in control. That the 1965 to 1967 period of Labour control came into being via an intriguing ‘bloc vote’ system, I shall just note… For more info, the Wikipedia link is quite useful (see the section on composition and political control):

  8. AlisonW says:

    Ah, I remember well how much I looked forward to the promised new services back then, especially (for some reason unfathomable to me now, Ludgate Circus)

    In essence, reading this superb (as always) article, the Fleet / River / Thames / Jubilee line suffered from having too many options and not, in the end, meeting any of them. And the present CX station without the central ‘logical’ connection between the former Trafalgar Square and Strand stations now poorly serves the public, indeed I regular wonder whether it would be an improvement to return the parts to their original names (especially for tourists).

  9. Greg Tingey says:

    As always, one area seems to have been left out, abandoned & dumped into the outer reaches of transport impossibility:
    And it still is, & there is still no concrete (!) proposal to rectify this, unless you count the possible extension of the Barking Riverside stub under the River at some future date (?)

  10. Anonymous says:

    @LBM – ah, I thought MRFS is an organisation and you’d broken your initialism rule! Look forward to parts two and three.

  11. Graham H says:

    @LBM – the “end” came quite suddenly. In 1976, I was working in DTp as part of the team distributing Transport Supplementary Grant and although it was clear by then that the ballooning cost of the scheme was beginning to crowd out every other major scheme in a shrinking pot of funds, the 1977-78 settlement didn’t actually envisage work stopping. The GLC was given grant on the assumption that costs would be constrained to the forecast level. I imagine, although i don’t now recall it, there must have been a further review of costs after the 77-78 settlement was put to bed (ie sometime in the early autumn of ’76)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Top notch!
    A good read!
    Keep up the good work.

  13. Briantist (in Gigabit internet heaven) says:

    @Long Branch Mike

    Great work on this article LBM! Some of the provided photos and diagrams are very interesting and the Thames Line is a first on me.

    Also worth little mention of The Talons of Weng-Chiang that first introduced me to the Fleet River.

    Just wondered why there is so little information about the actual route of Phase I that was dug: the bit between Baker Street and Bond Street. Is there nothing to say about it other than the lasers? Was the route so obvious and boring or did they consider different routes and/or in the planning stage of this section?

    Re the last map: wasn’t the planned station not Surrey Quays, but “Surrey North” and my research had a station at “St Katherine’s Dock” too? Millwall would have been where the DLR stations South Quay and Crossharbour are now?

  14. Long Branch Mike (Fleet) says:

    @Greg T

    Thamesmead and the GLC’s many efforts to get the Fleet/Jubilee Line to serve it will be discussed at greater length in Part 2.


    The actual Stage 1 construction to Charing Cross has been covered in several books, so we felt that to go into it in detail would be repetitious.

    Also, there wasn’t an alternative routing in central London, the 1967 preliminary plan held up quite well. Of course, alternatives abounded east of Fenchurch Street! Only some station details appear to have changed for central London. More will be revealed.

  15. James Bunting says:

    I recall in the early 1970s a (then) piece of derelict land at the bottom of Ludgate Hill, next to the railway bridge (before the line had been sunk underground and St Paul’s Thameslink Station built) having a sign to the effect that it was reserved for the site for the Fleet Line Ludgate Circus Station.

    There was also a diagram about the same time at Hendon Central Station, by the stairs to the platform, showing connections to the Fleet Line.

  16. Miles says:

    How far does the Jubilee Line tunnels run from Regents Park station? Carto Metro shows the Jubilee and Bakerloo tunnels run parallel for quite some way between Marylebone towards the West End. Could you be able to hear or feel the Jubilee Line at Regents Park for example?

  17. Jonathan Roberts says:

    The lines are quite close, having started with cross-platform interchange at Baker Street. The FL/JL was designed for fast running with shallow curves, so it’s a long but quicker way to Bond Street than a classic follow-the-streets Yerkes tube. There is a FL/JL vent shaft disguised as a cabin, I think, in some greenery very close to Regent’s Park station. Someone else can probably tell you precisely where!

  18. JA says:

    The ventilation shaft for the Jubilee line is in the south-west corner of Park Square Garden, a private keyholder garden. Park Square Garden is also notable as it is Linked to Park Crescent by a pedestrian foot tunnel called the Nursemaid’s tunnel, which runs under the Euston Road, but above the Circle/Metropolitan line. Park Crescent itself contains a couple of ventilation shafts for Regents Park station.

    I have a few photos which I will try and dig out and upload to the LR photo pool, but in the meantime this is someone else’s photo of the Jubilee line ventilation shaft.

  19. Castlebar says:

    @ James Bunting

    I remember those times all too well

    There was a political lethargy to do anything at all positive for anything rail related. Snow Hill Tunnel (AND any WLL initiative) were greeted with a Pavlovian response: “It was tried and it failed 60 years ago, so therefore it wouldn’t be any different now. Take your ridiculous ideas away”

  20. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar – depressing indeed – not just for rail, the bus industry in London and elsewhere was in what – for provincial operators – appeared to be the glide path to extinction. The operators – rail and bus – were focussed on showcase projects such as HST and APT and procuring the Leyland National. Talk to any of them (as I had to, daily) and you were left with the clear feeling that, most of the networks were slowlyvanishing into the gloaming and no one cared.

    In the bus industry, the key was getting rid of the NBC,whose dead hand detracted value (you’ve heard of managers who add value, well, the NBC management did the opposite because of their obsession with centralised procurement and their demands for a standard rate of return which led to network retrenchment and aroused the hostility of every local authority who was asked to brass up.)

    In the rail industry – as John Palmer (the long standing Under Secretary,railways in DTp and a man with whom I rarely agreed ) has successfully argued – the key was trust between ministers and the BR management. Getting rid of Peter Parker and appointing someone who got on with running the railways rather than playing politics, was the turning point.

  21. Graham Feakins says:

    @James Bunting – “I recall in the early 1970s a (then) piece of derelict land at the bottom of Ludgate Hill, next to the railway bridge (before the line had been sunk underground and St Paul’s Thameslink Station built) having a sign to the effect that it was reserved for the site for the Fleet Line Ludgate Circus Station.”

    Yes, the derelict land was in fact a WW2 bomb site and the sign itself for your better recall appears second one down on this page:

  22. Ed says:

    Great article. The various permutations of the line have always intrigued me.

    Greg Tingey – Yep poor Thamesmead – forgotten time and time again. In the ’70s the population was supposed to reach 100k. Axing the line suppressed it to around 60k now. It probably could go up to 100k to help with the housing problem, with some redevelopment as well as building on still vacant land, but transport connectivity stops that.

    Crossrail is not a great solution by the way. It’s on exactly the same site as the existing Abbey Wood station, which never helped the place and is pretty far from much of Thamesmead, cut off as it is not only by distance but a bloody great elevated sewer and dual carriageways running adjacent.

    I know north Greenwich has it’s third platform but the busyness of the Jubilee now stops any chance of a branch, but I wonder how feasible Thamesmead to N Greenwich shuttle would be with a fourth platform built. It would need the Charlton riverside housing plans to get going to justify. I can’t see it happening and think London Overground from Barking to Abbey Wood with a stop in Thamesmead is its best option.

  23. quinlet says:

    A further underlying trend at the time was the professional concept that there was a ‘secular decline’ in the use of public transport which would continue unabated, indefinitely and could not be altered. At the time I remember being laughed at for saying I was quite in favour of religious declines but didn’t believe in secular declines.

  24. Long Branch Mike (Fleet) says:


    Am interested, as many others surely are, in the posting of your Fleet/Jubilee photos.


  25. An Engineer says:

    The Fleet Line still lives on in the location codes in London Underground’s LCS system. From Memory the sections of tract from Baker Street to (almost) Aldwych all have fleet line codes in the F0nn series. The codes have never been updated as they are used on the original design and as built drawings.

    Also the last of the 1983TS intended for the Fleet Line have just been scrapped after standing in South Harrow sidings for many (20 ?) years.

    There are also some ‘Fleet Line’ coded track circuits on the north side of the circle adjacent to the 25kV lines – these were a convenient way of providing EMC immunity with the induced voltages from the 25kV lines – they will presumably go when the 4LM re-signalling gets that far.

  26. Castlebar says:

    quinlet, yes, that is true. There was a “negative aura” around all rail (and yes GH, bus too) projects. As GH once intimated in a post some months ago, it was as if anyone proposing an actual initiative was putting their own career in jeopardy, especially in Thatcher days. A Tory GLC candidate in Ealing who at that time proposed the extension of the Greenford – Ealing service to Acton ML, Olympia and Clapham Junction via the WLL was immediately deselected.

  27. Bearded Spotter says:

    Oh my. “If we could look into the seeds of time and see which will grow and which will not…” What a great piece and how hungry I am for Parts 2 and 3. As Greg Tingey wisely observed, the lack of connectivity to Thamesmead is still a blot on the landscape.

  28. Alex Mac says:

    Fascinating stuff! As a young chap in the late 60s, I recall longing to see the Ludgate Circus station in all its glory, but prayed it wouldn’t destroy the King Lud pub, which was a favourite after-work venue for us Waterloo-based workers at Letraset, who’d been slaving at the sweltering type-face for the previous week. Sadly I think that pub has now succumbed to cruel fate. And so has Letraset of course… Bloody progress! I think I’ll find a new Loud Tone Edison-Bell needle and put on a record by Alfredo’s Band – ‘If I had a talking picture of you…”

  29. Brian Hughes says:

    I remember being intrigued by a construction site for the new line which was just across the road from Regents Park station.

    @James Bunting
    There was a connection at Bank for the Fleet Line shown on the big Northern Line diagram on the track-side of the southbound platform at Hampstead in the mid 1970s (unless I dreamt it).

    The Phase 1 line was of particular interest to me because I then lived in St Johns Wood. A striking feature when it opened was how cool the station platforms were. I remember overhearing a conversation between two people who had the look of train enthusiasts about them. One confidently asserted that the stations were air conditioned. Of course they weren’t and it didn’t take more than a few months of trains running and hot commuters waiting on their platforms for the station platforms to warm up.

    Horace Culter was a sort of rather feeble early incarnation of Boris but while eccentricity seems to come naturally to the present Mayor it always seemed rather forced with Horace. His decision to rename the line attracted a good deal of derision at the time not least because nothing to do with the Queen’s Jubilee happened in 1979 – the name just seemed to highlight that the opening had been delayed.

    Thirty-six years on, where does the time go?

  30. Michael Jennings says:

    >It was a much larger area than the former
    >London County Council, which had become
    >outdated due to its late Victorian era boundaries.

    The London County Council was established in 1889, but it inherited the boundaries of the Metropolitan Board of Works, established in 1855. These boundaries were seriously outdated even in 1889, but they were retained due to the political difficulties of changing them. So we are talking early Victorian boundaries rather than late.

  31. CapitalStar says:

    I think they’re for a planned Thamesmead extension, don’t think that’s on the cards though.

  32. Jonathan Roberts says:

    @Brian Hughes
    There was an anti-renaming campaign run in the late 1970s by the Bakerloo Line Users Group in NW London, whose chairman was a Mr Chambers. They used stickers with nice punning: “Fleet Line. Don’t Jubileeve it!” With tippex and a marker pen, you could also convert ‘Jubilee’ back to Fleet quite easily.

  33. Taz says:

    The experimental tunnel would have connected with a new northbound tunnel platform at New Cross, but the southbound line would have continued to use the current surface platform, a rather unique arrangement? One would presume that the remaining East London line shuttle would have been operated most efficiently with Fleet Line rolling stock, allowing the full double junction at St Mary’s Curve to be lifted. I have always wondered if this thinking led to the unexpected use of 1938 red tube trains on the East London Line from May 1974 to January 1977, rather than the usual surface gauge rolling stock.

  34. Long Branch Mike (Fleet) says:

    @Alex Mac

    Ah Letraset! I recall using it when I first starting working 28 years ago. MacTac was a huge technological advance about 5 years later, labels you could load into new fangled laser printers…

  35. Greg Tingey says:

    Unfortunately: “It was tried and it failed 60 years ago, so therefore it wouldn’t be any different now. Take your ridiculous ideas away”
    Actually works, sometimes.
    After all the original S&DRly owned the track & let other, contracted operators run their own “trains” separate from the central management – & it didn’t work …
    Fast or slow-forward to J Major’s privatisation programme.
    And, of course, it still doesn’t work.
    Oh dear.

    Graham H
    Along the previous theme, would this modification, thus apply today?
    Getting rid of Peter Parker and appointing someone who got on with running the railways rather than playing politics, was the turning point.
    Peter Hendy? ( Now Sir Peter, of course, who did “run the railway” )

    Well, even then it was 10 years after “Buchanan” but people, especially those in power refused to accept the message that: “The roads are not big enough – you simply can not fit all the cars in..” There are still some who don’t believe this simple physical fact, too – the promoters of the self-driving car & the IEA, for starters.

    One thing that does strike me is the sheer quantity of unused infrastructure, in various places, left over from various parts of the “Fleet/Jubilee” lines construction.
    If added up, in one list, what does it come to – & are there any other “bits” that have not been mentioned yet?
    [ Near Bond St – Charing X + over-run tunnel?; experimental tunneling bits down near New X / Lewisham ( one or two? ); a ventilation &/or access shaft or two? Anything else? ] And could anything actually useful be done with them, especially in a join-the-dots opertaion?
    I suspect not & I’m not going to get the crayons out – DOWN – BACK in your box!

  36. Taz,

    I am pretty sure the use of 1938 stock on the East London Line was always planned as a temporary measure whilst the A stock had something done to the them. Can’t remember what all this was done for. Conversion to DOO or is that too early? D stock at one stage was used as well. This seems to indicate it was a case of using any stock they could find and they weren’t too fussed what it was.

    People get intrigued by the New Cross tunnel and re-use but remember that the tunnel is not that long and only a single tunnel. Its construction was justified in establishing whether Bentonite shields worked in real London geological conditions regardless of any subsequent purpose. It showed that the idea of Bentonite shields did work and the principle was subsequently used many years later for two of the Crossrail TBMs. I suspect there have been other non-railway uses in London in the meantime.

    The New Cross tunnel would probably be considered of too small a diameter for any modern railway use. I think there is a danger of getting too obsessed with trying to re-use abandoned infrastructure be it tunnels or railway platforms no longer used by fare-paying passengers. If it happens to be where you want build something anyway then it makes good sense to use it but such is the permanence and the importance of getting things right that you don’t want such decisions skewed by a “let’s reuse this” approach. And I also suspect that in reality there turns out not to be anything like the initially assumed cost saving once modern standard and changed conditions have to be taken into account.

  37. Transport Insider says:

    I suspect TfL may still own some of the land for the latter stages of the project. I know for example it still owns land at Brockley Hill for the abandoned Northern line extension.

    Thamesmead was the great GLC flagship housing development. Over time the ex LCC housing was transferred to the boroughs. It seems to be doomed to being poorly connected.

    Housing transfers were politically contentious; Labour opposed them and the Tories were keen to move them forward. I suspect the reason for this was that with the GLC shorn of housing its reasons for existence as very large body was doubtful. This is a very different model from the slimline GLA which is very influential but small and doesn’t deliver directly.

  38. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    At New Cross, there is a small piece of land fenced off just to the west of the NR lines and south of the ELL. Is this the shaft down to the test tunnel?

  39. Jonathan Roberts says:

    @ Transport Insider
    5 September 2015 at 10:19
    Looking ahead to Part 2 of the Fleet/Jubilee article, at least one important negative decision about the project could be argued to have pivoted on the fact that GLC housing had by then been transferred to the boroughs – by one Horace Cutler…

  40. dvd says:

    @ Southern Heights
    Yes I believe that the fenced off land you describe at New Cross is indeed the site of the shaft to the test tunnel. I wonder whether the Subterreana Britannica crew have ever tried to access it ?

  41. Malcolm says:

    A fascinating article. Until seeing it hinted at here, in the context of battleship grey, I had not realised that the “Fleet” name could have punningly referred also to the Navy as well as the river.

  42. Fandroid says:

    Interesting note about the vent shaft at Regents Park. I use the station fairly often so will look out for the ‘cabin’. Alison’s comment about reverting to the Trafalgar Square name, at least for the Bakerloo station now called Charing Cross, does make a lot of sense. TfL is now expert at showing pedestrian links between stations on its Underground map, so having a better suited geographical name would have no downside. Of course, even changing stations names has a (ludicrous) price these days.

  43. Anomnibus says:


    I’ve noticed an increasing use of vinyl rather than conventional signwriting in images of the network, so it’s probably not so much the actual printing costs, but the sheer quantity of work involved. It’s not just trains and maps, but also web content, apps, and metre upon metre of technical and training documents that may have to be updated.

    And then there are technologies that simply didn’t exist 50 years ago, like automated train and platform announcements. There’s likely a mix of technologies used for these, of varying vintage, depending on when the systems were fitted. All of these rely on stitching together short audio clips – “Embankment”, “Cannon Street”, “Victoria”, “Bakerloo”, “Line”, “The next station is”, “Change here for”, “services”, etc. (Older systems tend to sound more stilted than newer ones, as the storage space for all those clips is now much cheaper than it used to be, so different intonations of some clips can be provided to suit the context. Computers have also gotten orders of magnitude faster.)

    Just analysing and re-recording all the relevant clips for those systems can be expensive as this isn’t something TfL are likely to handle in-house. If the original voice artist is no longer available, then all the clips may need to be re-recorded, or you’ll hear the voice changing back and forth during the announcement. (This happens surprisingly often on trains here in Italy, with place and station names often given using the original Italian artist’s voice, despite the rest of the message using an English voice artist.)

    Speaking of languages, TfL offer information in quite a few of them. Again, all those pages would need to be updated too. “Find and Replace” only gets you so far; archived documents probably shouldn’t be corrected in-place, but may need notes added to explain that “X” is now known as “Y”.

  44. swirlythingy says:

    Fenchurch Street was also the only London mainline railway terminal without a direct Underground interchange

    Holborn Viaduct, Broad Street?

  45. Malcolm says:

    @Swirlythingy: Broad Street was immediately adjacent to Liverpool Street, and obviously shared its tube connection. Holborn Viaduct I might concede (though its services were quite limited at that time). But Fenchurch Street’s lack of a tube connection was then (and still is) a significant visible flaw in London’s infrastructure, which was probably the point the authors were making.

  46. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – there’s a further point: passengers coming into Fenchurch Street have no choice of terminal (with very very limited exceptions); passengers for Holborn viaduct might have chosen an alternative service/terminal if they wanted to connect with the tube.

  47. timbeau says:

    Holborn Viaduct’s lack a of a Tube station was mitigated by the fact that all trains also served Blackfriars, which is on the Tube.

    1938 stock was used on the ELL in the 1970s, replacing Q stock. Although C stock replaced Q stock elsewhere, the construction of the 1972 stock fleet (to keep Metro Cammell in business) left sufficient redundant 1938 stock cars to operate the ELL (although one wonders why they didn’t just build more C stock trains for the ELL instead of the 1972 stock?). Service cutbacks released enough A stock to allow the 1938 stock to be replaced on the ELL, although D stock deputised for a couple of years in the mid-eighties to provide a float of A stock for the refurbishment and conversion to OPO.

  48. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anomnibus – Your link to the TfL list of languages shows that it is quite poor and some languages in which they used to publish have been missing for some years. For example, TfL produced a comprehensive series of maps and information in Japanese which I know were useful for visitors from there; their tourist numbers are significant but a surprising number still do not know or speak any English.

  49. Anonymously says:

    Great article….one of my biggest ‘what ifs’ has finally been answered! In the end, I guess the Jubilee line in its current form is the best routing that could have emerged given all the subsequent development in Docklands and the East End. SE London though is still waiting for its tube connection….

    Few thoughts:

    – If the money had been available (or the 70s economy had not been in such a mess!) to construct Phase 2 to Fenchurch Street, what would we have today? Instead of the present, useful line taking traffic from Waterloo and London Bridge and serving Southwark / Bermondsey / Canada Water, I suspect it would just have been extended eastwards from Fenchurch Street to Canary Wharf and Stratford (perhaps in place of the corresponding part of the DLR).

    – No thought was ever seriously given to extending across the river at Aldwych (using a station there as an interchange with Temple on the District/Circle to relieve Embankment) to Waterloo and thenceforth over the current route? This way you could have kept the Charing Cross stub in service (along with the Aldwych Piccadilly shuttle, I suspect), and avoid all the expensive, complex work that was required to stop Big Ben from collapsing. But then the politicos wouldn’t have got their station on the line (or their nice new offices at Portcullis House)….hmmmm, my cynicism knows no bounds.

    – If capacity could be found to use those stub tunnels at North Greenwich to reach Thamesmead (does the line really need all 36 tph to reach Stratford? It may well do…I genuinely don’t know), you could include a stop at Silvertown/City Airport, which I imagine improves the BCR and funding options for this extension massively.

    – Why did changing the name from Fleet to Jubilee cost so much money? It’s not as if there were already hundreds of signs/maps etc (see Anomnibus’ response for more examples) already in existence that needed to be changed…or perhaps there were?

    – Why was it planned for the takeover of the ELL south of Surrey Docks/Quays to include (or exclude, referring to the original 1965 proposal) New Cross Gate? From the diagrams, it appears it wouldn’t have been too hard to accommodate the ELL continuing on to New Cross Gate alongside the Jubilee. Perhaps it really was seen as a lame duck, and truncating it (in a similar fashion to what happened with the Northern City line) was another way for LT to indicate that it wanted to be rid of it?

  50. Tim says:

    The experimental tunnel at New Cross is news to me and I will look for it next time I am ‘speeding’ through.

    Veering hugely off topic, if such a tunnel was even considered viable, could not this idea be revived for future extension of Overground southwards from New Cross?

    Another off topic question (apologies but this has been bugging me for a while), why do the Charing Cross Lines at New Cross not have platforms?

    (disclaimer: a pissed off commuter stranded halfway between Ravensbourne and Bromley North stations, desperately wishing for an adequate service to London Bridge, along with the rest of the area!)

  51. Graham H says:

    @Anonymously – I think you will find the answer to your first question in the article itself. Remember that in the late ’60s and ’70s, Canary Wharf was not even a twinkle in any planner’s eye nor was the development of Stratford as a growth point. As to the question of turning right at Aldwych to go to Waterloo, in engineering terms it would be a horrendously sharp curve,followed by another equally sharp reverse curve to get it back pointing towards Docklands.

    I think people misunderstand the point of the JLE. It was built not to provide a link from the west to Docklands but to provide a direct link from Docklands to WIT (LDDC being obsessed with the internationl connexions) and to Waterloo (to enlarge the Wharf’s employment catchment area). A straightforward continuation of the River/Fleet/Jubilee from FST to Canary Wharf, however logical in planning terms, wouldn’t have satisfied LDDC once WIT was in prospect. Prior to that point, of course, LDDC were more than keen to see the Jubilee extended directly to Docklands and were far from content with being fobbed off with DLR. (At that time,LDDC cared nothing for the Waterlooconnexion and the paperwork dealing with the DLR for Jubilee concept failed to mention Waterloo at all).

    It’s important to understand that planning for Docklands, the Jubilee extensions and the DLR has never followed any sort ofcoherent master plan. It’s been a random walk blown hither and yon by politicians’ bright ideas du jour.

    @Tim – PoP has already explained the the reasons why joining up random bits of existing short tunnels is not a good idea.

  52. Alan Griffiths says:

    timbeau 5 September 2015 at 19:37

    “Holborn Viaduct’s lack a of a Tube station was mitigated by the fact that all trains also served Blackfriars, which is on the Tube.”

    Similar point applies to Fenchurch St trains calling at West Ham, more so when future signalling improvements come through.

  53. Alan Griffiths says:

    Graham H 6 September 2015 at 08:17

    ” the development of Stratford as a growth point” has been around since Newham Council began campaigning for an International station. That took a while.

  54. Jim Cobb says:

    Great article – can’t wait for the next installment.

    I have a question about the justification for the Fleet line. It is stated as relieving the Bakerloo by adding another route and taking over the Stanmore branch. If so, why is the Bakerloo now considered to have spare capacity and so an extension is desirable ? Did the Fleet/Jubilee do its job so well that it provided too much relief or was the justification is bit suspect ?

    Also, isn’t it desirable to have more than a single branch in the suburbs to avoid the current embrassment of riches at places like Stanmore with its 36tph service ? Would the Bakerloo still have spare capacity if it had kept the Stanmore branch ?

  55. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Tim: You’re looking for a hexagonal (or octagonal) fenced off area, that’s all that’s visible on the surface.

    As to why the Charing Cross lines don’t have platforms: You’d need an island arrangement as for the Cannon Street lines (at least) and there is simply no room for that without a land grab and probable reconstruction of the A2 bridge…

  56. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Also as to why there are no platforms on the Charing Cross lines at New Cross …

    There are only two Charing Cross lines through New Cross. So if trains stopped there they would dramatically reduce the capacity into Charing Cross. There are three Cannon St line platforms at New Cross and many trains have joined and left the Greenwich Branch closer to London so that is three tracks at new Cross for around 18tph. Even after the Thameslink Programme is complete there will still be 28tph serving Charing Cross.

    Unless every Charing Cross train stops there, each stop takes up the best part of two train paths so to stop trains at New Cross realistically you would need four tracks, at least two of these with platforms, and you would also need to four track all the way to London Bridge (in future there will only proposed be two or, at best three [the much talked about Southwark Reversible]).

    So the short answer is that there isn’t the space available and it can’t be done.

  57. Alfie1014 says:

    @ Alan Griffiths Yes LTS trains do call at West Ham but these platforms were only built in the late 1990s and as an interchange it is a little way out, fine for getting to Docklands but less so for the West End, most commuters still use Fenchurch St and travel on from Tower Hill or walk to Bank for the Central Line. It’ll be interesting to see if this changes when Crossrail opens as changing at West Ham and then again at Whitechapel or walking to Liverpool Street become potential alternatives.

    I believe all the signalling alterations for West ham stops have been completed already, most services call there and almost all will from this December’s timetable change. That said as a former LTS commuter the addition of more and more Limehouse and West Ham stops did nothing but increase my overall journey times.

  58. timbeau says:

    “No thought was ever seriously given to extending across the river at Aldwych ”
    they were, but the plan was to extend the Holborn shuttle – parliamentary powers were obtained to do just that in 1968. As shown in the 1974 London Rail Study map some of the diagrams above, this would eventually have become part of Chelney – as the Jubilee now serves Waterloo, the planned route for Chelney now takes a shorter, more westerly, route – eschewing the use of the existing tunnels under Kingsway.

    @Alan Griffiths
    “Similar point applies to Fenchurch St trains calling at West Ham, ”

    Not really comparable – it’s a long slow drag from West Ham to Fenchurch Street, so baling out there incurs a significant time penalty, so a lot of people walk from F St Tower Hill to switch to the Tube.
    Blackfriars is much more central, so Holborn Viaduct was (and City TL is) largely used by people working in the immediate vicinity. There may in the past have been a handful walking over from HV to Farringdon, which is not very far away, but of course they now have a direct service.

  59. Alfie1014,

    Not “almost all”. “All” if the latest published timetables are to be believed. For the latest published proposed timetables see here for Mon-Fri timetable to London and here for Mon-Fri timetable from London. Barking has a couple of trains non-stopping in the evening shoulder peak as a sop to those unhappy with the extra stops that have been added.

    We are getting very off-topic and this will be partly covered elsewhere in the near future.

  60. Anonymously says:

    @ Graham H……So Waterloo International was one of the primary drivers for changing the routing? Given what subsequently happened to it, maybe we can add this to your list of (beneficial?) planning accidents 😉. I wonder how those legions of international passengers get to Canary Wharf now…..if only there was another interchange point (say at Stratford) they could potentially use 😈…..

    @Jim Cobb…I think you’re confusing where the spare capacity / bottlenecks are (or were) present on the Bakerloo line.

    Between 1938 and 1979, at least half (please someone correct me if I’m wrong) of the trains used the Stanmore branch. This meant that the section between Baker Street and Queens Park (serving two important main line termini, as well as a good chunk of inner London) eventually had insufficient trains to meet demand. The first stage of the Jubilee line was designed to relieve this, by allowing all Bakerloo line trains to run to Queens Park instead of just half of them. Was this too successful? I doubt it…..on today’s line between H&W and Baker Street, I’m sure it is as busy as ever.

    The spare capacity which exists today is at its southern end…..E&C is so close to the central area (and a relatively minor destination, unlike say, Stratford or even Brixton), that relatively few passengers use the line south of Waterloo compared to the rest of the system. This is why it’s the Bakerloo line and not, for example, the Victoria line (which is jam packed even at Brixton!) which is being proposed for a southerly extension.

  61. @Jim Cobb

    Yes, essentially the Jubilee abstracted much of the traffic away from the Bakerloo in the West End. Part of the reason is that the former has a number of traffic magnets on the far side of central London, Waterloo, London Bridge, Canary Wharf and Stratford, whereas the Bakerloo peters out at Elephant & Castle.

    More detailed analysis of this, as well as of the many other commentator questions, to come in subsequent Parts of this series. Much of the difficulty is that, as Graham H mentioned, the plans and destinations for Stages 2 to 4 of the Jubilee continued to change in the 1980’s, with much politician, GLC and transport agency efforts and negotiations to attempt to establish a viable business case for a Tube in the regenerating Docklands. Instrumental as the DLR was to kick-starting the urban renewal, it was soon seen as insufficient once large scale, high density development was proposed.

    One can guess at this point what this was, and is, but if you could hold on to your questions and comments about the Jubilee Line decisions and developments in the 1980’s, we will provide some interesting backroom details, route plans &c.

  62. Graham H says:

    @Alan Griffiths – there is a 25 year – and more – gap between planning the Fleet line and the remotest possibility that international trains might call at Stratford. When the Fleet/Jubilee was planned, the Channel Tunnel was a pipedream and WIT, let alone HS1 were unimaginable.

    @Jim Cobb – it would make no difference to Bakerloo spare capacity, which is with-peak northbound, south of Oxford Circus (and s/b in the evening) however many northern branches it had. Few travel the length of the line and those that want to get to Stanmore can change easily to the Jubilee. (I suppose there is a tiny number of people boarding south of Waterloo who would go to Stanmore but are deterred by the prospect of changing but they must be only a handful and certainly not enough to create spare capacity.7

  63. Kingstoncommuter says:

    So why was a subsurface railway station ever built at Fenchurch street when the district/metropolitan railway was first built or when the circle line was completed? The only other terminus without a connection that actually lies on the route of the line is Marylebone and that is because, as I understand it, it was built after the metropolitan railway line.

  64. Henning Makholm says:

    Don’t the platforms at Fenchurch Street pass directly above the Circle Line’s tracks, at a point that can’t be far from the Tower Hill platforms? If one sets the narrow goal of “equip Fenchurch Street with a direct LU interchange”, then providing a pedestrian access between the two would surely be cheaper and simpler than tunneling an entirely new railway to connect to. It wouldn’t be any less direct than St. Pancras mainline to underground (or for that matter the trans-Hackney walkway).

  65. marek says:


    Holborn Viaduct was (and City TL is) largely used by people working in the immediate vicinity. There may in the past have been a handful walking over from HV to Farringdon, which is not very far away, but of course they now have a direct service.

    I was one of those who did the walk from Holborn Viaduct to Farringdon every day, and I was very far from being alone. The re-opening of Snow Hill came too late to be useful to me, but you could see the old incline down from the bridge over Ludgate Hill and it was frustrating to know how short the missing link was.

    But for many on that route, the useful underground connection was not Blackfriars but Elephant and Castle, with access both to a wider range of City destinations and the West End.

  66. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Jim Cobb,

    Also, isn’t it desirable to have more than a single branch in the suburbs to avoid the current embrassment of riches at places like Stanmore with its 36tph service ?

    A simple question with a complex answer. But for starters Stanmore does not have a 36tph service and there are no plans for it to do so. A simple line end-to-end line is often preferred because it is easy to operate at high capacity. A classic example would be the Victoria line which is busy end to end. The Paris metro has an absolute abhorrence of branches and there are vague plans to eliminate the very few that remain.

    If you cannot have a simple end to end line then the next best thing is often a simple line with some trains terminating short. This is what is proposed for the Jubilee. I think 36tph is only proposed between Willesden Green (or maybe West Hampstead) and North Greenwich. This relies on suitable places to turn around. Willesden Green is not ideal. Mike Horne describes the issue in great detail including the option you suggest.

    One of the dangers of splitting into two is that you do so prematurely and indeed the old Bakerloo that split at Baker Street is a classic case of why you shouldn’t do it. Time will tell if this will be a problem in future with Crossrail with its split just beyond Whitechapel – at least it is a grade separated junction. It does mean that both Stratford and Canary Wharf have already had their service diluted.

    Another problem is the exact opposite in that you do it so far out that you dilute an already sparse service. Amersham is a classic example here with just 2tph off-peak on the Metropolitan line because half the trains north of Chalfont & Latimer go to Chesham (though Amersham is supplemented by Chiltern trains).

    A third problem, and probably the biggest issue, is that you really need roughly equal flows on both branches because generally the only sensible option is to alternate trains between the two branches if you don’t want a lop-sided timetable. The trouble is then that when things go wrong for some reason one often ends up with a patchy service on one of the branches.

    Personally I would cite Cockfosters as a classic case of a station that has a ridiculously good service simply because the really isn’t anywhere decent to turn the trains prior to there in the quantities needed to thin the service out to a more suitable frequency. But this highlights the problem with splitting into branches. The Piccadilly line has perfectly good railway services nearby on both the west and east sides so where would such a branch go? You don’t need stations close to each other like you do in central London. In practice it is easier just to “take the hit” and run a few more trains than really needed to keep things simple.

    To make this relevant to the article, consider the proposed branch from North Greenwich to Thamesmead. It was quickly realised that this wasn’t such a good idea as one would want the the majority of trains to go to Stratford. In any case such trains from Thamesmead would take away much needed capacity. You would also have the problem of needing to maintain some sort of service to Thamesmead when things go wrong but in all probability controllers would probably be desperate to send all the trains they could Stratford to avoid overcrowding.

    Please don’t ask me to explain the logic behind the plethora of branches proposed south of Wimbledon for Crossrail 2.

  67. Anonymously says:

    @marek….If that’s true, then those lifts at E&C must have been kept busy!!!

    @LBM….Yes, I forgot to mention that the first stage of the Jubilee line was also designed to relieve the corresponding part of the Bakerloo line across the West End by providing an alternative route. Until the late 90s, the route maps for both lines at the top of the escalators in CX station were combined together into one, showing them interweaving before going their separate ways at Baker Street. I’m guessing this was designed as such to help direct passengers away from the Bakerloo onto the newer route.

    @Kingstoncommuter/Henning……Who knows why Fenchurch St wasn’t connected to the subsurface lines, but it may well have been a victim of the squabbling between the Met and District railways before this part of the line (which was the last part of the Inner Circle to be completed, IIRC), was built. The additional station entrance at Cooper’s Walk does considerably shorten the walking distance to Tower Hill, so I’m not at all sure there is much demand (other than in inclement weather, perhaps!) for a subterranean passageway.

  68. timbeau says:

    2Please don’t ask me to explain the logic behind the plethora of branches proposed south of Wimbledon for Crossrail 2.”
    It is very unlikely they will all get a service – whether it is a good idea to drum up interest over a wide area, only to have expectations dashed on many of those branches is debateable, but most XR2 proposal maps show all SW branches which might switch to Crossrail. Current service frequencies on most branches are 2tph, so if they all ran at those frequencies on XR2 you will only get about 24tph.

    “So why was a subsurface railway station ever built at Fenchurch street when the district/metropolitan railway was first built”
    Because they only got to the western edge of the City
    “or when the circle line was completed?”
    The completion was a hugely complex project and they were very limited in where the line could go. The Met also already served the GER’s other terminus at Liverpool Street, and indeed had through running onto the GER there in the early years.
    ” The only other terminus without a connection that actually lies on the route of the line is Marylebone”
    and Euston. The original Met was built with assistance from the GNR and the GWR, to give them access to the City (with the Midland connecting in when it was built a years later. The LNWR already had access to the City at Broad Street, and had no interest in the success of the Met – quite the opposite in fact.

    Marylebone was essentially an extension of Baker Street , for the longer-distance services on the Met/GC joint line

  69. Malcolm says:

    Talk about lack of Fenchurch Street connections with the tube makes me think that by far the cheapest way of providing this would just be to rename either Fenchurch Street or Tower Hill to match the other. Similarly, you could provide the borough of Bromley with a tube link just by sticking red roundels on the existing Bromley North trains. If it works for Emerson Park…

  70. Graham H says:

    @kingston commuter – a further explanation as to why FST was left out on a limb was that at the time the Circle was built,the City was the only central area destination worth thinking about in traffic terms – the West End really didn’t take off until nearly the end ofthe nineteenth century. Indeed, having arrived in the City with most of the square mile within easy walking distance, neither the Met nor the District had any incentive to complete the Circle; it required a great deal of Parliamentary pressure to force them to do so. FST didn’t offer much by way of extra traffic at that time, being essentially a commuter station and nothing else – where would those arriving at Fenchurch St for work go, if it wasn’t a short walk from that station?

    Of course, the District changed its tune as paid holidays and the excursion market grew by the turn of the century, by providing through Ealing-Southend services, but by then the opportunity to connect FST to the Circle had been lost 40 years previously.

  71. NLW says:

    6 September 2015 at 14:28

    Fenchurch Street’s side entrance is on Coopers Row.

  72. mr_jrt says:

    In regard to the Jubilee’s curious routing past North Greenwich, I’m still inclined to think that Crossrail has missed a trick by not including a “Stepney Chord”, which would have enabled services from Stratford to run via Canary Wharf directly, greatly reliving the Jubilee line north of Canary Wharf, and perhaps even finally enabling that branch to Thamesmead to be viable.

    …and also would have enabled more use of the spare capacity there is going to be on the two Crossrail branches due to them merging in the core. 🙂

  73. Anomnibus says:


    London needs multiple Crossrail-type projects to cope with its future transport needs. Nailing chords onto existing lines isn’t going to cut it.

    Crossrail 3 is currently expected to follow a NW-SE axis and is likely to be the project that ends up serving the Thamesmead area and relieving some SE London and Kent commuter services.

    The Docklands area needs to decide how best to provide additional ‘cross-Docklands’ infrastructure. The DLR may yet gain a new north-south line through the Docklands core to provide this, or we may see a new north-south Crossrail (or similar) project instead.

  74. @Anomnibus

    “The DLR may yet gain a new north-south line through the Docklands core”

    Has this been identified as a planning need? I don’t recall reading about this anywhere.

    And isn’t it up to TfL (and to a lesser extent DfT) to determine transport needs, not a particular area? For instance the London 2050 Plan.

  75. Graham H says:

    @LBM – indeed, the “Docklands area” has no corporate machinery for planning such things

  76. Graham Feakins says:

    Fenchurch Street station access at Cooper’s Row is shown on Street View here:

    Rotate 180 degrees and progress a couple of clicks down Cooper’s Row into Trinity Square and there is the entrance to Tower Hill station. Two minutes’ walk, if that.

  77. ngh says:

    The Cooper rows entrance (and indeed the platforms at Fenchurch Street) are closer to the Tower Hill entrance and platforms than the District and Circle platforms are to the NR platforms at either Victoria or Embankment/Charing Cross…

  78. Malcolm says:

    I am bemused at all the excitement about Tower Hill station being near Fenchurch Street station. Neither of them has moved recently, and the connection has long been indicated on tube maps. Yes, Mike and Jonathan did tell us that “Fenchurch Street was also the only London mainline railway terminal without a direct Underground interchange and it was thus seen as important to have the Fleet serve it. “, but the first part seems to be accepted (modulo some minor reservations discussed above), and the second part is a report of what was thought then. It didn’t happen, for quite other reasons clearly expounded in the article. Does it really matter whether a now-irrelevant view held by those planners was well-founded or not?

  79. Anonymous says:

    @ Malcolm 6th September 2015 at 15:02

    For reference, the London Borough of Bromley already has a ‘tube’ link – it’s called the ELL. Anerley, Crystal Palace and Penge West stations are all within the borough boundaries.

  80. Mr Beckton says:

    I wait for part 2, but just for those who still look for a Jubilee branch from North Greenwich to Thamesmead, apart from this pretty much duplicating what Crossrail has done to Abbey Wood, the Jubilee eastwards from Canary Wharf, for those who don’t use it, is notably full at peak times. It is regularly not possible to board morning trains at Canning Town because they arrive stuffed full, and in the evening the same can apply for those trying to board at Canary Wharf. Increasing the LTS trains serving West Ham, and the very considerable housing developments at Stratford, are only going to exacerbate this.

  81. Malcolm says:

    Anonymous at 22:36

    Good point. If anyone needs to comment further on this, please do so in the Bromley North article, not here. My fault for trying to make two (vaguely) linked comments together (vaguely linked by the notion of the cheap mutability of labels), and finding, just as Mr Sodde would have predicted, that the half which draws a response is the wrongly-placed half.

  82. Anonymously says:

    So, if 36 tph are going to reach North Greenwich, but not all of them continue to Stratford, how many are left? Clearly the TfL planners don’t consider there to be sufficient demand to run all 36 to Stratford (notwithstanding Mr. Beckton’s comments above).

    If one did construct a branch and sent half the trains down it, you would have 18 tph to both (i.e. roughly one every 3 min)….isn’t that enough to satisfy demand to Stratford? If not, would 20/16 or a 24/12 split work? I’m not being glib…I genuinely want to understand how one determines the optimal frequency to meet passenger demand to alleviate the problems which Mr Beckton highlights.

    As for the disruption contingency that PoP alludes to… could configure the junction east of North Greenwich in such a way to run the Thamesmead trains as a shuttle into one of the platforms there whenever technical issues (or special events at the Olympic Park or the O2) required all trains to run through to Stratford.

  83. mr_jrt says:


    I agree, we do need more lines, but it’s still a good idea to make the most of the ones we already have signed off. The point of that chord is that it would have helped with the disparity on the GEML where some 6tph-odd peak Crossrail services will still have to run into the surface platforms because of the high GEML demand that can’t be fixed without starving the Abbey Wood branch of service. If you can replace the paths lost on Whitechapel to Abbey Wood services with Stratford to Abbey Wood ones, then you can in theory manage the core service level (24tph) along the GEML branch without clogging up Liverpool Street’s limited platforms.

    Given the plan for 12tph on each eastern branch, you could have in theory provided them both with the full peak 24tph had the chord been built (with suitable grade-separated junctions, naturally). Bringing it back on topic, it doesn’t take much imagination to see the Jubilee and the interchange at Stratford would have enjoyed considerable relief – one of the notable reasons the tubes are so full is because they fill up at Canary Wharf and Stratford, starving the intermediate stations for capacity. As it stands, I’m not sure if it’ll be quicker to stick with the Jubilee route or stay on to Whitechapel and change Crossrail branches there. We shall see. 🙂

  84. mr_jrt,

    The Crossrail chord is a nice idea but the trouble is that Crossrail east of Stratford is going to be struggling for capacity – even at just 8tph off-peak. I thought the main problem was freight but people who know far more than me and are in a much better position to understand the issues point out that the main problem is in fact the sheer numbers of empty coaching stock requiring access to the depot. I can’t remember if that was Ilford depot or Gidea Park carriage sidings or both.

    On top of that the necessary junctions – four of them – would be very expensive to construct and the journeys could be made easily enough anyway with a change at Whitechapel.


    I am not quite sure why it is not proposed to run all trains to Stratford but it may well be to avoid having to “step back” drivers. This always complicates things. A further problem may be the lack of an overrun at Stratford necessitating a slow approach into the platform.

    There is also the issue that the Jubilee is struggling for depot space for the extra trains so there is probably a desire to keep this to an absolute minimum. However if Mr Beckton is right about the level of use between North Greenwich and Stratford (and I have no reason to doubt him) it seems strange not to tackle this issue.

    This paper indicates 27tph will go to Stratford leaving 9 (1 in 4) to terminate at North Greenwich. This works out well as there are three terminating platforms at Stratford allowing conflicting consecutive routes to be virtually eliminated outside Stratford Station.

    There will also be 9tph terminating at West Hampstead which I would have thought was challenging on the presumption that terminating involves using the existing siding and checking the train has no passengers on it before it goes into the siding will be necessary. It also doesn’t seem to give a lot of time for the driver to change ends given that he will have to open and close 14 doors to get from one end of the train to the other. As Mike Horne has pointed out (link supplied earlier) West Hampstead does seem a bit too close to the centre of London to terminate trains.

    I am sure when the Fleet line was proposed there was no idea of just how busy its renamed successor would become. Certainly my memory of Stage 1 Fleet line (ultimately Jubilee line) was of a very lightly used line (by Underground standards). The lack of use was highlighted by the single leaf doors used on the 1983 tube stock on the line. Furthermore this line was built to relieve the Bakerloo line which was struggling to terminate 30tph at Elephant & Castle.

  85. Malcolm says:

    PoP says “Personally I would cite Cockfosters as a classic case of a station that has a ridiculously good service simply because the really isn’t anywhere decent to turn the trains prior to there in the quantities needed to thin the service out to a more suitable frequency”

    Quibble alert: Actually Arnos Grove is perfectly decent, with a nice double-platformed centre track. But sadly it is so far out that turning (more) trains there would only have a very feeble impact on the total number of trains needed to run the service, so as you say, simplicity wins out. Wood Green is much better-positioned as a thinning-out point, but is not “decent”, suffering from the usual problem of having to thoroughly eject passengers in a platform required for through-running trains.

  86. Anonymously says:

    @Malcolm/Anonymous….The LO is *not* a tube service, just to be clear. It is an enhanced suburban train service. On that basis, the LBB currently has no direct access to the tube network.

    The snob in me dearly wishes to point out as well that many Bromley residents may not regard Anerley, Penge, or Crystal Palace as being truly part of their borough ;).

  87. Anonymously says:

    @PoP….Please forgive me for going slightly off-topic, but I have a question I have been dying to ask for ages.

    *Why* were single-leaf doors ever considered a good idea for the D and 1983 stock? Everyone here knows the issues subsequently caused by these, so why were they used in the first place given that all prior (not to mention future!) stock mostly use double doors?

  88. Anonymously says:

    @PoP…My memories of using the Jubilee line as a child from CX (usually to get to Wembley, or Bond Street for Xmas shopping) were of it being virtually empty as well, and of the line map being very station-sparse compared to other Tube lines. Whereas the first time I used the JLE in late 1999 (between Bond Street and London Bridge), I distinctly remember it already being fairly packed.

  89. mr_jrt,

    Actually the number of Crossrail trains running into Liverpool St high level in the peak has been revised downwards to 4tph as even with the latest projections it is considered that this will be enough. This still leaves the option of lengthening trains.

    Terminating 24tph 200m trains at Abbey Wood in two platforms would be quite a challenge. I cannot see stepping back being popular with the operators on a network as complicated as Crossrail. Even the relatively simple Jubilee line avoids it.

    Canary Wharf to Stratford by DLR is only around 13 minutes and you don’t need to spend time going up and down escalators. So one alternative and much cheaper option is to beef up the DLR to run every 2 minutes between Canary Wharf and Stratford. Admittedly it is not in the same league capacity-wise but we haven’t yet established the level of unmet demand.

  90. Anonymously,

    Simply that the thought was that if you half the number of doors then you half the number of door failures which was one of the commonest causes of failure. Of course it didn’t work out like that because you still needed almost the same amount of ancillary equipment and the doors, being wider and heavier, were more prone to other issues. As passenger numbers were projected to go down it was thought that they would be perfectly adequate for the future.

  91. Anonymously says:

    @PoP…Ah, the wonders of hindsight ;). Except its only now that we’re finally getting rid of the last of these trains on the District line.

    Scrapping the 1983 stock after barely 12-15 years use on the Jubilee line did feel like a real waste to me… the very least, a few trains could have been saved to use on the Isle of Wight (how much longer can those 1938 trains keep on going for?). And single-leaf doors wouldn’t be a problem there.

    I’m intrigued by your DLR suggestion between Canary Wharf and Stratford…..why don’t people use this more at the moment, instead of the Jubilee line? If you could coax more people on to there (perhaps with more frequent trains, as you suggest, to coincide with the start of Crossrail), would that free up enough space on the Jubilee line to allow an extension from North Greenwich?

  92. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Believe me, people do use the DLR instead of the Jubilee line between Canary Wharf and Stratford. Get on at Canary Wharf in the evening peak and notice how crowded the train is and how virtually nobody gets off until the train arrives at Stratford. I don’t think it is a question of coaxing people on. More would get on if the trains weren’t full.

    I think the problem is that you are fixated with an extension from North Greenwich. If the problem is lack of connectivity to Thamesmead then that is the issue that needs to be looked at objectively with no pre-conditions. Don’t presume a solution and adjust the world so your solution fits.

  93. Ian J says:

    One little quibble on a fascinating article:

    the first concrete plan for a Tube along the Fleet Street alignment appeared 1965

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by concrete plan, but J. P. Morgan’s snappily-named Piccadilly and City & North East London Railway* would have gone along Fleet Street. It got as far as Parliament before being defeated by Yerkes’ scheming, so it was pretty concrete and the first of the three might-have-beens for the route (the others being the Fleet Line and the DLR).


    I am bemused at all the excitement about Tower Hill station being near Fenchurch Street station. Neither of them has moved recently

    No, but one of them (Tower Hill) has moved since the 1965 railway plan: the London Transport poster in the second photo here gives a good explanation of the reasons why, including improved interchange with Fenchurch Street, and making it possible to extend the District Line Mansion House terminators to Tower Hill.

    In other words, it is possible that the fact that the old Tower Hill (originally Mark Lane) station was overloaded and its trains were overcrowded (because part of the District service could only go as far as the West of the City) meant that providing a wholly new tube connection there seemed like a higher priority in 1965 than it would by the time money was eventually available to build the next phase of the line.

    King’s Cross can also go on the list of stations which opened without a direct main line link – the original Metropolitan station was down the road (where King’s Cross Thameslink was later), putting King’s Cross a similar distance to Fenchurch St from Tower Hill, and St Pancras further.

    * Maybe if it had been built the name would have been shortened to something like, err, the “Piccadilly Line”?

  94. Ian J says:

    @PoP: I think there is a danger of getting too obsessed with trying to re-use abandoned infrastructure be it tunnels or railway platforms no longer used by fare-paying passengers.

    Sometimes a trap fallen into by planners too – look at the contortions taken by the 1974 incarnation of the Chelsea-Hackney line on Ben Taynor’s map above, just so that it could use the short Holborn-Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly Line (not disused at the time but very little used). Arguably the same could have been said about the efforts to take over bits of the East London Line in the series of Fleet/River Line plans – given the cost of new grade separated junctions, signalling, station lengthening etc, it would be interesting to know whether the cost was expected to be much different to new build tunnels.

  95. Briantist (in Gigabit internet heaven) says:


    “I’m intrigued by your DLR suggestion between Canary Wharf and Stratford…..why don’t people use this more at the moment, instead of the Jubilee line? ”

    I’m just going to agree with @PoP here, but it’s worth pointing out for the record that if you ever actually did this journey you would realise that at Stratford:

    – there are three terminating platforms for the Jubliee Line, linked together at “ground level”. If you turn up you can choose to pick up the pace a little and get the first train within a few minutes or take the second one and get a seat in under four minutes. The trains are full length.

    – there are two sets of DLR platforms. The ones going to Canary Wharf are at the far end of the station, up some stairs from “ground level” (there are no down escallators, only up at Stratford). Only if you’ve come in at Platform 3 (Central Line citybound) are you on the right level for the Lewisham/Canary Wharf DLR, and even then it’s a long walk. The DLR trains depart much, much less often so you’re probably going to have to wait several minutes and the journey is much, much slower. And they are much shorter too.

    And at Canary Wharf:

    – there are three stations, in effect. Canary Wharf Jubliee Line is one, and it’s quite underground and about 300-350m walking distance from the DLR station with the same name and 200-250m walking distance from Heron Quays.

    – If you go to Heron Quays, you might only get a train to Canary Wharf DLR anyway, as they don’t go direct to Stratford.

    So, whilst it looks like “not much difference” between 9 minutes/4 stops on the Jubilee and 13 minutes/7 stops on the DLR, once you factor in the extra walk and wait times and the difference between “every 2 minutes” and “every 5 minutes”, the Stratford->Canary Wharf journey can easily be 50% longer by using the DLR.

    Jubliee=9+(2/2)=10 mins turn-up-and-go vs 13+(5/2)=15.5 mins TUAO.

    And that’s without taking into account the walking time.

  96. ngh says:

    Re Ian J,

    But if you can close a lightly used service, it reduces the existing cost base and gives you a few extra passengers on the new route.

    The difference now is that there aren’t many lightly used routes…

  97. timbeau says:

    @Ian J
    Although the Metropolitan’s station was a short distance down the road, there was most definitely a link with the main line, with through trains from the GNR to Farringdon operating from Day One right through until 1976.

    Single-leaf doors – I understand one of the supposed advantages of single-leaf doors was that the smaller apertures in the car sides would make the structure stronger – or in practice the same strength could be achieved for less weight.

  98. Ian J,

    In fact the original Metropolitan Line station at King’s Cross was very convenient for King’s Cross arrivals. In the early days all trains arrived at the arrival platform on the east side of the station. That is why the present day platform 0 was originally the hackney carriage waiting area and remained the location for the taxi rank until the recent redevelopment of the station. The current day platform 1 to the tube entrance on Pentonville Road (former Thameslink entrance) is a very short distance – less than 100 metres. Nowadays it is not pleasant with a busy road junction in between and narrow pavements in Pentonville Road but it is not far and may still be the closest tube entrance or, if not, a close second.

    King’s Cross Metropolitan would have been less convenient for departures as all trains would have departed from the current day platform 8. That is why all the station services (First Class lounge, toilets, coffee shop etc) are located there and the original ticket office was located precisely where the current one is.


    I was careful to add the phrase “in the quantities needed” to cover the Arnos Grove situation. In her sadly long defunct blog “Underground Gal” (a Piccadilly tube train driver) was constantly complaining about the inadequacies of terminating at Arnos Grove. If I recall correctly a lot was down to the signalling which appeared to halt you needlessly outside the station when your platform was, in fact, free. The Piccadilly Line runs 24tph all day on Saturday. I would guess that means that of 24tph arriving at Arnos Grove from the south 18 of them have to continue to Cockfosters to terminate simply because there is nowhere else practical to do it. In simple terms there are four terminating platforms – three at Cockfosters and one at Arnos Grove. This is analogous to the four terminating platforms on the east end of the Jubilee – three at Stratford and one at North Greenwich.

    This means that on Saturdays Cockfosters gets a train every 3-3½ minutes. Believe me, it does not warrant it. I know you could terminate some at Oakwood but by the time you get to Oakwood you are almost at Cockfosters and it is much easier to terminate in a platform than it is in a siding so it is not worth doing.

  99. Mr Beckton says:

    The turning of trains at North Greenwich is apparently done in the evening peak to give periodic empty westbound trains back to Canary Wharf to help clear the substantial loads waiting there, who often cannot board multiple westbound services running through from Stratford. It also helps overcome any issues with the trains from Stratford being subject to any delay and extended intervals. I believe Canary Wharf westbound in the evening peak has the greatest number of passengers boarding from a single platform in an hour on the whole system.

    It is also done for operational reasons in general delays if Neasden-based crews cannot make the trip right through to Stratford and back within their shift. Such short-turning is often not announced until around Waterloo, when the decision is finally made.

    The downside is congestion of eastbound passengers at Canary Wharf, a major evening flow in its own right, with the short working tipping out there, as advised by train PA, because the bay platform at North Greenwich is across the tracks. To be put out at Canary Wharf and then find you cannot board the following eastbound train or two is especially galling. Uniquely on the system there are orderly queues form at Canary Wharf at the platform doors, slightly to one side of disembarking passengers, but all those getting out may find they are now at the back of a substantial queue at each door.

  100. Stuart says:

    Does anyone know what was actually built at Cannon Street (described above as “short station box for Fleet platforms under Cannon Street station forecourt to allow access to the future Fleet line”) ? There does appear to be some entrance areas at the west end of the platforms

    The Underground station at CS saw some modest refurb work to the ticket hall areas a couple years back, but the platforms are untouched, and disabled access to the Eastbound platforms never happened. This is all quite close to the W&C Bank platforms. I wonder if anything from this box could be used for further enhancements at Cannon Street, accepting that any link to the W&C is unlikely

  101. 100andthirty says:

    One of the reasons for not taking 36TPH though to Stratford, might be the capacity of the layout. Comparisons might be made with the two platform Brixton and the three platform Stratford, and you might say if Brixton can manage it, why can’t Stratford?

    My observations suggest that the run in to Stratford is MUCH slower than the run in to Brixton, mainly because of the caution needed in the open on the approach to the buffer stops. The longer junction layout for the three platforms also doesn’t help.

    Perhaps this is another issue that will be debated in parts 2….n?

  102. Pedantic of Purley says:


    The lift on the westbound platform at Cannon St was done with money from a developer contribution. I presume the one who rebuilt in from of Cannon St Mainline station. Apparently it was considered unduly onerous to expect him to contribute to provide a lift on the eastbound side. I think there is a lot of infrastructure around there of the wet variety that would make it both difficult and expensive.

    Similarly the developer was not expected to contribute platform rerurbishment. That in a way makes sense as it is not really providing something new and better. It is just periodical modernisation work that should be done anyway in the normal course of events.

  103. mr_jrt says:

    @PoP, @PoP

    Your points are fair, but as always infrastructure has to be built for the peak loads, not the off-peak. I’m surprised about the need for so many ECS movements, but seems reasonable enough when you think about it. The peak high-level services may have been reduced, but I suspect quite strongly that they’ll turn out to have been optimistic projections.

    The handy thing about Stratford though is the number of lines congregating on it. Direct services from Stansted to Canary Wharf, anyone? As for Whitechapel – naturally. Offering changeless journeys is nice, but being able to provide more capacity by running more trains would be the primary benefit.

    I suspect by the point service levels have reached 24tph at Abbey Wood the service would have long been extended to Dartford/Gravesend/etc. I would hope that turnback sidings would be provided when that eventually happens…

    …as for lengthening trains, I’ve had to go off and refresh myself but I see the units will now be 9x23m cars rather than 10x20m, which seems a bit…curious, as you can only add a single car (to 10x23m = 230m) and keep within the 240m platform length of a 12x20m train…so I wonder if the core platforms are being lengthened as well? Everywhere still says the platforms will be 250m long (presumably enabling 5m of contingency space at each end?), but even that isn’t enough for an 11x23m train (253m). Is it really worth deferring a single carriage from the trains until later (especially given the maintenance/mileage implications)?

    Anyway, I digress. It wasn’t built, and it almost certainly never will be, as once Crossrail is operating, stopping one of the branches to build those very expensive junctions is going to be “impractical” at the very least. Definitely one of those “construction-time” features.

  104. Stuart says:


    Indeed, I am sure that the Cannon Place developer could not have reasonably been expected to pay for a lift on the eastbound side. Yet with the Walbrook development relatively recent, and the ongoing Bloomberg development on that side, perhaps an opportunity has been missed. And if there is a station box at a lower level, perhaps that could help to avoid the “wet” infrastructure you refer to

    A shame that there is no “half disabled access” symbol on the tube map, eh ?

  105. ngh says:

    Re Mr JRT,

    But they aren’t 23m…


    The Crossrail cars end cars are longer than the middle cars which will be around 22.2-22.4m. (crash protection for cabs etc.)

    Crude estimate 22.8mx11 = 250.8m taking 0.4 or 0.6m /car off (as the extra are middle cars) gives 250.0 or 249.6m with a reasonable distance between the end of the unit and the nearest doors…

  106. Anonymously says:

    @PoP…..I apologise for appearing fixated on the idea. If some future ‘Thamesmead connectivity’ study shows that extra buses/LO/DLR/Crossrail/National Rail/Monorail (just kidding) provides sufficient connectivity at a reasonable price, so be it. But I’m confident a Jubilee line option (with an intermediate station at City Airport) would fare pretty well against those.

  107. mr_jrt says:

    Thanks, ngh. Couldn’t find anything other than the switch from 10x20m to 9x23m recorded anywhere, and forgot these things are usually rounded up. 🙂

  108. Anonymously,

    No apology need. We all do it. Get fixated by one issue/solution and get so involved that something different doesn’t occur to us. It is the value of discussing these that helps clarify things. I too learn a lot. I can assure you it affects transport professionals as well as the rest of us.

    I think one of the problems of extending the Jubilee from North Greenwich to Thamesmead in the future is that so has happened along the direction of the proposed route (Crossrail and DLR) that a lot of the intermediate benefits will no longer be there. It is a long way from North Greenwich to Thamesmead (over 5 miles or the equivalent of Paddington to Whitechapel in straight line). So it is not surprising that alternatives are being looked at. See the latest comments on Orange Blossoms.

  109. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Firstly thanks to @LBM for a good article. I certainly learnt a fair bit about the route optioneering that I wasn’t aware of. I know someone earlier criticised the 1974 route for the Chelney line but I do wish we had a tube that cut through Clerkenwell, Holborn and Waterloo as that plan showed. Very sensible given what has happened in that part of town in terms of development. Still we can dream.

    As someone who uses Stratford a fair amount I never cease to be amazed at the incredible usage levels on the Jubilee Line. It is non stop both peak and off peak – solid walls of people alighting from trains with vast numbers heading to them. There are also very strong flows all the intermediate stops like Canning Town and West Ham. I remember all the arguments about C2C’s platform there and how it would never work, wasn’t feasible etc. It’s a rip roaring success from what I can see. Eastbound trains from Canary Wharf are also very busy most of the time – can be hard to get a seat even off peak and forget it at peak times. Of course one of the issues are the two cross river flows – C Water to C Wharf and C Wharf to North Greenwich. The Wharf is the employment centre but the stations either side are major interchange points which put huge pressure on two relatively short sections of line. The planned massive redevelopment on the Greenwich Peninsula must be giving TfL headaches as demand for the Jubilee Line must worsen considerably as a result. Even with 36 tph it’s not going to be nice.

    I also endorse the comments about the C Wharf – Stratford DLR route – again busy most of the time and crammed full in the peaks. I would just say to PoP that he needs to do the interchange from Platform 12 at Stratford to the DLR platform for C Wharf trains and then he will truly appreciate (ahem!) the not at all flat / on one level nature of Stratford. Some of the interchange routes are appalling despite all the money that’s been spent. I know the Olympics timetable imposed constraints on what could be done but the narrow central corridor at Stratford, ironically the busiest one, is not pleasant to use off peak and is horrible in the peaks. Quite what all the future line plans (Crossrail, STAR, more DLR, more main line trains) coupled with planned redevelopments is going to do to the station remains to be seen. One saving grace is that TfL HQ will be nearby and if things become intolerable the great and the good of TfL will experience it thus creating some pressure to “do something”. 🙂

    Looking forward to Parts 2 and 3. As someone who influenced the station designs on the JLE it is nice to walk into the stations and be able to say, in a small way, “I helped make this happen”.

  110. AlisonW says:

    Re reversing at West Hampstead (or, indeed, Willesden Green) in a siding, an (expensive) alternative would be to rebuilt Kilburn: Move the northbound Met to alongside the Chiltern lines, then create a second island platform which takes the present northbound Fleet to the outside and truncate the existing n/b as two-sided.

    ((puts crayons away))

    I’d always assumed that the reason for trying to re-use old alignments wasn’t so much that there was a tunnel to be reused but that there were already land rights held, and probably some level of survey data too.

  111. Malcolm says:

    Please Miss, she stole my crayons!!

  112. AlisonW says:

    :: laughs ::

    Not really – you suggested doing so at WG whereas I was all for building on a new viaduct at Kilburn!

  113. timbeau says:

    The choice of DLR or Jubilee from Stratford to Canary Wharf may also be influenced by where exactly you are trying to get to – the stations are some distance apart

  114. Ed says:

    With the next large stage of development (along with Wood Wharf) being the area north of the main estate (where the Crossrail box is) wouldn’t that put more pressure on the DLR as Poplar station will then be directly beside the planned towers? IT’d be 10 minutes less walking time if taking the DLR, negating the speedier Jubilee.

  115. Anonymous says:

    One on topic, sneaky comment

    Article 2 – O&Y, Waterloo & Greenwich Railway?

    Two off topic ‘thoughtful’ comments

    Canary Wharf from the West – I vaguely recall a cycle/footbridge being planned to replace the expensive hotel express. probably as a swing to allow for shipping. This always struck me as potentially a value for money solution compared to more railway tunnels (eg overground, dlr, bakerloo?) And as an added bonus would promote healthier lifestyles and better access for deprived communities in rotherhithe / bermondsey etc. And certainly more useful than garden bridge / the Pimlico/battersea proposed footbridges! Technically a pedestrian/cyclist can use Rotherhithe but it’s not recommended…

    Thamesmead – if one day crossrail were to take over the lines east of Abbey wood, couldn’t the southeastern services – 8tph off peak – be extended on a spur from Abbey wood (or, alternatively, crossrail, depends whether those coming from east prefer Abbey wood – Liverpool street or Abbey wood – London bridge, no idea how speed compares). I realise that’s getting the crayons out* but terminating at Abbey wood seems a lost opportunity. Such a spur could tap developer funding to regenerate / intensify thamesmead now proper connections are in place a la battersea. And finally it wouldn’t preclude the overground extension from barking but assume with no river crossing would be cheaper (yeah, I know there’s still a sewer…)

    *If you really wanted to get creative if you got bakerloo past Lewisham and blackheath and into the NR tunnel to Charlton that could be an alternative/additional spur service…And yes I note PoPs comments above about filling up capacity before serving intermediate stations but as an indirect route most passengers may be heading across south London to Lewisham / Peckham rather than into London on NR

  116. Ed says:

    A Thamesmead North Kent spur would probably mean tunneling under the Crossrail lines, southern outfall sewer and then half a mile (at least) into Thamesmead. Not much less than a Barking extension, but it would sever the important link between Kent and various destinations in London served that Crossrail does not – Woolwich town centre and easy DLR interchange ( Crossrail Woolwich is not beside Woolwich Arsenal NR) Charlton, Greenwich and Lewisham (even after 2018 the semi fasts will go via Lewisham to Waterloo and Charing Cross).

    Then there’s the folks along the North Kent line from Abbey Wood to Deptford who would no longer be able to get to Kent. Presumably they’d change at Woolwich for Crossrail but as said the two stations are not beside each other.

    In terms of speed current semi-fasts get from Abbey Wood to Cannon Street in 27 minutes with some padding (it sits at Woolwich and Greenwich for 2 minutes plus each morning). Congestion doesn’t help when it reaches London Bridge but should be greatly reduced after 2018. Abbey Wood to Liverpool St will be about 18 minutes. Better, but I’m not sure good enough to tempt that many into changing to Crossrail at Abbey Wood, given it is no longer an easy cross platform change, and less chance of a seat. Depends on walking from respective stations I guess.

  117. JA says:

    @lbm, I’m afraid there are not that many Jubilee Line pictures among my photos of Park Square and Park Crescent Gardens, just a few of the vent shaft/pavilion. I’ll admit to being surprised when I saw it, as I hadn’t realised the extent of the detour the Jubilee Line takes between Baker Street and Bond Street, but it does go to show how crammed in London’s subterranean infrastructure is.

    (Totally off topic, but I visited as part of the Open Garden Squares weekend, and I’d heartily recommend a trip if it’s open again as the Nursemaid’s Tunnel is well worth seeing. Dating from the 1820s it must be one of the earliest examples of a pedestrian subway under a main road, and the fact that the Metropolitan Line was subsequently built underneath it simply adds interest.)

  118. Anonymous says:

    Ok Ed, fair enough on diverting NKL, and changing existing services usually brings howls of protests (though I think a proper cross-platform interchange at Abbey Wood could address some of the change in routes issues, and I’m not sold on the DLR argument – Crossrail passengers can change at Custom House). But what about the other way round and extending crossrail beyond the buffer stops? Even half the branch trains – 6 to Thamesmead, 6 down the NKL to increase capacity beyond Abbey Wood – would be a significant boost to Thamesmead

  119. Malcolm says:

    Anonymous at 21:26 says ” Technically a pedestrian/cyclist can use Rotherhithe but it’s not recommended…”

    true, because of the vehicle fumes and collision risk. But is there scope to consider banning motor vehicles, giving it a good scrub and some new lights, maybe even a plant or two, and you’ve got a very cheap Joanna!

  120. mr_jrt says:


    I’m not sure that diversion is due to congestion down there – the existing branch platform at Baker Street was East-West for cross-platform interchange, so naturally the new Jubilee one was also. To get from facing East-West at Baker Street to North-South at Bond Street with the kind of curvature that enables decent speeds and minimises wear on the wheels (you don’t want another Shepherds Bush Central Line or Regent Park Bakerloo Line) I suspect roughly requires the tunnels we ended up with.

    I suppose TPTB could have built new twin tubes from Lord’s, two new platforms at Baker Street at right-angles to the Bakerloo’s, then headed for Bond Street, but I suspect the extra expenditure, coupled with the worse interchange put the kibosh on that. That said, if they ever tire of dealing with the corrosion from the acidic soils between Baker Street and Bond Street, maybe they could be convinced to bore some new tunnels. 🙂

  121. @mr_jrt

    We have not come across any plan or even musing for a different tunnel alignment of Fleet Stage 1 to Charing Cross.

  122. Ian J says:

    @timbeau, PoP: I guess my point on King’s Cross Met was that the mindset of the original Met was more that passengers travelling from the various main lines to Met destinations would do so by through trains (hence the various curves and connections) and not so much on foot: the idea of a within-station interchange between different frequent lines is fundamental to the modern tube network but the pre-Underground London railway network was a maze of less frequent and often convoluted through services (Kentish Town to Victoria via Snow Hill, Fenchurch Street to Richmond, etc). The “invention” of the interchange is something I would love to know more about (I’m not saying people didn’t change trains in Victorian times, but when did the railways (north of the river, at least) start structuring their networks around the idea of untimed interchange between intersecting frequent services? To the point that the Fleet Line as imagined and as built had almost every station as an interchange, and was routed (in a way that Victorian railways were not) so as to maximise interchanges.

  123. Ian J says:

    @anonymous: there was a vague plan for such a footbridge that seemed to die with the change if Mayor in 2008, but it has recently been resurrected (as the “Brunel Bridge”) and merited a positive mention in the National Infrastructure Plan (and a description from Boris as “a sort of Fisher-Price curly-wurley thing”). Seems like the kind of eye catching idea that could end up in someone’s Mayoral manifesto, perhaps?

  124. MRFS says:

    ….I’m not anonymous; it’s my actual name….

    Magnificent article and glad to help.

  125. @Ian J

    I suspect once free transferring between lines of the same company or organisation was started, or the early steps of a zonal fare system established, it would then influence the built infrastructure to expedite such transfers, as well as removing extraneous ticket issuing labour. Others will know better than I when this occurred, probably initially on the UndergrounD.

    Victorian railway and UndergrounD tickets, to my knowledge, were issued from point to point with the route specified, and any subsequent line required a separate fare and ticket.

    Regarding the Fleet Line’s many interchanges, this was pioneered on the Victoria Line, such that every station on that line save one interchanges with an Underground or mainline railway line. And cross platform line transfers were constructed where feasible. So the Victoria Line greatly increased the network effect of the Tube, so much so that it is the busiest line per kilometre. Maximum utility, but difficult to quantify in ridership modeling, especially with the primitive computers of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

  126. Graham Feakins says:

    Through ticketing from one railway company onto the metals of another probably started from the earliest of days and, by the late 1800’s, had become a positive art form, including transfer to ferries and travel on Continental railways. With all that came the inevitable interchange, albeit perhaps inconvenient as compared to today (ho! ho!).

    An example from my London, Brighton & South Coast Rly. guide of 1909 details through bookings available to e.g. the London & North Western Rly. from Eastbourne, Brighton and the South Coast to Midlands, Lancashire, Yorkshire, The Lake District, Scotland, North Wales and Ireland. Through bookings are also detailed to “France and all parts of Switzerland, Italy and Austria” as well as e.g. onto and via the Central London Railway (Central Line), The Metropolitan District Railway and the Metropolitan Railway itself.

  127. Ian J says:

    @LBM: I suspect interchange predates through ticketing, hence the provision of ticket windows in the tunnels between lines as with the one (between the two component parts of the Northern Line) in the third photo down here:

    @Graham F: Yes, but it seems to me that the crucial innovation that makes the network effect of the tube so powerful is non-syncronised connections between frequent services, rather than the planned connections and through-ticketing the mainline railways traditionally offered. It is the ability to go from anywhere to anywhere that makes the Tube more than the sum of its parts.

    Through bookings were just a way of reducing costs and making things more convenient for passengers: a network with interchanges offers the promise of mobility in all directions to all points on the network without waiting more than a few minutes at any point along the way.

    It meant that people started thinking not of a set of underground railways, but of “the Tube” as a single entity: increasingly what mattered for an individual area was not so much what precise transport lines served it, but was it “on the Tube” or not. Which is perhaps why the notion of, say, Thamesmead being on the Tube at last catches people’s attention more than most transport schemes.

  128. timbeau says:

    I’m fairly sure that the original CSLR and CLR had no interchanges with other railways other than at street level (for example with each other at Bank, or with the Yerkes Tubes at Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road). Even the Yerkes tubes didn’t interconnect very well – the three separate stations on the District, Bakerloo and Hampstead at Trafalgar Square/Charing Cross for example, and between the District/Piccy at South Kensington and Gloucester Road .
    I think Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, where the Piccadilly met the other Yerkes Tubes, had interchange facilities as soon as the second line was opened (so Piccadilly Circus was the first to have them as the Bakerloo opened before the Piccadilly and the Hampstead opened later.
    The CSLR/Hampstead interchange at Euston was, I think, the first interchange between companies which did not involve surfacing?

    But then, what about Moorgate? Did that originally have three separate entrances?

  129. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ LBM – as others have said interchange probably predated through ticketing. I don’t think ticketing has influenced the routing of lines at all but it has obviously influenced the design of stations. Mr Feakins has deftly explained that through ticketing was more widespread and convenient back in the 1900s than it is today – so much for progress! Zones only arrived in London with Fares Fair (1981) and then later “Just the Ticket” (1983) fares changes promoted by Ken Livingstone’s GLC administration. We started off with “West End” and “City” zones in what is now Zone 1 and then Zones 1,2, 3A, 3B and 3C arrived for the Tube and Zones 1 to 3 for the buses. Travelcards arrived in 1983 although ride at will season tickets for the tube and for the buses existing prior to that. You could also buy BR season tickets with tube add ons. Eventually we gained the fully multi modal Capitalcards that included BR services and later this was rebranded as Travelcard when common sense eventually prevailed and all modes regardless of operator were on one ticket.

    Tube tickets were issued as “Station of Origin” (SOO) with travel permitted to any station from a given origin for the stated fare value. That’s why there were banks of old ticket machines with the fare value shown and then a list of stations. Tube tickets don’t show destinations. Tickets on National Rail or from LU to NR destinations are “Station of Destination” (SOD) with the origin and destination shown on the ticket with the fare and any routing constraints. Nowadays it’s a bit academic with Oyster and zonal pricing but if you were to buy a cash single ticket the SOO or SOD distinction would still be there depending on whether you were travelling solely on the tube or on Tube / NR or NR. It is worth saying that the DLR works on the SOO principle because it’s on the LU fare scale.

    In some respects the simplification of Travelcard promoted significant increases in ridership and helped reduce the cost of ticket selling and validation. A bit of a game changer and indirectly influencing later decisions on how people travel.

  130. Castlebar says:

    I hope this isn’t deemed “Off topic”, but I remember regularly using a tunnel, as a pedestrian, walking from London Airport North (as it was called in the 1950s) under the main north runway to the Central Area.

    But it would seem that the threat of an ‘incident via a device’ renders even existing foot tunnels under rivers, roads, railways, runways etc, even if 200 years old, liable to permanent closure. I am not even certain that the Heathrow ones are still accessible to pedestrians because of this risk. It has been stated to me in private, although I will never be able to prove it, that the MoD is quite keen to ensure that windows which can be opened by passengers will never return to London trains as the security risk is now deemed too great. Sorry if this is considered of topic but foot tunnels under major infrastructure might be in the “enjoy them whilst you can” category

  131. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Castlebar – given that a lot of future transport infrastructure in London will inevitably feature tunnels and subterranean stations and links to the surface I fear the hopes of the secret squirrels will be dashed. You can only ever *try* to protect people from menace if the people are to enjoy the ability to walk about, work, shop and travel with a high degree of freedom. The simple fact is that you can always devise a way to kill people and destroy property in public places. Creating endless restrictions and complications doesn’t really get you very far. A lot of clever work is done to “design out” problems at source – on the JLE, on Crossrail and on all rail schemes – but you can’t design people out. I’ve sat through interesting sessions and read various documents about some of the issues that are dealt with. Shows there are clever people on the sides of both good and evil given some of the stuff that’s considered. And there I must stop before I got a knock on the front door. 😉

  132. Castlebar says:

    Thank you timbeau. Yes, you have seen cycle paths, but back in the 50s there was an entirely separate, parallel tunnel for pedestrians and pedal cyclists. Your photo suggests that it seems to have been blocked off, and cyclists forced into using the main road.

  133. IslandDweller says:

    We’ve gone a long way off piste, but just to close this. It’s no longer possible to cycle or walk to the LHR Central terminal area. There’s a bike park near Bath Road then use local bus (free around the airport).

  134. James Bunting says:

    Many years ago (25+?) the pedestrian tunnels, or at least the Southbound one, were converted into a feed from the North Perimeter taxi park to the Central area. At that time the number of pedestrians and cyclists requiring access would have been small However, Google Earth images from April suggest that there is work going on around the Northern entrance so it may have become blocked off completely.

  135. Graham Feakins says:

    @WW – Thank you for the compliment. Not only through ticketing but the L.B. & S.C. R. provided “Private omnibuses for family parties” – “The Company provide one-horse [this was 1909] omnibuses capable of conveying six persons inside and one person outside with a reasonable quantity of luggage to and from Victoria and London Bridge Stations… these vehicles should be engaged one day at least before being required… parties intending to proceed to London from country stations should give notice to the Station Superintendent at Victoria or London Bridge… or the Company’s Agents, Messrs. Thomas Tilling, Limited…”. Charges are quoted for within five miles of the termini, with the proviso that extra mileage will be charged or should the road be steep, requiring the use of a two-horse omnibus.

    Translate that to today and request a TOC for a carriage to await your arrival at the station! Penalty fare charged for non-shows, even in 1909. I suppose that the closest public facility today is the nearby bike for hire or taxi but clearly the Brighton railway company thought that it could benefit financially from such a useful arrangement. It would have helped to alleviate lugging heavy baggage around on the tube, interchange or no. You can guess what was deemed “a reasonable quantity of luggage” in those days!

    In any case, at least both you and I know what a convenient interchange means and that that sort of thing was achieved – cross-platform and roadside adjacent station (in CH & DE) – long before we really tackled the problem at all here. And how far have we gone so far? There’s a lot of programmes on the telly about canals at the moment; funnily enough, they seemed to have a lot of level interchange between conveyances and routes.

  136. Rational Plan says:

    I’m not sure if it is happening yet, but the long term plan for Heathrow involves consolidating the Terminals into 2 super Terminals and Terminal 4. The newly opened Terminal 2 will slowly take over Terminal 1 and if the build and additional pier further East, will allow the decanting of Terminal 3, so it can be rebuilt and Terminal 5 gain satellites D, E and F. Thereby creating a terminal big enough for all of BA’s flights.

    Anyway, part of all this rebuild is to expand PRT ‘Pod’ system to include the Central Terminal Area and Terminal 2, linking them with the Northern Car Parks. To do this it was proposed to convert the Northbound (Taxi/former pedestrian) tunnel to fit the guideways.

    To what timescale this is supposed to happen, who can say, but the airport likes to keep it vague so it imply that non of it will happen without the third runway, when in reality all it will change is the speed at which will happen.

    As for the all the released land in the Central Terminal Area? Nice spot for a new station? No, great space for lots of terminal adjacent hotels, The airport sounds really excited over the rental from all the property possibilities.

  137. Ian J says:


    it would seem that the threat of an ‘incident via a device’ renders even existing foot tunnels under rivers, roads, railways, runways etc, even if 200 years old, liable to permanent closure

    Judging by recent road changes around Heathrow, the powers that be are much more worried about the proximity of vehicles to buildings than they are about pedestrians. The days of being able to drive your car onto the platform at London terminuses (see below) won’t be coming back.

    the MoD is quite keen to ensure that windows which can be opened by passengers will never return to London

    Don’t most tube stocks still have opening windows in the inter-car doors?

    @WW: As well as multimodal tickets like travelcards, an important shift was with the removal of the penalty for changing trains – ie. when it became no more expensive to take a journey requiring a change between lines than a direct one using only one line. (In London this still isn’t the case for buses or for tube+rail journeys). This is different to through tickets formed from multiple individual fare segments added together. Do you know when this happened in London? Maybe when the Combine was formed?

    @Graham F: that that sort of thing was achieved – cross-platform and roadside adjacent station (in CH & DE) – long before we really tackled the problem at all here

    Is that really so? The Victorian terminuses mostly had same-level, or even trainside, transfer to taxis and carriages from very early on. I think that, say, Baron’s Court has had cross-platform interchange since the Piccadilly Line opened in 1906. I’m not sure if there are any earlier examples in Germany or Switzerland. On the other hand they are much better at doing it for intercity journeys.

  138. timbeau says:

    @Ian J
    “I think that, say, Baron’s Court has had cross-platform interchange since the Piccadilly Line opened in 1906.”
    Not so – the lines through Barons Court were originally paired by use so the only cross-platform interchange was between westbound Picc and eastbound District – not really very useful.

  139. answer=42 says:

    Not so slowly as regards Terminal 1, which closed on 29/06/2015.

  140. APB says:

    I hope that this isnt off subject, but through ticketing of passengers and freight , either broken down or in whole wagon loads, was a feature of the Victorian railway system from as soon as individual companies began to link their lines. As a result the Railway Clearing House was set up in 1842 to sort out the paperwork and share out the revenues from fares and freight receipts where passengers ( and freight ) passed from the metals of one company to another. This was an amazing achievement when you consider the complexity of the system by late Victorian times, the number of privately owned freight wagons and the enormous range of freight shipped, from coal , milk and live animals ( whole farms were packed up and relocated ) right down to parcels and personal baggage.

    The Met and District also carried some freight , handled parcels between certain stations and there were extensive freight facilities around Farringdon and under Smithfield Market with various owners. All of this was recorded and handled by armies of RCH clerks and as revenue shares were calculated by mileage, in process the RCH produced ( from 1871 onwards ) the superb coloured maps of junctions we still often see in LR. The RCH also started the move towards a standard “railway time ” throughout Great Britain in 1847 to replace the regional variations. All in all not a bad achievement and in many ways a better service for the customer than any TOC can offer today, where you often have to do it all yourself.

    Wiki has it here :

  141. timbeau says:

    There were some sharp practices to take advantage of RCH rules – for example the Met and District selling point-to-point tickets on the Circle for the direction which maximised their share of the revenue.

  142. LadyBracknell says:

    @Castlebar: none opening windows on public transport. Boris has already started this with the ‘new bus for London’. Sorry topic drift.

  143. Castlebar says:

    @ L B & W W etc

    Yes topic drift so I shall say no more after this:

    My Uncle worked for the MoD and other Government Departments of which you will never have heard, but he spent many years dealing with “discontented Irishmen”. One of his favourite sayings was “Reducing opportunities reduces risk”. Yes I know we have end doors in walk through coaching stock. That’s just 2 x weak points per carriage instead of several.

    The walkway across the Hungerford railway bridge into Charing Cross was nearly closed, permanently, some time around 1967/70, and it would have been if his was the sole decision.

    End of this discussion I think.

  144. Theban says:

    I think there remains a need for a Strand / Fleet St alignment between Charing Cross and Fenchurch St to relieve increasing pressure on that bus / taxi corridor, which the revised Jubilee plans failed to meet. I don’t think all new lines need to be spiders heading out into the suburbs.

    Housing and commuting should not be the only drivers of a business case. Improving connectivity during the working day for business meetings would have a large economic return. If land for station exits remained in the asset bank then resurrecting that short section of the Fleet ought, to my mind, be a priority.

  145. Graham H says:

    @Theban – yes, that is a corridor that needs much more capacity. The problem now is that it can hardly be considered in isolation – many – nearly all – journeys along that corridor are merely the trip ends of much longer journeys that started out in the suburbs, and building a short, unconnected tube along the Strand axis would not deal with that: one would be looking for something likethe, err, Fleet Line, for example. However, the pass has already been sold in that case: the existing unused infrastructure is unhelpfully attached to the Jubilee, and splitting the Jubilee service at Green Park to provide a Strand service would leave the southern part of the JLE with half the service (but most of the passengers).

    I realise that this will immediately cause a storm of agitation amongst the crayonista fraternity. It shouldn’t. “Everyone” knows that we need more tubes eventually and the Strand corridor could certainly form part of one such, but I think for everyone’s sanity, we had better leave it there. The Fleet line is just another missed/wasted opportunity, alas, and a typical exampleof planning by random walk and political intervention…

  146. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Theban / Graham H – I agree that there is merit in serving that E-W corridor and I can certainly think of other options for where the line could then run. In fact the box of crayons is jumping up and down of its own volition as I type. 😉 However I shall ignore them. I just wish we had a strategy for tube expansion that could provide a phased basis for filling in the gaps. Plenty of other cities build section by section, often with central area connectors being first, but they have the benefit of a longer term budget to support that phasing. The Fleet Line story shows the hazards of phased construction when there is no such budgetary stability.

  147. Greg Tingey says:

    [Suggestions for future lines or Crossrails to reuse infrastructure are very tempting to make, but everyone has been admirably restrained to date in not indulging in it. LBM]

  148. timbeau says:

    There was a proposal to use the route for a DLR extension (abandoning Bank) , but it would not be able to re-use the Jubilee over-run tunnels as they are too small. With parallel routes less than 200m either side, and a third new one under construction as I type), I can’t see that Strand/Fleet Street axis would be at the front of the queue for new provision

  149. Si says:

    @timbeau – originally the purpose of DLR to Charing Cross was to relieve the Central Line, and the Horizons study said that this (already the worst-performing extension, save the two-way loop) extension would basically be superseded by Crossrail. There was some stuff about giving a second West End access and helping out the JLE too – again Crossrail did that hard work.

    The Fleet Street corridor has potential for use for Crossrail 3, or a similar second E-W mainline-sized tunnel north of the River, but that is, of course, something to discuss elsewhere.

  150. Si says:

    I find it really interesting that, instead of Hayes, the Fleet takeover of the Mid-Kent would go to Addiscombe instead. Of course, it could have gone to both, but they only show Addiscombe.

    I guess it might stem from the Victoria line to Croydon being formally scrapped around the time that the plans for the Fleet line’s eventual goal were first being drawn up.

  151. Chris L says:


    The idea of the DLR to Charing Cross was not to abandon Bank but to branch off the terminating loop and head west.

    There might be some scope in diverting the Tower Gateway trains that way instead of into the Bank tunnel.

  152. @Chris L et al

    Note the prior LR articles on DLR extensions into central London:, and Hopefully we can avoid duplicating the conversations we had in these articles.

  153. Anonymously says:

    @Si…..Perhaps they suggested serving Addiscombe only in order to keep mainline trains operating on the branch and going Hayes (replicating the Watford to Euston service sharing the line with tube trains)? Doable back then, but certainly not now.

    Interestingly, none of the proposals mention what would happen to the Woodside to Sanderstead line…..I’m guessing closure was still on the cards, despite surviving Beeching.

  154. timbeau says:

    ” the Woodside to Sanderstead line…..I’m guessing closure was still on the cards, despite surviving Beeching.”
    So much so that it actually did close in 1983. It was always a curious anomaly, as it was electrified but ended on the non-electrified Oxted line just a few hundred yards from its junction with the electrified BML. To travel the 300 yards from Selsdon junction to South Croydon junction an electric train would have had to travel via London Bridge!

    Four years after the Woodside line closed, electric traiuns returmed to Sanderstead when the Oxted line was electrified.

  155. John Elliott says:

    South Croydon-Sanderstead was electrified before the rest of the Oxted line, in about 1984, and electric trains via East Croydon terminated at Sanderstead until the rest of the line was electrified.

  156. timbeau says:

    @John Elliott
    I didn’t know that – was that before the route via Woodside was dismantled? (i.e was it ever possible to take an electric train from Elmers End to South Croydon by reversal at Sanderstead?)

  157. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I am absolutely convinced the the main purpose of the Fleet Line going to Addiscombe was because there was a depot there that would be very useful. The only other would reason have been to avoid bad publicity and objections to the Fleet Line proposal. The idea that the service existed for the passengers that used it would be hard to comprehend.

    On occasions when I did catch a train to Addiscombe (usually for no sensible reason) I would generally be the only person on the train. For many years and during the time Addiscombe was seriously considered as a terminus of the Fleet Line it was quite remarkable how many staff were needed to run the two car shuttle. There was a signalbox at Elmers End (abolished prior to or in 1976), Woodside (which remained until the closure of Woodside – Selsdon line) and Addiscombe (until burnt down later in an arson attack and one train working instigated). As far as I am aware the two car shuttle required a guard until its closure and Addiscombe station was even notionally staffed at certain times of day.

    The station never really achieved its intended purpose as it was too far from central Croydon to be seriously treated as a station to serve Croydon. It almost certainly only survived because of the depot there. It is notable that it didn’t feature as part of tramlink. The current Addiscombe tram stop is further east on the other other side of the road from the former Bingham Road station.

  158. Anonymously says:

    @PoP….So if hadn’t been for the depot (which I never realised was there), would everything south of Elmers End bar the Hayes branch have been shut by the mid 80s? I’m guessing the savings of closure were minimal if access to the depot was still required.

  159. Slugabed says:

    Was no thought given to using the depot site for tram stabling?
    Presumably,by now,it’s covered with housing….?

  160. John Elliott says:

    Timbeau @ 11:58: I don’t know the exact sequence of events, but Wikipedia suggests not: “South Croydon-Selsdon was electrified in 1984 using some redundant materials from the closed Woodside-Selsdon”.

  161. lmm says:

    @Walthamstow Writer I think we need to accept that the planning process is imperfect and that we will sometimes build things we end up not using. Infrastructure has a lifecycle like anything else and sometimes plans change; the result is, counterintuitive as it may be, more efficient than sticking stubbornly to a previous plan even though there’s more visible waste this way.

    There are plenty of odds and ends that perennially attract crayons because they’re inelegant or “wasteful” – the North City Line, the Waterloo and City, the south end of the Bakerloo, the extra Northern Line tunnels…. But I fear most of the time there’s no value to be gained from them, however tidy it would be to use them somehow.

  162. Castlebar says:

    @ lmm

    I agree mostly with what you say, but I suggests there are exceptions to your generalisation, and the southern end of the Bakerloo is one of them. That’s the problem: > What to do with it. There are so many suggestions, many (but not all) of which are sensible, that the line from the south is in danger of being saturated by the time it reaches Waterloo to collect commuters going northbound. The danger here is of creating a far bigger problem than would be solved by extending it just one stop only to Camberwell (or Lewisham)

    “Jam-packed, super dense crush load” as they say in Mumbai

  163. timbeau says:

    There is always a balance to be struck between future-proofing for a future that never comes (Fleet Line over-run tunnels, motorway “skijumps”, etc) and having to scrap or mothball nearly-new work because it was built to meet only the immediate need – Island Gardens, Waterloo International. A classic example was the layout of the original Euston station – a large site was cleared with a view to having the LNWR and GEWR side by side (future proofing for a future that didn’t happen, because the GWR went to Paddington instead) but then building a large range of buildings such as the “Great Hall” down the west (departure) side of the LNWR’s half (failure to anticipate that any expansion would have to be in that direction, and the said buildings would split the enlarged station in half.

    Too-rapid building on closed railway formations, making it impossible to reinstate them, is another example of failure to future proof.

    We only notice the ones the planner didn’t get right, but the budget holders do have to balance the extra cost (now!) of future-proofing, against the (future!) cost of having to tear down and rebuild for the proposed future build (and the probability of the future build actually happening as planned or at all)

    As was recently pointed out In Another Place,
    the planners of the M11 motorway future-proofed the bridge over the Epping-Ongar section of the Central Line. Unfortunately, they got it wrong – it was built to double track width, but Tube loading gauge. The line is still single track, but the EOR had to dig deep as it now runs full main-line gauge rolling stock!

  164. Kit Green says:

    Remember that rebuilds contribute directly to GDP so perhaps the treasury will perversely prefer them if not too frequent.

  165. timbeau says:

    Doesn’t future-proofing contribute to GDP too?

  166. Anonymously says:

    @timbeau…..So that would be why it was all razed to the ground to build the concrete monstrosity that is today’s Euston Station 😔.

  167. Castlebar says:

    @ timbeau

    Again, very interesting, but I suspect there is a story to the M11 and the Central Line which is unlikely to see the light of day. I have mentioned it before in passing but not in any depth.

    My late Uncle worked in various government departments. He told me 40 or so years ago that at one of their ‘ideas’ forums, somebody had come up with the idea of turning North Weald aerodrome into a sort of “Parkway”, or “Park & Ride”. He had a meeting, just one, with “some very important and some very self-important” Essex councillors. He always maintained that Essex was the most difficult county to deal with and he hated even talking to them. The idea was never mentioned again, but perhaps, just perhaps, that double tracked width bridge is a testimonial to an idea of more than 40 years ago. I clearly remember him telling me this because he was so angry with them. He had to travel out to Epping from Boston Manor on the Underground whilst one of the Essex representatives had travelled less than a mile in a chauffeur driven car.

  168. ngh says:

    Re Castlebar & lmm,

    But CR2 will provide relief by diverting SWT / Bakerloo users away from Waterloo?
    (and some Northern / Jubilee users heading North / Northwest)

  169. Anomnibus says:


    Euston station was actually a cutting-edge bit of planning and design when it was built, pioneering the use of crowd modelling in its layout. It worked very well at the time, and was lauded for its vastly improved functionality.

    Granted, the station struggles today, but nobody expected demand for rail travel to rise to the extent it has today. It was designed and built in the 1960s, on the assumptions and educated guesswork of the time: Rail travel was expected to enter terminal decline, not merely a medium-term dip, so why bother with a hugely expensive high-maintenance “gateway” station stuffed with architectural gimmicks, like St. Pancras? Far better to focus on function rather than form.

    So, no, it’s not a “monstrosity”. It hasn’t aged well, granted, but it deserves better than the endless bashing it gets for its architects and designers’ inability to predict the future any more accurately than we do today.

  170. Purley Dweller says:

    I’ve never really seen the problem with Euston architecturally. It certainly isn’t appalling and it caters reasonably well with the Friday night getaway considering it was never designed for it.

  171. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Anomnibus: “assumptions and educated guesswork of the time: Rail travel was expected to enter terminal decline, not merely a medium-term dip

    I beg to differ, “wishfull thinking” was perhaps the better phrase…

  172. Anonymously says:

    @Anomnibus/Purley Dweller…..we shall just have to respectfully agree to disagree about this contentious matter. A more imaginative group of architects could have found a way to make it more efficient AND aesthetically pleasing at the same time, but I accept that they were just following the architectural trends and fashions of the time. The demolition of the Euston arch, however, strikes me as just plain nihilistic vandalism with no appreciation of its historic or aesthetic worth, IMHO.

    Let’s leave it at that before the moderators come for us with their machetes….

  173. Anomnibus says:


    I think you missed my point: the present station was considered “aesthetically pleasing” at the time.

    A major problem with that particular style is that it’s all about the attention to detail. The lines need to be ramrod straight. The windows and other fixtures and fittings also need to be maintained to a high standard. When such architecture first became fashionable, labour was cheap. By the time it started falling out of fashion, labour was expensive, so the maintenance needed to keep them looking good decreased rapidly, particularly during periods of recession, which weren’t that uncommon in the 1970s.

    Ironically, the infamous Euston Arch was not popular when it was built: it was criticised at the time as being massively out of proportion with the rest of the collection of buildings that made up the sprawling station.

    Which only proves that tastes change, and there’s no accounting for it.

  174. Greg Tingey says:

    Euston was intended to have a socking great office-block built on top of it – which got cancelled, because the guvmint of the day wanted to “move jobs out of London”.
    Of course, an office-block on top of a terminal station is not going to introduce much extra commuting in the centre, is it?
    [Intelligence judgement not appropriate. LBM]
    And it was decried as ugly at the time, though, from a practical p.o.v. the old Euston had had it – it was a mess to negotiate, with numerous pokey holes.
    But, more of the “nice” bits could have been saved, but that wasn’t the ruling ethos at the time – remember, there were MP’s calling for the demolition of Tower Bridge!

  175. Alex Mac says:

    At least the current Euston station is practical and inoffensive. (Apart from having only one Loo.) That arch was ponderously Victorian, out of proportion and just ugly. Definitely no Parthenon! It had no redeeming features; neither being of historic interest nor a charmingly quaint survival. Like those bad Doric or Corinthian-style pediments stuck on the front of pretentious modern houses … they’ve always got the wrong proportions, which is why they are laughable; or in the case of Euston, depressing. The blackness of the thing didn’t help. Was it just grime, or the actual stone colour?

  176. I’m getting the shears out on any further opinions or discussion on the architectural merits or lack thereof, of any of the Euston stations, that do not relate to the transport component. Whilst such discussion is interesting & historical, it is more subjective than we like to entertain on this site, as well as being off topic.


  177. timbeau says:

    (answering a direct question)
    @Alex Mac
    “The blackness of the thing didn’t help. Was it just grime, or the actual stone colour?”

    It was sandstone, so errm: sand-coloured, but lots of roughnesses to act as nucleation points for soot particles to settle – it also darkens when wet.

  178. Mike says:

    Anomnibus: “Rail travel was expected to enter terminal decline” – not at the time of design and construction of Euston it wasn’t. This was the era of the new, modern British Rail, with the stunning and radical modernity of blue/grey, the double arrow and the rail alphabet; InterCity making the going easy (and the coming back); weekends with Monica; the sparks effect; the XP64 set and the first Mk2s; the Manchester/Liverpool Pullmans; and untold millions being spent on the WCML and its electrification. The new Euston was at one with this, the height of modernity – almost as good as an airport!

    For InterCity, arguably Euston’s principal business, it was a golden age. Let’s not re-write history, please.

    (LBM: this is a correction to a misconception, not a comment on Euston’s architecture per se.)

    [Agreed. LBM]

  179. Anonymously says:

    I am so sorry LBM, but I must respond to this point……

    ‘It had no redeeming features; neither being of historic interest nor a charmingly quaint survival.’

    At the time of demolition, I believe the Euston Arch was the oldest surviving railway station structure in the world.

    Whatever its architectural merits, that alone should have ensured its survival or preservation. Why else was it Grade II listed?

  180. Graham Feakins says:

    Just to support Anonymously and perhaps to tidy this aspect up, here is a You Tube link to presenter Dan Cruickshank. If you ignore his wavy-arms, excitable approach to the topic, at least the start of this gives some sense of background to the subject, perhaps in relation to HS2 as you continue to view!

    What LBM may not realise is that the failure to preserve Euston Arch resulted in what could perhaps be considered the most important shift change in appreciation of architecture just about to be lost and hence the preservation and restoration of St. Pancras station. As will doubtless be revealed, this also had a bearing on the design of subsequent buildings that could be erected, especially within the City of London and thus the then Fleet Line.

  181. Greg Tingey says:

    I have a copy of a “Thames & Hudson” publication:
    “The Euston Arch”
    ( “And the growth of the LMSR” – published 1968 )
    Another reason why web-search is not as good as a bookshop – you have to know the book exists, at all, for a web-search ….
    Relevant – the arch was built in 1838, after Vicky became Queen – but when was it designed?
    So, properly ( propylaeumly?) a Georgian structure.

    Anonymously … how old is the matching arch at Curzon Street?
    “Wiki” has this to say:
    The surviving Grade I listed entrance building was designed by Philip Hardwick. Built in 1838, it is the world’s oldest surviving piece of monumental railway architecture. Costing £28,000 to build,[11] the architecture is Roman inspired, following Hardwick’s trip to Italy in 1818–19. It has tall pillars running up the front of the building, made out of a series of huge blocks of stone. The design mirrored the Euston Arch at the London end of the L&BR.

    [I am letting this through but if anyone wants to continue discussion of the Euston Arch I would suggest posting in Euston Arch: part 2 so as not to clutter this thread up with irrelevances. Further Euston Arch discussion will be deleted. PoP]

  182. AlisonW says:

    Returning to the topic of the Fleet line (briefly?) there is no requirement that just because metals exist that they must be used in revenue service. It is clearly unacceptable to split the Jubilee service at Green Park but that doesn’t stop a *separate* line starting at the former CX platforms and heading east, indeed it provides an easy method to bring rolling stock onto the new line out of hours.

    Now if it just happened to head north-east first to Moorgate before diving under the Thames to the outer reaches of the ‘Thames Gateway’ …

  183. Chris5156 says:

    Fantastic article that answers so many questions – thanks!

    At the risk of accusations of heading off topic, a note on the GLC and its road plans (wearing my Specialist Subject hat). The political leanings of the GLC in the 1960s had little to do with its road plans. It was, from the outset, set up specifically to manage London’s main roads and with almost no remit for public transport; not only was the legislation that created it written this way but the Royal Commission that recommended the creation of the GLC was also given these terms. Its complete isolation from public transport was, therefore, something whose seeds were planted back in the 1950s, perhaps earlier, and given that it was first incorporated in 1963 it did well to get hold of London Transport and correct that mistake as quickly as it did.

    Meanwhile, in the 1950s and 1960s it was generally accepted that we were heading for traffic paralysis and that space had to be made for all those vehicles on the road before our cities were “strangulated” – and that view was a source of cross-party agreement. In the mid-1960s some Labour GLC members are recorded deriding Conservative members for not proposing wider motorways. The change only came in the early 1970s when the popular campaigning against the GLC’s road plans made Labour realise there were votes in it.

    Buchanan’s report “Traffic in Towns” is widely misunderstood. It didn’t argue that the private car was inappropriate for high density parts of London – it simply attempted to demonstrate what level of reconstruction was necessary in various urban environments in order to accommodate unrestricted use of the private car, and left the extent to which that should actually be done to the politicians. The GLC’s road plans were not at odds with Traffic in Towns – they were a product of it! What changed was that wholesale reconstruction to accommodate road infrastructure was found to be much less wanted, and much less acceptable, than the GLC had first anticipated.

  184. Anomnibus says:


    I agree that rail travel wasn’t expected to vanish entirely at the time, but the evidence strongly suggests that rail usage was definitely expected to fall overall.

    I originally wrote something to the effect that most people of the day believed that “Peak Rail” had passed, though as that term probably wasn’t in use back then, I stupidly decided to edit the paragraph and unintentionally changed the meaning. (As seems to happen almost every time I get the moronic urge to second-guess my subconscious, my original phrasing turned out to have been the right one.)

    I shall have my prefrontal cortex taken out and shot forthwith and can only apologise for any inconvenience caused.

  185. Graham Feakins says:

    @PoP – Your reference to the 2009 article on Euston Arch Part 2 ends with the words “to be continued”.

    Was it? If so, it is not in the search facility.

  186. lmm says:

    @AlisonW Possible? Sure. But I can’t imagine anyone wanting to build a line that would run to Charing Cross and then simply stop there, tipping everyone out – those platforms haven’t been built for terminating and I doubt the station passages have the capacity for that kind of crowd. Of course it would be possible to connect a new line to both ends of the platforms but at some point it becomes more trouble than it’s worth.

    (Also major new tube projects are unlikely now that new tunnels are required to have evacuation walkways alongside, since at that point you might as well build a full-sized tunnel and reap the capacity benefit. I don’t at all understand the cost-benefit reasoning behind this rule – surely a tube without a walkway is far safer than the road traffic it would displace – but apparently it is the rule. Does anyone know how the Battersea extension of the Northern line intends to handle that – are they building walkways or do they have some kind of exemption? )

  187. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Nuffin to do with me.

    There is no part 3. I presumed it was intended to convey that the story will be continued (but don’t know the next chapter or when it will happen).

  188. ChrisMitch says:

    On the contrary, the platforms at CX happily(?) managed terminating jubilee trains for many years. I’m sure they could manage again if pushed into service from the other direction…

  189. Anonymously says:

    @ChrisMitch…..Managed very happily indeed, given how lightly used it was.

    One interesting what if……the new build Jubilee line station platforms (CX, Green Park, Bond Street, even Baker Street) had very striking designs, with plenty of grey (obviously), artistic tile motifs (e.g. Sherlock Holmes silhouettes at Baker Street) and those multicoloured panels opposite the platforms. Were similar designs planned for the Phase 2/3 underground station platforms? Do any firm plans or drawings exist for these?

    Imm…Evacuating a train between stations underground is a hell of lot easier (not to mention safer and less scary, due to the electrified track) if the tunnel has a side walkway. I have no idea if that imposes a significant extra cost….can anyone help out here, based on the example of the later JLE?

  190. Mike says:

    Anomnibus: “the evidence strongly suggests that rail usage was definitely expected to fall overall” – I don’t know what evidence you’re referring to, but read about the evidence that I’ve already given (and also Beeching’s Development of the major railway trunk routes, which included the WCML as a “route selected for development” (1)) and you’ll see that this was definitely not the case with respect to InterCity and Euston.

    GT: “So, properly ( propylaeumly?) a Georgian structure” – if not Victorian, surely a Williamite structure?

    Chris5156: spot on about the Buchanan Report. It said what was needed to accommodate the car; it didn’t say that that shouldn’t happen.

    (1) From p45: “even allowing for some decline in the passenger traffic at the shorter distances, the overall demand for rail transport over the trunk routes could show an appreciable increase in the next twenty years.”

  191. Ian J says:

    @Immm, Anonymously: It has been found worthwhile to build larger tunnels for more recent tube lines in any case, because it reduces air resistance and so long-term running costs. Conversely any extra width for evacuation walkways would apply equally to both tube-size and mainline-size stock, so may not make any difference to the relative cost of either.

    I am sceptical about the apparent “rule” requiring an evacuation walkway anyway. The Northern Line Extension tunnels not for evacuation, but to allow fire access: making this change meant that one of the proposed access shafts could be omitted.

    Note p. 29 of this evidence given by LUL to the public enquiry:

    In the event of an emergency within a running tunnel, emergency services would be afforded access to the incident via the running tunnel which is not affected. Additional safety features would be incorporated including a walkway within the running tunnels, alongside the track at track level, suitable for the use of the emergency services. The walkway has to be wide enough for emergency services personnel, with their equipment, to make their way past a train on the track. This required the walkway to be one metre wide. Noting that the evacuation of the trains by passengers was to remain from the ends of the trains, and down on to the track, there was also a requirement that traction current could be switched off… The running tunnels had to be increased in internal diameter from 4.75m to 5.2m in order to accommodate the walkways

    So it appears that LU intended building the extension with no walkway at all, and only changed tack to be able to delete a difficult-to-site access shaft. Note that track-level walkways are not much help for evacuation as side doors, unlike the doors at the end of the train, are not fitted with stairs or ladders. And you would still need to ensure power is off before allowing any passenger onto a trackside walkway.

    (Compare overhead-electrified Crossrail which will have two walkways in each tunnel, one platform-level one for evacuating passengers and the other for emergency service access).

    I would have thought the tendency to build mainline-size lines rather than new tube lines has more to do with the higher capacity relative to cost of the larger lines: does anywhere else in the world build new underground railways as small as those in London?

  192. @Anonymously

    “Were similar designs planned for the Phase 2/3 underground station platforms? Do any firm plans or drawings exist for these?”

    I’d love to know too. I’ve not found any yet, despite looking in the London Metropolitan Archives, National Archives and House of Parliament archives.

    “if the tunnel has a side walkway. I have no idea if that imposes a significant extra cost”

    Yes, significant extra cost due to a larger diameter tunnel needing to be bored. Others have done the detailed maths in other threads but the area of the tunnel increases with the square of its radius…

  193. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Imm…Evacuating a train between stations underground is a hell of lot easier (not to mention safer and less scary, due to the electrified track) if the tunnel has a side walkway.

    Unfortunately in the case of the Jubilee line, no it isn’t. It has been decreed that passengers cannot use it. I believe this is due to fear of them losing their slipping and falling down onto the track and sustaining injury. In any case, for that reason the power would still have to be cut off.

    I don’t know the situation for the DLR. On that I would imagine that passengers could use the walkway as it is wider and you can stand fully erect more easily. Crossrail will definitely permit passengers to use the walkway in emergency. I imagine the power could be left on given that it would be a supplied using a rigid overhead bar.

  194. Chris McKenna says:

    I participated in the emergency exercise for the Stratford International DLR extension before it opened. As part of that we were evacuated from the train onto the track-side walkway in the covered way tunnel under the shopping centre (and from there to the surface via the staircase that emerges onto the walkway between the shopping centre and aquatics centre. I know power was turned off to the train, but I am unsure whether this was to simulate failure conditions or as a necessary precursor to our using the walkway.

  195. lmm says:

    @Ian J I guessed (the claim itself being second hand) the walkway made more difference to the required diameter of a tube train because the tunnel is round in any case – AIUI mainline loading gauge is quite “square”.

    I think the new Beijing and Shanghai metro lines are still being built to substantially less than mainline size, though how they compare to London tubes I couldn’t say.

  196. Rational Plan says:

    I don’t think that increasing the diameter of the running tunnels makes that much of a difference to the cost. The building of tunnels is largely mechanized. Stations on the other hand are much more labour intensive. So a crossrail station which is twice as long or more than a tube station and needs to handle vast crowds. I suppose the business case is better , but I sometimes wonder whether the increased cost is worth the extra capacity.

    Mainly because these new lines are just so expensive. Crossrail 2 is supposed to come in at nearly £30 billion in the 2020s or later.

    Considering the French are building a 120km of automated metro for that amount, you have to wonder about our construction costs.

    On the one hand the highest capacity on a route through the limited number of routes through Central London makes sense, but if it’s so expensive nothing might get built, or built so infrequently as we never keep up with demand.

    If we built cheaper lines maybe we’d build more of them. If we as a consequence run out of routes through the most congested part of zone 1, we might turn to building lines slightly further out. I’m sure extra capacity elsewhere than the centre of the CAZ would soon see a host of new office buildings and shops.

    France is hardly a low cost country, we need to re-examine the way we build in this country.

  197. Anonymously says:

    @Rational Plan….Maybe it has something to do with our restrictive planning system? Heathrow Terminal 5 being the ultimate exemplar of this.

  198. Graham Feakins says:

    @Rational Plan – I do not have the sort of figures to hand I want at the moment to explain but, civil engineering-wise, constructing a new-build tunnel with greater diameter than previously can significantly increase the cost. It is not just the cost of providing tunnel linings to suit the increased diameter. In other words, the larger the diameter tunnel one has, the cost normally increases exponentially.

    By chance, and here is a place good enough to link it, I found this 15MB, 117 page pdf of interest:

    It concerns the Thames Water Tideway Tunnel “Tunnel and Bridge Assessments” – LUL Bakerloo Line Tunnels (Waterloo to Embankment). Lots of ‘juicy’ explanation, diagrams and photos of the survey work.

  199. Malcolm says:

    Graham Feakins says ” In other words, the larger the diameter tunnel one has, the cost normally increases exponentially.”

    Mathematically No. Exponentially would mean that if you multiply the diameter by some fixed number, you square the cost. Square pounds are not legal tender.

    However, the law relating diameter to cost is probably a sum of powers. The spoil volume is certainly proportional to the square of the diameter, as is the weight of the shield (which might serve as a proxy for its cost). And such a relationship is often referred to in general speech as “exponential” even though it isn’t really. (Perhaps this is because a short section of a parabola looks a bit like a short section of an exponential curve.)

  200. quinlet says:

    Even our protracted (in some cases) planning system does not add significantly to the overall cost of large projects. The total costs of all non-contruction or direct design related activity are unlikely to exceed 5%, if that.

  201. Graham Feakins says:

    @Malcolm – I was not ‘speaking’ mathematically from the cost point of view but from that of the civil engineer. It has little to do with the volume of spoil removed but more to do with the cost of maintaining stable the surrounding ground and structures on the surface &c. whilst boring or otherwise creating the tunnel. Creating a greater diameter of tunnel physically causes more problems to a civil engineer than one of a lesser diameter at the same location.

    If you have a better word than “exponentially”, then please feel to use it.

  202. Graham Feakins,

    In the contexts of your comment “significantly” was probably more appropriate. It is true that exponentially has a very significant mathematical meaning but in general terms it is something gets much much worse as it gets bigger as it depends on the previous value obtained. So if the cost of a 6m diameter tunnel was a function (or calculations were based on) the cost of a 5m tunnel and so on then that would be something like exponential. A classic case of something genuinely rising exponentially is population because the population of the next generation is dependent on the population of the previous generation.

    Clearly (hopefully) the cost of a larger diameter tunnel is not based on the cost of a slightly smaller tunnel as such but on things like diameter and tunnel ring thickness. The costs of tunnelling is very complex and it is unfortunate that something that is true namely:

    The volume of spoil removed from a tunnel of fixed length is proportional to the square of the radius (or diameter)

    has been extrapolated to erroneously become:

    The cost of a tunnel is proportional to the square of the diameter.

    This may have been approximately true for Victorians as this was a large part of the total cost. Today it is complete nonsense when applied to railways as Crossrail clearly shows. What may be a good rule of thumb for a sewerage tunnel is hopelessly wrong for railways with additional complexity of stations (the real significant cost as people keep pointing out).

    Furthermore one can see that there are other major fallacies with the above simplification. The significant cost of land fill tax is based on weight not volume and once Crossrail had set up the mechanism for getting rid of spoil (very expensive) the cost of getting rid of an extra trainload was relatively cheap (and avoided land fill tax).

    Furthermore, as the Northern Line Extension shows, the use of larger tunnels can lead to significant trade off of savings by reducing the necessity of intermediate ventilation and pressure relief shafts.

    The relationship between the size of a railway tunnel and its cost is a very complex one but I suspect, once everything is taken into account, that costs, far from rising exponentially, probably rise in an approximately linear way (proportional to the diameter) above a certain size.

  203. Malcolm says:

    Thanks PoP for saying what I was trying to say, and much more, about the relationship between tunnel diameter and cost. My way of ‘demonstrating’ that the relationship could not be exponential was of course utter nonsense, and certain relationships between a physical dimension and cost /could/ be exponential. But, as you say, probably not this one.

  204. Graham Feakins says:

    @PoP & Malcolm – Unfortunately, it seems that I have failed to make my point and neither of you have considered the actual difficulty when tunnelling and e.g. maintaining the surrounding earth pressure balance. That is not a simple task. There comes a point where an increased tunnel diameter, no matter what particular size, becomes a real and expensive problem. It is the risk of the movement and destabilising of the surrounding substratum, even in clay, that I suggest (loosely) increases exponentially with every increment of increase in tunnel diameter.

    Apart from anything else, it is what physically happens or could happen *outside* the tunnel lining I am talking about during construction and that is a real challenge for civil engineers. That is why on Crossrail e.g. in the Bond Street district and beyond, so many buildings have movement monitoring points.

  205. ngh says:

    Re Graham F, PoP, Malcolm,

    To add another variable to the tunnelling costs – Smaller diameter tunnels require a greater thickness of liner due to the tighter curvature of the smaller tunnel for structural reasons. As the tunnel diameter increases so does the circumference of the liner however the required liner thickness reduces till it reaches the minimum (for other reasons). Hence there will be a fairly complicated liner cost curve where there is a sweet spot where increasing the diameter doesn’t push up the required extra liner material volume and hence cost too much.

  206. Graham Feakins,

    Well in a way I think we are making the same point.

    You talk specifically about earth pressure balance. But this is only an issue when you need earth pressure balance TBMs. Only two of the eight Crossrail tunnels are earth pressure balance machines.

    Far more significant you state “There comes a point where an increased tunnel diameter, no matter what particular size, becomes a real and expensive problem”. This is probably far closer to the truth. There become certain points, for all sorts of reasons depending on various factors, where a small increase in diameter results in a large increase in costs.

    You also mention destabilisation of the substrata and its effect on buildings. But here again there is a point to be made. Clearly then the cost is related to the surrounding buildings. When Barlow was building the Tower Subway he didn’t need to worry about building settlement. The same tunnel will cost a different at different locations about depending on what building are present. The cost is also related to the type of strata going through.

    Finally, don’t confuse the need to monitor the site – something that happens all over London – with the expected level of difficulty. One of the reason for such detailed monitoring is to take action if settlement moves above a predetermined level. Another is to avoid claims that have no validity because there has been no movement. So it is not necessarily the case that a lot of monitoring indicates a lot of expense. More accurately it suggests that there is a known element of risk that has been factored in. It also gives the opportunity to quickly take corrective or remedial action.

    Probably the worst settlement and highest cost of tube tunnelling was the original City & South London because they did not understand the important factors that you mention. They had to pay out loads of settlement claims. Yet they had the smallest tube tunnel diameter of all!

  207. timbeau says:

    Another cost factor with a bigger tunnel is the extra difficulty in finding somewhere to put it – you either have to dig deeper to get below everything else, or move lots of other things out of the way. It is also harder to stay within the optimum strata.

    Why does a tighter tunnel lining curvature require a thicker lining. Given that, as I understood it, a small-radius arch is stronger than a large radius arch (hence the excitement about Brunel’s unprecedently flat arch at Maidenhead), I would have though the reverse was the case.

    monetary values can increase exponentially – it’s called compound interest. No square pounds involved.

  208. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Compound interest. Probably a better example of exponential. The amount of interest you get depends on the amount of money you have which depends on the amount of money you previously had.

    So an account with £100 in and one percent interest calculated daily is rising exponentially.

    An account with £100 interest with interest paid at 10% of the original capital per annum has fixed interest.

    I know which I would rather have. It shows the great danger of attaching too much to the word “exponentially “. Of course, if I lived for thousands of years I would rather have the account that grew exponentially because after a long period of time (or large enough diameter) the exponential growth will always overtake one with a simpler relationship.

  209. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    Stability along the length of the tunnel (longitudinal axis) not just across the diameter (you need to think at right angles to your current thinking! Bored tunnels are round where as bridge /viaduct arches don’t have to be and often aren’t so you are attempting an apples and bananas type comparison). The report Graham (@0437 15/9/2015) linked to is mostly about stiffness of the Bakerloo Tunnel along the longitudinal axis. In the Bakerloo case the original grey cast iron segments have required additional steel liners (and grout / concrete too in place) to increase the stiffness.

    [Imagine a bored tunnel as a very long cylindrical pressure vessel]

  210. ngh says:

    Re PoP and Timbeau,
    Exponential – great care needs to be taken when using this word – at an exponential rate or as an exponential function, the later much more common.

  211. timbeau says:

    So an account with £100 in and 1% (pa compound) interest calculated daily is rising exponentially.
    An account with £100 interest with interest paid at 10% of the original capital per annum has fixed interest.

    I know which I would rather have. Of course, if I lived for thousands of years I would rather have the account that grew exponentially because after a long period of time the exponential growth will always overtake one with a simpler relationship.

    Not thousands – the break-even point for your example is actually just under 364 years, when both accounts would have grown to £3,739.66.

  212. Malcolm says:

    timbeau says “Not thousands”

    When I last looked, 2000 was greater than 364, so PoP’s preference if he lived thousands of years is quite logical.

    Except that even Methuselah probably rated champagne tomorrow rather higher than good quality jam in 364 years time. But we digress…

  213. 100andthirty says:

    I missed this discussion for a few days and came back in around Euston, although I never picked up how it entered the picture. Anyway, my point about tunnels is…………. notwithstanding costs, significant, exponential or otherwise, is anyone seriously suggesting building any more railways to tube guage? If so, can I ask that they be medically examined?

  214. timbeau says:

    “Anyway, my point about tunnels is…………. notwithstanding costs, significant, exponential or otherwise, is anyone seriously suggesting building any more railways to tube gauge? ”

    Brand new tube lines, probably not: but there would be little point in building either the NLE or BLE to any larger gauge.

  215. Malcolm says:

    timbeau says “but there would be little point in building either the NLE or BLE to any larger gauge.”

    A bit of point, at least in the case of the BLE, that if built bigger it could be switched in the more distant future to some future crossrail, cutting the Bakerloo back to Elephant or giving it a new extension. But it might be hard to make a current financial case for such ideas. And didn’t we learn recently that the NLE is being built slightly bigger than standard tube gauge for other reasons (saving a ventilation shaft and saving energy)? But granted that sort of thing is probably not what 130 had in mind.

  216. 100andthirty says:

    Malcolm, You’re right, it was not NLE I had in mind, but any other railway (including BLE, for the reasons you mention).

  217. timbeau says:

    There is a potential issue in making tunnels very much bigger than the trains that are to run in them, and that is the potential, in a serious accident, for cars to over-ride each other and get wedged, making a bad situation worse. This was said to be one of the factors which made the consequences of Moorgate so bad – the shock of the impact was not simply absorbed along the underframes as would be the case if there was no room for the cars to over-ride each other.
    (Comparison might be made with what happened to the same type of stock in a similar incident in the dead-end reversing siding at Tooting Broadway a few years before, although it can only be a matter of conjecture as to what the casualty figures would have been in the earlier case had the train been in service at the time)

  218. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Whilst I totally agree, one would have to consider that as technology advances that is becoming less and less likely to happen. Which is not to say it might not happen eventually. In both the cases you cite the risk has been all but eliminated.

    You also have to analyse benefits and risks. For example, the existence of an emergency walkway would greatly assist emergency services in getting to the worse injured passengers quicker.

  219. 100andthirty says:

    The logic of timbeau’s would lead to double track tunnels to be seen as a very serious risk. The modern approach to nose to tail crashes is to a) do all that’s reasonable to avoid them; train protection systems and “a closed system” (tunnels are rather good closed systems) are the key protections, and then to have low speed anti-override/crashworthiness for any residual risk – usually arising from human error in failure conditions.

    The tunnel sizes envisaged are not as big, compared with the train, as the channel tunnel bores compared with Eurostar trains.

    {sorry, this is way off the Fleet line topic}

  220. peezedtee says:

    @IanJ “does anywhere else in the world build new underground railways as small as those in London?”
    — Surely some of the VAL-style automated metro systems in e.g. Turin, Rennes, Toulouse, etc. are at least as small in terms of loading gauge? Or were you meaning deep-level tubes only?

  221. 100andthirty says:

    I have only checked the Lille Val, but these vehicles are 3,325mm high compared with a typical deep tube car of 2,880mm. Allowing for the rubber tyred ‘bogie’ on the former, I have no doubt the tunnel is bigger than in London. That said I haven’t visited any VAL network.

  222. timbeau says:

    The Lille VAL trains are only 2m wide though, whereas a tube car is about 2.6m.

    Allowing for the different shapes (the Lille cars are roughly square in cross section whilst the tube car can be approximated by a semicircle on top of an oblong), both come out at about 6.5 sq m in cross section.

  223. Anomnibus says:

    “both come out at about 6.5 sq m in cross section”

    True, but only on the VAL is most of that cross-section actually usable by anyone over 5’6″ tall.

    Nevertheless, the main problem with London’s older Tube network is simply that it lacks many amenities that our cousins overseas take for granted. Little things like air conditioning, for example. And sufficient headroom, so one doesn’t have to stand with one’s head at an awkward angle against the curved ceiling for the duration of a journey. Such details increasingly matter.

  224. 100andthirty says:

    It’s not the cross sectional area of a train that dictates the tunnel diameter it’s the maximum dimension be it height or width. Thus “rectangular” trains will be a less good “fit” in a circular tunnel than a “semi-circular” one. Tunnels will generally be circular – a good shape for spreading the load. On that basis, I would estimate that single track VAL tunnels are in the order of a metre larger in diameter than those on the tube.

    Anyone interested in a quite different approach to constructing a metro might look at Barcelona line 9/10 where they bored two tunnels one above the other. Each tunnel is more than twice as wide as a train. The track is one side of each tunnel. Platforms and equipment rooms are accommodated in the “spare” space alongside the track. Crossovers are via ramps between the two tunnels. Access to the surface is via a circular shaft with lifts arranged round half the circumference. Access to the platforms is via passage ways from the shaft to the tunnels. Although construction though the centre was suspended when the financial crash happened some outer sections are in use and it’s very impressive.

    {thoroughly off topic, sorry}

  225. timbeau says:

    From what I have seen of the Lille system the tunnels are square rather than round in cross section – see here for example.

    More like the cut-n-cover sections of the Circle

    Agreed though that a square-section vehicle has more usable space than a semicircular one of the same cross sectional area.

  226. 100andthirty says:

    Should have looked on You Tube!

  227. Herned says:

    @100 and thirty

    The Barcelona line 9/10 is actually one huge tunnel, with a diameter of 12m! The lines are indeed one above the other within the tunnel. According to Wikipedia this was to make construction simpler, so no need to build wider platform tunnels separately. I can see the logic but the fact its never been done anywhere else must say something

  228. 100andthirty says:

    Herned – apologies – blame it on age – you are, of course right!

  229. Graham Feakins says:

    Whilst I realise that my explanation of what happens outside a tunnel lining has not been very elegant, I’ll simply add this, hopefully simple, comment to consider.

    Before a tunnel is driven, load from above and surroundings would be effectively downwards through the existing stratum, straight through where the tunnel is planned. With a tunnel ‘interfering’, the load above then must spread ‘around’ the exterior of the tunnel lining instead. The top of the tunnel lining does not ‘catch’ all that load and automatically transfer it to the base underneath as if it weren’t there. Instead, the load is spread sideways, maybe ‘reflected’ off the lining and then downwards (not necessarily vertically) on and around both sides of the tunnel exterior and possibly directly underneath partially to compensate for the loss caused by the tunnel lining above. It is a complex relationship, especially dependent on local conditions.

    In other words, the geotechnical pressure differentials are changed as a result of the tunnel simply because there is no longer the original relationship in the (solid) volume concerned.

    That is why ngh has drawn attention to the stiffness of the Bakerloo Tunnel along the longitudinal axis.

    I therefore need to question PoP’s comment to me that “You talk specifically about earth pressure balance. But this is only an issue when you need earth pressure balance TBMs.”

    I suggest that those are only used when the situation becomes so serious (huge) that they are required to justify them anyway. “Earth” will tend to shift in unwanted ways no matter what, once a tube is driven through it for the reasons I have just given.

    It follows that the greater the tunnel dimensions, the greater is the likely problem in dealing with those altered directions of subterranean pressures.

  230. Ian J says:

    Unfortunately in the case of the Jubilee line, no it isn’t. It has been decreed that passengers cannot use it.

    Not so much decreed as intended from the start – if it had been intended as an evacuation walkway, it would be at platform level (like Crossrail’s will be), not track level. There’s an interesting account in this book of how a protracted evacuation at Bethnal Green in 1991 led to some pressure from HMRI and the fire brigade to include a full evacuation walkway in the Jubilee Line extension (which would have meant widening the tunnel from 3.8 to 4.8m and increasing the cost), but in the end it was agreed that improved fire safety in rolling stock would be a better approach – an important factor in the decision to replace the 1983 stock.

    @pezedtee: Surely some of the VAL-style automated metro systems in e.g. Turin, Rennes, Toulouse, etc. are at least as small in terms of loading gauge?

    It is intersting that when Lille bored as opposed to cut-and-covered a line they went for a 6.8m diameter double-track tunnel. As others have said the trains are 2.08 m wide and 3.27 m high, narrower but taller than tube stock, which obviously lends itself to double track bored or cut and cover tunnels, or elevation – Lille and Rennes were both conceived, like the DLR, as mainly elevated systems with tunnel sections, although I think they ended up doing more tunnelling in Rennes than originally expected. Toulouse TBMs were 5.3 and 7.7m in diameter.

  231. Taz says:

    BLE tunnel will likely be to NLE tunnel dimensions for similar reasons, which is about Crossrail diameter, so future conversion would be a possibility. The TfL press release on NLE TBM order states “Each TBM “cutting head”, which will do the excavation work, will be just over six metres in diameter” which compares with Crossrail tunnels “each with an internal diameter of 6.2 metres” (per Wikipedia) with the lining thickness also to be allowed for.

  232. Greg Tingey says:

    Not sure if this is the correct thread, but:
    New developments of the N Greenwich peninsula now approved:
    15 000 “homes”
    Will the current Jubilee-line be able to cope?

  233. Graham Feakins 01:10

    Sorry, when you were talking about earth pressure I assumed you were referring to the face of the tunnelling machine. I think your description and summary “It is a complex relationship, especially dependant on local conditions” says it all.

    The logical thing that follows on from this is that a large tunnel of a given size may not be expensive when going through some soil types and may be so on others. And of course there is the issue of how important it is to get it right. So long as the tunnel itself remains sound (and the Tesco Tunnel shows the danger of not understanding these forces) then the other critical thing is the risk of settlement at the surface and the consequences of it. The risk may be high but the consequences low and vice versa. Going back to the original issue, we cannot easily determine even the type of function or equation determining this in relation to tunnel size so to go to one extreme and and talk about the costs being proportional to the square of the diameter or to the other and suggest that this cost rises exponentially is really meaningless and oversimplifies things.

  234. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Ian J,

    Not so much decreed as intended from the start

    I used the word decreed because I did not know if this was always the case i.e was it decreed from the outset or subsequently? If it was decreed from the outset then that is reassuring because it should have been obvious from the outset that this would not have been a safe way to evacuate people.

  235. timbeau says:

    Forvthose not familiar with it, this is the “Tesco Tunnel”

    An attempt to build a supermarket over a railway cutting. Failure to support the sides of the new arch against the lateral forces that would be transmitted by the weight of the earth that was piled on top of it.

  236. LadyBracknell says:

    @Greg Tingey: this is madness and 15,000 new homes is going to put an awful strain on existing transport infrastructure. The Jubilee line currently runs a maximum of 30 trains per hour, with plans to push this up to 36 trains per hour by 2019 (New Civil Engineer, October 2014), but this is not nearly enough to deal with the massive influx there will be at North Greenwich station.

    @timbeau: is this a joke?

  237. @LadyBracknell

    The “Tesco Tunnel” collapse at Gerrards Cross did indeed happen. See

  238. LadyBracknell says:


  239. An Engineer says:

    With reference to NGH’s comment at about the strengthening of the Bakerloo Line tunnels the reasons given and in the report for the Thames tunnel do not agree with the statements in ‘Rails Through the Clay’ pg 280 which indicate they were for reinforement against bombs installed in 1919. This was also intended to give protection against vessels grounding on the tunnels, derailments and internal tunnewl sabotage. The protection was urgently reworked in 1944 after the concrete grout was found to have liquified. Not mentioned but ships anchoring in the area must have been a risk as well.

    The tunnel was exterior encased in concrete some time in the 1980’s / 90’s after inspection identified that scour had exposed the top of the tunnel and it was above the river bed.

  240. Milton Clevedon says:

    @An Engineer
    The latter-day tunnel strengthening was also a consequence of the ‘Top Twenty’ report about the objective risks to parts of the Underground from various causes and sources. This also led to the strengthening of the Thames Tunnel, and the other close-to-river bed tubes in Central London. The Bakerloo strengthening was scarcely surprising, given that the tunnels were originally driven from a landing stage and caisson in the centre of the Thames!

  241. Greg Tingey says:

    Flood Mitigation Project

    I can, oddly enough, find no reference to these works in “Rails under the Clay”

  242. Dr Richards Beeching says:

    I remember reading reports some years ago about how L.T. and the authorities of the day had been particularly concerned about bomb and UXB damage during the war and also from ‘dragged anchors’ when the Pool of London was so busy. It must have been apparent very early on that the Bakerloo was very close to the riverbed

  243. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Dr Richards Beeching,

    Indeed. I believe it is enshrined in law that no work involving the river can be done in the vicinity of Embankment without approval from London Underground.

    Certainly the Hungerford Jubilee walkways had to be redesigned, adding a few million to the cost, because London Underground were deeply troubled as to where the proposed footings were going to go.

  244. timbeau says:

    At least they knew the Bakerloo Line was there!

  245. Pedantic of Purley says:

    The point I failed to make clear was London Underground’s concern is not merely the obvious one that the Bakerloo tunnel is breached by piling but the concern that there may be an unknown UXB that gets set off in the vicinity of it. It is highly unlikely but the consequences could be terrible. The risk that an undisturbed UXB would spontaneously explode is very low indeed and one lives with that risk throughout London.

    The reason there is such concern for the Bakerloo line is because it is so close to the surface of the river. Elsewhere tunnels would at least have a cushioning protective layer of earth in some form.

  246. Dr Richards Beeching says:

    Mr Pedantic from Purley is absolutely right. For the whole 30 years from 1940 onwards, the fear of unexploded bombs going off and flooding the Bakerloo must have caused many sleepless nights to some within L.T. The report I referred to earlier was similarly paranoid about ‘anchor drag’ in case one of the ships in the Pool of London had an anchor catch on part of the tunnel casing and caused a fissure leading to ‘subsequent rupture and eventual sudden ingress’. Ive never forgotten those words. These days they might say ‘leading to flooding’.

    Although the ships have gone away from the Pool of London, I would guess that there are still a few UXBs down there even today

  247. timbeau says:

    The Bakerloo is of course some distance upstream from the Pool of London (the upstream limit of which was rigidly defined by London Bridge, which formed an impenetrable barrier to large ships)

    A WW2 bomb did cause damage to a tunnel under the Thames, but fortunately it was the disused Charing Cross loop.

    I do recall many years ago (early eighties) a UXB being discovered in the river near Blackfriars Bridge one weekday morning, closing all river crossings between Tower Bridge and Westminster Bridge (exclusive), except the Northern and Bakerloo Lines, and also closing all riparian stations (Blackfriars to Westminster inclusive, plus CX, Bfrs and CSt main line)

  248. Castlebar says:

    @ timbeau

    There are many photos of the period showing shipping (admittedly not the largest ships but many tugs, barges etc) moored well up river of London Bridge well into the late ’60s, early 70s. A lot of the traffic ceased with the closure of Brentford (old GWR) Docks

  249. Malcolm says:

    A small point, but Dr Richards Beeching seems to be using the modern extension of the word “paranoid”. Medically speaking, paranoia is an irrational fear (which anchor drag and subsequent flooding was probably not). It is true though, that the word is often used for any fear of anything.

  250. Ig says:

    Seems the Overground train to Thamesmead is building up a head of steam/electricity:

  251. Theban says:

    The Bakerloo is of course some distance upstream from the Pool of London (the upstream limit of which was rigidly defined by London Bridge, which formed an impenetrable barrier to large ships)

    If you consult the Wikipedia article on London Bridge, Claude de Jonge’s oil painting of London Bridge shows that the central span was a wooden drawbridge which could have allowed masted ships to pass at certain points of the tide, although it may have been designed that way as a defensive measure.

    The shallow bar across the Thames at this traditional crossing point might have offered even more of a barrier to large ships, although again it would depend on the tide.

  252. Graham H says:

    @lg – just the usual journalistic infill on days when short of copy. These things should never be taken seriously…

  253. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Dr Richards Beeching,

    A subject that fascinates me (and John Bull even more).

    As part of their initial investigation Crossrail did a very extensive trawl of historical records – probably the first time it was done properly – to establish if there were any known UXB in the vicinity. Of course if people knew exactly where they were they would have been dealt with long ago. Fortunately they have found none.

    As John Bull delights in pointing out, the location of UXBs, or at least places where a bomb was reported to have dropped but not exploded is both available and extensive yet this information isn’t included when a search is done prior to purchasing property.

    For Crossrail the problem with Connaught Road tunnel (despite its name it is a rail tunnel) was not ships dragging anchors but of the keels actually scraping the top of the tunnel.


    A WW2 bomb did cause damage to a tunnel under the Thames, but fortunately it was the disused Charing Cross loop

    Another one caused damage to the Greenwich foot tunnel. If you go towards the northern end you will see that the tunnel narrows where they thought prudent to reinforce it.

  254. timbeau says:

    The Pool of London is the stretch of the Thames from London Bridge to Limehouse.

    Old London Bridge had a drawbridge, but it is unlikely a large ship could negotiate the bar that had built up under it which made an effective weir. Rennie’s 1831 replacement (the one now in Colorado) had no drawbridge. Fairly large vessels, such as the famous “flatiron” colliers with their collapsible superstructures, could negotiate London Bridge (and those further upstream) and enter the tideway upstream of the Pool of London itself.

  255. Graham H says:

    @PoP -you might like to consider the following London Topographical Society publication: “The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939–45.” Whether this also shows UXBs, I’m not sure – but may give some pointers.

  256. Greg Tingey says:

    The drawbridge in Old London Bridge was for defensive purposes.
    Was raised in Wyatt’s rebellion, IIRC.

  257. timbeau says:

    “Wyatt’s rebellion, IIRC”
    If you can recall a demo against the proposed marriage of Mary Tudor, you’re older than I thought!

  258. Greg Tingey says:

    Well, I know my direct ancestors were around, then … one of them “trimmed” sufficiently not to be jailed by Mary & held great office under Liz I ( as did his son) _ & I look somewhat like them.

  259. Transport Insider says:

    LU did buy some land for Stage 2 which it still owns. This is a collection of subsoil interests near Fenchurch Street/Fleet Street. Useful for running tunnels but otherwise of no value.

  260. Fluteboy says:

    Bring on part 2. I can barely contain myself!

  261. @Fluteboy

    “Bring on part 2. I can barely contain myself!”

    Thank you for your interest. Several follow up articles are in advanced stages of production with even more detail. LBM

  262. Stafford says:

    Going back to the proposed Ludgate Circus station, I note that there is an incredible meeting of things underground a few yards away. More or less stacked on top of each other is the north bank landing of the Blackfriars road bridge, the exit of the Fleet river conduit into the Thames, a Road underpass, the Circle and District line tunnel, and somewhere in there the
    tunnel of the Waterloo and City line (I wonder if that now has a proper invert?). Heavens knows how more was to be fitted in that area. My old boss moved to run Letraset way back, god bless the memory of Ron Spring Esq and his waistcoat.

  263. Bakerludicrous says:

    Will part 2 be coming any time soon?


  264. Evergreenadam says:

    The extensive and somewhat forbidding subway infrastructure at Charing Cross underneath the Strand was presumably provided as part of the rebuild of Charing Cross. The multiple steps leading down from different locations on the Strand, Villiers Street and King William IV Street and the underground shop units appear rather superfluous now and a relic of that period of enforced segregation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. In many other parts of London the subways have been infilled following the removal of kerbside guardrailing and the provision of wider surface level pedestrian crossings. The presumed original function of Charing Cross as an alternative gateway to the West End to relieve congestion at Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square never seems to have caught on with the public and has certainly waned since the closure of the Jubilee Line platforms.

  265. Ronnie MB says:

    Superficially, it would almost seem sensible to go back to Strand and Trafalgar Square being separate stations again …

  266. Bakerludicrous says:

    I don’t use Charing Cross often so I wouldn’t know but wouldn’t the closure of the Jub circulation area alter passenger flow from the way it was intended?

    If CX’s Jub platforms are not to be reused in some form (either as a Fleet spiritual successor or DLR or whatever) then it would probably be sensible to revert back again. If it was considered that the Jub platforms are expendable then surely it was never the major interchange/egress point it was envisioned as?

  267. Milton Clevedon says:

    What point does renaming serve?

    The Bakerloo is a busy access route for Charing Cross Main Line, with passengers using a within-barriers subway that fortuitously was converted from a construction access between Trafalgar Square and Stand stations into a passenger interchange, before the Jubilee Line opened to Charing Cross. Nowadays it’s the only behind-barriers link, although previously it was easier to use the escalators to the Jubilee Line platforms and back up again.

    That usefulness probably makes the case to retain the present names throughout. Also changing a name will incur revenue account costs, when those funds are under pressure and TfL has better things to spend money on. However, TfL still has the old Trafalgar Square station code 732 unused, if it wanted to run it again! (Tower Hill is 731, Tufnell Park is 733, while Charing Cross adopted the former Strand code, 718.)

    The upstairs subways are really a matter for consideration as part of any ‘place-making’ for The Strand and neighbouring streets, and whether there are any merits in adjusting the passenger circulation arrangements.

  268. quinlet says:

    Subways are also likely to go from the Elephant and Castle northern roundabout (together with links to the Northern and Bakerloo line stations) following the redesign which got rid of the roundabout (I’m trying to think of a good term) and which opened early in December.

  269. Alan Burkitt-Gray says:

    The Bakerloo line station is closer than the Northern line station to the original Charing Cross — the junction of the Strand and Whitehall where the Eleanor Cross used to be and where there’s been a statue of Charles I for the last 300-odd years.

  270. Bakerludicrous says:

    Was Charing Cross not a useful interchange for Jubilee passengers then? I’ve never seen anybody wishing that the station was still open despite in theory being a useful change point with the Bloo and Northern lines.

    In my opinion now that the actual Jub extension has been built the platforms there will either be used for a new line extension (the most of obvious option being a DLR terminus) or for a Fleet like service to Fenchurch Street, and beyond that it would compete with the Bakerloo for the Lewisham extension money.

    Failing that, as Milton said if capacity had to be increased the concourse could be walled off from the platforms and the escalators reinstated to transfer passengers between Strand and Trafalgar.

  271. Graham H says:

    @Bakerludicrous – none of which is in the 2050 strategy.

  272. timbeau says:

    “and the escalators reinstated to transfer passengers between Strand and Trafalgar.”

    What for? Interchange can be made more convenient at Embankment or Waterloo. For those joining or leaving the system, it is easier to go to/from the right entrance at street level than enter the labyrinth.

  273. timbeau says:

    “Interchange can be made more convenient ”
    I meant it can already be done more conveniently at those other stations.

  274. Stuart says:

    As an interchange I don’t think it really works today. Most people I know would interchange from Bakerloo to main line CX via Embankment given the passage length, as can any Tube transferee between Northern and Bakerloo (which because of the geography would generally only be Northbound to Northbound or Southbound to Southbound). Not sure what the value is in maintaining the passages to passenger standards

  275. Anomnibus says:


    The DLR’s trains are a different shape to Tube trains and won’t physically fit in the old Jubilee tunnels. While the tunnels could be adapted to suit, it wouldn’t be particularly cheap, and the DLR would need to practically double-back on itself to get at them anyway.

    [The rest of this comment is snipped as someone is using the new crayons received for Christmas. LBM]

  276. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Quinlet – the last E&C roundabout subway closes this week (as seen on Twitter). As for a good term how about “congestion inducing disaster zone” to describe the change to arrangements?

    I expect the Charing Cross network of subways will eventually be sorted when the ground level shops come to be redeveloped. It’s mildly amazing that that old complex has survived as long as it has in what is a prime location – good footfall, metres from Covent Garden and T Square. The property leases for the LU bits down there are fascinating because of the extremely complex land ownership that exists – the contract documents went on for paragraphs about what King had granted what Duke the rights to bits of soil!

  277. timbeau says:

    The over-run tunnels couldn’t be used as they are, but the DLR trains would probably fit in the platform tunnels – and it is stations which cost the money. Sadly, it is on completely the wrong alignment for a Waterloo-Euston Crossrail 3.

  278. AlisonW says:

    The advantage of reverting the name of at least one part of ‘Charing Cross’ would be that tourists might actually go to the right part of the station for Trafalgar Square instead of getting swallowed by endless tunnels.

  279. Malcolm says:

    AlisonW: I am not sure whether the confused tourists that you have observed are incoming (trying to find Trafalgar Square) or outgoing (trying to escape it). Either way, some carefully worked out suitable signage would strike me as a much cheaper, and more effective, solution, rather than subjecting the area to yet another confusing piece of renaming, making the situation on the ground cease to match up, at least for a while, with their guide books.

  280. Milton Clevedon says:

    “the redesign which got rid of the roundabout (I’m trying to think of a good term)”

    … erased?
    (suitable as an anti-crayon device, at any rate)

    … restored simple junctions?
    (says what it does on the tin)

  281. Bakerludicrous says:

    @timbeau surely some people must use it because otherwise TfL would have bitten the bullet and snipped them again. I wouldn’t know; I use the picc to travel to work and then to heathrow because I work at the airport, so I’m not exposed to the joys of Zone 1 at peak times.

    The amalgamated stations and the whole Charing Cross branch of the Jubilee line seem like a badly executed good idea; characteristic of much of London Transport’s ideas in the 60s (read: Vic on the cheap).

  282. Graham H says:

    @Bakerludicrous – hardly LT’s fault – you should read this article on this site to find out why we ended up with what we did…

  283. quinlet says:

    @Walthamstow Writer
    They said that, too, when the roundabout round the Victoria Monument outside Buckingham Palace was replaced with a simple junction, but who would go back to a roundabout now?

  284. Graham H says:

    @quinlet – and indeed about the “peninsularification” (sorry) of the former Island Block at County Hall and the similar treatment of Trafalgar Square (nearer to topic!) – now one London’s major pedestrian areas. It’s quite interesting (but getting a little offtopic) to see how many ’60s traffic management schemes are being silently reversed with no apparent adverse consequences.

  285. Bakerludicrous says:

    @Graham yes, I am aware money was a factor, and obviously for the extension the GLC decided to bully them into choosing a different route. Okay, unfair on LT – the badly executed good ideas were due to a lack of money from DfT or its predecessor and the desire of the GLC to basically make their mark on London.

    As for the Vic, the Brixton extension probably broke the camel’s back in terms of capacity on the cheap narrow platforms.

  286. Graham H says:

    @Bakerludicrous – do read the article (the one that is at the head of this thread) that precedes your comment; you may wish to change your comment substantially in the light of that. In particular, the JLE, as built, had absolutely nothing to do with the GLC (How could it, the GLC was long gone by then..?.) .

  287. Anonymously says:

    @Graham H…..Perhaps Bakerludicrous is referring to Jubilee line Stage 1 to Charing X, rather than the later JLE to Stratford? On re-reading the article though, I agree that the impetus for this seems to have come from LT, rather than the GLC.

    As for the current CX tube interchange…..I can understand people’s concerns (particularly the unusually lengthy distance to reach the Bakerloo line platforms), but I think changing things now would cause more problems than it would solve, especially for users interchanging from the mainline station who want the Bakerloo line.

    If the current route of the JLE had been anticipated back in the 70s, I suspect that the earlier arrangement at Strand/Trafalgar Square would have been left in place, and a better interchange with the then CX tube station (now Embankment) built for mainline transfers, but I’m afraid we’re stuck with what we have!

  288. Graham H says:

    @Anonymously – From what I recall of the discussions at the time, I do not believe that anyone ever thought that Charing Cross would be anything but a temporary terminus – until it became a permanent one, as it were, and I agree with you that if LT had any inkling beforehand that CX was “it”, the route might have been quite different*. If anywhere was thought to be more than a pausing place, it was LBR. Although you are right that the Fleet Line scheme had, as the article shows, its origins well before the GLC days (and therefore originating in the planning work that LPTB/ LTE did after the War), by the time of its construction, the GLC was fully behind it – even offering to pay for its completion from local resources.

    The actual JLE was a political fix mainly to satisfy LDDC’s, and Heseltine’s, wish to ensure that their beloved Wharf had quick access to WIT (and incidentally, Waterloo, too), thus leaving the embarrassing stub to CX. How embarrassing, then, that Eurostar moved away, so what could be better than yet another fix with Stratford International, which Heseltine believed should be the terminal instead of WIT. How embarrassing then when Eurostar wouldn’t stop… Throw in the redundant DLR spur to Tower Gateway (and its poor planning for the eventual loads), and the whole Docklands access story becomes a model study for what happens politicians decide to plan railway systems. (Indeed, for many of the stages in the saga, I can assure you that politicians+ cooked up what to do next before telling the civil service, let alone the operators).

    Had the Fleet Line been built as planned, I agree that the whole CX/Trafalgar Square/Embankment complex might well have been replanned differently. What we have now is making a reasonable fist of something very unsatisfactory and unintended. Had we not had the Jubilee terminus to contend with, you may well be right that there would have been a better arrangement between the BR and the Circle stations there – in NSE days, we began to take some modest steps in that direction with reopening the high level access to Hungerford Bridge; however, funds for station improvement were, so far as BR was concerned, non-existent and the next steps, which would surely have involved escalators were unfundable – we couldn’t even fund them at stations where they we urgent.

    *crayons away, please.
    +I know that some their private advisers at the time are still around and read this site, so discretion had better fall.

  289. At this point I request that commentators hold off on any further comment, as most of this will be covered in Part 2 of the Fleet/Jubilee series. Work is still ongoing on’t and subsequent Parts so I cannot give a publication date, but rest assured it will be to even more detail than Part 1. LBM

  290. Bakerludicrous says:

    I must be going mad then. Apologies to @Graham!

    Ahh excellent LBM I was wondering if it had been shelved! I can’t wait.

  291. Graham H says:

    @Bakerludicrous – no you’re not mad, only the politicians (still, it doesn’t matter, it’s only public money after all…) [ I write, embarrassingly as someone who, will argue, on Thursday, to put up the parish rate by 12%… and that’s without mentioning the cost of the proposed Milford, Witley and District Steam Tramways and Improvements Company]

  292. Walthamstow Writer says:

    and the whole Docklands access story becomes a model study for what happens politicians decide to plan railway systems. (Indeed, for many of the stages in the saga, I can assure you that politicians+ cooked up what to do next before telling the civil service, let alone the operators).

    Substitutes “Crossrail 2” for “Docklands” ……….. weeps.

  293. Graham H says:

    @WW – Ohime indeed! (Mind you, some of one’s former colleagues, noteably from the FCO, were no better – the negotiations over the treaty governing the Channel Tunnel were left entirely to them and we in Railways Directorate simply sat at our Monday prayers to receive whatever words of wisdom they bothered to give us – a typical FCO report ran thus: “I met the French Ambassador and congratulated him on his daughter’s recent qualification as a vet; he thanked me for my kind words, and remarked that he hoped to be able to come to the opera with me. Before we parted, I tossed in the idea that we might have ontrain customs checks, and so we left for lunch”.)

  294. Bakerludicrous says:

    @Graham that was what I was getting at I think!

    Apologies for being rude earlier.

  295. Graham H says:

    @bakerludicrous – of course ( I sometimes worry – but then think that I needn’t – that it is too easy to blame politicians for all the evils in the world; that would be wrong: a (small) number take their job seriously and professionally. Maybe those are the ones to fear most, but certainly crayons are rarely seen in their hands…)

  296. Greg Tingey says:

    Graham H
    Milford, Witley and District Steam Tramways and Improvements Company
    presumably not to be confused with either the Snailbeach district Railways or the Far Tottering & Oyster Creek?

  297. Graham H says:

    No, it’s a subsidiary of the Submerged Log Company.

  298. Greg Tingey says:

    Residing in the remains of either the Wey & Arun or Wey & Godalming Navigations, I presume?

  299. Graham H says:

    Of course, of course, these navigations should be immediately re-opened at the public expense as a possible diversionary routes for when the Thames/English Channel is closed. I am sure – it’s therefore a FACT (as some would say here) – that there are literally millions of tons of wheat which would use the routes if they were restored (the plop effect)….

    BTW – yesterday, posters on this site managed 2 Flanders and Swan references within the space of about 3 hours – some sort of record.

  300. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    “two Flanders and Swan references within the space of about 3 hours”

    that took a lot of finding, until I remembered this

  301. Jonathan Roberts says:

    But that’s exactly what the Portsmouth-London HS route (Hardham-Shalford) was all about! After all it was authorised in Napoleonic times and the English Channel was at risk of closure – a diversionary route was essential.

    The Surrey Iron Railway also toyed with a Merstham-Portsmouth extension.

    It is believed that others at the time argued the recent invention of modern communications would avoid the need for any personal travel at all, that locals should stay in their parish, and that the turnpike past Hindhead should be shut and turned back to agricultural use once everyone had their own personal telegraphs.

  302. Graham H says:

    @JR – indeed (sorry, I was writing ironically). The relationship between the Georgian state and the canal infrastructure is much more complex than is generally known – I’m thinking particularly of the canal- based emergency government warehouses and admin centre in Northamptonshire, for example. As to unnecessary travel – that was one of the Duke of Wellington’s objections to railways which enabled the lower classes to move about. Quite what he would have made of the Fleet Line, goodness knows…

    BTW do you think that Lewes-Uckfield has a military value?

    BBTW – the Hindhead turnpike has indeed now been shut and returned to countryside…

  303. Malcolm says:

    I think that may be why Jonathan (who was, I perceive, also writing ironically as well as several-other-intriguing-adjectives-ly) chose Hindhead for his piece of future-in-the-past.

  304. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm (and other moderators) I do apologise for having triggered a splurge of Flanders and Swann and a tsunami of irony which has now spread over several threads. I will practice restraint and go and do the ironing instead.

  305. Jonathan Roberts says:

    Lewes-Uckfield might have military value as a defensive line, though the BML2 version might be regarded by some as offensive…

  306. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    “unnecessary travel was one of the Duke of Wellington’s objections to railways”

    He was also an unwitting cause of the first reported fatality of a railway passenger, as it was he who invited William Huskisson to join him in his carriage.

    And there was a telegraph route (semaphore) from London to Portsmouth several years before the Wey & Arun Junction canal was completed. Not very practical as a fuel supply line though. (You could send /| for ‘orses!)

  307. Anonymous says:

    Was reminded of this article when taking one of the quite interesting Hidden London tours recently.

    When might we expect to see the second part? Will be fascinated to read it.

  308. @Anonymous of 12.33

    Thank you for the kind words. Part 2 is written and awaiting co-author review, and Part 3 is written as well. Plus a pictorial is in the works. LBM

  309. Anonymous says:

    That’s good news. Let’s call it peer rather than co-author review, to match the level of effort!

  310. David Pitt says:

    We are currently undertaking on behalf of real estate clients a remote subterranean investigation of just one small part of this abandoned infrastructure. We have successfully scanned a twenty five metre deep ventilation shaft and having established that the tunnel below which in the past has suffered significant flooding, is safe, will soon deploy robotic in-tunnel LiDAR and 3D infrastructure modelling systems to complete this phase of our investigations.

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