Old Style Roundels 1: The Rare Ones (part 2)

Here, we continue the series of exploring old style roundels. This is the second part of the rare roundels on the network. So enjoy and explore the network for these ones too!

Caledonian Road (Piccadilly line)

Where to find: front end of both westbound and eastbound platforms

It is rare to find at Caledonian Road station two of these ‘bullseye’ style roundels at the front end of both platforms! The top photo is front of the westbound platform and the easiest to take. The other one on the eastbound platform and the bottom photo was a little too far out of reach but can still be seen. We saw these also at Covent Garden and Ealing Broadway (see part 1 for more details). Caledonian Road is one of few stations to have lifts directly serving the platforms from the ticket hall for its era in 1906 (many stations in that era involves walking a set of stairs) – a perfect example of step free access (even they did not know that at the time!). The other station that has this is the Piccadilly line platforms at Earl’s Court which opened in the same year as Caledonian Road.

Morden (Northern line)

Where to find: shelter section of island platforms

The southern most station on the Northern line, Morden has a small number of these signs (though very remains).  This wasn’t originally going to be the terminus of the Northern line. The original plan was to continue to Sutton in which the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) had a stake in part of the route for the unbuilt Wimbledon and Sutton Railway. Southern Railway unfortunately did not want the line to go to Sutton and made an agreement with UERL to end the extension from Clapham Common to end at Morden. To some, they feel this was an opportunity missed. But the line from Morden does continue a little way to the depot. Even though Southern Railway did built their line, the connections between this and the Northern line would be tricky today as the railways are at different levels.

South Wimbledon (Northern line)

Where to find: on the northbound and southbound platforms

This is a rarity – this signage has a suffix added – Merton. Two of these such signs exist at the station. The trouble with South Wimbledon is that the station is in fact in Merton and nowhere near Wimbledon – it is actually over 2 miles away. The station was originally going to be called Merton Grove but that didn’t seem right to the planners, perhaps Wimbledon was more important than Merton?

St. James’s Park (Circle and District lines)

Where to find: near front of eastbound platform

This is a really old sign! But it appears this one is different – and that is because of the way it has been spelt. The extra ‘s’ is grammatically correct but it seems at the time this sign was made, that was the accepted way of how the station should be spelt. This sign is dated in the late 1920s and is the original one. All others had their name plate changed to the present day format. The station is part of 55 Broadway, the current headquarters of London Underground and the building was designed by architect, Charles Holden who is famous for designing many station buildings such as Sudbury Town and Tooting Broadway.

Sudbury Town (Piccadilly line)

Where to find: in the shelter section of the platform

Sudbury Town is a classic station – because it is the only Tube station that has a slightly variant of the Johnston typeface – it is called Johnston Delf and puts serif to the Johnston typeface. The station is the only one to have it entirely. Even the modern versions of the roundel exhibit the Johnston Delf typeface. But this is not the only station that has it, Cockfosters station has it too. Back to Sudbury Town, the station building is of classic design, brick box with a concrete lid – designed by Charles Holden. The building was Grade II listed in 2011. 

West Brompton (District line)

Where to find: near the stairwells of the platform

Last but not least, we have West Brompton. The letter W cross over is clearly seen but the rest of the typeface looks pretty old too. It looks like this one was mounted at the time of opening. The London Overground station, although part of the network from 2007 was actually a later addition and opened in 1999 as part of the West London Line. There was an original station that opened in 1866 by the West London Extension Joint Railway but when the Second World War occurred, this station was damaged in 1940 and subsequently closed. West Brompton station was also an alternative to get to the Earl’s Court Exhbition Centre until 2014 when it closed. But it is a good way of getting to Kensington (Olympia) station during the week (via Overground) when the District line doesn’t run except for the weekend.

And there you go! Come back soon for the second part of the old style roundel series, next we will be focussing on the old style roundels that are plentiful at some stations.

Is the Metropolitan line extension off the rails?

According to reports, there are rumours that the Metropolitan line extension to Watford Junction could be axed as there is an apparent £50m funding gap.

Transport for London (TfL) have written to the London Assembly to said the project “cannot be delivered” with the current £284.4m funding. Robert Niven, head of line extensions for TfL was said to have stated that £50 million will be required on top of the £49 million that TfL would need to contribute. The extension was further fuelled in jeopardy when it was apparently was missed off the Mayor of London’s travel agenda announced in December 2016.

The Metropolitan line extension that has a completion date of 2020 would see the line diverted from Croxley station to a new viaduct that would take Tube trains to Watford Junction via Watford High Street with two new stations at Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road. Watford station would also close when the extension opens. Currently there is no contractor appointed to carry out the main works.

Despite these reports, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has made his pledge to protect the £49m that TfL have pledged to the project. The £50m shortfall is due to be discussed with the Government about how to fund this shortfall.

It does appear apparent though that this extension will face further delay…but hopefully not axed completely. 

Old Style Roundels 1: The Rare Ones (part 1)

As promised, here is a start of a short series that looks at old style roundels that are dotted around on the London Underground network. To start off, we will look at the roundels that are rare and have been left on the network for historical reasons. And for many reasons, it is nice to see they still exist. This is quite a large category, so this shall be part 1 of this series. We will look at the rest in part 2. So have a read and find out where to spot these on your travels!

Barbican (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines)

Where to find: on westbound platform

And so we start off with Barbican station. You will find a small number of surviving roundels of this kind. Notice the letter B is stretched a little on these signs? The roundel is likely to have dated back at the time the station was renamed to Barbican back in 1968. The station had gone through a number of renames: firstly as Aldersgate Street in 1865, then Aldersgate in 1910, then Aldersgate & Barbican in 1924, before taking the present name in 1968. At one time, National Rail used to have platforms serving Barbican as part of the City Widened Lines from King’s Cross to Moorgate. The line was electrified in 1982 when the the line was renamed the Moorgate line. It eventually became part of Thameslink, but when Farringdon station on the Thameslink line had its platforms extended, the Moorgate branch including Barbican closed in 2009.

Burnt Oak (Northern line)

Where to find: on island platform in the shelter section

Not only does Burnt Oak have one old style roundel, but two! And they may look the same style, but one of them even has a suffix! The suffix reads ‘For Watling’. Watling is named after an estate. It was one of twelve London County Council cottage estates built between the first and second world wars provided for Homes fit for Heroes. Very few ‘tombstone’ style roundels remain on the network and this is one of them. Another can be found in North Ealing station on the Piccadilly line.

Covent Garden (Piccadilly line)

Where to find: on westbound platform

Look carefully towards the front end of the westbound platform and you will find an original ‘bullseye’ style roundel that has survived. The sign would have been around time of the station opening in 1907. In small writing, you can clearly see this sign was manufactured in Wolverhampton. Covent Garden station was destined to be one of many to be earmarked for closure to speed up Tube journeys on the Piccadilly line. It was proposed in 1929 for its closure but it did not happen. This, along with Arsenal (was Gillespie road), Gloucester Road, Mornington Crescent, Hyde Park Corner and Regent’s Park were on the closure list too but are still with us today. But others were not so lucky, Brompton Road (closed 1934), Down Street (closed 1934) and York Road (closed 1932) did end up being shut on the Piccadilly line and you can still see remains of these closed stations on a passing train.

Ealing Broadway (Central & District lines)

Where to find: in the shelter section of the District line platforms

Ealing Broadway also has the same kind of roundels as Covent Garden except there are just a few more about. You can actually walk towards the back of the platform to get a great view of the tracks going eastwards providing step free access between the District line platforms, the Central line and National Rail but not for exiting the station at present. But when Crossrail, ahem, the Elizabeth Line opens, Ealing Broadway station will be finally rebuilt and step free access will be provided on all platforms when the new service arrives in 2018. Even more news, Transport for London will take over control of Ealing Broadway station fully from late 2017.

Edgware (Northern line)

Where to find: island platform in the shelter section

An original sign, probably around the time of the Northern line opening in 1924. The sign is unique in having the letter W cross over which is not found in the normal Johnston typeface. There also seems to be a lot of abandoned land around the station giving it an impression that the station is incomplete. That is true because there were once plans of an extension to Bushey Heath back in 1935. The Mill Hill East branch would have extended to meet Edgware and continued northwards with stations at Brockley Hill, Elstree South and Bushey Heath. Unfortunately, with the outbreak of the Second World War, all progress in the northern extension was halted. And with the introduction of the Metropolitan Green Belt legislation, the extension was over the area of the green belt and so no residential expansion could serve these areas abandoning the extension altogether. By 1950, the plans were officially dropped.

Fulham Broadway (District line)

Where to find: southern end of both platforms

Lastly, for part 1, is Fulham Broadway. A few of these old style roundels survive and are part of what was the old station entrance, but this wasn’t the original station entrance, it actually served the second station entrance that opened in 1905 – which survives today and is Grade II listed – but is closed off and now serves as a farmers market, although the original footbridge survives to this day. The current entrance opened in 2003 when a new entrance was opened within Fulham Broadway shopping centre. The station first opened as Walham Green in 1880 and was renamed to the present name in 1952. One might think that the ‘For Stamford Bridge Stadium’ might have been a later addition, but the second entrance,opened in 1905, was built to serve the newly built Stamford Bridge Stadium (which is now home to Chelsea F.C.) around the time, so we suspect the signs are around that time (except for perhaps when the station was renamed Fulham Broadway), but how did they get the Way Out signs to point in the correct direction to the new 2003 entrance? We suspect the signs on the southern end of platforms got swapped over!

And there you go for part 1. Come back soon for more old style roundels in part 2 of this exciting series!

Seven Sisters at Seven Sisters

Seven sisters from the Ware Carmelite Monestary appear to have made their interchange at a most appropriately named station. (Ben Patey/South West News Service)

You could not get more literal than this: 33-year-old Ben Patey was more than opportunistic to have photographed seven nuns from the Ware Carmelite Monestary sitting waiting for a train at Seven Sisters Overground station. The group had been at a meeting in Notting Hill when they were on their travels back to Ware in Hertfordshire.

Sister Fiona of the, actually, eight member congregation said they had been in London for “an important meeting.”

The North London area of Seven Sisters was, in fact, not named after nuns at all nor does it have any religious connotation. The name derives from seven elm trees that had been planted in the area then known as Page Green. The trees encircled a walnut tree. Contemporary maps from 1619 appear to show the group of trees. By 1732, the name ‘Seven Sisters’ appears to have been in use. By 1805, the Ordnance Survey had included the name on their maps.

The First New Elizabeth Line Train Arrives

(Photo: TfL)

The first batch of full car sets representing the new rolling stock for the forthcoming Elizabeth Line (currently Crossrail) have arrived in London. One set was transported off the Network Rail test track in Wembley after being hauled from Derby, where it was manufactured, from where it ran under its own power to Ilford. Another set ran the line from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, currently under the operation of TfL Rail.

The new Bombardier Aventra Class 345 trains will enter public service with the Elizabeth Line in December 2018. They will initially operate in seven car sets with the aim of running nine car trains.

The managing director of London Underground Mark Wild said: “It’s a testament to Crossrail Limited who have worked hard to construct the track, stations and ticket halls that our customers will be travelling through from December next year.”

Old roundel at Covent Garden

At Covent Garden, the original ‘bullseye’ roundel can see seen towards the front of the westbound platform. It isn’t actually placed in position as it is slightly lower than it should be. But it is good to see. There are also surviving roundels of this type at Ealing Broadway on the District line platforms.

Coming soon will be a small series that will focus on old roundels that exist on the London Underground network – the first will focus on Tube stations that have their old and original roundels that have survived but only have a small number (mostly just one) of them in existence. Watch out for this and photos soon!

A station without the escalator?

Escalators – heavy used on the Underground, and when they need replacing, it is complex work! Piece by piece each part has to be removed and new replacement parts put back into place. It takes months! Normally, you wouldn’t be able to see behind the hoardings (probably because it is very deep down there!).

But check out this photo taken at Chancery Lane, without an escalator, you can see through the hoardings what it exactly looks like!

The Goblin is Back

The Class 172 ‘TurboStar’ returns to the rails but already its days are numbered on London Overground.

The Class 172 ‘TurboStar’ two car diesel locomotives made a return this week ploughing the Gospel Oak–Barking London Overground Line, nicknamed the ‘Goblin’ line. This follows months of still unfinished work to electrify the line by Network Rail.

Given the state of works currently, the ‘Goblin’ will see further closures later in the year. The aim is to have the electrification works give rise to better rolling stock and an improved service.

The Abellio–Bombardier Aventra Class 710 electric train will be the new ‘Goblin’ carrier once electrification is completed.

With all the work aimed to be completed by next year, the Class 172 locos in their Overground livery will have had a very short service span as they will be replaced by four car electric sets: The Class 710. The work on the ‘Goblin’ also aims to prepare the service for the expected Barking Riverside extension. The extension would see new tracks built with a possible intermediate station somewhere along Renwick Road near Creekmouth before the line terminates at Barking Riverside. The latter, occupying derelict land north of the Thames, is anticipated to see a major commercial and residential development.

A roundel made of bricks

The Lego shop in Leicester Square is a fascinating place. Plenty of famous structures made of Lego! But a while ago when I passed by, I spotted something very nice to see. It was a London Underground roundel made entirely of Lego! It’s Westminster and I took a photo of it outside. Whenever you are passing by, take a look for yourself!

And here is the Lego roundel next to a Lego built Big Ben! (Looks like Sherlock Holmes is investigating!)

Records of LT staff who fought in WW1 available

The junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road in 1927. (Stockholm Transport Museum)

Genealogy website Ancestry is making available some 35,000 records regarding London Transport staff who went to fight in the First World War. These include the tragic tale of a 19-year-old conductor who died on the first day of The Battle of the Somme.

These fascinating records help us remember the stories of the men and women who got Londoners from A to B every day…

Occupations within London Transport of those chronicled are wide and varied, and include porters, cleaners, platelayers, and signal box boys. The records cover the period 1863 to 1931. Incidentally, it was in 1863 that the first underground railway opened in the world: The Metropolitan Railway in London.

Ancestry’s senior content manager Miriam Silverman said: “These fascinating records help us remember the stories of the men and women who got Londoners from A to B every day, from the infancy of public transport in London in the 1800s to the early 20th century.

“But they’re also a source of important historical information about the First World War, workplace diversity and the day-to-day lives of normal people.”