Waterloo City Line
The Victoria Line runs for 13 miles1 from Walthamstow Central at its northern end to Brixton in the south. It was opened in sections, north terminus first, between 1968 and 1971, and so the Victoria Line sections of all these stations date from then. The first section was built between Finsbury Park and Manor House2, but after testing was complete and the rest of the tunnels were completed, it was decided not to open a set of Victoria Line platforms at Manor House.
The Victoria Line was built to relieve congestion on other lines, and so some of the interchanges were designed to minimise walking distance. This was done by either building the new tunnels next to the existing ones, or by swapping which line used which platform. The effect is that several interchanges allow you to continue a journey in the same direction, that is to say change from one northbound or southbound platform to the other, by walking about ten metres. The exception is Euston, where instead the northbound Victoria platform is intimately linked to the southbound Northern line (Bank branch) platform and vice versa. These platform level interchanges of the Victoria line can be seen on a track layout diagram.
As a theoretical rough guide, trains take two minutes to pass from each station to the next, and with 16 stations on the line it takes just over half an hour to travel from Walthamstow to Brixton. However, due to extended stops in tunnels and at stations, trains can take twice that time to make the entire journey. The Victoria Line was the world’s first automatic passenger railway, and the drivers simply operate the doors and then press the start button.
Walthamstow CentralKnown as Hoe Street station before 1968, Walthamstow Central is the northern terminus of the Victoria Line and lies underneath the National Rail station of the same name. Originally it was planned that the line would take over the section of British Rail line between Walthamstow Hoe Street and Chingford, with the tunnels passing overground between Hoe Street and Wood Street stations. However, the recent electrification of the main line had caused a great deal of disruption to passengers, and so it was decided to simply terminate the line at Hoe Street and rename the station.
Access to the Victoria Line is via either of the mainline rail platforms3 a major design flaw which can cause much congestion. It is difficult to get into the station when a southbound train is about to arrive or has just arrived, as the entrance to the station from the car park is on platform 1 and this is where all of the passengers for these trains will be. Also, the two subways from the mainline platforms merge into one at the Underground ticket barriers, creating an invariable bottleneck. The wi Pandora Bracelets ser commuter eventually learns when the Liverpool Street trains drop off on Platform 1 and times their entry to the station accordingly to avoid the crush.
The station’s car park has ample space and is situated off Hoe Road. The station is not too far from the M11 via the North Circular, making this station popular with travelling football supporters. However, there are no toilets. Walthamstow claims to have Europe’s longest street market with hundreds of stalls, and has generally been a residential suburban area since the arrival of the mainline railway in 1840.
Blackhorse RoadThis station lies on the corner between Blackhorse Road and Forest Road, and is connected to the Silverlink National Rail station which serves the line between Barking and Gospel Oak. Due to its name, the station’s tiled walls feature pictures of a black horse. The station has a car park with 350 spaces, but as with Walthamstow Central there are no toilets.
The surface building was the only free standing station building purposely created for the Victoria Line, although due to the era in which it was constructed (the late 1960s), it unfortunately bears a remarkable resemblance to a pile of abandoned concrete shoeboxes. The British Rail station building on the other side of Blackhorse Road closed in 1981, and access to the Gospel Oak Barking line railway platforms is now through the Underground Station ticket hall. The area outside the station isn’t particularly prepossessing reservoirs and industrial estates to the west, and suburban streets to the east. Of slightly more interest is the Walthamstow Standard over the road, which is a well established venue on the London live music scene. Many bands have cut their teeth on stage at the Standard on their way to fame and fortune, although these days it seems to prefer revivals and tribute bands to emerging young talent.
Tottenham HaleThis station lies next to The Hale roundabout and is part of the Northern Eastern Railway line station which serves trains between Stratford and Broxbourne. This service is currently run by ‘one’ trains. The station thus forms a major interchange with the rail shuttle towards Stansted Airport, as The Hale is usually the only stop between Stansted and Liverpool Street Station. During engineering work, trains run along the alternative route to Stansted, calling at Seven Sisters instead.
The station has a toilet and a small car park with about 60 spaces, and is the only station on the Victoria Line to feature a lift as well as escalators. The lift lies at the north end of the platforms, and although it is well signposted, it is not well frequented except perhaps by those travelling to Stansted with heavy luggage. Above ground, The Hale is also a reasonably major transport hub, featuring a (usually) well stocked taxi rank4 and a decent sized bus station. A large retail park is just a short walk from the station, and includes various fast food restuarants, cut price supermarkets, electrical and computer superstores, motor parts, DIY and home furnishing stores.
Seven SistersThis station lies at the northern end of Seven Sisters Road, and is next to the National Rail station which serves trains between Liverpool Street and Enfield, currently run by ‘one’ trains. It is advisable to alight here from the National Rail trains and take the Victoria Line into central London instead of carrying on to Liverpool Street. The platforms’ tiled walls are decorated with the ‘seven sisters’, a group of seven trees in the local area. Seven Sisters is the nearest tube station to White Hart Lane, the home ground of Tottenham Hotspur FC, although fans have to change here and take the overground line northwards towards White Hart Lane station. The area around the station at the bottom of Tottenham High Road comes under the heading of ‘best avoided’. Due to the fact that the entire Victoria Line is under ground, a branch running north from Seven Sisters station leads off to the surface, towards the Northumberland Park Depot. This means that some northbound trains terminate here, and there are therefore two northbound platforms.
Finsbury ParkConnected to National Rail, this station is essentially a y shaped walkway through from the bus depot on one side to Wells Terrace and Seven Sisters Road on the two other sides, with the steps down to the platforms for the Victoria and Piccadilly lines on either side of the main tunnel. The northbound platforms are next to each other to allow easy interchanges, as are the southbound platforms, making this station more favourable to change at than Green Park or King’s Cross St. Pancras.
There are also spiral staircases leading up from the tube platforms to the National Rail platforms. The station serves WAGN trains from Moorgate and King’s Cross towards the north. If you look at the Victoria Line platforms when empty, it becomes apparent that the platform slopes downhill towards the north, keeping with the shape of the line. This is due to the fact that these platforms were originally built as a terminus for the Northern Line branch from Moorgate, most of which became the British Rail Great Northern Electric suburban service5 in 1904. The station was also part of the failed Northern Heights scheme to electrify a now disused line towards Highgate, and the viaduct for this line has since been demolished6.
The pistols depicted on the decorative tiling on the Victoria line platforms reflect the fact that the nearby Hornsey Wood was traditionally a popular place for duels to take place. The station is a short distance northwest of Highbury, the home ground of Arsenal FC, and so the station is quite busy on match days. As the station is situated next to Seven Sisters Road, it is close to the large number of flats and houses which mingle with a great many public houses, pound shops and off licenses to form the seedy but cheerful western end of Islington borough.
Highbury IslingtonThis is a station with the Victoria Line and the ‘Northern City’ National Rail line 7 right next to each other, access to which is by escalators. The station also serves the Silverlink North London line from North Woolwich to Richmond. The station will be one of the nearest to the new Arsenal stadium at Ashburton Grove, along with Holloway Road and Arsenal station itself. Before the Victoria Line was built, an older surface building which lies on the opposite side of Holloway Road was used. This building was in the process of being renovated in 2005 for use in the East London Line extension northwards to a new terminus at Highbury Islington station.
The station lies just south of High Pandora Bracelets bury Fields, and football supporters can reach the south end of Highbury stadium by walking up Highbury Hill, or by taking a bus from the north side of Highbury Corner, the road junction just to the east of the station. Buses from here also run in various directions towards Holloway, Hackney, Clapton and Central London. The area around the station consists mainly of flats and houses, but with a large number of shops on Holloway road to the west of the station.
King’s Cross St. PancrasThis station serves six lines Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith City, Northern, Picadilly, Victoria and is in close proximity to both King’s Cross and St. Pancras National Rail stations as well as King’s Cross Thameslink station. The original Underground station on the Metropolitan line was built in 1863, and the Piccadilly and Northern lines arrived in 1906 and 1907 respectively. The station was moved westwards in 1941 so that it was nearer to the other lines, and some of the old station buildings were then used for the King’s Cross Thameslink. The first Victoria Line trains served King’s Cross in 1968 after the second section of the line was opened between Highbury Islington and Warren Street.
This station was the scene of the King’s Cross fire in 1987, that apparently started under a wooden escalator coming up from the Piccadilly line. The fire, which claimed a total of 31 lives, led to the replacement of all wooden escalator steps with metal ones8 and the introduction of a ban on smoking throughout the network. A remembrance plaque can still be seen in the tube station. On July 7, 2005, a suicide bomb on a train travelling southbound from King’s Cross on the Piccadilly line killed 26 people. There were four such bombs on the same day, with three of them being on trains which ran through King’s Cross and the other on a nearby bus service.
The deep level lines are linked to the other lines underground, but also have a separate entrance inside King’s Cross mainline station. A long sloping tunnel links the Piccadilly Line to the Thameslink station with steps down to the north end of the Victoria Line platforms along the way. You can get to Euston station by taking the northbound Northern Line or the southbound Victoria Line this is one of the peculiarities of the London Undergroun Pandora Bracelets d.
Redevelopment of the entire King’s Cross St. Pancras complex began in 2001, having become more frantic since 2005 to allow for the construction of a new Eurostar International Terminal at St Pancras station part of the improved Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The original Victorian train shed at St Pancras with its gigantic curved roof will house the international platforms, while a new building further away from the tube station has already begun to house the national platforms. Meanwhile, new Pandora Bracelets Thameslink platforms will be built underground at St. Pancras to replace those at King’s Cross Thameslink, relegating the latter to just another entrance to the tube station by 2008.
The construction of new ticket halls for the tube station has come on in leaps and bounds, with a new ticket office now existing underneath the forecourt of St. Pancras station, providing two new entrances onto Euston Road. Meanwhile, a shorter interchange has opened between the deep level escalators and the Circle line platforms, allowing much easier access to the Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith City lines. Work continues on the ticket hall beneath the western concourse of King’s Cross station. The previous ticket hall is now closed to facilitate the works, with a temporary replacement lying above ground just in front of King’s Cross station. The expansion of the tube station has already led to the building of extra entrances on the south side of Euston Road, providing a subway to the original ticket office. The work is scheduled to finish in 2009.
As if all this redevelopment wasn’t enough, there are plans to build a large number of houses, offices and facilities on the brown field site between the railway lines which run from King’s Cross and St. Pancras. Known as the King’s Cross Central development, the project is scheduled for completion by 2015, and may lead to the reopening of York Way station on the Piccadilly line.
EustonEuston is a major National Rail station which has platforms for both of the central branches of the Northern Line as well as the Victoria Line. This has not always been the case. The Northern Line was originally formed by combining the City South London Railway with the Charing Cross, Euston Hampstead Railway. Euston originally featured a pair of stations, one owned by each of the rail companies. Both lines opened in 1907 in competition with each other. As well as the Euston mainline station building (which was shared between the two), each line had its own surface building connected to it by tunnels. Both extraneous surface buildings were closed in 1914, though the Charing Cross, Euston Hampstead Railway branch surface building can still be seen at street level.
Later on, the Northern Line (Bank branch) platforms were moved so as to be much closer to the Victoria Line, and the disused platforms and tunnel to King’s Cross are still there. The interchange from the Victoria Line to the Northern Line (Bank branch) is therefore quicker than to the Northern Line (Charing Cross branch). For more detailed information and pictures, see this website. The Victoria Line and Charing Cross branch have platform level interchanges, with the northbound Victoria Line lying next to the southbound Charing Cross branch and vice versa. These four platforms are all connected to a spiral staircase which provides at alternative route to the escalators which serve each pair of platforms. The tiled Victoria Line platform walls feature the old Euston arch, which used to be the entrance to the mainline station before it was rebuilt in 1962.
Euston Station contains a large number of amenities and its own pub, previously known as The Head of Steam but now renamed The Doric Arch after the great arch that once marked the entrance to Euston station. The station is within walking distance of many businesses as well as University College London, and so the station is often swamped by ambling commuters, making it difficult to navigate the tube station when in a rush. Euston also has a large bus station.
Warren StreetThis station lies on the southwest corner of the junction between Euston Road and Tottenham Court Road, and was originally named Euston Road when it opened in 1907. After passing down one escalator, the walkway splits into two with separate escalators descending to the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line and to the Victoria Line, both of which are served by the station. The station once operated using lifts, although only a small passage from the bottom of the Northern Line escalators remains. It is advisable to change lines at Stockwell instead of Warren Street if you are continuing towards the north or south and passing by both stations. Due to the station’s name, the tiled platform walls feature a maze pattern.
The station lies close to University College London, although Euston Square on the Circle line is closer. There used to be a subway underneath Euston Road from just outside Warren Street station, but this is now closed. Warren Street is within walking and jogging distance of Regent’s Park, and due to its position at the head of Tottenham Court Road, the station is in close proximity to a large number of shops and public houses.