South Ruislip – Central line

August 2nd, 2010 — 11:28pm

Q. How many stations are there with Ruislip in?

A. Not as many as there are with Acton in them.*

*Overground included

Further along the Central line as it ambles its remarkably frequent way towards central London is South Ruislip. This is another station where Chiltern trains stop, although it was originally known as Northolt Junction when built as a GWR station way back in 1908. Nowadays, the slightly dated-looking platforms: enormous mirrors, a faded red fence and dated signs are clearly visible through the bushes and shrubbery from its younger brother, the Central line’s platforms.

(Click for larger version)

South Ruislip Underground station panorama

This is the first station on my very short-lived travels where it seems any thought has been put into the station building and as an architectural statement it almost works. The initial ‘drum’, shown below from 1954 (apparently six years after the Central line started stopping although the ticket hall looks very much incomplete) certainly has merit and is almost Holden-esque, but seems to have been replaced in the 1960s with a rather disappointing semi-replica – if it was a school report, it would read ‘shows promise but could do better‘.


©TfL from the London Transport Museum collection


Exterior of South Ruislip

Inside it works a little better, especially with the concrete modernist artwork patterned with pebbles to give different textures.

Complete with pebbles Ticket hall

At platform level (at risk of sounding like a townie) it was pleasant to look down the track and see little but countryside and open space even if the area itself wasn’t actually as rural as this looks.

Heading towards Northolt

Most interesting, in an arty way, though quite unintentionally I’m sure, was the ‘ghost’ roundel placed at the end of the eastbound platform. The building itself looks rather new, so I wonder what reason the roundel was taken off? (or indeed put there in the first place as it’s right at the end of the platform next to the ‘out of bounds’ swinging gates – for confused train operators perhaps?)

Ghost roundel


Verdict:? Another fairly quiet station. A pity the original ticket hall structure has been replaced with a 1960s inferior model, although it’s not a bad effort for the 1960s and probably not as bad as it could have been.

More photographs of this station are in the South Ruislip set of my Flickr page.


Comment » | Central line, South Ruislip

First S Stock train in passenger service

August 1st, 2010 — 9:49pm

The brand-spanking new S Stock, previously only seen by the pubic in mock-up form, had its first public outing yesterday, departing from Wembley Park and arriving at Watford before making a return journey. These are the first new trains in service since the 2009 stock Victoria line trains started appearing around this time last year.

The first schoolboy error of the day on my part was misreading the ‘Weekend Closure‘ list and incorrectly assuming that both the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines were completely closed. Except they weren’t, well, not completely. Instead, taking the Victoria line to Oxford Circus, the Bakerloo to Wembley somewhere and then a 2xx bus, I managed to get to Wembley Park a little quicker than I imagined.

Quiet when I arrived, the platform was soon full of people with cameras, which was great, except when at the last minute they stood right in front of me. Grrrrr. Anyway, a little after its rumoured 10.50am arrival at platform 1 of Wembley Park, it appeared, or more accurately, it crept in, silently:

First S Stock train in passenger service 31-07-2010

After a short delay, which involved one of LU’s testers forcibly (and quite rightly so) making sure his son was the first ‘passenger’ on the first official train, the rest of us were let on for the initial journey that would take us to Watford and back.

First S Stock train in passenger service 31-07-2010 First S Stock train in passenger service 31-07-2010

Yay:   Quite cool, much better than the 2009 stock.

Meh:     The train wasn’t *that* crowded and it wasn’t that hot – did the dial need to be turned to ‘cold’ a little more?

Yay:   It was quiet – I hardly heard any noise when the train was approaching.

Yay:   Automated announcements and driver’s announcements were crystal clear, unlike the 2009 stock.

Yay:   Lots of space, even if that means fewer seats. Hey, this is the way of the world: London’s a busy place. The walk-through bits will give even more space.

Meh:    Due, at least in part, to DDA rules, all poles are yellow. Great for the partially-sighted, but there’s very little feel of the Metropolitan purple around.

Yay/Meh:  Still unsure about the moquette, although it looks very like Liquorice Allsorts to me. Not as bad as I first thought, but is it only a matter of time until it gets replaced by fleet-wide standard moquette?

First S Stock train in passenger service 31-07-2010

Yay: Because of the cantilever-style seating there’s lots of space underneath seats for people to put their bags. It should also mean that ‘Amersham Man’ won’t quite mourn the loss of the luggage racks quite so much (although frankly I wouldn’t want to sit underneath a fully-laiden one in case it falls on top of me, which I’ve seen happen before – painful stuff).

Yay: I didn’t particularly think that the seats were as hard as everyone had gone on about :)

So overall, a successful jaunt out, no ‘teething’ issues really occurred, which is what TfL must have been concerned about as they tried to keep the trip as low key as possible. Apparently the future timetable in December 2010 will give the S Stocks regular paths in the timetable. Let’s keep ’em coming.

You can see more photographs and videos of the first S Stock in passenger service on my Flickr page.

Comment » | Metropolitan line, S Stock

Ruislip Gardens – Central line

July 30th, 2010 — 10:40pm

It was a beautifully sunny day when I did this group of stations which of course makes everything that little bit nicer. Combined with this was the rural-esque nature of the surroundings (if you can ignore the roads, etc) and the relatively quiet stations, although as stated in the last post about West Ruislip station, it’s probably a good idea to visit places such as this off-peak.

Towards South Ruislip

Trains have been tootling past since 1906 but it wasn’t until twenty-eight years later, in 1934, that trains started stopping here with a station built by the operating companies the GWR (Great Western Railway) and the GCR (Great Central Railway). The Central line began operating here fourteen years later as part of the New Works Programme having an island platform (although doesn’t feel like the Clapham stations at all, which because of the tiny island make me feel nauseous every time I pass through) with the Chiltern lines still visible across the tracks. The canopies look relatively authentic although looking at original photographs it’s highly doubtful that they are as the originals appear to use a concrete-like material. Roundel casings and lights have also disappeared over the years and the glass waiting room is, of course, a relatively recent addition but doesn’t look out of place (as nice as it is I wonder how many people actually use it?)

©TfL from the London Transport Museum collection


(Fairly) new waiting room

From the very beginning the exterior of the station has looked a bit ramshackle: today it looks no different still looking a bit, shall we say, temporary. Again, it’s difficult to see any direct transport links and although the station now resides on a semi-busy road it doesn’t actually seem to be near anything: perhaps a commonplace occurance when the station is built in areas of pretty much zero population allowing the town to build up around it.


©TfL from the London Transport Museum collection


And today’s version – remarkably similar but no doubt of a different construction (click for larger view).

Ruislip Gardens Underground station

Perhaps the only other point to note is that at the station’s west end there is a link to the depot at West Ruislip.

Ruislip Gardens Underground station


Verdict: Quite a simple little station really with no hugely distinguishing features. I bet the staff that work here love it. The newer bits are really quite nice as far as it goes.

More photographs of this station are in the Ruislip Gardens set of my Flickr page.

Comment » | Central line, Ruislip Gardens

West Ruislip – Central Line

July 29th, 2010 — 10:31pm

With no great thought put into where I was to head off to first (after all if I’m going to visit everywhere, what difference does it make?) and thinking that an outside section of track would be best seeing as it’s summer and the leaves and trees make everything look that little bit nicer from a photography point of view. Remembering what I’d read on Ianvisits’ blog about a single wooden escalator left at Greenford near the west end of the Central line, this settled it – the red line it is to start.

The Central Line extension to Denham was conceived during the New Works Programme designed to co-ordinate the expansion of London’s transport infrastructure as the population of London increased. Put on hold by World War II, the plans for the Central line extension, like that of the the Northern Line were irrevocably changed: new green belt legislation meant that West Ruislip, rather than Denham, was the end of the line.


Although West Ruislip is the end of the line the evidence of further plans is still evident today, although runaway trains wouldn’t get very far without any power rails.

No power

No entry

Tracks in the distance are used by Chiltern Railways although very few trains are timetabled to stop here nowadays. Nevertheless, the station is managed by Chiltern and in that respect, the building and ticket hall have a slightly shabby, non-LU look about it even though the standard ticket gates, Oyster readers and ticket machines are in place. The main road outside the station has few distinguishing features: from a quick wander round outside the station it’s hard to see any local features other than a small kebab shop.

West Ruislip exterior - panorama

West Ruislip ticket hall West Ruislip ticket hall

Platform level is in the form of an island layout with shunting neck roads on the side of Ruislip depot (which south side of which can connect to the Piccadilly and Metropolitan lines just past Ruislip station).

West Ruislip Underground station

As so often seen at the end of the line, it’s a quiet little place (at least off-peak) but has a little bit of an unloved feel to it with nothing making it stand out in any particular way. ‘Improvements’ made to the building in the 1960s certainly don’t seem to have benefitted the station in comparison to how it used to look, although the glassed waiting areas do give the station a more modern look underneath the older-style canopies.

West Ruislip platforms West Ruislip Underground station

Verdict: Quiet, bit of a sad rebuilding project in the 60s that makes the place look a bit more run-down than it should do, platform area much more LU-like than the ticket hall!

More photographs of this station are in the West Ruislip set of my Flickr page. One down, not far off three hundred to go: don’t hold your breath!

2 comments » | Central line, Denham, West Ruislip

The start of a journey…

July 28th, 2010 — 3:05pm

I’ve lived in London for about four years now. Living in Central London I’ve not had occasion to visit many of the places served by London Underground other than areas near where I live or work: it occurred to me that I’d probably never have occasion to visit places like Amersham or Loughton without embarking on a project like this, discovering points of interest along the way.


The whole concept of the Underground intrigues me: from the earliest stations built nearly 150 years ago to the modern-day creations, with the best and worst of architecture in between. Older, more aesthetically pleasing trains that are better than their modern counterparts; hidden gems indicating the pride and the history of the system that few people notice on their way to their next appointment; disused stations unknown or forgotten by city dwellers; the day-to-day challenges of making the trains, stations and equipment work despite an ever-increasing amount of passengers using the system in the backdrop of some fairly antiquated resources.

All this combines to make a rather unique system different to every other metro system in the world: Madrid’s may be newer but has none of the history; Paris’s may seem more frequent but lacks the je ne sais quoi of our system.

This site is an attempt to visit these stations, look at their history, report on some of the new comings, the older goings and to search out the less well-known or not normally open bits of the network. It’ll take a good long time, but hey, that’s part of the fun.


Comment » | explanation, introduction

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