Archive for August 2010

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

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