Tuesday 28 September 2021

Battersea Power Station Station (1)

 From Fire to Power

Were you to travel to Monument underground station, leave the station entrance and walk south towards the Thames on what is the A3 ...
... and hang a left ...
... you would be looking at the eponymous "Monument".

The Monument to the Great Fire of London, more commonly known simply as the Monument, is a Doric column in London, England, situated near the northern end of London Bridge. Commemorating the Great Fire of London, it stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, 202 feet in height and 202 feet west of the spot in Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started on 2 September 1666. Constructed between 1671 and 1677, it was built on the site of St Margaret, New Fish Street, the first church to be destroyed by the Great Fire.

En route you might miss the little blue plaque on the new-ish building to the right.
Here once stood the northern terminus of the first underground railway in the world ...
... and the first electrified railway in the world.
In 1900 the line was diverted and eventually formed part of today's Northern Line. The original southern terminus was at Stockwell, but the line was progressively extended until, in 1926, it reached its present terminus at Morden.
At Kennington, a junction was made with what we now call the Northern Line Charing Cross Branch. Part of the 1926 extension work was to create a turning loop.
Trains turned by trundling round the loop rather than the traditional Underground "reverse" in a siding or at a platform.

If trains from the City branch are scheduled to reverse, they usually use the turn-back siding as shown in the map below.
Passengers are not allowed to travel round the loop from Kennington to Kennington, but some do - either by hiding from platform staff or by being asleep, drunk and thus tactfully ignored. Those that do manage to avoid the opprobrium of the station staff may choose to buy the T-shirt.
It comes in a choice of 6 colours and costs £17.99 - which is more than fbb would want to pay for full evening dress!! Anyone can by one; fbb could even though he would be too frit to try to make the journey!

Enthusiastic but forbidden riders of "the loop" are somewhat aghast at the opening of the new line to Battersea Power Station station. The fear is that, if all trains that would have terminated at Kennington are extended to Battersea Power Station, the loop will fall into disuse.

It is the only such on the Underground.

At one time there was a loop at Shepherds Bush/Wood Lane ...
... shown as dotted lines in todays underground track plan or conventionally on the street map below.
Recent interest has, of course, been aroused by the extension to Battersea Power Station station. The building at the terminus is a stylish building ...
... some distance from the former power station. Banks of escalators lead down to brightly lit platforms.
But, all a round the station, you can enjoy ...
... acres of awesomeness.

fbb cannot wait to enjoy the awe!

Nine Elms is rather more prosaic in design ...
... with escalators leading up ...
... from a wide and bright circulating area between to two platforms.
You do wonder whether the expense of electronic departure screens was a worthwhile investment with just one stop left!
But these new stations are so much brighter than traditional Northern Line offerings, even though the originals have been well refurbished.
Currently trains run every 12 minutes and the stations are both in Zone 1 which has been especially extended in a little bubble to accommodate the new stations.
Question: Is this the LEAST FREQUENT bit of the underground in Zone 1?

But fbb is interested much more in the history of Kennington Station and the developments round about which have evolved as part of the new Northern Line extension.

 Next Power Station station blog : 29th September 


  1. A couple of notes. First, the C&SL wasn't of course the first underground railway in the world, that was the Metropolitan. But it was the first deep-level "Tube" (unless one includes the short-lived and cable-hauled Tower Subway in the list). Second, it wasn't the first electrified (public) railway: that was Volk's Electric Railway in Brighton, opened seven years earlier in 1883.

  2. There was also a loop at Charing Cross, which was partially under the Thames - abandoned when the line was extended - while the LNWR proposed one at Euston, as the underground terminus of what became the Watford DC electric line. The proposal was superseded by the connection of the Bakerloo to the LNWR at Queens Park.

  3. There is of course the passenger-carrying loop on the Piccadilly Line at Heathrow - are trains using it at the moment?

    In the days when tube trains were routinely uncoupled and recoupled during the day, loops were a pain as cars could easily present the "wrong" ends to each other.

  4. Some trains via Charing Cross still terminate at Kennington, eg: https://tfl.gov.uk/tube/timetable/northern?toId=940GZZLUKNG&toText=Kennington+Underground+Station&SelectedTime=17&SelectedDate=mondayfriday&fromId=940GZZLUCHX&fromText=Charing+Cross+Underground+Station