Euston railway station

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Euston
National Rail London Overground London Underground
London Euston
Euston Station London - geograph.org.uk - 1309275.jpg
Main entrance in 2009
Euston is located in Central London
Euston
Euston
Location of Euston in Central London
Location Euston Road
Local authority London Borough of Camden
Managed by Network Rail
Station code EUS
DfT category A
Number of platforms 18
Accessible Yes [1]
Fare zone 1
OSI Euston LU [2]
Euston Square
St Pancras
King's Cross
Cycle Parking Yes - platforms 17-18 and external
Toilet Facilities Yes
National Rail annual entry and exit
2004–05 Increase 26.256 million[3]
2005–06 Increase 27.167 million[3]
2006–07 Decrease 25.585 million[3]
2007–08 Increase 28.739 million[3]
2008–09 Increase 31.179 million[3]
2009–10 Decrease 30.068 million[3]
2010–11 Increase 34.073 million[3]
2011–12 Increase 36.607 million[3]
2012–13 Increase 38.299 million[3]
Key dates
20 July 1837 Opened
1849 Expanded
1962–1968 Rebuilt
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
Portal icon London Transport portal
Portal icon UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°31′42″N 0°07′59″W / 51.5284°N 0.1331°W / 51.5284; -0.1331

Euston railway station or London Euston /ˈlʌndən.ˈjstən/ is a central London railway terminus and one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail.[4] It is the sixth busiest railway station in the UK.

Euston is southern terminus of the West Coast Main Line, the busiest and most important inter city passenger line in Britain, serving as the main gateway from London to the West Midlands, the North West, North Wales and part of Scotland. Virgin Trains provides high speed intercity services to these regions. Its most important long-distance destinations are Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

It is also the London terminus for London Midland trains which provide local/regional services to Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and further afield to the West Midlands. Euston is also the terminus for suburban services on the Watford DC Line with London Overground.

It is connected to Euston tube station and near Euston Square tube station on the London Underground. It is a short walk from King's Cross Station, the southern terminus of the East Coast Main Line, and St Pancras International Station for the Midland Main Line and Eurostar to France and Belgium. These stations are all in Travelcard Zone 1.

It is the gateway to Ireland via Holyhead and ferry to Dún Laoghaire, for Dublin. Until the 1960s the station was a terminus of the most-frequented London to Belfast route via Carlisle and the Beeching Axe-closed Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway to Stranraer.

History[edit]

It was the first inter-city railway station in London, opened on 20 July 1837 as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway.[5] The original building was demolished in the 1960s and replaced with the present one, built in the international modern style.

The site was selected in the early 1830s by George and Robert Stephenson, engineers of the London and Birmingham Railway. The area was then mostly farmland at the edge of the expanding city of London. The station was named after Euston Hall in Suffolk, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Grafton, who were the main landowners in the area. Objections to the station by local farmers meant that, when the Act authorising construction of the line was passed in 1833, the terminus was at Chalk Farm. These objections were overcome, and in 1835 an Act authorising construction of the station was passed, and construction went ahead.[5][6]

The station and railway have been owned by the London and Birmingham Railway (1837–1845), the London and North Western Railway (1846–1922), the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (1923–1947), British Railways (1948–1994), Railtrack (1994–2001) and Network Rail (2001–present)

Old building[edit]

An early print of Euston showing the wrought iron roof of 1837.
"Euston Arch": the original entrance to Euston Station (photo in 1896)

The original station was built by William Cubitt.[7] It was designed by the classically trained architect Philip Hardwick[8] with a 200 ft (61 m)-long trainshed by structural engineer Charles Fox. Initially it had only two platforms, one for departures and one for arrivals. Also designed by Hardwick was a 72 ft (22 m)-high Doric propylaeum, the largest ever built,[9] erected at the entrance as a portico, which became known as the Euston Arch.

The Great Hall, Euston Station

Until 1844 trains were pulled up the incline to Camden Town by cables because the London and Birmingham Railway's Act of Parliament prohibited the use of locomotives in the Euston area; this prohibition is said to have been in response to concerns of local prominent residents as to the noise and smoke emitted by locomotives toiling up the incline.[10]

The station grew rapidly over the following years as traffic increased. It was greatly expanded in the 1840s, with the opening in 1849 of the spectacular Great Hall, designed by Hardwick's son Philip Charles Hardwick in classical style. It was 126 ft (38 m) long, 61 ft (19 m) wide and 64 ft (20 m) high, with a coffered ceiling and a sweeping double flight of stairs leading to offices at its northern end. Architectural sculptor John Thomas contributed eight allegorical statues representing the cities served by the line. The station was on Drummond Street, further from Euston Road than the front of the modern complex, which now terminates at the side of the station but then ran across the front.[11] A short road called Euston Grove ran from Euston Square towards the arch. Two hotels, the Euston Hotel and the Victoria Hotel, flanked the northern half of this approach.

As traffic grew, the station required further expansion. Two platforms were added in the 1870s with new service roads and entrances, and four in the 1890s, bringing the total to 15, one of them for parcels traffic.[5]

Apart from the lodges on Euston Road and statues now on the forecourt, few relics of the old station survive. The National Railway Museum's collection at York includes a commemorative plaque and E.H. Bailey's statue of George Stephenson, both from the Great Hall; the entrance gates; and an 1846 turntable discovered during demolition.

1930s rebuilding proposals[edit]

By the 1930s the station had become congested, and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) looked into the possibility of rebuilding it. They appointed the Welsh architect Percy Thomas to produce some designs. He proposed a new American-inspired station that would involve removing or re-siting the arch. However, World War II intervened and the proposals were shelved.[12]

New building[edit]

The exterior and entrance in 2012
The concourse in 2012
Platforms 9 and 10.

In the early 1960s it was decided that a larger station was required. Because of the restricted layout of track and tunnels at the northern end, enlargement could be accomplished only by expanding southwards over the area occupied by the Great Hall and the Arch.[6] Amid much public outcry, the station building and the Arch were demolished in 1961–2 and replaced by a new building. Its opening in 1968 followed the electrification of the West Coast Main Line, and the new structure was intended to symbolise the coming of the "electric age". The station was built by Taylor Woodrow Construction Ltd[6] to a design by BR's architects in consultation with Richard Seifert & Partners, responsible for the second phase of the complex in the late 1970s.

The station is a long, low structure with a frontage of some 197 m (646 ft). The second phase consists of a bus terminal and three low-rise office towers looking out on to Melton Street and Eversholt Street. The offices were occupied by British Rail, then Railtrack, and finally Network Rail, which has now vacated all but a small portion of one of the towers. These buildings are in a functional style and the main facing material is polished dark stone, complemented by white tiles, exposed concrete and plain glazing. The station has a single large concourse, separate from the train shed. A few remnants of the older station remain: two Portland stone entrance lodges and a war memorial. A statue of Robert Stephenson by Carlo Marochetti, previously in the old ticket hall, stands in the forecourt.

There is a large statue by Eduardo Paolozzi named Piscator dedicated to German theatre director Erwin Piscator at the front of the courtyard. Other pieces of public art, including low stone benches by Paul de Monchaux around the courtyard, were commissioned by Network Rail in the 1990s.

The station has catering units and shops, a large ticket hall and an enclosed car park with over 200 spaces.[13]

The screening-off and positioning of platforms away from a spacious main concourse results in a waiting area that is protected from the elements, while areas in front of the inter-city platforms allow passengers to queue without obstructing passenger flow in the main body of the station. Passenger flow is further aided by the positioning of the main departure indicator board to encourage passengers to gather away from platform entrances, and by a walkway under the main concourse that provides a direct link from commuter platforms 8 to 11 to the Underground station.

The lack of daylight on the platforms compares unfavourably with the glazed trainshed roofs of traditional Victorian railway stations, but the use of the space above as a parcels depot[14] released the maximum possible space at ground level for platforms and passenger facilities.

The station has 18 platforms: platforms 8 to 11 are used primarily for London Overground and London Midland commuter services, and have automatic ticket gates. Two platforms are extra long to accommodate the 16-car Caledonian Sleeper.

Architectural controversy[edit]

Euston's 1960s style of architecture has been described as "hideous",[15] "a dingy, grey, horizontal nothingness"[16] and a reflection of "the tawdry glamour of its time", entirely lacking in "the sense of occasion, of adventure, that the great Victorian termini gave to the traveller".[17] Writing in The Times, Richard Morrison stated that "even by the bleak standards of Sixties architecture, Euston is one of the nastiest concrete boxes in London: devoid of any decorative merit; seemingly concocted to induce maximum angst among passengers; and a blight on surrounding streets. The design should never have left the drawing-board — if, indeed, it was ever on a drawing-board. It gives the impression of having been scribbled on the back of a soiled paper bag by a thuggish android with a grudge against humanity and a vampiric loathing of sunlight".[18] Michael Palin, explorer and travel writer, in his contribution to Great Railway Journeys titled "Confessions of a Trainspotter", likened it to "a great bath, full of smooth, slippery surfaces where people can be sloshed about efficiently".

Euston station seen from above

Access to parts of the station is difficult for the disabled. The ramps from the concourse down to platform level are too steep for unassisted wheelchairs, but the introduction of lifts in May 2010 made the taxi rank and underground station easily accessible from the concourse.

The demolition of the original buildings in 1962 has been described as "one of the greatest acts of Post-War architectural vandalism in Britain" and is believed to have been approved by the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan (Con), who was the first of a line of Prime Ministers who championed motorway building. The replacement trainshed has a low, flat roof, making no attempt to match the airy style of London's major 19th century trainsheds. The attempts made to preserve the earlier building, championed by the later Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, led to the formation of The Victorian Society and heralded the modern conservation movement.[19] This movement saved the nearby high Gothic St Pancras Station when it was threatened with demolition by British Rail in 1966, ultimately leading to its renovation in 2007 as the terminus of HS1 to the Continent.

The demolition of the original building is often compared to the 1963 demolition of New York Penn Station, which similarly alerted preservationists in New York City to the importance of saving historic buildings.

1973 IRA attack[edit]

Extensive but superficial damage was caused by an IRA bomb that exploded close to a snack bar at approximately 1:10pm on 10 September 1973, injuring eight people. The Metropolitan Police had received a three-minute warning and were unable to evacuate the station completely, but British Transport Police were able to evacuate much of the area just prior to the explosion, thereby reducing casualties. In 1974, the mentally-ill Judith Ward was convicted of this and other crimes despite the evidence against her being highly suspect. She was acquitted in 1992, and the actual culprit has not been apprehended.[20]

Privatisation[edit]

Ownership of the station transferred from British Rail to Railtrack plc in 1994, passing to Network Rail in 2002 following the failure of Railtrack.

In 2005 Network Rail was reported to have long-term aspirations to redevelop the station, removing the 1960s buildings and providing a great deal more commercial space by using the "air rights" above the platforms.

In December 2005 Network Rail announced as part of the redevelopment plans to create a subway link to Euston Square tube station, currently separated by a five-minute walk along Euston Road.[21]

2007 rebuilding announcement[edit]

On 5 April 2007, British Land announced that it had won the tender to demolish and rebuild the station, spending some £250m of its overall redevelopment budget of £1bn for the area. The number of platforms will increase from 18 to 21.[22] Media reports in early 2008 hinted that the Arch could be rebuilt.[23]

Sydney & London Properties, project manager to the Euston Estate Limited Partnership, launched a Vision Masterplan in May 2008 with the aim of stimulating debate about the future of the station and the surrounding neighbourhood.[24]

2011 redesign announcement[edit]

In September 2011 plans for demolition were cancelled and Aedas was appointed to give the station a makeover.[25]

Usage[edit]

It is the sixth-busiest terminus in London by entries and exits.[26][27][28][29]

High Speed 2[edit]

Proposed footprint

On 11 March 2010 the Secretary of State for Transport announced that Euston was the preferred southern terminus of the proposed High Speed 2 line to Birmingham and the north.[30] This would require expansion to the south and west to create new sufficiently long platforms. These plans would preclude the 2007 reconstruction and would entail complete reconstruction, involving the demolition of 220 Camden Council flats, with half the station providing conventional train services and the new half high-speed trains. The Command Paper suggests rebuilding the Arch and an artist's impression includes it.[31]

The station would have 24 platforms serving both high-speed and classic lines. These would be at a low level while the flats demolished by the extension would be replaced by significant building work above. The underground station would also be rebuilt and connected to Euston Square tube station. When High Speed 2 is extended beyond Birmingham, the Mayor's office believes it will be necessary to build the proposed Crossrail 2 line via Euston to relieve 10,000 extra passengers forecast to arrive during an average day.[32][33][34][35]

In order to relieve pressure on Euston during and after the rebuilding for High Speed 2, HS2 Ltd has proposed the withdrawal of London Overground trains between Euston and Queen's Park, and the diversion to Crossrail of eight London Midland trains per hour from Milton Keynes.[36]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 26 April 1924, an electric multiple unit was in a rear-end collision with an excursion train.[37]
  • On 27 August 1928, a passenger train crashed through the buffers. Thirty people were injured.[38]

Services[edit]

Four train operating companies use Euston, with the following services in trains per hour:

Virgin Trains operates Intercity West Coast services from platforms 1–7 and 12–18:

London Midland operates regional, commuter and outer suburban services from platforms 7-15 and 17-18.

London Overground operates local commuter services, usually from platform 9.

First ScotRail operates two nightly Caledonian Sleepers to Scotland.

Preceding station   Overground notextroundel.svg National Rail logo.svg London Overground   Following station
Watford DC Line Terminus
National Rail National Rail
Watford Junction   First ScotRail
Lowland Caledonian Sleeper
  Terminus
Crewe   First ScotRail
Highland Caledonian Sleeper
(southbound)
  Terminus
Origin   First ScotRail
Highland Caledonian Sleeper
(northbound)
  Watford Junction
Watford Junction   London Midland
London — Crewe
  Terminus
Harrow & Wealdstone   London Midland
London – Birmingham
  Terminus
Milton Keynes Central   Virgin Trains
WCML London - Scotland
  Terminus
Watford Junction   Virgin Trains
WCML London - West Midlands
  Terminus
Milton Keynes Central   Virgin Trains
WCML London - Chester/North Wales
  Terminus
Stafford   Virgin Trains
WCML London - Liverpool
  Terminus
Milton Keynes Central or Crewe or Stoke-on-Trent   Virgin Trains
WCML London - Manchester
  Terminus
Warrington Bank Quay   Virgin Trains
WCML London - Glasgow
  Terminus
Future services
Old Oak Common   TBA
High Speed 2
  Terminus

London Underground[edit]

Euston station is directly above and connected to Euston tube station, on the Victoria line and the Northern line (both Bank and Charing Cross branches) of the London Underground. Euston Square tube station on the Circle line, Hammersmith & City line and Metropolitan line is a five-minute walk away along Euston Road.

If High Speed 2 goes ahead, Transport for London (TfL) plans to change the safeguarded route for the proposed Chelsea–Hackney line to include Euston between Tottenham Court Road and King's Cross St Pancras.[39] As part of the rebuilding work for High Speed 2, it is proposed to integrate Euston and Euston Square into a single tube station.[33]

Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
towards Hammersmith
Circle line
Transfer at: Euston Square
towards Edgware Road (via Aldgate)
Hammersmith & City line
Transfer at: Euston Square
towards Barking
Metropolitan line
Transfer at: Euston Square
towards Aldgate
Northern line
Charing Cross branch
Transfer at: Euston
towards Kennington or Morden (via Charing Cross)
Northern line
Bank branch
Transfer at: Euston
towards Morden (via Bank)
towards Brixton
Victoria line
Transfer at: Euston

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "London and South East" (pdf). National Rail Enquiries. National Rail. September 2006. Archived from the original on 6 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "Out of Station Interchanges" (Microsoft Excel). Transport for London. May 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation.  Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  4. ^ "Commercial information". Our Stations. London: Network Rail. April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "Euston Station, London". Network Rail. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c The New Euston Station 1968 1968 British Rail information booklet
  7. ^ Holland & Hannen and Cubitts — The Inception and Development of a Great Building Firm, 1920, p. 41.
  8. ^ www.shaw-hardwick.co.uk – Website in memory of the Hardwick architects
  9. ^ "Arch outside the main entrance to Euston Station, Camden, London, 1952". Museum of London Picture Library. Retrieved 19 August 2007. 
  10. ^ "London and Birmingham Railway". Camden Railway Heritage Trust. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  11. ^ www.motco.com – 1862 map, showing position of 1849 station.
  12. ^ Bull, John. "The Euston Arch Part 2: Death". London Reconnections. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Station Facilities for London Euston". ATOC. No date. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  14. ^ http://www.eustonarch.org/britishrail1968.pdf
  15. ^ Williams, Michael (14 September 2007). "The real Eurostar: How a poet returned St Pancras to the nation". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  16. ^ Martin, Andrew (13 December 2004). "So, what would you burn?". New Statesman (London). Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  17. ^ Stamp, Gavin (October 2007). "Steam ahead: the proposed rebuilding of London's Euston station is an opportunity to atone for a great architectural crime". Apollo: the international magazine of art and antiques. Retrieved 9 November 2007. 
  18. ^ Morrison, Richard (10 April 2007). "Euston: we have an architectural problem". The Times (London). Retrieved 22 September 2007.  (subscription required)
  19. ^ Royal Institution of British Architects, "How We Built Britain" exhibition. Retrieved 9 September 2007.
  20. ^ BBC On This Day 1973: "Bomb blasts rock Central London". Retrieved 27 February 2007.
  21. ^ http://www.alwaystouchout.com/project/125 – Euston to Euston Square subway link
  22. ^ Stewart, Dan (5 April 2007). "British Land wins £1bn Euston contract". Building. 
  23. ^ Binney, Marcus (18 February 2008). "Landmark of the railway age may be resurrected". The Times (London). (subscription required)
  24. ^ – "Vision of Euston Station in the future"
  25. ^ "Euston Station | Aedas | Architecture | Transport | London, UK". Aedas. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  26. ^ "Station Usage 2007/08". Network Rail. Retrieved 15 March 2009. 
  27. ^ "Stations Run by Network Rail". Network Rail. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  28. ^ "Station facilities for London Euston". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  29. ^ "Commercial information". Complete National Rail Timetable. London: Network Rail. May 2013. p. 43. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  30. ^ Department for Transport (2010a). High Speed Rail — Command Paper. The Stationery Office. ISBN 978-0-10-178272-2. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  31. ^ "High Speed Rail (Command Paper)". Department for Transport. March 2010. p. 104. 
  32. ^ Cecil, Nicholas (28 February 2011). "High-speed trains 'will increase passenger numbers by 10,000' at Euston station". London Evening Standard. 
  33. ^ a b Transport Select Committee, 28 June 2011, House of Commons
  34. ^ Subject: Proposal for Examining the Potential Effect of High Speed 2 on London's Transport Network, Greater London Authority, 17 May 2011.
  35. ^ High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain's Future Consultation, Department for Transport, February 2011.
  36. ^ High Speed Rail London to the West Midlands and Beyond: A Report to Government by High Speed Two Limited: part 3 of 11[dead link]
  37. ^ Hall, Stanley (1990). The Railway Detectives. London: Ian Allan. p. 83. ISBN 0 7110 1929 0. 
  38. ^ Trevena, Arthur (1980). Trains in Trouble. Vol. 1. Redruth: Atlantic Books. p. 35. ISBN 0-906899-01-X. 
  39. ^ "HS2 fuels Crossrail 2 business case". TransportXtra. 21 December 2010. 

External links[edit]