Camden Town tube station
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|Local authority||London Borough of Camden|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||4|
|OSI||Camden Road |
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|Original company||Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway|
|22 June 1907||Station opened|
|20 April 1924||Link from Euston (C&SLR) opened|
|London transport portal|
Camden Town is a London Underground station on the Northern line. It is a major junction for the line, as it is where the Edgware and High Barnet branches merge from the north, and is also where they split to the south into the Bank and Charing Cross branches for the journey through Central London. It is particularly busy with visitors to the Camden markets at weekends, and is exit-only on Sundays to prevent overcrowding.
Northbound, the next stations are Chalk Farm on the Edgware branch and Kentish Town on the High Barnet branch. Southbound, the next stations are Mornington Crescent on the Charing Cross branch and Euston on the Bank branch. The station is in Travelcard Zone 2.
Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway
The station was first proposed as part of the original route of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR) (now part of the Northern line). Proposals for the line had existed since 1893, but construction did not begin until the American entrepreneur Charles Tyson Yerkes invested in the line in October 1900. Work started in July 1902, and the station was opened on 22 June 1907 by David Lloyd George, then President of the Board of Trade. As the line here branched into two routes, to Hampstead and to Highgate, the design of the station was rather unusual, shaped like a V. The surface building was designed by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's (UERL's) architect Leslie Green. The line to Hampstead (now the Edgware branch) is under Chalk Farm Road; the line to Highgate (now the High Barnet branch) is under Kentish Town Road. With the narrowness of the roads above, and the necessity to keep directly beneath them to avoid having to pay compensation to landowners during construction, on both branches the northbound platform is directly above the southbound one.
At the apex of the V was a junction allowing northbound trains to take either of the branches north, and likewise allow the trains south from the branches to join the single southbound track. This resulted in four connecting tunnels. When the CCE&HR and City & South London Railway (C&SLR) lines were joined together after the C&SLR became part of the Underground Group on 1 January 1913, a short extension was planned from the Euston terminus of the City & South London Railway to connect with the CCE&HR south of Camden Town station allowing services to run from both City and West End branches to and from the Hampstead and Highgate branches. City branch services were extended to this station on 20 April 1924. The work required to join the two lines together at Camden Town was one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the Underground, and was undertaken without disrupting any existing services. It added another four tunnels that allows trains to proceed to or from either the Edgware or High Barnet branch on to or off both the City or Charing Cross branch without following conflicting paths. The multiple junction tunnels are effectively located beneath Camden High Street.
The original lifts and emergency stairs to the platforms were inside the vertex of the V, leading to four passageways, one to each of the platforms, with return passageways back to the lifts. With growing patronage and increasing congestion the lifts were later replaced by escalators that came into service on 7 October 1929 with an escalator heading from the station building to a circulating area at the northern end of the platforms. This has only two pairs of parallel passageways, one for each branch (northbound), with a small side passage on each leading to the lower southbound platforms. One set of the original lift passageways became part of the ventilation system, but the remaining one adds to the confusion of the station.
The line, known post-merger for many years as the 'Edgware - Morden' line, was formally referred to as the Northern line from 28 August 1937.
The station was damaged by a bomb on 14 October 1940 during the Blitz. One person was killed. Shortly afterwards, Camden Town was chosen as one of eight stations on the Northern line where dedicated air-raid shelters would be constructed alongside the line, capable of accommodating 640,000 people.
On 19 October 2003 the points at one of these connecting tunnels was the site of a derailment, which caused damage severe enough to close the line for over a week, although no serious injuries resulted. 1995 tube stock carriages 51722 and 52722 were both seriously damaged by the impact. After the accident, trains were restricted to travelling either from the Edgware branch to the Bank branch or from the High Barnet branch to the Charing Cross branch. This continued for some time, and many considered whether it would be permanent (particularly as this would make managing the two branches through central London easier). However, full use of the junction was restored in March 2004.
A joint report by London Underground and its maintenance contractor Tube Lines concluded that poor track geometry was the main cause of the derailment and extra friction arising out of striations (scratches) on a newly installed set of points had allowed the leading wheel of the last carriage to climb the rail and so derail. The track at the derailment site is on a very tight bend in a tight tunnel bore, which prevents canting the track by dipping the height of one rail relative to the other, the normal solution in this sort of situation.
Future expansion and upgrade
The station is too small for current passenger demand, with just two escalators and too few passageways between Northern line platforms. The station particularly busy at weekends with tourists visiting Camden Market and Camden High Street, with entry to the station prohibited on Sunday afternoons to prevent overcrowding on the station's narrow platforms. By 2021, weekday passenger demand at the station is expected to grow by 40 per cent.
London Underground originally submitted redevelopment plans in the early 2000s, a £130m project that would have eased congestion and provided step free access - with residential and office development above the new station. However, the project involved demolition of all buildings between Buck St, Camden High St and Kentish Town Road - including Buck Street Market, Electric Ballroom and the ox-blood titled Leslie Green station building itself. London Underground's reasoning was that land was required for a temporary entrance for the station while the new station was built. Complaints regarding the loss of these buildings and the market - as well as complaints regrding out of place and out of scale development when compared to the remainder of Camden Town - led to a public inquiry, which was held in 2004. In 2005, Transport for London had their TWA Order refused by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the scheme was subsequently cancelled.
In 2013, TfL announced new redevelopment plans given the continuing congestion and high passenger demand at the station. Instead of the previously aborted scheme, TfL proposed a new station building built on the north side of Buck Street, on the site of the vacated Hawley School, avoiding the need to demolish both the original station and the other previously-threatened buildings. As well as this new station entrance, expansion work would take place throughout the station with new escalators & passageways and step free access - tripling the size of the station. In the 2017 consultation, construction work was estimated to take four years to complete. In 2018, following the delays to Crossrail and the knock on effects on TfL's Business Plan, the station upgrade was placed on hold indefinitely.
1907 to 1924
1924 to present
As one of only three stations where transfers between the Bank and Charing Cross branches are possible and the northern of the two junctions between them, Camden Town features a complex platform arrangement. Like its sister station of Kennington, the station has four platforms with cross-platform interchanges available between branches.
However, unlike at Kennington, since trains do not terminate at Camden Town, there are no terminus platforms or loop to allow terminating trains to turn around. Instead, all northbound trains headed to the Edgware branch use platform 1, northbound trains headed to the High Barnet branch use platform 3 and trains headed southbound to either central branch use platforms 2 (Edgware) and 4 (High Barnet) respectively.
Air raid shelter
Camden Town is one of eight London Underground stations with a deep-level air-raid shelter underneath it. The entrances are on Buck Street (near the market) and Underhill Street with the shelter tunnels reaching from just north of Hawley Crescent to south of Greenland Street.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Camden Town tube station.|
- Subterranea Britannica's visit to the Camden Town deep level shelter
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
- Station building in 1937, Chalk Farm Road elevation. Utilitarian building is London Underground electrical substation.
- Bomb Damage in October 1940. The elevation was never fully rebuilt.
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
High Barnet branch
Charing Cross branch
|Out of system interchange|
|Preceding station||London Overground||Following station|
|North London Line|
Transfer at: Camden Road
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
towards Charing Cross
towards Golders Green