Camden Town tube station
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Location of Camden Town in Greater London
|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|
|Lists of stations|
|London Transport portal|
Camden Town is a London Underground station on the Northern line. It is a major junction for the line and one of the busiest stations on the London Underground network. It is particularly busy with visitors to the Camden markets at weekends, and is exit-only at times when market-related traffic would cause dangerous overcrowding on the narrow platforms.
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 began life as part of the original route of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR) (now part of the Northern line) and opened on 22 June 1907. 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. This complex tunnelling work 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 west façade was bomb damaged in 1940 and only partially was rebuilt.
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.
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.
The station is particularly busy at weekends with tourists visiting Camden Market and Camden High Street, to the extent that entry is prohibited on Sunday afternoons to prevent overcrowding on the station's narrow platforms. Congestion is predicted to get worse and entry may in the future be prohibited on Saturdays too. London Underground has therefore submitted plans for the station to be rebuilt.
Rebuilding the station would ease congestion and allow it to be kept open during normal hours. Step-free access for the disabled would also be provided. Furthermore, rebuilding would allow easier interchange and facilitate the planned segregation of Northern line services in order to increase capacity on the Line as a whole. In addition the general ambience of the station would be much improved.
There were plans to completely rebuild the platform area, demolishing the original liftshaft space and the current circulating area at the foot of the escalators and replacing them with a large two-level atrium, the upper level taking the form of a balcony, with various access points onto the platforms and escalator access between levels. This would be reached by an additional new set of escalators.
According to London Underground, achieving this reduction in congestion would have required them to demolish the old station building. In addition, to provide both a new temporary exit during construction works, and to comply with modern safety standards, London Underground claimed that it would be necessary to demolish Buck Street Market, commonly known as Camden Market (one of five local markets), the Electric Ballroom, a church, and several houses and shops to the north of the station, on the south side of Buck Street.
Apart from complaints about destruction of one of the ox-blood tiled station buildings, there arose a significant controversy over the demolition of the buildings to the north. Complaints particularly centred on London Underground's desire to replace the buildings with modern construction said to be out of place and out of scale with the remainder of Camden Town, together with complaints about the loss of the buildings and market themselves. This led to a public inquiry being held. In January 2004, consultants Arup published plans commissioned by Save Camden, a group of local market traders, for a remodelling that would preserve the majority of the threatened buildings, including the market. In 2005 Transport for London lost its appeal to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the scheme has been cancelled.
In 2013, TfL announced new redevelopment plans, and have scheduled the works to start in 2020 and complete by 2024/5. The revised scheme envisages the new station building being instead on the north side of Buck Street, on the site of the vacated Hawley School, thus avoiding the need to demolish both the original station, and the other previously-threatened buildings.
1907 to 1924
1924 to present
As one of only three stations where transfers between the Bank and Charing Cross branches of the Northern line are possible and the northern of the two junctions between them, Camden Town features a complex platform arrangement. Similar to its sister station of Kennington, the station has four platforms with cross-platform interchanges available between branches.
However, unlike Kennington, trains do not terminate at Camden Town, thus there are no terminus platforms or a loop to allow terminating trains to turn around. Instead, all northbound trains use either platform 1 or 3, with Edgware branch trains using the former and High Barnet branch trains using the latter. Likewise, all southbound trains use either platform 2 or 4.
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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- ABC of Underground stations; Leboff;1994; p28
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- "Camden Town Redevelopment". alwaystouchout. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
- "Transport 2025 - Transport vision for a growing world city" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
- "New upgrade plan for Camden Town underground station unveiled". Camden New Journal. 13 September 2013. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- "We Need To Talk About Camden: The Future of the Northern Line". London Reconnections. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
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- TfL: Camden Town Station Capacity Upgrade
|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|
|Out of system interchange|
|Preceding station||London Overground||Following station|
|North London Line
Transfer at: Camden Road
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
towards Clapham Common
towards Hendon Central
towards Charing Cross