Cannon Street station
|London Cannon Street|
Location of Cannon Street in Central London
|Local authority||City of London|
|Managed by||Network Rail|
|Number of platforms||7|
|OSI||Bank , Mansion House |
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|— interchange||0.440 million|
|— interchange||0.437 million|
|— interchange||0.465 million|
|Original company||South Eastern Railway|
|Pre-grouping||South Eastern and Chatham Railway|
|1 September 1866||Opened|
|5 June 1926||Closed|
|28 June 1926||Reopened|
|5 August 1974||Closed|
|9 September 1974||Reopened|
|Lists of stations|
Cannon Street, also known as London Cannon Street, is a central London railway terminus and connected London Underground station located on Cannon Street in the City of London. It was built on the site of the medieval Steelyard, the trading base in England of the Hanseatic League, and it opened in 1866.
It is situated within fare zone 1 and is one of 19 stations in the United Kingdom managed by Network Rail. Main line train services out of Cannon Street are operated by Southeastern, serving destinations in southeast London and Kent; the Underground station is on the Circle and District lines between Monument and Mansion House.
Cannon Street is a terminal station approached across the River Thames by the Cannon Street Railway Bridge. Its approach by rail is by a triangular connection to both London Bridge and Charing Cross. There were originally eight platforms; a refurbishment in the late 1990s removed the original platform 1. It has entrances on Cannon Street itself and Dowgate Hill. It is also located near the London Stone (north from station), which was once used as the place from which all distances in Roman Britain were measured.
Opened by the South Eastern Railway on 1 September 1866, the original station building was designed by Sir John Hawkshaw and J. W. Barry and was characterised by its two Wren-style towers, 23 ft (7.0 m) square and 135 ft (41 m) high, which faced on to the River Thames. The towers supported a 700 ft (210 m) long iron train shed crowned by a high single arch, almost semicircular, of glass and iron. To this was joined in 1867 an Italianate style hotel and forecourt designed by E. M. Barry which provided much of the station's passenger facilities as well as an impressive architectural frontispiece to the street. This arrangement was very similar to that put in place at Charing Cross. The station is carried over Upper Thames Street on a 700 ft (210 m) long brick viaduct containing 27 million bricks. Below this viaduct there are remains of a number of Roman buildings, which form a scheduled ancient monument. Barry's five-storey City Terminus Hotel underwent two changes of name: first to Cannon Street Hotel in 1879, and later, as an office block, to Southern House.
From 5–28 June 1926 the station was closed to allow the Southern Railway to carry out various works, including the rebuilding of the platforms, relaying of the tracks and installation of a new system of electrical signalling – the four-aspect colour light scheme. The station was also renovated and the glass roof cleaned. The number of platforms was reduced from nine to eight, with five set aside for the new electric trains. The signal box spanning the width of the railway bridge was removed.
The station, which had been subject to structural neglect prior to the Second World War, suffered extensive bomb damage and was hit by several incendiary devices which damaged the roof. A high explosive also hit platform 8. The original glass roof had been removed before the war in an attempt to save it; the factory in which the roof was stored was itself badly bombed, destroying the roof.
The station was managed by the British Rail (Southern Region).
The station's prime location coupled with the property boom of the 1950s and the need for British Rail to seek alternative revenue streams made war-damaged Cannon Street a prime target for property developers.
Various plans were mooted for the reconstruction of the station, from the installation of a new ticket hall and concourse under Southern House in 1955 as part of British Rail's Modernisation Plan, to the construction of a car park and even a helipad. In 1962 the British Transport Commission entered into an agreement with Town & Country Properties for the construction of a multi-storey office building above the station with 154,000 sq ft (14,300 m2) of floor space. The cost of the development was £2.35 million and it was scheduled for completion by June 1965.
In preparation for redevelopment the remains of the once magnificent train shed roof had been demolished in 1958, and Barry's hotel (which had been used as offices since 1931) soon followed in 1960. The architect selected to design the new building was John Poulson who was good friends with Graham Tunbridge, a British Rail surveyor whom he had met during the war. Poulson took advantage of this friendship to win contracts for the redevelopment of various British Rail termini. He paid Tunbridge a weekly income of £25 and received in return building contracts, including the rebuilding of Waterloo and East Croydon stations. At his trial in 1974 he admitted that shortly before receiving the Cannon Street building contract, he had given Tunbridge a cheque for £200 and a suit worth £80. Poulson was later found guilty of corruption charges and was given a seven-year concurrent sentence; Tunbridge received a 15-month suspended sentence and £4,000 fine for his role in the affair.
All that now remains of the original station architecture are the twin 120 ft (37 m) red-brick towers at the country-end and parts of the low flanking walls.
In 1974 the station closed for five weeks from 2 August – 9 September to enable alterations to be made to the track and the approaches to London Bridge to be resignalled. Traffic was diverted to London Bridge, Charing Cross and Blackfriars. On 4 March 1976 a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb of about 10 lb (4.5 kg) exploded on an empty commuter train leaving Cannon Street, injuring eight people on another train travelling alongside. Had the bomb exploded 13 minutes earlier it would have caused widespread carnage as the train had been carrying hundreds of commuters on a service from Sevenoaks.
On 15 February 1984 it was reported in The Times that Cannon Street would close. At the time, the station had been closed for weekends and evenings, and the publication of British Rail's new timetable for 1984–1985 revealed that it would lose all its direct off-peak services to the south-east. Services from Sevenoaks, Orpington, Hayes, Dartford, Sidcup, Bexleyheath, Woolwich, Lewisham and Greenwich would instead terminate at London Bridge except during peak hours. This was denied by British Rail which pointed out that it had invested £10 million in redecking the railway bridge, and that passengers travelling from the south-east during off-peak hours would most likely be visiting the West End and not the City.
In 1986 the station's twin towers, which had been Grade II listed in 1972, were restored in a £242,000 project. The works revealed that the east tower still contained a large water tank which was used during the days of steam traction to replenish locomotives and to power the station hydraulic systems. The brickwork was repaired, cleaned and repointed, and the weathervanes gilded to complement the dome of nearby St Paul's Cathedral. This work was one of the Railway Heritage Trust's first projects and coincided with an exhibition held in the station in August of the same year to mark its 150th anniversary.
The 1980s also saw another property boom and British Rail again began looking into further commercial uses of the Cannon Street landspace. The air rights over the platforms to the rear of Poulson's office were sold to Speyhawk which appointed Bovis Construction to build a free-standing structure comprising two office blocks on a 6,000 tonne steel deck constructed over the station's eight platforms and above Cannon Sports Centre, a sports club which opened beneath Cannon Street's arches in 1981. The works involved complex piling operations whereby 450 tripod piles were bored to depths of 30 metres below the station to support the steel deck.
The larger office block, the "Atrium building", provides 190,000 sq ft (18,000 m2) of office space on six floors and is linked to the smaller building, the "River building", via a glazed link raised through a central glazed atrium. The River building, which has two storeys, is built on the steel deck and contained within the two station flank walls, which were rebuilt, providing 95,000 sq ft (8,800 m2) of office space. This building would project slightly beyond the restored twin towers which form the riverside boundary to the development. The Atrium building was later let to the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe). The River building has a roof garden which was designed, constructed and still maintained by CC Cousins Ltd a facilities solutions provider based in Rochester, Kent. Covering about 1 acre (0.40 ha), the project cost about £500,000 and was laid to comply with planning restrictions which required the building to be low and flat to maintain the sight lines from St Pauls to Tower Bridge.
Planning permission was granted in March 2007 to replace the Poulson building, with a new air rights building designed by Foggo Associates. Hines, the US developer, led a £360 million project involving the demolition of Poulson's office block, replacing it with a mixed-use development containing more than 400,000 sq ft (37,000 m2) of office space alongside 17,000 sq ft (1,600 m2) of station retail space. The redevelopment was part of a larger regeneration programme undertaken by Network Rail to modernise and "unlock the commercial potential" of the main London termini; both Euston and London Bridge were also redeveloped. Network Rail's director of commercial property said that the finished station would be "less congested and more accessible for passengers." Cannon Street won the award for "Major Station of the Year" at the 2013 National Rail Awards.
In January 2015, the station's opening hours were extended to 0500–0100 Monday to Sunday (prior to this, the station had been closed on Sundays and during the evenings), and several services which previously terminated at Charing Cross Station were diverted to Cannon Street as a result of Thameslink Programme works. Some of these services will revert to terminating at Charing Cross following the completion of the works, while services from the Greenwich Line as well as services from New Cross and St Johns will permanently run to Cannon Street due to the removal of the Spa Road Junction.
The station connects the south side of the City to south and south-east London via London Bridge station. Some services run directly into Cannon Street from Kent and East Sussex, but only during rush hours. Occasionally during the weekends when track maintenance is in progress, the station serves as an intermediate station between London Bridge and Charing Cross. Either trains reverse at the station or rail passengers change trains here. Until 2015, the station was closed on Sundays, however this changed with Southeastern's introduction of a new timetable from January 2015 which resulted in the station's opening hours being extended over the entire week, except when engineering works require its closure and services are diverted to Charing Cross instead.
The typical off-peak service from the station is:
- 2tph – Hayes via Lewisham
- 2tph – Orpington via Grove Park
- 2tph – Dartford via Greenwich and Woolwich Arsenal
- 2tph – Tunbridge Wells semi fast via New Cross and Orpington
- 2tph – Loop service via Greenwich and Woolwich Arsenal to Slade Green then return via Sidcup
- 2tph – Loop service via Greenwich and Woolwich Arsenal to Slade Green then return via Barnehurst and Bexleyheath
- 2tph – Loop service via Bexleyheath to Barnehurst, then return via Woolwich Arsenal and Greenwich
- 2tph – Loop service via Sidcup to Crayford, then return via Woolwich Arsenal and Greenwich
During peak hours there are also services to Ore and to Ramsgate or Broadstairs via Chatham.
Accidents and incidents
- On 26 December 1867, seven passengers and three train crew members were injured when, "during a very thick fog", a train arriving at Cannon Street from Greenwich collided with another from Waterloo due to a signaller's error.
- On 27 June 1914, one person was killed and 20 were injured in a collision and subsequent derailment at Cannon Street. A train departing for Hastings was struck side-long by a train arriving from Plumstead and, although the collision occurred at low speed, part of the Plumstead service was derailed and one of its carriages overturned. The driver of the Plumstead service was blamed for a failure to observe, and a misreading of, signals which took his train into the path of the Hastings-bound service. An investigation found the man who died was likely leaning out of the window at the moment his carriage overturned, and he may have avoided serious injury had he been seated.
- On 16 July 1919, 75 people were injured or left shaken when a train arriving from Dartford hit the buffers at the end of Cannon Street's platform seven. Twelve of the injured required hospital treatment. A Board of Trade report into the incident blamed "an error of judgment" on the driver's part while he was braking on his approach to the platform end.
- On 11 May 1941, the station was bombed in a Luftwaffe air raid. At least one locomotive was severely damaged.
- On 20 March 1951, a diesel electric multiple unit and an electric multiple unit were in a side-long collision when the driver of the latter misread signals.
- On 5 April 1957, the signal box was destroyed by a fire due to an electrical fault. The station was consequently put out of action. Using hand signals, a skeleton service was put in place on 8 April. A temporary signal box was erected which came into operation on 5 May. Steam locomotives were temporarily banned from using the station, with Hastings Units being introduced into service earlier than planned. A full service was resumed from 6 May. Construction of a new signal box began on 19 April and it came into service on 16 December.
- On 20 March 1961, a side-long collision and partial derailment resulted in injury to 12 people aboard an arriving service whose driver inadvertently passed a red signal and ran into an empty train as it left Cannon Street.
- On 4 March 1976, a bomb exploded on an empty electric multiple unit at the station. Eight people in an adjacent train were injured.
- On 8 January 1991, two people were killed and hundreds were injured when an electric multiple unit failed to stop on a dead-end platform and collided with the buffers.
Main article: Cannon Street station rail crash
Entrance from Dowgate Hill
|Local authority||City of London|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||2|
|Accessible||Yes (Westbound only)|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|1949||Started (Circle line)|
|Lists of stations|
The London Underground station is a sub-surface station, situated immediately below the main line station. It is served by the District and Circle lines. Entrances are located on Cannon Street, Dowgate Hill, and on the main line concourse upstairs at the National Rail station, providing an interconnection for commuters. A station here was part of the unrealised phase two expansion of the Fleet line (now Jubilee line).
By 1876, the Metropolitan Railway (MR) and District Railway (DR) had constructed the majority of the Inner Circle (now the Circle line), reaching Aldgate and Mansion House respectively. The companies were in dispute over the completion of the route as the DR was struggling financially and the MR was concerned that completion would affect its revenues through increased competition from the DR in the City area. City financiers keen to see the line completed, established the Metropolitan Inner Circle Completion Railway in 1874 to link Mansion House to Aldgate. Forced into action, the MR bought-out the company and it and the DR began construction of the final section of the Inner Circle in 1879.
On 6 October 1884, the final section of the Inner Circle was opened along with Cannon Street station. Initially the station was served by trains from both companies as part of circular Inner Circle service but various operational patterns have been used during the station's life. The Inner Circle service achieved a separate identity as the Circle line in 1949 although its trains were still provided by the District or Metropolitan lines.
The Underground station underwent major reconstruction at the same time as the main line station, with the work being completed in 2012. From 14 December 2014, the station's opening hours changed significantly, with the station opening on Sundays and no longer closing early in the evenings. The station previously had restricted opening hours because it primarily served the local financial services sector, so there was low demand for services outside office hours. However, with the main line station's opening hours being extended due to the Thameslink Programme, the Underground station's opening hours were changed to accommodate the additional passengers.
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- "London Termini Bomb Damage". The Times. 19 November 1943.
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- "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- https://www.thenorthbank.org/northbank-news/increased-service-of-district-line-trains-from-14th-dec/ Northbank News – INCREASED SERVICE OF DISTRICT LINE TRAINS FROM 14 DEC
- http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/thameslink/january2015/ Southeastern – January 2015 Thameslink News
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cannon Street station.|
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
- Station information on Cannon Street railway station from Network Rail
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
South Eastern Main Line
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|