Covent Garden tube station
Location of Covent Garden in Central London
|Local authority||City of Westminster|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||2|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|Original company||Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway|
|15 December 1906||Line opened|
|11 April 1907||Station opened|
|Added to list||20 July 2011|
|Lists of stations|
Covent Garden is a London Underground station in Covent Garden. It is on the Piccadilly line between Leicester Square and Holborn stations and is in Travelcard Zone 1. The station is at the corner of Long Acre and James Street and is a Grade II listed building.
The station was planned by the Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR), which had received parliamentary approval for a route from Wood Green station (now Alexandra Palace) to Strand in 1899. After the GN&SR was taken over by the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR) in September 1901, the two companies came under the control of Charles Yerkes' Metropolitan District Electric Traction Company before being transferred to his new holding company, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) in June 1902. To connect the two companies' planned routes, the UERL obtained permission for new tunnels between Piccadilly Circus and Holborn. The companies were formally merged as the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway following parliamentary approval in November 1902. The station was opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway on 11 April 1907, four months after services on the rest of the line began operating on 15 December 1906.
In 1929, Covent Garden was one of the stations suggested for closure in connection with the extension of the Piccadilly line: the elimination of less-busy stations in the central area would improve both reliability and journey times for long-distance commuters[note 1] but this did not happen.
The station today
|This section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (February 2015)|
Like the rest of the original GNP&BR stations, the street level station building and platform tiling was designed by Leslie Green. The station building is a classic red 'Oxblood' building which has two elevations fronting onto the end of James Street and Long Acre. The platform wall was tiled with two shades of yellow and white tiling which formed geometric shapes along with three blank spaces to incorporate the station name. As part of Transport for London's investment programme, the ageing tiling dating back from the station's opening was replaced in 2010 in a like-for-like basis, retaining the look and feel of the platforms.
Platform level tiling
The stations along the central part of the Piccadilly line, as well as some sections of the Northern line, were financed by Charles Yerkes, and are famous for the Leslie Green designed red station buildings and distinctive platform tiling. Each station had its own unique tile pattern and colours.
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Covent Garden station is one of the few stations in Central London for which platform access is only by lift or stairs and often becomes congested because of the Covent Garden area's popularity with tourists. To control congestion on Saturday afternoons, when the surrounding shopping areas are at their busiest, the station was previously exit-only to avoid the risk of dangerous overcrowding of the platforms, but following replacement of the lifts, this restriction was lifted. There are four lifts that give access to street level, although a final flight of stairs from the lifts to the platforms means that the station is wheelchair-inaccessible. Alternatively, there is an emergency spiral staircase of 193 steps (the equivalent to a 15-storey building).
Station and lift announcements
There is an announcement at the station that warns of the 193 steps to climb if passengers were to use the emergency spiral staircase. During the lift journey a recorded announcement is played asking passengers to have their tickets/passes ready as they exit the lifts and advising where to turn for Covent Garden's market.
Proximity to Leicester Square
The journey between Leicester Square station and Covent Garden takes only about 20 seconds, and measures only 260 metres (0.16 mi), the shortest distance between two adjacent stations on the Underground network. The stations are so close that a pedestrian standing halfway between them on Long Acre can see both tube stations by turning around 180°. The proximity means that London Underground's standard £4.80 single cash fare for the journey between these two stations equates to £29.81 a mile, making the fare for this particular journey more expensive per mile than the Venice Simplon Orient Express. Posters at the station give details of the alternative methods of getting to and from Covent Garden using surrounding stations.
Services and connections
Transport for London has made a commitment to ease the congestion at the station, which may involve the creation of a new exit further north along Long Acre (i.e. away from Covent Garden Piazza and nearer the eclectic shopping area that surrounds Neal's Yard), and the provision of escalator access.
Notes and references
- "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "The National Heritage List for England". English Heritage. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "16 London Underground Stations Listed at Grade II". English Heritage. Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Transport for London (January 2016). Standard Tube Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 January 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 4 August 1899. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Badsey-Ellis 2005, p. 118.
- Badsey-Ellis 2005, pp. 152–53.
- The London Gazette: . 12 August 1902. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 21 November 1902. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Rose 1999.
- Connor 2006, p. 31.
- "The Man Who Painted London Red". London Reconnections. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- Geoff Marshall. "Tube Facts & Figures - Tube Stations that have no escalators and use lifts to get down to the platforms & Tube Stations with steps". geofftech.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- The London Sound Survey. "Field recording at Covent Garden Underground station of announcers' voice - The London Sound Survey". soundsurvey.org.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- Key facts | Transport for London
- Geoff Marshall. "Tube Facts & Figures - Stations that are less than 60 seconds apart". geofftech.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- Transport for London, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL, email@example.com. "Single fare finder". tfl.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- "Venice Simplon-Orient-Express - Luxury train journeys in Europe - London - Venice". belmond.com. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- "Piccadilly line timetable: From Covent Garden Underground Station to Holborn Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "Piccadilly line timetable: From Covent Garden Underground Station to Leicester Square Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Transport for London, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL, firstname.lastname@example.org. "Covent Garden / Russell Street". tfl.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- Screwbiedooo. "Mindroutes". mindroutes.blogspot.com. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
- "City of the Dead". Time Out London. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Covent Garden tube station.|
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|