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Kensington (Olympia) station

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Kensington (Olympia) London Underground London Overground National Rail
Kensington Olympia stn Overground look south.JPG
Southbound view from Platform 2
Kensington (Olympia) is located in Greater London
Kensington (Olympia)
Kensington (Olympia)
Location of Kensington (Olympia) in Greater London
LocationOlympia
Local authorityRoyal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Managed byLondon Overground
Station codeKPA
DfT categoryC2
Number of platforms3 (2 National Rail)
(1 London Underground)
AccessibleYes[1]
Fare zone2
London Underground annual entry and exit
2013Increase 1.88 million[2]
2014Increase 1.95 million[2]
2015Increase 2.01 million[2]
2016Increase 2.05 million[2]
2017Decrease 2.01 million[2]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2013–14Increase 7.291 million[3]
2014–15Decrease 7.249 million[3]
2015–16Increase 10.905 million[3]
2016–17Decrease 4.118 million[3]
2017–18Decrease 4.049 million[3]
Railway companies
Original companyWest London Railway
Pre-groupingWest London Railway
Post-groupingWest London Railway
Key dates
27 May 1844first station opened
1 Dec.1844first station closed
2 June 1862second (present) station opened
1940station closed
1946station reopened
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
WGS8451°29′55″N 0°12′39″W / 51.4986°N 0.2108°W / 51.4986; -0.2108Coordinates: 51°29′55″N 0°12′39″W / 51.4986°N 0.2108°W / 51.4986; -0.2108
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Kensington (Olympia) is a combined rail and tube station in Kensington, London. Services are provided by London Overground, who manage the station, along with Southern and London Underground. It is in Travelcard Zone 2. On the Underground it is the terminus of a short District line branch from Earl's Court, originally built as part of the Middle Circle. On the main-line railway it is on the West London Line from Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction, by which trains bypass central London. The station's name is drawn from its location in Kensington and the adjacent Olympia exhibition centre.

The station was originally opened in 1844 by the West London Railway but closed shortly afterwards. It reopened in 1862 and began catering for Great Western services the following year. In 1872 it became part of the Middle Circle train route that bypassed central London. The station was bombed during World War II and subsequently closed. It reopened in 1946 but had limited service and was recommended for closure in the 1960s Beeching Report. The main-line station was revitalised later in the decade as a terminus for national Motorail, and upgraded again in 1986 to serve a wider range of InterCity destinations. The station's Underground connection after World War II was limited to a shuttle service to and from Earl's Court. Since 2011 this service has only run at weekends with occasional exceptions when there is an exhibition at Olympia.

Name and location[edit]

View of Olympia from the station

The station appears as Kensington Olympia on the National Rail website and on some of its maps and timetables.[4][5] On London Underground and London Overground maps, station signage and the London Rail & Tube Services map, it is labelled Kensington (Olympia).[6][a] On the automated announcements and the dot matrix indicators on District line trains, the station is shown as simply Olympia.[8]

The station is located alongside the namesake Olympia exhibition centre.[9] The boundary between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham here runs parallel to and immediately to the west of the railway line.[10]

The platforms are accessed via Russell Road from the east and Olympia Way from the west.[9][11] A footbridge connects the two roads, and is segregated so it is possible to walk directly from Russell Road to Olympia Way without having to pass through any ticket barriers.[12] Platform 1 serves the part-time District line services towards High Street Kensington via Earl's Court, platform 2 serves Overground trains towards Willsden, and platform 3 runs towards Clapham Junction.[9]

London Buses routes 9, 23, 27, 28, 49, 391, C1; night routes N9, N28 and Green Line Coaches services 701 and 702 call at and pass the station.[13]

History[edit]

Opening[edit]

A 1911 Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram showing railways in the vicinity of Kensington Olympia (lower centre, indicated as "Addison Road")

A station called Kensington was opened by the West London Railway as its southern terminus on 27 May 1844, located just south of Hammersmith Road. The line was not popular and it was closed on 1 December that year due to the losses made. A scant and erratic goods service continued.[14][15] The line was re-opened to passengers on 2 June 1862 as part of the West London Extension Railway with a new station, also called Kensington, to the north of Hammersmith Road, providing services to Willesden and Clapham Junction.[14][16] Great Western Railway trains started serving the station in 1863, with London & North Western Railway trains arriving in 1872.[17] A link to the Hammersmith & City Railway enabled the station to join the Middle Circle service, which operated via Paddington to the north and South Kensington to the south.[18][19] In 1868 the station was renamed Kensington Addison Road.[14]

From 1869 the London & South Western Railway operated trains from Richmond to London Waterloo via Addison Road, until their branch via Shepherd's Bush closed in 1916.[20] By 1907 the Middle Circle had been replaced by a link to Hammersmith.[21] The station appears on the first 'London Underground' map in 1908 with Metropolitan and District Railway services.[22]

There was an Express Dairies creamery and milk bottling plant close to the station. It was served by milk trains running from the Great Western Railway at Old Oak Common to a siding adjacent to the station.[23]

Decline[edit]

A Post Office Workers train at Kensington (Olympia) in 1968

In 1940 Addison Road and the link to the Metropolitan line at Latimer Road closed along with the other West London Line stations after the line was bombed, and it was not considered cost-effective to rebuild by the London Passenger Transport Board.[24] Due to its ability to access all lines radiating from London, its close location to SHAEF headquarters and its relative quietness compared to the main London termini, it was the preferred embarkation point for US Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower when he visited troops in Wales preparing for the June 1944 Normandy landings.[25]

On 19 December 1946 the station was renamed Kensington (Olympia)[14] and became the northern terminus of a peak-hour shuttle service to Clapham Junction, serving workers at the Post Office Savings Bank (later National Savings Bank) in nearby Blythe Road.[26][27] Until 1986 this was the only British Rail service stopping at the station. It was known as the "Kenny Belle" and was unadvertised, reportedly because the Post Office Savings Bank was under the Official Secrets Act.[28] There was also a District line shuttle to Earl's Court, as the station had been left without a dedicated Underground connection.[29] The service originally only ran when there was an exhibition at the centre, but a permanent platform opened on 3 March 1958.[30] The station was sometimes used as a terminus during reconstruction and upgrading of mainline London terminal stations.[31] It was recommended for closure in the 1963 Beeching Report.[28]

Cold War[edit]

Kensington (Olympia) was included in Cold War plans to ensure continuity of government in the event of hostilities.

The station was important in the war, as the West London Line connected to the Great Western Main Line (and hence the Wiltshire headquarters) at North Pole Junction, 1 mile 68 chains (2.98 km) to the north,[32] and acted as a diversionary route to Paddington station.[33] Secret plans entailed use of the station, in the prelude to a nuclear war, to evacuate several thousand civil servants to the Central Government War Headquarters underground bunker (codenamed "Burlington") in Wiltshire.[34][35][36] If the government had decided to activate its Central Government War Headquarters in Wiltshire, civil servants tasked with manning the facility would have been directed to join trains at this station. These trains would have connected with buses at Warminster for further transfer to the headquarters facility.[37]

Motorail[edit]

The former Motorail terminal, seen here in 2009. Since Motorail services here ceased, the building has been designated "Olympia Motorail Car Park P4".

In 1966 Kensington (Olympia) became the main London terminus for British Rail Motorail trains, which carried passengers and vehicles across Britain.[38] In the London Midland Region timetable for 1970–71 services are shown to Perth, Stirling, Carlisle, St Austell, Totnes, Newton Abbot and Fishguard (connecting with the ferry for Rosslare).[39] This facility closed in 1981 with operations transferred to Paddington, Euston and King's Cross.[40]

The car park for the service is now used for exhibition vehicles, and Europcar for car rental and is called "Olympia Motorail Car Park P4".[41][42]

Revival[edit]

A former bay platform is now Olympia Garden with 89 vegetable plots.

From 12 May 1986 services at the station were greatly enhanced. The London Underground shuttle service started to run to a regular daily schedule, and inter-regional services from the Midlands and northern England stopped at Kensington (Olympia). Southern Region destinations included Brighton and Dover Western Docks.[43] As part of this the footbridge was painted in InterCity colours.[44] These trains were operated by the InterCity division of British Rail and later, after privatisation, by Virgin CrossCountry and CrossCountry. Destinations included Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley. The services were withdrawn in October 2008, by which time only two daily Brighton–Manchester journeys were operated.[45][46] The station was part of the London Station Group, accepting "London Terminals" tickets, until it was delisted in May 1994.[47] The same year, a full passenger service between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction was reinstated after a gap of 54 years.[7]

There were two bay platforms on the south-eastern side, mainly used by services to/from Clapham Junction. These platforms were removed in 1983 and the track was lifted; the space was used for an additional car park for the exhibition centre.[16] One of the former platforms is now Olympia Garden, a community garden with 89 vegetable plots.[48]

Before the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was proposed in 1996, Kensington (Olympia) was planned to be expanded to accommodate a car terminal for international services. The line would have run via the West London and South Eastern Main Lines to Folkestone Central before entering the tunnel.[49] Before Eurostar transferred in November 2007 to St Pancras International, Eurostar trains passed through the station between Waterloo International station and North Pole depot, and the station was a backup terminus for the services in case Waterloo International became unusable; immigration facilities were maintained there.[50][51]

In June 2011, Transport for London (TfL) announced that the District line shuttle between Kensington (Olympia) and Earl's Court would close on weekdays at the end of the year.[52][53] The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea unsuccessfully protested against the closure, and general weekday services ceased in December 2011. Some special weekday services continue to run on the District line when there is an exhibition on.[54] In 2012 TfL announced plans to introduce ticket gates at the station to combat fare dodgers, which would remove access to the footbridge used by local residents for years. Both the councils within whose boundaries this station falls challenged this loss of an established right of way. The plan was abandoned the following year.[12]

Services[edit]

National Rail[edit]

London Overground Class 378 at Kensington Olympia

The station is on the West London line of the London Overground network, which is signed by Transport for London as the "Willesden Junction – Clapham Junction" line.[55] The line lies entirely in zone 2, and can be used to bypass central London.[56] National Rail services are provided by London Overground and Southern.[57]

The London Overground services in trains per hour are:

Southern operate between Milton Keynes Central and East Croydon, typically once an hour.[59]

District line[edit]

The District line shuttle to Earl's Court and High Street Kensington runs at weekends and sometimes when there is an exhibition on. A very limited service also operates during the early morning and evening each weekday. There is no service New Year's Eve or New Year's Day when these days fall on or partly on a weekend.[60]

Preceding station   Overground roundel (no text).svg National Rail logo.svg London Overground   Following station
West London Line
National Rail National Rail
Shepherd's Bush   Southern
West London Route
  West Brompton
Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
TerminusDistrict line
Olympia branch (limited)
  Disused Railways  
National Rail National Rail
Uxbridge Road
Line open, station closed
  West London Line   West Brompton
Line and station open
Shepherd's Bush
Line and station closed
  L&SWR   West Brompton
Line and station open
Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
Uxbridge Road
towards Barking
  Metropolitan line   Terminus

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ The variant with brackets is also used in the London Railway Atlas, published by Ian Allan Publishing in 2009.[7]

Citations

  1. ^ "TFL: Standard Tube Map" (PDF). Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLSX). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. January 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  4. ^ "Kensington Olympia (KPA)". National Rail. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  5. ^ Project Mapping (October 2018). "National Rail Train Operators Map" (PDF) (Map). National Rail. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  6. ^ "London's Rail & Tube Services" (PDF). Transport for London and National Rail. December 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b Brown, Joe (2009). London Railway Atlas. Ian Allan. ISBN 978-0-711-03137-1.
  8. ^ Brackschulze, Kai. "Announcements London Underground District line". haltestellenansage.de. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Kensington (Olympia) station plan".
  10. ^ West London, Rickmansworth and Staines (Landranger 176) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2012. ISBN 9780319232118.
  11. ^ "Royal Borough Map" (PDF). Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Pedestrian access maintained across Kensington Olympia Station footbridge". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Kensington Olympia". Transport for London. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d Butt 1995, p. 130.
  15. ^ Wolmar 2012, p. 67.
  16. ^ a b Catford, Nick (11 July 2009). "Kensington Olympia". Disused Stations. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  17. ^ Davies & Grant 1983, pp. 116–117.
  18. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 20.
  19. ^ Bruce 1983, p. 11.
  20. ^ Davies & Grant 1983, pp. 86,120.
  21. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 80.
  22. ^ Wolmar 2012, Facing p. 162.
  23. ^ "The Torrington Milk Train". SVS Films. 21 January 2012.
  24. ^ Davies & Grant 1983, p. 120.
  25. ^ "Special GWR Train Used by Eisenhower, June 1944 – JONES, Gwyn Briwnant". National Museum Wales.
  26. ^ Glover 2012, pp. 35–36.
  27. ^ Cherry, B.; Pevsner, N. (2002). The Buildings of England, London 3: The North West. London: Yale University Press. p. 223.
  28. ^ a b "A Beeching Epilogue: The Curious Case of the Clapham Junction Ghost Train". London Reconnections. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  29. ^ Horne 2006, p. 73.
  30. ^ "Latimer Road – Uxbridge Road and Single Line to Olympia" (PDF). London Underground Railway Society. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  31. ^ Davies & Grant 1983, p. 86.
  32. ^ Maxey, David, ed. (1987). Mile by Mile: Rail Mileages of Britain and Ireland. Woodchester: Peter Watts Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 0-906025-44-3.
  33. ^ Kaya Burgess (30 December 2008). "1960s: Cold War cabinet seeks headquarters to withstand nuclear war". The Times. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  34. ^ Fox, Steve. "Struggle for Survival". Subterranea Britannica. Subbrit.org.uk. File 4: The Central Government Nucleus – Staffing. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  35. ^ U.K. Government War Book 1962 National Archives Reference CAB 175/13.
  36. ^ Hennessy, Peter (2010). The Secret State : Preparing for the Worst 1945–2010 (2nd ed.). London: Penguin Books. p. 275. ISBN 9780141044699.
  37. ^ Government War Book (1962), volume 2, Appendix B. Available at the National Archives as CAB 175/13
  38. ^ "When Trains Take The Strain : Why Motorail needs a UK Comeback". The Independent. 17 June 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  39. ^ London Midland Passenger Timetable 4 May 1970 – 2 May 1971, pp.51–53.
  40. ^ "In brief" Railway Gazette International January 1982 page 20
  41. ^ kpmarek No real name given + Add Contact (2 May 2009). "Olympia Motorail Car Park | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  42. ^ "London Kensington Car Rental". Europcar. Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  43. ^ "BR launches service to skirt London". The Times. 10 May 1986. p. 3. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  44. ^ "London Underground Ltd and Rapid Transit: Kensington Olympia". Journal of the Transport Ticket Society. Luton: Transport Ticket Society (266): 78. February 1986. ISSN 0144-347X.
  45. ^ Elliott, Emily-Ann (12 October 2008). "Train services from Brighton withdrawn". The Argus. Newsquest Media Group. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  46. ^ "The Rise and Fall of Cross Country Train Services to and from Brighton". Andy Gibbs. 15 December 2014. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  47. ^ NFM 57. National Fares Manuals. London: British Railways Board. May 1994. Section A.
  48. ^ "Olympia Garden". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  49. ^ Gourvish, Terry (2006). The Official History of Britain and the Channel Tunnel. Routledge. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-134-16544-5.
  50. ^ "Belgian Branch Line News 1996". Ccl.kuleuven.be. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  51. ^ The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons – Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs – Fifth Report". Parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  52. ^ "Save the Earl's Court to Olympia District line service". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  53. ^ "London Underground announces plan for new District line timetable". Transport for London. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  54. ^ Kensington Olympia Exhibition Centre travel (PDF) (Report). Transport for London. September 2013. p. 3. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  55. ^ "TfL's editorial style guide" (PDF). Transport for London. p. 38. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  56. ^ Geoff Marshall (April 2013). "Oyster Oddities: How To Travel Through Zone 1 At No Extra Cost". Londonist. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  57. ^ The Mayor (18 July 2011). "Answer for London Underground Services to Kensington (Olympia)". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  58. ^ Table 59 & 176 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  59. ^ Table 66 & 176 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  60. ^ Matters, Transport for London | Every Journey. "Tube, Overground, TfL Rail, DLR & Tram status updates". Transport for London.

Sources

  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  • Bruce, J Graeme (1983). Steam to Silver. A history of London Transport Surface Rolling Stock. Capital Transport. ISBN 0-904711-45-5.
  • Davies, R; Grant, M. D. (1983). London and its railways. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8107-5.
  • Day, John R; Reed, John (2010) [1963]. The Story of London's Underground. Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-341-9.
  • Glover, John (2012). London's Overground. Ian Allan. ISBN 978-0-711-03524-9.
  • Horne, Mike (2006). The District Line. Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-292-5.
  • Wolmar, Christian (2012) [2004]. The Subterranean Railway. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-0-857-89069-6.

External links[edit]