London Stations

 

A brief photographic tour from April 2013.

Kings Cross renovation
Signage around Kings Cross helps place renovations and modernization in context. St Pancras looms in the distance. Lumix LX3 photo.

During my wanders around London in April 2013, I visited a variety of London’s stations. For me, London’s stations are far more interesting than the trains. Where the trains tend to be fleets of modern multiple-units, the stations range from Victorian gems to austere examples of Lego-block architecture.

My favorite station is St Pancras. This is a classic railway cathedral.  A few years ago it was transformed in to a modern multimodal center. Today, it serves as an international station as well as both a long distance and commuter railway station. It features a shopping mall and luxury hotel. Most impressive is the original architecture, including the pioneer example of a balloon-style arched train-shed, which has been successful integrated into a modern facility.

St Pancras
St Pancras’s head house is the Midland Grand Hotel, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott—one of London’s best remembered 19th century architects. I made this view with my Lumix LX3 on the morning of April 19, 2013
St Pancras
St Pancras: railway cathedral as viewed on April 20, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
St Pancras
In my book, Railway Masterpieces (published by Krause in 2002), I wrote of St Pancras, “The station’s great balloon arch train shed, the very first of its kind, spans 240 feet, measures 689 feet long, and rises to 100 feet above rail level at its peak. It was designed by the Midland’s engineer, William Barlow.”
On April 19, 2013, light tickles a Eurostar highspeed train under the famous shed. Lumix LX3 photo.
St Pancras
Modern additions to St Pancras offer a contrast to the Victorian splendor of the original station. Lumx LX3 image exposed on April 20, 2013.

Kings Cross is adjacent to St Pancras. This has also been recently transformed, and blends historic and contemporary architecture. Interestingly, Kings Cross may be most famous for its mention in the Harry Potter stories. Today, there’s both a Harry Potter shop and a light-hearted platform 9 ¾ for visitors.

Kings Cross
Kings Cross on April 18, 2013 after a spring shower. Renovations are on-going. Lumix LX3 photo.
Kings Cross
Today, Kings Cross is a blend of contemporary and historic architecture. Lumix LX3 photo exposed on April 22, 2013.
Kings Cross
A 1970s vintage HST under the shed at Kings Cross. Years ago I saw graffiti scrawled on the side of an American boxcar that read, ‘Kings Cross is the best, forget the rest.” A line from a song?
These days Kings Cross is best known because of its role in the Harry Potter stories.
These days Kings Cross is best known because of its role in the Harry Potter stories.

On this trip, I passed through London Bridge station and was shocked to see that the old train shed has been demolished! All I saw was a few vestiges of the old iron columns. Fifteen years ago, I made some memorable images inside the shed, and now that it’s gone, I’ll need to dredge these photos from the archives. Another change at London Bridge was nearby construction of a monumental skyscraper, colloquially known as ‘The Shard’.

The Shard looms over London Bridge Station on April 20, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
The Shard looms over London Bridge Station on April 20, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
Blackfriars
A First Capitol Connect train rolls into Blackfriars on April 21, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo with 28-135mm lens.
Charing Cross Station
Not to be forgotten is London’s Charing Cross, located near Embankment, and just a short walk from Trafalgar Square. Lumix LX3 photo on April 19, 2013.
Victoria Station
Victoria Station; two terminals with one name.
Waterloo
Waterloo Station, is one of London’s busiest. Waterloo is named for the Belgian town where Wellington prevailed over Napoleon. Ironically, this was the London-Paris Eurostar terminal for more than a decade before international services were shifted to St. Pancras. Lumix LX3 photo.
London Euston
Like New York’s late, great Pennsylvania Station, the classic Euston Station was demolished in the 1960s to make way for uninspired modernity. Progress doesn’t necessarily make things better. Lumix LX3 photo.
Euston Station
This statue of British Railway pioneer Robert Stephenson is displayed in front of Euston Station. Euston, Heuston, what’s in an ‘H’ anyway? LX3 photo.

Clapham Junction is famous as Britain’s busiest station. Still images cannot convey the power of place. Watching trains at Clapham Junction is akin to watching the tide flow in. At rush hours an unceasing parade of trains passes Clapham Junction, with trains flowing in waves. Most impressive is standing at the north end of the station when as many as six trains approach simultaneously.

Clapham Junction
Clapham Junction is difficult to properly appreciate in still photos.
Clapham Junction
Buses converge outside of Clapham Junction Station on April 22, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Clapham Junction Platform 13 destination board on the evening of April 22.
Clapham Junction Platform 13 destination board on the evening of April 22.

 

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