Memories of Broad Street

frodshamfella

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I used this station a few times when I was in my teens. I remember the first time I arrived into the main station concourse and being so shocked to see how run-down is was. I had a friend in Gunnersbury at the time so wanted to try this route, which I found very interesting as it weaved its way through North and West London. I remember the trains were always 3 cars only with bars on the windows. I used the Broad Street service a few times to Gunnersbury, but also Richmond and Hampstead Heath, and also to Primrose Hill, but that was when the station had closed and there was briefly a service from Liverpool Street to Watford Junction.
 
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ChiefPlanner

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They were certainly some peak 6 car workings well into the early 1980's. Broad Street was massively underused - especially from 1976 when the handful of services to the Great Northern were diverted to the new and shiny 313 services from Moorgate. Basic trains , but they were clean and nippy.

Nonethess , it hung to a train crew depot for a while longer , and was pretty much London's forgotton railway till the GLC primed some money and innovation to the North London route , if not to the terminus. It was horribly quiet off peak - despite the 66 pence off peak Rover which could be bought. There was a supervisor there on 3 shifts (because of the train crew needs) - who after the last trains , would lock himself into the office for safety. I recall going round it on a Sunday (including a visit -illegally - to the signal box where we were welcomed by the signalman and offered tea) , and some of the locked up waiting rooms had posters advertising trips to Ireland using Ulster Transport Authority services. My mate took slides that day ,and I must ask him to process them. Good lockdown project for him !
 

S&CLER

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One oddity I recollect at Broad Street was a notice in Dutch (only) which told Dutch travellers that they were not at Liverpool Street station.
 

frodshamfella

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I always wanted to do a Broad Street to Watford peak hour service , but never got to try that

I remember when I used Broad Street there might have been only 1 or 2 used platforms, I dont remember how many there were from its heydays
 

MichaelAMW

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These 1966 timetable pages show it was busy at one stage. The number of SO trains was significant - maybe lunchtime Saturday commuting or maybe football.
 

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Gloster

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Those Saturday trains are curious. It is a bit early for football (it was 3 p.m. kick-off in those days) and also for office workers going home after the morning’s work, which was still common at that time. It is unlikely to have been bargain hunters heading for Caledonian Market and Camden Market hadn’t yet opened.

Could the trains have been, in effect, the back workings of busy trains taking people into London for the day’s entertainments? Trains that would otherwise have been ecs.
 
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WesternLancer

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I used this station a few times when I was in my teens. I remember the first time I arrived into the main station concourse and being so shocked to see how run-down is was. I had a friend in Gunnersbury at the time so wanted to try this route, which I found very interesting as it weaved its way through North and West London. I remember the trains were always 3 cars only with bars on the windows. I used the Broad Street service a few times to Gunnersbury, but also Richmond and Hampstead Heath, and also to Primrose Hill, but that was when the station had closed and there was briefly a service from Liverpool Street to Watford Junction.
What sort of date was this, for context?
 

Roger1973

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Yes, slightly unusual.

The lunch time commuter trains are the ones around 1200 to Dalston Junction (and then on to GN destinations) - from what I gather most city firms wound down having even a skeleton staff in on Saturday mornings towards the end of the 60s, so probably fewer than there had been in the 1950s.

Agree it wouldn't have been a regular service like that for football - some extras on Arsenal match days, maybe (I've seen Underground working timetables with extra trains on match days - including what was then the Highbury Branch.) Although while 3pm is now standard (or was before the TV companies mucked it about so much), but before floodlighting, Saturday matches started earlier in winter to finish before it got dark.

There would have been shopping traffic on Saturday mornings across the North London suburbs - Kilburn, Camden, Islington, Dalston and others had bigger traditional street markets than now (before Camden became trendy!) which would have generated 'short hop' traffic from one intermediate station to another - most points on the line had alternative and in many cases more direct routes to central London.

Possibly these trains ran partly on the basis that there were trains and train crews needed for the morning and lunch time peaks so they kept some trains running to make up a day's work?
 

PeterC

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I used Broad Street on a number of occasions from the 1970s until closure. I was always drawn to the architecture of the building and the remains of former grandeur.

In the 80s I was travelling regularly to evening classes at North London Poly and took the NLL to and from Highbury and Islington. The few remaining Watford services were well loaded in the peak although there were always one or two seats available. Returning at around 21:30 I was often the only person on the train.

The introduction of the Camden Road - Stratford service seemed like total madness at the time, loadings whenever I used it were little different to the main NLL. The service is now excellent with good loadings throughout the day and evening but far less interesting for a fan of railway architecture and industrial archeology.
 

Andy R. A.

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During the 1970s there were some Blue and White temporary buildings on the disused platforms, which at one time was part of the LMs Guard's Training School. They were also used for the Railway's Internal MIC Exams, which I attended there several times. I suppose the hushed atmosphere during the day was considered 'helpful' for study and Exam purposes, as there was just the hum of the occasional 501 pulling out on the Richmond services. My Uncle finished his Railway service as a Driver based at Broad Street and remember how quiet the Train Crew Mess Room was when I met him there one day.
 

S&CLER

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Just noticed looking at the pictures on my wall, that one of them is a framed engraving from the Illustrated London News entitled "the new railway station in Liverpool Street, City". It is clearly Broad Street. The picture hanging underneath it, also from the ILN, is entitled "New terminus station of the Great Eastern Railway, Liverpool Street, City", and this makes me wonder if Broad Street was always known as Broad Street from its opening, or did it change its name after Liverpool Street was built?

Also, I remember that there was a model locomotive in a case on the concourse, which I think you could operate by putting a penny in. It must have raised money for railway charities, I suppose.
 

SAPhil

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Also, I remember that there was a model locomotive in a case on the concourse, which I think you could operate by putting a penny in. It must have raised money for railway charities, I suppose.
I remember that! I'd love to know where it ended up.
 

Taunton

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John Betjeman wrote a number of atmospheric articles in the 1950s about Broad Street and the North London, which are fascinating if you can find them.

Saturday morning office work ran down rapidly in the 1960s (guess what, we even had to go to school on Saturday mornings!), and must have had an impact on commuters now living further out - coming in only 5 days a week not 6 being a good upside. Everyone came in, not just a skeleton. Notable are accounts of the various enthusiast excursions out of and around London in the 1950s-60s; all starting at about 2pm on a Saturday afternoon so people could get along from their office.

About 1970, with a spare day in London, I took the train round to Richmond. It became a bit tedious after a while, the most surprising moment was when I discovered, from the elevated line, that Willesden Junction and the WR loco shed at Old Oak Common were actually next to one another. Both the east side platforms at Broad Street and a series of sidings north of there were in use for storing the Derby Suburban dmus, and the non-corridor stock and Class 31s, which were used for the peak GN services.

In the early 1980s I worked in a City office just round the corner from Liverpool Street, and used to go and look at Broad Street in its final throes. Still all semaphore signalling, but I believe Marylebone still was as well. I even went over to Liverpool Street early one Monday morning to see the very first diverted service via Graham Road come in. About a dozen passengers.
 
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EbbwJunction1

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Just noticed looking at the pictures on my wall, that one of them is a framed engraving from the Illustrated London News entitled "the new railway station in Liverpool Street, City". It is clearly Broad Street. The picture hanging underneath it, also from the ILN, is entitled "New terminus station of the Great Eastern Railway, Liverpool Street, City", and this makes me wonder if Broad Street was always known as Broad Street from its opening, or did it change its name after Liverpool Street was built?

Also, I remember that there was a model locomotive in a case on the concourse, which I think you could operate by putting a penny in. It must have raised money for railway charities, I suppose.
The station was always known as "Broad Street" and was actually opened nine years before Liverpool Street. As it was sited at the junction of Broad Street and Liverpool Street, the description on the pictures is correct, though.

I remember going there whilst it was still open, although I can't remember exactly when. However, it couldn't have been that long before it closed, because it was virtually empty - I'm not even sure whether I saw any trains! My memory is of the size and the emptiness.

Slightly off topic, but still relevant I think, I'd recommend "Cathedrals of Steam" by Christian Wolmar, which is the history of all the London Terminus stations - it's very good.
 

Gloster

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Also, I remember that there was a model locomotive in a case on the concourse, which I think you could operate by putting a penny in. It must have raised money for railway charities, I suppose.
It was apparently removed (in 1970?) and is now on display at the National Railway Museum. It was reputed to have cost as much to build as a full size loco.
 

Bevan Price

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Yes, slightly unusual.

The lunch time commuter trains are the ones around 1200 to Dalston Junction (and then on to GN destinations) - from what I gather most city firms wound down having even a skeleton staff in on Saturday mornings towards the end of the 60s, so probably fewer than there had been in the 1950s.

Agree it wouldn't have been a regular service like that for football - some extras on Arsenal match days, maybe (I've seen Underground working timetables with extra trains on match days - including what was then the Highbury Branch.) Although while 3pm is now standard (or was before the TV companies mucked it about so much), but before floodlighting, Saturday matches started earlier in winter to finish before it got dark.

There would have been shopping traffic on Saturday mornings across the North London suburbs - Kilburn, Camden, Islington, Dalston and others had bigger traditional street markets than now (before Camden became trendy!) which would have generated 'short hop' traffic from one intermediate station to another - most points on the line had alternative and in many cases more direct routes to central London.

Possibly these trains ran partly on the basis that there were trains and train crews needed for the morning and lunch time peaks so they kept some trains running to make up a day's work?
5½ day working still occurred into the 1960s, although much diminished from how it was in earlier years. When I lived near Harringay West (1963/65), the commuter trains from the GN line to Broad Street were a convenient way for me to get to Liverpool Street on Saturday mornings. Some of them were loco-hauled, with "Brush Type 2s" (as they were then, later Class 30 before being rebuilt to Class 31s). Offices usually closed at around 12:00 - 12:30, hence the departures until around 13:00.
I think the non-hauled services were worked by Cravens dmus.
 

WesternLancer

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It was apparently removed (in 1970?) and is now on display at the National Railway Museum. It was reputed to have cost as much to build as a full size loco.
indeed - on display it seems


Model steam locomotive,1/8 scale, North London Railway 4-4-0 T No.60, in glazed painted case with coin-in-the-slot electric drive rig, model and prototype built at NLR Bow Works by J.C. Park, London, 1888, exhibited in Paris in 1889, ex LNWR exhibition collection and London Broad Street Station Concourse.

This is one of the most detailed and accurate locomotive models ever made and was built by the North London Railway at its Bow Works in East London, for display at the Paris Exhibition of 1889. It is reputed to have cost almost as much as the full-sized 4-4-0T locomotives built at Bow between 1869 and 1906 to work the intensive NLR passenger services, none of which survive.

For many years the model was mounted on a newly restored drive rig at the North London Railway terminus at Broad Street in the City of London, where it was activated by a penny in the slot, the proceeds going to the Railway Benevolent Institution.
 

randyrippley

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After Broad St station closed, the whole area was razed to the ground......except for one isolated formerly terraced building held up by scaffold on either side. My then boss took us there for an after-exhibition meal.The surface building appeared to be derelict, but the basement proved to be a Turkish restaurant of allegedly some repute.
Anyway, the six of us piled into and otherwise uncustomered basement, to be met by scowls from the waiting staff - who proved to be workshy and hoping for an early closure. The management were also upset because as we'd arrived they now had to call in - and pay - the cabaret act. Who proved to be a pair of retired pensioner belly dancers. Quite a shock for an unexperienced 20 year old.
Anyway, on to the meal. Stewed goat, curried goat, roast goat....you get the idea. I settled for goat kababs....I have never had a meal so bad. The meat stunk of goat-taint (it must have been from an uncastrated billy) but was also highly hung. Ripe would be an understatement. Nauseous would be more accurate.
I tried eating it, and gave up after two mouthfulls. That was enough to make me ill for several days
 

ashkeba

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One oddity I recollect at Broad Street was a notice in Dutch (only) which told Dutch travellers that they were not at Liverpool Street station.
I would like to see a picture of that sign, if anyone knows where.
 

Irascible

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I missed Broad Street by 5 years or so - but the first place I lived in London was Dalston, so Dalston Jct site and the viaduct south were fairly big fixtures in my life for a while. It took quite a long time to realise the line had only been pulled up recently - roughly about the time the posters talking about the reopening project appeared ( and that was a protracted affair, I'd left London by the time that was finished so I still haven't seen anything on that viaduct! ).

It had a definite sense of grandieur, with how wide it is - like an extension of the feeling the Docklands used to give, you could feel how busy & important it was & I always had the feeling it wasn't quite redundant yet.
 

Peter Mugridge

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Here's my archive images of Broad Street for you all.

The first one is from 1980 the remainder are from 12th May 1985...
 

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PG

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Here's my archive images of Broad Street for you all.

The first one is from 1980 the remainder are from 12th May 1985...
Thanks for those photos :)

Curiously the guard of the departing service in photo 1534 appears to have forgotten that the requirement to observe the train out of the platform is usually best accomplished from the, er, platform side!
 

Peter Mugridge

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Thanks for those photos :)

Curiously the guard of the departing service in photo 1534 appears to have forgotten that the requirement to observe the train out of the platform is usually best accomplished from the, er, platform side!

It's running round to couple up; 1533, 1534 and 1535 are all the same movement... that's actually the driver propelling it out...
 

WesternLancer

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Here's my archive images of Broad Street for you all.

The first one is from 1980 the remainder are from 12th May 1985...
excellent - probably about the time I made a few trips from there. Atmosphere was both fascinating and intriguing, which I recall very clearly.
 

Taunton

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Do I remember correctly that in the final months before closure some legal technicality arose. The main station got closed but a temporary single platform, built entirely in wood, was erected on the east side viaduct just at the platform end. And that a huge wooden staircase to access it was built up the viaduct side.
 

Mcr Warrior

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One oddity I recollect at Broad Street was a notice in Dutch (only) which told Dutch travellers that they were not at Liverpool Street station.
There is a pic of the Broad Street Station notice in "Lost Lines: LMR" (1994) by Nigel Welbourn.

Actually the notice was in four languages; English, Dutch, German and Polish.

The English wording read...

BROAD STREET STATION
THIS STATION IS BROAD STREET NOT LIVERPOOL STREET. PASSENGERS FOR EUROPE AND EASTERN COUNTIES OF ENGLAND SHOULD TRAVEL FROM LIVERPOOL STREET STATION ->

British Rail - London Midland
 

PeterC

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Do I remember correctly that in the final months before closure some legal technicality arose. The main station got closed but a temporary single platform, built entirely in wood, was erected on the east side viaduct just at the platform end. And that a huge wooden staircase to access it was built up the viaduct side.
They had diverted the NLL trains but the peak hour services to Watford were still running. I can't remember the details, I think that it simply allowed them to get on with the rebuilding regardless of any delays in the formal closure process.

There is a pic of the Broad Street Station notice in "Lost Lines: LMR" (1994) by Nigel Welbourn.

Actually the notice was in four languages; English, Dutch, German and Polish.

The English wording read...

BROAD STREET STATION
THIS STATION IS BROAD STREET NOT LIVERPOOL STREET. PASSENGERS FOR EUROPE AND EASTERN COUNTIES OF ENGLAND SHOULD TRAVEL FROM LIVERPOOL STREET STATION ->

British Rail - London Midland
For the last few decades of operation the entrances to Broad Street and Liverpool Street Stations from Liverpool Street were either side of Sun Street Alley with most of LST hidden behind the Great Eastern Hotel Building. It seems perfectly reasonable for a foreigner to go into the building that was very obviously a railway station.
 
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