What would a "London Central" have looked like?

Cowley

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Even if a London Central had been built in the 1840s I think an issue would have emerged over the next fifty years with trying to expand it, so likely other stations would still have been needed. It's probably also the case that the multiple stations in part helped in the rationale for the emergence of the Underground to link the terminals and parts of London.

Could you imagine the congestion a major central station would have suffered? If it existed it would probably have been rebuilt in the 1950s or 1960s as some concrete monstrosity to "improve" things, and no doubt have needed rebuilding again.

I’m also imagining days of ‘bomb scares’. It could have spent quite a significant amount of time being evacuated every few days in the 1980s.
 
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Mikey C

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This thread reminds me of an American tourist asking me (after our boat train replacement bus from Harwich PQ had dropped us outside Liverpool Street), whether this was London's train station :D
 

Bevan Price

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Depends how far back you want to go. Did not the Midland line from Derby originally have its own Bristol Terminus at St Phillip's and likewise the Newcastle & Carlisle at Forth Banks?
Bristol St. Phillips, mainly used for local services to Bath Green Park, closed on 21 September 1953 (Wikipedia)
 

Senex

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Bristol St. Phillips, mainly used for local services to Bath Green Park, closed on 21 September 1953 (Wikipedia)
... and in any case wasn't opened till 1870. The Midland as successor in title to the Bristol & Gloucester inherited that company's rights into Temple Meads, exercised from 1844.
 

D6130

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.. and in any case wasn't opened till 1870. The Midland as successor in title to the Bristol & Gloucester inherited that company's rights into Temple Meads, exercised from 1844.
Fair enough....I stand corrected. But what about the Newcastle example? I know that Forth Banks became a goods station fairly early on - presumably shortly after the opening of the Central station - but it's four passenger platforms are still partially visible from the King Edward Bridge. (Incidentally, my maternal grandfather started his railway career as a junior clerk at Forth Banks in 1915).
 

Senex

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Fair enough....I stand corrected. But what about the Newcastle example? I know that Forth Banks became a goods station fairly early on - presumably shortly after the opening of the Central station - but it's four passenger platforms are still partially visible from the King Edward Bridge. (Incidentally, my maternal grandfather started his railway career as a junior clerk at Forth Banks in 1915).
Not quite London Central, but as we've wandered a litle already in this thread, why not yet a bit more? The Newcastle Journal, 27 February 1847 page 2 column 6, reported: "The Extension Line of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway to the temporary station in the Forth in this town, will be opened for traffic on Monday next, ..." So this second terminus of the Carlisle line was apparently always intended to be a temporary measure. Then the Newcastle Journal, 28 December 1850 page 4 column 3, carries a company notice stating that: "... the Temporary Station at Newcastle will be Closed; ..." and the traffic will be handled at the Central Station. I think this does make it clear that the aim was always to run to Central when that became available.
 

D6130

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Not quite London Central, but as we've wandered a litle already in this thread, why not yet a bit more? The Newcastle Journal, 27 February 1847 page 2 column 6, reported: "The Extension Line of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway to the temporary station in the Forth in this town, will be opened for traffic on Monday next, ..." So this second terminus of the Carlisle line was apparently always intended to be a temporary measure. Then the Newcastle Journal, 28 December 1850 page 4 column 3, carries a company notice stating that: "... the Temporary Station at Newcastle will be Closed; ..." and the traffic will be handled at the Central Station. I think this does make it clear that the aim was always to run to Central when that became available.
Very interesting. Thanks for that!
 

YorksLad12

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I’m also imagining days of ‘bomb scares’. It could have spent quite a significant amount of time being evacuated every few days in the 1980s.
True, but if you follow though on my Holborn-Viaduct-as-London-Central suggestion above, you could turn trains around at Kings Cross, Paddington, Waterloo etc so you would still be able to keep people moving. Through passengers or anyone going specifically to London Central to travel would be inconvenienced, but the resillience would be there. "Resillience" and "1980s" being largely oxymoronic, of course...
 

Route115?

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I believe that Kensington Olympia was proposed as a hub, although I think that you would have had to quadruple the West London Line. You could also have built something below Hyde Park (although I think that there would have been a lot of opposition to it).

I actually did a thesis in the 90s looking at the feasibility of building a Zurich style super hub at Kings X where there was (then) plenty of space. The problem is that you either terminate everything at the hub requiring an inordinate number of platforms or else you run through trains Thameslink style. (Think of Brussels with its six track central section.) This would require a high level of operational reliability and the stock requirements north and south of the Thames are different so anything for a cross London service is likely to be something of a compromise (look at the Metropolitan Line). My solution was a series of RER lines (this was well before Crossrail & Thameslink) including Victoria - Kings X - London Bridge.

Its interesting in that there is a very high interchange penalty in having to change to the undeground to cross London & through traffic increased up to six fold when Thameslink opened in the early 90s, with strong flows particularly to Croydon, Gatwick and Brighton, although it was still small in proportion to London terminating traffic.
 

Royston Vasey

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Another super video from Jago Hazzard uploaded today, this one on the never built Farringdon Street/Grand Central of the 1840s, as discussed upthread. Meticulously researched and very well assembled as always!

 

NorthKent1989

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Another super video from Jago Hazzard uploaded today, this one on the never built Farringdon Street/Grand Central of the 1840s, as discussed upthread. Meticulously researched and very well assembled as always!


Saw that video this morning, Jago Hazzard is a great London Transport historian
 

nickw1

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True, but if you follow though on my Holborn-Viaduct-as-London-Central suggestion above, you could turn trains around at Kings Cross, Paddington, Waterloo etc so you would still be able to keep people moving. Through passengers or anyone going specifically to London Central to travel would be inconvenienced, but the resillience would be there. "Resillience" and "1980s" being largely oxymoronic, of course...

With generous turnaround times, lots of spare stock, plenty of spare paths and capacity, and a non-fragmented system which, according to previous posts on the forum, featured such things as DMUs and 304s substituting on inter-city services when there was nothing else available (OK neither is IC-grade but both are better than a cancellation), one could argue the 1980s were considerably more resilient than anything recent...

And I did travel regularly, typically 5 days a week, for most of the 80s.
 

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