Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Elizabeth Line: behind the barriers at Tottenham Court Road

With the Elizabeth Line/Crossrail project due to open to passengers next week, here is a sneak preview of what's behind the barriers at the Tottenham Court Road Station! 


Photograph showing a yellow concertina barrier across the entrance to the Crossrail platforms inside the station

The new station is full of carefully-designed details, designed to reflect the area above ground. Look closely at the rather abstract pattern of dots on the wall panels and you can see it is in fact a stylised map: spot Soho Square and the roundels marking the station entrances.  

Photograph of a shiny red panel with white dots in a grid pattern. There is a square gap in the dots, with an outline of a house shape in the centre, representing Soho Square. Some of the dots are in fact Underground roundels.

The new tunnels and platforms are full of curves, light, and the distinctive 'totems' which will be a feature of all Elizabeth Line stations. They serve multiple functions including signage and lighting. 

The opening of the central section on 24 May 2022 will be a giant step towards completion of a project which began in 2009. When I visited the construction site at Woolwich Arsenal in 2014, it was apparently at its halfway point - but there have been a few delays since then, unsurprising in work of this magnitude. When the line is fully open, it will run from Reading to Shenfield and be over 100km long.

All that work has not only brought much-needed new transport infrastructure. It was accompanied by a huge archaeology programme which brought exciting discoveries. It also reminded us that Crosse and Blackwell originally had a factory a few steps away in Soho Square!

Inside the new Tottenham Court Road station, finding your way through its generous spaces is made easier through some clever colour-coding. The eastern side, with the St Giles Circus entrance, features red glass walls; at the western, Dean Street end they are black.Above our heads, the lights are modelled on stage lights - a reference to the many theatres above.

In fact, all that was missing on this visit were the passengers and trains ... but they will soon be here too!


Ralph Hancock said...

Good to see you back at last. The new station looks very suave, though I think people will crash into the 'totems' in rush hour crowds, and that is the least informative map I have ever seen.

CarolineLD said...

Thank you! I'm not convinced about the 'totems' either, but we shall see...