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Tottenham Court Road Underground Station

General Information

Completion: 30 July 1900
Status: in use

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Location: , , ,
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Coordinates: 51° 30' 58.00" N    0° 7' 51.00" W
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Excerpt from Wikipedia

Tottenham Court Road is a London Underground and future Elizabeth line station in St Giles, West End of London. It is served by the Central line and the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line. The station will also be served by the Elizabeth Line when the core section opens in autumn 2019.

On the Central line it is between Oxford Circus and Holborn, and on the Northern line it is between Leicester Square and Goodge Street. The station is located at St Giles Circus, the junction of Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street, New Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road and is in Travelcard Zone 1.


Central London Railway

The station opened as part of the Central London Railway (CLR) on 30 July 1900. From that date until 24 September 1933, the next station eastbound on the Central line was the now-defunct British Museum; the next stop in that direction is now Holborn. The platforms are under Oxford Street west of St Giles' Circus, and were originally connected to the ticket hall via lifts at the east end of the platforms. The original station building is in Oxford Street and was designed in common with other CLR stations by Harry Bell Measures. Much modified, it now forms part of the station entrance, and some elements of the original facade survive above the canopy. Apart from those very limited original features of the entrance, the station building otherwise together with a whole row of other elegant old buildings were demolished in 2009.

Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway

The Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR, now part of the Northern line) arrived here on 22 June 1907 but used the name Oxford Street until an interchange (linking the eastbound Central line with the southbound Northern line via the ends of the platform) was opened on 3 September 1908 from when the present name was used for both lines. The next station north on the Northern line was originally called Tottenham Court Road, but was renamed to Goodge Street at this time.

The original ticket office was directly beneath St Giles circus and was accessed from stairs on three street corners around the Circus. Its original lift shafts and emergency stairs are still extant. A set of emergency stairs can used as access down to the ends of the Northern line platform. The lift shafts are used for offices and station facilities.

Early Improvements

Like a number of other central area stations, Tottenham Court Road underwent improvements during the 1920s to replace the original sets of lifts with escalators. Works commenced in 1923; a new subsurface ticket hall, under St Giles Circus, was constructed and the escalators came into service on 28 September 1926 (upper set) and 1 February 1926 (lower set). A shaft for three escalators was driven from the ticket hall under the junction down to the east end of the Central line platforms ending at an intermediate circulation space. A further pair of escalators descend from this level to the north end of the Northern line platforms. The lifts were removed and the redundant shafts were used as ventilation ducts. In 1938 a chiller plant began operating at the station. This was decommissioned in 1949.

Passenger congestion entering and leaving the Northern line platforms was partially eased by the addition of a short single escalator at the centre of the platform leading up to a passageway linking to the intermediate circulation area. However, this was in itself a cause of congestion, as traffic trying to leave the station from the Northern line found itself in the path of traffic entering and travelling to the Central line.

In 1984 the entire station was redecorated, losing the distinctive Leslie Green-designed platform tiling pattern of the Yerkes tube lines (which included the CCE&HR), and the plain white platform tiles of the CLR. The 1980s design includes panels of tessellated mural mosaic by Eduardo Paolozzi (whose signature appears at several places within the station), and is a distinct and noticeable feature of the station. The mosaic's frenetic design is intended to reflect the station's position adjacent to Tottenham Court Road's large concentration of hi-fi and electronics shops. Some of this mosaic has now been removed in the expansion of the station for Crossrail. These parts are due to be reconstructed and installed in the University of Edinburgh.

Congestion relief

The station had four entrances to the sub-surface ticket hall from the north-east, south-west and north-west corners of the junction and from a subway beneath the Centre Point building which starts on Andrew Borde Street. The entrances were frequently congested leading to occasions during peak periods of the day when they were briefly closed to prevent overcrowding in the station.

In the aftermath of the King's Cross fire in 1987, London Underground was recommended to investigate "passenger flow and congestion in stations and take remedial action". Although a Parliamentary bill was tabled in 1991 to permit London Underground to improve and expand the frequently congested station, the station was drastically reconstructed and upgraded in the mid 2010s as part of the Crossrail project.

The £500m station upgrade took 8 years, and involved building a much larger ticket hall under the forecourt of Centre Point, new sets of escalators to reach the central section of the Northern line platforms from the ticket hall, step-free access to the platforms, as well as escalators down to the eastern end of the future Crossrail station. The subway to Andrew Borde Street was replaced as part of this development. To enable this expansion to occur, both the Astoria theatres and the original Central line entrance were demolished.

As part of the expansion of the ticket hall, Art on the Underground commissioned an artwork by Daniel Buren, a French conceptual artist. This piece, 'Diamonds and Circles' permanent works 'in situ', was Buren's first permanent public commission in the UK. The artwork comprises colourful diamond and circle shapes, which contrast with Buren's trademark stripes in black and white, fixed to internal glass walls throughout the ticket hall. The piece was completed in 2017.

From 2 April until 28 November 2011, the Northern line platforms were closed for structural upgrade works and Northern line trains ran non-stop through the station.

From 5 January until 7 December 2015, the Central line platforms were closed, meaning Central line trains did not stop at the station. On 12 January 2015, the first part of the new ticket hall opened for the first time. The station which previously required commuters going through the Central line level concourse to get to the Northern line, via a one-way system, now has escalators directly to Northern line level followed by stairs to the platforms. The escalators are among the longest in the tube, and take a minute top to bottom.

Current developments


In addition to the eastern ticket hall expansion, a new western entrance and ticket hall is being built under Dean Street as part of the Crossrail project, leading to both the Crossrail platforms and to the parallel Central line platforms.

The Crossrail station 'box' was constructed as part of the Underground ticket hall works, and completed in an un-fitted form by 12 January 2015. Similar to the situation with Thameslink platforms at St Pancras, the line developers are responsible for the fitting-out works which create the actual station infrastructure.

Future developments

Crossrail 2

The proposed Chelsea-Hackney line, now known as Crossrail 2, if built, will have a station at Tottenham Court Road, and the development plans include facilities to take account of this. This would be the only planned interchange between Crossrail 1 and Crossrail 2. A massive boost in capacity to the existing station will be needed to host both lines. The station was safeguarded as part of the route in 1991 and 2007. Redevelopment of the station will include space for platforms on the line.

Text imported from Wikipedia article "Tottenham Court Road tube station" and modified on 23 July 2019 under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license.



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