IMG 5437fi - The new tube station at Bond Street

The new tube station at Bond Street

Bond Street is now on its sixth phase or so of development since 1900. The new entrance within the western stub of Marylebone Lane was opened yesterday and Geoff Tech explained much about the new station, courtesy of his You Tube channel.

Although I wasn’t there yesterday (that’s actually two days ago as the publishing of this article got delayed) I pass Bond Street station several times a week. I’ve watched the ongoing development over the last few years and recorded some of its progress. The somewhat awful crush that regularly endured around the older station entrances – whilst the construction hoardings were up – has now come to an end and the north side of Oxford Street finally has plenty of room for shoppers to walk without crowding.

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The north side of Oxford Street with an expanded area into Stratford Place.

No doubt this particular part of Oxford Street will be a nodal point for entertainment, stalls, eating, sitting down. It’llbe a good spot for a break in the long walk between Oxford Circus and Marble Arch when the street is finally pedestrianised, not only that its certain to be a very popular meeting point when Crossrail opens.

The new entrance to Bond Street tube station is in one of the two southern bits of Marylebone Lane. Despite my photograph showing the entrance during a quiet pause, it was actually quite busy today (Saturday 18th) as shoppers took advantage of the new facility rather than wait in the pouring rain for the traffic to stop before crossing over to the older entrance.

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Three different lifts just to reach the Central or Jubilee lines!

Does the new entrance actually save time? I don’t think so. Its much quicker to use the old entrances if one can use these. The new entrance is larger, wider and has more capacity, plus full disability access. That of course increases the number of stations with core accessibility. Despite all these new features, the actual design and layout is a bit of a let down. One has to bear in mind this was a difficult site with severe constraints for any new construction.

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The top of the new Jubilee escalators. The old ones are now for passengers ascending to street level.

The old order at the tube station wasn’t brilliant but quite okay. In the past couple of years it had settled down into a mainly clockwise circulatory system that has now been reversed. The new arrangement is fine but there are considerations in terms of walking and also conviviality for disabled people. There’s been concerns much of the new work linked to Crossrail involves unduly long interchanges, and this is one of them.

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Down the new Jubilee escalators. The obligatory cheapo fixed staircase is in the middle!

When Crossrail opens in just over a year’s time there’ll be another level of development to add to the whole lot. It’ll be the seventh or so stage in the life of Bond Street station. More corridors, lifts and escalators to have fun with. The main entrances for Crossrail are located at Hanover Square (best for Oxford Circus) and behind the West One Centre in Davies Street. There will naturally be further changes to the circulation system and further signage introduced to assist passengers wanting to interchange here.

The lifts within the new section of tube station are a bit problematic. They’re not unduly convenient although they do at least provide full accessibility for disabled and elderly people or families with kids and prams. There’s substantial distance involved in reaching the three different lifts needed to reach either of the tube lines here with the Jubilee Line having the furthest reach.

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Lift interchange level. Long corridors link the three lifts plus emergency stairs. Ahead is lift B (ticket office level) Off to the right is lift C (Central.) Behind some way down the corridor is lift D (Jubilee.)

In my view it’ll be simply more convenient for disabled people and others to use Crossrail and take its lifts as these serve directly to street level. However one must remember that the platforms on Crossrail are unduly long and care must be taken to ensure one is not inconvenienced by being on the wrong part of the train and finding it a long distance to reach the lifts in question.

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The lift landing for Jubilee Line. Its quite a walk using three different lifts just to get to street level. 

Back to the main topic. As I have pointed out, Bond Street station is in a difficult spot. Very constrained in terms of new construction. Even when it was first built it was a nightmare. Let me explain.

Bond Street was one station the Central London Railway (CLR) wish they hadn’t built given its proximity to both Marble Arch and Oxford Circus. This was the most difficult of the 13 stations opened on the new tube line in 1900. Its ironic because the station wasn’t even on the original plans.

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The bit under the old Post Office Railway.

Geoff T. discussed in his video the bit of the station that passes under the now defunct Post Office Railway. This is on the approach to the Jubilee Line at the bottom of the new escalators. Its however not the only section to pass under something of importance.

A similar section near the new entrance passes under the Middle Level Sewer. Outside contractors (UKDN Waterflow and Geotechnical Observations) had to strengthen the sewer’s tunnel during construction of the new station.

The Middle Level sewer was built by Joseph Bazalgette in the 1860s as part of the programme to improve London’s sewerage and drainage network. Its quite a deep sewer however at this point Oxford Street dips quite low so the sewer is fairly close to the surface.

IMG 5445 - The new tube station at Bond Street
Looks similar – but its actually the section under the Middle Level Sewer.

Sewers have always been a problem around here in terms of construction sewer. The Tyburn/King’s Scholar Pond Sewer gave the CLR a bloody punch on the nose. As one correspondent of the time commented,  the Tyburn appeared to have “selected this means of revenge for its long endured obloquy.” Enormous expenditure was spent in the last couple of years of the 19th Century trying to contain the waters of the Tyburn hereabouts as it kept breaching the CLR’s construction works.

As mentioned, Bond Street station was not on the CLR’s original plans. The station entrance was to be in Davies Street, quite ironically about where the new Crossrail entrance will be! In 1898/99 this site would have actually been a better location for the new station, being quite well out of the way of the Tyburn/King’s Scholars. The CLR instead switched to the newer site directly facing onto Oxford Street. Ultimately they were asking for problems as the Tyburn/King’s Scholars ran right through their site!

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After much difficulty the CLR decided drastic action was needed. It built a new tunnel for the Tyburn some distance from the main station areas, eg the lifts and ticket hall. This entailed a modified alignment underneath Oxford Street before rejoining its legacy route down South Molton.

Although the Tyburn still passes over the station, its current course doesn’t actually affect its construction but to the on the safe side this and the Middle Level plus another un-named egg shaped sewer in Davies Street, were similarly treated. This involved steel ribs to strengthen the tunnels and line the inverts with rubber to prevent leakages.

IMG 5461 - The new tube station at Bond StreetFor 117 years passengers had to go down to the Central Line. Now they can come up to it!

The CLR opened on 27 June 1900 with twelve stations in all on that day. One in particular left out of that opening day. The thirteenth! That was of course Bond Street. The struggles to build the station and divert the Tyburn meant could not open for another three months – 24 September 1900. It was finally demolished circa 1978/9 to make way for the new shopping centre and Jubilee Line ticket hall.

Bond Street is not the only new station development that has found a need to accommodate one of London’s legacy sewers. The recent works at King’s Cross to build the northern ticket hall and connections also involves a short section that dips underneath the Fleet sewer. Factually they had to rebuild that section of Fleet sewer just to get it all to fit in!

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