please empty your brain below

When I heard on the news yesterday that Blackfriars was re-opening I thought you would do a post about it today. Glad you didn't disappoint me.

Good stuff, look forward to checking it out, and particularly pleased to hear you can pass through from the new south bank entrance to the tube without charge.

the member of staff on the northern NR gateline last night was less sure. "Are you pay as you?" he asked "because it might charge you! if you've got a travelcard on it, you should be ok". So.. who else with a PAYG wants to go and have a go at it to double check??

i though it was clean and new, yes.. but also completely lacking in character and thus a bit bland. totally functional, but nothing to get one excited. such are these austere times...

AFAIK exiting from the tube, and crossing via the NR platforms to the South Bank exit shouldn't result in an additional charge, neither should be the oppposite case.
However, just touching in on the south bank entrance, walking over the station bridge, then exiting to the street on the north side without making an onwards tube journey will cost you £1.25.

Sure it's clean and sharp looking, and the exit to the Tate is great, but don't sell the rat warrens short. i love the charm of traipsing through Elephant & Castle, or the pre-war vibe of Borough. It's a real "local's" station, sans all that touristy glitz. I actually enjoyed my daily trek through King's Cross connecting with Thameslink. It was a real accomplishment when I finally knew my way through without checking the signs.

I guess I was luckier than most, because my route took me from Bricklayers to St Albans, so I could pick and choose from a combination of 5 or 6 interchangeable stations in my daily commute, mixing walking, buses, The Tube, and Thameslink.

Three minutes isn't THAT long! It's certainly comparable with being at the back of a Pendolino at Euston. Regular commuters will point themselves at the correct end of the train anyway, and hey - at least if you walk along the length of the platform, you'll have that Thames view to keep you interested.

A shame that the latest tube map doesn't show the station on the Thames to hint at the southern entrance!

This is a bit off topic, but I'm hoping I'll be forgiven. I've recently been transferred to New York, and I'm wondering if anyone knows a blog that has some of the things I love about DG--interesting walks and rambles, transit news, esoteria, lack of publicity spam--focused on NYC. Anyone?

Of course Diamond Geezer stays on the daily reading list. It's as good for homesickness as a Skype with Mum (and presents significantly less of a technical challenge).

Have you actually been to the new station yet, or just looked at the photos on Flickr? It's certainly unusual not to take any of your own. On the other hand, it's a nice thought that 21st century technology could allow someone to compose a detailed writeup of the architectural features of a station without needing to move from the sofa!

I went yesterday, when I heard (thanks Geofftech!) that it had reopened early, and I diverted my usual cross-river commute to deliberately take me through it. Sadly, I was aiming for a Wimbledon loop train arriving four minutes after I did, so I didn't manage to get to the south bank in time and thus still haven't seen the new entrance.

I did, however, see the huge blue cylinder in the ticket hall, and I confess that its true purpose never even crossed my mind! I assumed it was simply an architectural feature.

I think the people dismissing it as 'bland' are being a tad meaner than necessary. Sure, it wouldn't win awards, but give them credit - a reasonable amount of effort seems to have gone into making it look nice. Compare that to the hideous prefab platforms at Hoxton, the lamentably short-sighted exposed concrete at Canada Water (which, true to form, looks awful now that it's more than a decade old), the uniform battleship grey tiles with loads of dirt-trapping grouting which almost all of King's Cross St. Pancras has been smothered in, or the dystopian nightmare with the vibe of an eastern European prison that is Mitcham Eastfields. There's a lot worse than magnolia and blue tiling out there.

see... i didn't think that magnolia and blue mixed. i'm stealing this comment from DG himself (who yes - was physically there last night because i bumped into him!) pointed out that surely it should be green & yellow coloured to match District & Circle. instead of Piccadilly blue. #justsayin


It's not quite the same, but Forgotten New York ( should cater for your needs for discussion on subway signage / elevated railways / lampost styles, etc.

I dunno. You make a special effort to visit the station on your way home, you write more than 1000 words all about it, you throw in some of your own photos, and people assume you researched the whole thing from your sofa :)

The "crowd control" doors are actually fire doors, held open by magnetic locks.

Remember there used to be a dry cleaners on the E/B platform, and a newsagent cum snack bar on the W/B, neither of which have been restored.

The were plans for the inevitable "retail" experience at mezzanine floor level, but lack of full DDA access means it couldn't be opened/developed.

Might be the very last staffed LU ticket office opened though?

Funnily enough I had to make a journey today which was most easily made by changing at Blackfriars. Initial impressions:

i) The spacious entrance hall has a real wow factor for me.

ii) Surprisingly there are only three self-service ticket machines. I suppose that is all you need when most users will be regulars who have Oystercards and some of the remainder will be tourists who would rather speak to a person if they have to buy a physical ticket. I think the paucity of ticket machines contributes to the uncluttered feel.

iii) There are escalators leading down to the platforms at this sub-surface station. Is this unique? I don't know of any others that are not true deep-level "tube" stations.

iv) One of the emergency exits on the westbound platform leads down steps and along a corridor that disappears into the distance. Where does it go to? Again as a far as I am aware an emergency exit leading down is unique for both sub-surface and deep-level stations.

v) The platforms are only about two metres longer than a 'D' stock District line train. To get the last set of doors of the replacement 'S7' stock is going to be a tight fit. I do hope they don't resort to not opening the last set of doors. It is a pity they could not have taken this opportunity to make the platform longer -possibly even future-proofing by making it long enough for S8 stock. An opportunity like this is unlikely to come again.

The obvious answer to iii) above is Sloane Square.

@DG: I got confused, because I'm used to you uploading pictures of everything you blog about to Flickr, and you haven't in this case. I assume you mean those photos in the article were the only ones you took, and are only available here?

Oooh, I'd almost forgotten Blackfriars existed! Good post, DG.

... And by the way, have you checked out the new ticket hall at Farringdon yet? Another ice hockey rink! And as dull as dull can be...

swirlythingy - the south bank entrance to Blackfriars has been open for a couple of months. As it's a London terminal, my point to point season ticket works the gates on the NR station, so I've used it a couple of times as a useful part of my walk from Waterloo to the City when it's raining. (Unfortunately you can't play the same trick at Waterloo East/Southwark, as there's no way to the street without going through the tube barrier!)

I used to commute in to Blackfriars, so I'm weirdly looking forward to visiting the new tube station.

DG - do you happen to know what (if anything) happened to the proposals to rename the station Blackfriars and Bankside? Did it just flounder in Parliament (I have a vague recollection that changing names of stations is strangely difficult).

Cracking post - will be interested to see the follow up when the mainline station spanning the Thames is complete.


I may be wrong but I thought that Sloane Square only had up escalators.

Sloane Square has an escalator on each side along with a fixed staircase. I have seen the escalators being used in both directions, but usually they go up, yes.

Westminster has escalators to/from the sub-surface lines.

Greenford and Statford ('tube', but not underground) on the Central Line have escalators up to the platforms.

Alperton (Piccadilly, above ground) used to have an escaltor too! But it broke down, and rather than fix it they just hid it away behind a brick wall and make you use the stairs ...

When I started work at Unilever House in 1961, Blackfriars Underground was my destination station, traveling from Victoria. I remember a shop at the entrance selling fashion accessories, and possibly a tobacco & sweets kiosk, and yes it was a rabbit warren, but rather warm and comforting. I shall make a special trip one day to see the new station and how it compares. Good post, can't wait to go.

@ swirlything. Over 100 views of my Blackfriars photos over 2 days - I'm not complaining about DG linking to my photos. ;-)

I'll have to go and take a look at both Blackfirars and Farringdon given their recent expansion.

@Ian Curry - I think Simon Hughes was unable to gather sufficient support to get the name changed, but the Bankside and South Bank are referred to on some station signs - see

Scope for minor access problems here, I predict. The two gatelines for NR services are organised 'north and south' at the moment, but once the two bay platforms re-open, there'll be southbound departures from three places, and so if you choose the wrong gateline for your train you could be stuck on the wrong side of the station - unless you wander all the way off down to the south end, where there is 'paid side' access between all four platforms...

P of P, the planning drawings suggest the westbound platform's emergency exit passes under the basement level of the National Rail concourse, with another short flight of a few steps up again, exiting at the riverside street level street level (near Thames St?) south of the station complex.

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