April 14, 2004
Top of the tube

It’s not very often that you get to see what a tube train looks like from above. Well - not a “proper” tube train anyway. The London Underground system, generally speaking, has two types of train: the types of train that ride the “cut and cover” style tracks - e.g. the Metropolitan, Circle, District and East London Line trains - and then the trains that ride the “deep-tunnel” style tracks - which is the rest. The latter type run overground on most of the suburban stretches of the system - and then go deep underground in the central areas of London. These trains are characterised by their “bullet” style curved shapes - and seem to only just fit into the circular tunnels when going underground. It’s this type of train that is rarely viewable from above.

On the Piccadilly Line at North Ealing - which is a suburban station served by overground track - there is a footbridge that connects the Eastbound platform to the Westbound platform and ticket hall. It’s a relatively small station - only four entry/exit barriers - and a very cute “village”-style feeling to to the place. The station is recognised by Transport for London (TfL) as the last remaining station on the Piccadilly Line which retains the original turn-of-the-century (nineteenth/twentieth century) architecture.

The footbridge is quite low over the track - and it feels like you could lean over the edge of the bridge and almost touch the top of the train.

A tube train from above.
(Central London-bound Piccadilly Line train at North Ealing - looking towards the rear of the train.)

Once over the footbridge - on the Westbound platform - you will find yourself underneath the historical turn-of-the-century wooden canopy - and you can’t help but notice what looks like an old-fashioned clock mounted on the what looks like an original pillar structure. There are also several flower baskets hanging from the girders underneath the ancient canopy. It’s kind of weird how the very old and very modern coexist: for in the same view as the old clock, wooden canopy and hanging baskets is the modern illumintated “Way out” sign, the safety barriers and the graffiti lining the walls of the roadbridge crossing the track further down.

In the mornings - I often get off the train here - and walk it to Ealing Broadway for the final stage of my journey to work - and in the evening I often walk here from Ealing Broadway for the second-to-last stage of my journey home. It is a pleasure waiting for the Westbound train here at North Ealing: I always end up daydreaming about what life was like in times gone by.

Looking East on the Westbound platform at North Ealing tube station.

Posted by jag at April 14, 2004 08:28 PM

If you travel westbound on the Picadilly line one day you could stop at Osterley. If you turn left out of the station, walk down the great West Road and turn left into Thornbury road you get to a railway bridge where the original Osterley Tube station used to be (the building is stil there it just isn’t a station any more). Rather than update it, a newone was built at the current location.

Posted by: stroppycow on April 14, 2004 09:41 PM

Hi there,
I’ve been visiting your website for a while now, but this is my first ‘comment.’ I believe it was a link from Annie Mole’s underground blog site that brought me here. I really like your photos. The Ealing tube station ones are great! I live in the US but have visited London many times, and really like the tube and seeing cool photos, such as yours. I look forward to seeing more!!

Posted by: Annette on April 15, 2004 05:56 AM

Hi Strop: Thanks for the tip re location of the disused station! I don’t normally get the Picc doewn that branch - but since I am planning to be at Heathrow for a day next week - I might just go by tube instead of car - and go check it out.

Annette: Thanks you for your kind words re the pictures! I hope I can get some more “cool” pictures for your enjoyment! :-)

Posted by: Jag on April 15, 2004 08:08 AM

It does look like a nice conglameration fo the old and the new - the neon signs quite contrasting with the moss - covered damp bridge in the background.
And the tube-train - kind of like a steel caterpillar crawling its way through the ground

Posted by: sat on April 17, 2004 10:52 AM

Ahem - Some stations in India do preserve their architectural heritage, for example - the Victoria Terminus in Bombay - http://www.mumbainet.com/travel/cststation.htm which surprisingly is modelled after the St Pancras Station in London (I dunno where that is)
Even my own Chennai Central Station has an massive British Influence in it (I dunno the architectural style here too)

Posted by: sat on April 17, 2004 11:02 AM
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