Best and Worst Major Interchange Stations

Mikey C

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Not to get too off topic, but the original ideas featured a mezzanine and air rights development. As usual, it was ruled due to cost. The upgrade we got was a billion or so after all.



I think the biggest criticism is the comparative length of the walk from the through platforms to the tube. Before the rebuild, you could position yourself at the front of the train, head straight down the ramps and then the (short) escalators into Joiner Street. Compare that with starting from carriage 3 or 4, heading down a long east-facing escalator, then turning back on yourself for a long walk through the Western Arcade. Much higher capacity (which is the compromise) but probably double the length of walk.
It feel far longer than double the length of walk.

The other thing that slows down the walk to the tube station, is that whereas previously you were in segregated passageways behind the barrier, the new walk is in public concourses, full of shops and shoppers!
 
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BayPaul

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Why? Bit of a trek to the Windsor lines but otherwise it seems perfectly usable to me, though obviously very busy in the peaks.
I agree, it's daunting by reputation if you've never changed there before, but surprisingly pleasant in practice - I regularly change from the Windsor lines to Gatwick services, nice and simple! The only issues really is that Southern and Overground services via Kensington Olympic go from opposite sides of the station, and that few fast SWR services stop.
 

Davester50

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The only issues really is that Southern and Overground services via Kensington Olympic go from opposite sides of the station,
Oh yes. When the Overground goes up the spout and you have to trek all the way back across the bridge.
 

Ken H

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One thing coming out of this thread is regular users of a station have found the wheezes to get round quickly. I think that says more about the signage than the actual station design.
 

lyndhurst25

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Short on platforms to strictly qualify, but Sandhills on Merseyrail has to be one of the easiest interchange stations around. I suspect that more people change trains there, than exit or enter the station. The single island platform is great for making tight connections. Ticket office, waiting rooms and toilets are on the platform. Lots of Merseyrail maps and information screens around. The view isn’t very scenic though.
 

Timmyd

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It trumps Elephant & Castle in this regard, I’ll give you that!
But it is difficult for interchange from southbound Thameslink to the bay platforms. The platforms are so long and most trains dont fill them so its a long walk to either end of the platform. Interchange doesn’t seem to have been a consideration even though with its completion many more passengers (eg Catford Loop) who previously had a through service now have to change there. Elephant definitely easier if the train you're changing from stops there.
 

xotGD

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Does it give access to all platforms?
You can't directly access Platform 1.

While the two exits are nominally 'Exit Only', sometimes they are unstaffed and the barriers left open so offer a quicker way into the station from that end of town.
 

Grumpus63

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Shrewsbury on the whole yes, but there is one platform which you can only reach by going outside. Last time I did this, I traipsed over there and then there was a last-minute platform change so I had to traipse back.
I was about to give Shrewsbury the vote for that very reason. Platform Three! Heaven help you if you have heavy luggage and arrive at any other platform. Down the stairs, through the barriers, out the front of the station, in by another entrance, up two or three flights of stairs to platform three to be greeted with...."Here is a platform alteration...." It is a beautiful station full of history and character but all this appreciation can diminish if you need to change to or from (and back again) platform three! I find Birmingham New Street confusing because the station is "cut in half" by glass and metal barriers (not ticket barriers) at concourse level and if you are rushing for a train and are not familiar with the layout you can easily miss that train by being thwarted. I wonder how many reprobates leap across them is desperation to catch the 16.25 to Aberystwyth!

Although not a major interchange I also find Smethwick Galton Bridge a challenge for my brain. I need to visit it a few more times before being able to make a tight connection there with any confidence!

I was also at Manchester Victoria for the first time in over thirty years the other week. There was a fault with the departure indicators and I was totally confused by the place. Again, lovely historic station with the addition of trams now and that moving memorial. But although I stayed long enough to appreciate the positive side of the changes I decided to walk across the city centre to Piccadilly where I was in territory that I recognised.
 

Dr Hoo

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But it is difficult for interchange from southbound Thameslink to the bay platforms. The platforms are so long and most trains dont fill them so its a long walk to either end of the platform. Interchange doesn’t seem to have been a consideration even though with its completion many more passengers (eg Catford Loop) who previously had a through service now have to change there. Elephant definitely easier if the train you're changing from stops there.
Even having considered it I don't really see how it would be possible to have mid-platform interchange.

From an architectural perspective the station couldn't have any additional height because of the classic Thames views - so that rules out a bridge.

The two entrances and 'subways' are obviously on the banks of the Thames. You couldn't have a mid-platform subway slung under one of the bridge arches because it would be in the way of boats.

At least it is possible to walk through a Thameslink train fairly easily if you are trying to get to one end or the other to facilitate a quick switch.

Can I ask what your solution for Blackfriars would have been?
 

py_megapixel

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I find Birmingham New Street confusing because the station is "cut in half" by glass and metal barriers (not ticket barriers) at concourse level and if you are rushing for a train and are not familiar with the layout you can easily miss that train by being thwarted.
You can solve this problem by exiting from the 'B' end of the platform, which goes into a fairly simple corridor with some lounges and shops either side, and access to all platforms without glass barriers in the way. Most conductors now seem to announce this on arrival at New St but that's quite a recent thing.
 

Timmyd

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Even having considered it I don't really see how it would be possible to have mid-platform interchange.

From an architectural perspective the station couldn't have any additional height because of the classic Thames views - so that rules out a bridge.

The two entrances and 'subways' are obviously on the banks of the Thames. You couldn't have a mid-platform subway slung under one of the bridge arches because it would be in the way of boats.

At least it is possible to walk through a Thameslink train fairly easily if you are trying to get to one end or the other to facilitate a quick switch.

Can I ask what your solution for Blackfriars would have been?
I dont have one, other than making full use of the capacity of TL2000 and running more trains through. The question was where interchange is difficult, and it is at BFR. Although the old one did actually have a (very narrow) subway to connect the 3 bays with northbound trains to Holborn Viaduct
 

Grumpus63

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You can solve this problem by exiting from the 'B' end of the platform, which goes into a fairly simple corridor with some lounges and shops either side, and access to all platforms without glass barriers in the way. Most conductors now seem to announce this on arrival at New St but that's quite a recent thing.
That's useful, thanks.
 

Grumpy Git

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You can solve this problem by exiting from the 'B' end of the platform, which goes into a fairly simple corridor with some lounges and shops either side, and access to all platforms without glass barriers in the way. Most conductors now seem to announce this on arrival at New St but that's quite a recent thing.

Ah, that's what completely threw me on a recent trip via Brum. The change from a LNW 350 to a CX Voyager on the way out was easy enough, (I used the corridor with a WHSmith on it). But on the way home the day after I emerged into the big new fancy concourse and this completely foxed me!

It's even worse than I thought.
 

Trackman

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I think new London Bridge is excellent. Especially compared to how awful the old station was with its crushed ramps and overbridge
Keeping on topic I’ll tell what’s bad about the new station is the signage for the tube station.
People have asked me where it is when they are near the entrance!
I think it’s confusing as people think they going in the wrong direction as they cannot see the entrance until they pass it. It needs a big sign dangling from above and one on the doors to the shopping arcade thingy or whatever it is.
 

Dr Hoo

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I find Birmingham New Street confusing because the station is "cut in half" by glass and metal barriers (not ticket barriers) at concourse level and if you are rushing for a train and are not familiar with the layout you can easily miss that train by being thwarted. I wonder how many reprobates leap across them is desperation to catch the 16.25 to Aberystwyth!
The 16:25 to Aberystwyth usually leaves from 6B, I believe.

The 'B' end/Red Lounge bridge provides barrier free interchange between all platforms as noted frequently above.

If you need to enter Platform 6 from the 'concourse'/non-ticketed area there are no fewer than four sets of barriers providing access, all clearly signed as such.

There is no need for gymnastics. Just follow the indicators and signs.

This thread seems to be exposing that quite a few experienced rail travellers just seem to blunder around stations, thinking that they know the 'best way' but not actually referring to signage or maps, or (perish the thought) having a helpful conversation with a member of station staff :) .

One of the nice things about interchange (in my eyes) is that it provides the opportunity to stretch ones legs on a long journey and, in these days of limited refreshment facilities on many trains, to get something to eat or drink. A nice twenty-minute mooch about, sussing out where the entrances, buses, taxis, lifts, cafes, bars, toilets, subways and so on are can make many future trips so much more pleasant.

I can sort of get that people may still be relatively unfamiliar with peripheral places like Liskeard (if travelling to Looe) or Romford (if travelling to Emerson Park) but it's well worth making the effort at places like New Street, Crewe, York, Reading and Clapham Junction.
 

DustyBin

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But it is difficult for interchange from southbound Thameslink to the bay platforms. The platforms are so long and most trains dont fill them so its a long walk to either end of the platform. Interchange doesn’t seem to have been a consideration even though with its completion many more passengers (eg Catford Loop) who previously had a through service now have to change there. Elephant definitely easier if the train you're changing from stops there.

That was exactly my reasoning, it’s a pain.
 

Grumpus63

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The 16:25 to Aberystwyth usually leaves from 6B, I believe.

The 'B' end/Red Lounge bridge provides barrier free interchange between all platforms as noted frequently above.

If you need to enter Platform 6 from the 'concourse'/non-ticketed area there are no fewer than four sets of barriers providing access, all clearly signed as such.

There is no need for gymnastics. Just follow the indicators and signs.

This thread seems to be exposing that quite a few experienced rail travellers just seem to blunder around stations, thinking that they know the 'best way' but not actually referring to signage or maps, or (perish the thought) having a helpful conversation with a member of station staff :) .

One of the nice things about interchange (in my eyes) is that it provides the opportunity to stretch ones legs on a long journey and, in these days of limited refreshment facilities on many trains, to get something to eat or drink. A nice twenty-minute mooch about, sussing out where the entrances, buses, taxis, lifts, cafes, bars, toilets, subways and so on are can make many future trips so much more pleasant.

I can sort of get that people may still be relatively unfamiliar with peripheral places like Liskeard (if travelling to Looe) or Romford (if travelling to Emerson Park) but it's well worth making the effort at places like New Street, Crewe, York, Reading and Clapham Junction.
Cheeky LOL!! Look at it from the perspective of arriving at Birmingham New Street for the first time. You expect an interchange station to be free-flowing and not encounter barriers that are NOT ticket barriers. I didn't regard myself as "blundering" around a railway station, merely encountering an obstacle that I didn't expect to be there. Signs and asking staff are all fine but surely a modern station (and it looks lovely at concourse level) should not prevent passengers from reaching platforms because they are "in the wrong part" I still think those barriers are a design fault. As for the dry treatment of my mention of the theoretical gymnastics, now, now, less of this nonsense :rolleyes::D. For your information I have easily managed to use Tokyo station for the Shinkansen and have changed with a seething mass of humanity at Shinagawa in the same city so I don't regard myself as a bumbling incompetent (as yet).

I agree, changing trains at interchange stations does indeed give a chance to stretch ones legs, seek refreshment, and, in the case of New Street enjoy the sight of the trams on Stephenson Street (no glass barriers preventing me from reaching THEM ;) ).

As for Liskeard and Romford, yes, the little branch line platforms are a little "tucked away" but they are characterful (well, perhaps not so much at Romford).

I had sort of sussed out the B end of the station at BHM after using it a few times in the months before Covid but had forgotten which end I need. I can easily remember it now thanks to you...B stands for Blundering :lol::lol::lol::lol:
 

DynamicSpirit

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It's a shame the OP specified 4 platforms minimum - thereby ruling out Oxenholme - which to my mind is quite a significant interchange, and easily my favourite station to change trains. Easy navigation, absolutely amazing views, the sense of being out in the countryside, and plenty of seating, and shelter if the weather is cold.

Not yet mentioned: Woking also seems fairly convenient to interchange. Shelter, short walks, easy signage, etc. Admittedly I've never needed to change to/from the slow Waterloo metro services there - maybe my opinion would be a bit different if I did need to.

Orpington seems another good one, with a logical layout/numbering for its platforms, and both a subway and bridge to cross the tracks. Not sure if it's a bit short on refreshments for people who care about that (I generally don't, so tend not to notice those facilities) but maybe not so important since most services from there are fairly frequent.
 

yorksrob

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London Bridge is now very logical and intuitive to get around. I do miss the ramps and overhead bridge though, going up and down those escalators is a bit tedious, due to the lack of a mezzanine level

Until you try and leave, then you seem to end up wandering around various subterranean shopping malls to find the underground.
 

Dr Hoo

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For your information I have easily managed to use Tokyo station for the Shinkansen and have changed with a seething mass of humanity at Shinagawa in the same city.
Well done, but Shinagawa* is for wimps. Shinjuku (with over 200 exits/entrances, apparently) is even more 'exciting'. Plenty of barriers there as well!

(* Not that it's actually in Shinagawa, a bit like New Street not really being in New Street. :) )
 

Grumpus63

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Well done, but Shinagawa* is for wimps. Shinjuku (with over 200 exits/entrances, apparently) is even more 'exciting'. Plenty of barriers there as well!

(* Not that it's actually in Shinagawa, a bit like New Street not really being in New Street. :) )
I can see that I am going to have trouble with you, Dr Hoo :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
 

Mordac

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I'm not entirely sure why, but I find Tamworth annoying and/or confusing.

I actually missed a train there earlier this year because for some reason I got confused about the orientation of the station and so was waiting on the down platform rather than the up, and once I realised my mistake I couldn't work out how to get between the two in time.
It's also very lacking in facilities for an interchange station.

From personal experience, Derby and Sheffield good.

New St and Leeds bad.

At New St I use the bridge that nobody else uses to change platforms. A bit of a trek, but at least I know that I won't end up with ticket barriers in the way.

At Leeds my daily commute used to be between the bays and 17B. Good for your fitness, if nothing else.
That bridge is the key to a good use of new street.
 

MarlowDonkey

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The interchange at Paddington between the Hammersmith & City/ Circle and the higher numbered platforms of the main station isn't wonderful. Notwithstanding that platforms 13/14/15/16 all once used to be part of the same semi separate station, you now have to go almost to the main concourse, reverse, go upstairs and head through the TfL booking hall to reach 15 and 16.

By contrast at Maidenhead, some of the eastbound trains at peak hours will cross from the platform 3 line to the platform 4 line to make a cross platform interchange with the Branch shuttle to Bourne End in platform 5.
 

The Planner

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You can't directly access Platform 1.

While the two exits are nominally 'Exit Only', sometimes they are unstaffed and the barriers left open so offer a quicker way into the station from that end of town.
Yes you can access P1 from it.
 

Meerkat

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Not yet mentioned: Woking also seems fairly convenient to interchange. Shelter, short walks, easy signage, etc. Admittedly I've never needed to change to/from the slow Waterloo metro services there - maybe my opinion would be a bit different if I did need to.
A lot of people don’t realise P3 for the stopper is half way to West Byfleet!
You see them amble down the stairs and round the buildings……then they realise that little yellow dot in the distance is the nearest end of their train and they start jogging…..
 

ijmad

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But it is difficult for interchange from southbound Thameslink to the bay platforms. The platforms are so long and most trains dont fill them so its a long walk to either end of the platform. Interchange doesn’t seem to have been a consideration even though with its completion many more passengers (eg Catford Loop) who previously had a through service now have to change there. Elephant definitely easier if the train you're changing from stops there.

In defence of Blackfriars/Thameslink, the Catford loop services were all supposed to have been through services during the peak. The ones terminating in the bay should be going to Welwyn Garden City. It just never came to pass due to general delays ramping up to 24tph, then we got the pandemic.

But you're right, it can be a very long walk from the South side entrance to the front of an 8-car parked in Platform 3. Or even longer to something shorter still parked in Platform 4 (not that there are many Southeastern services from Blackfriars at the moment).

An overbridge about halfway down would have been a good addition to the design even if it disrupted the line of the roof. Even better would be having the two terminating platforms in the centre of the station, but I'm guessing that would have made the rebuild impossible or made the approach track layout too conflicted.
 
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ian1944

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I don't think that Carlisle has been mentioned. It looks good, has lots of space and height, platform numbering is logical and the amount of information is has been good when I've been there. It had a leaky roof some time ago, but I presume all that has been fixed now.
 

satisnek

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I vote for Derby as one of the best, but there is a bit of bias there... Nottingham can involve a lot of walking.

One that hasn't been mentioned is Smethwick Galton Bridge. Changing from the Stourbridge Line towards New Street is a piece of cake - straight down the stairs. But going the other way requires an ascent to the top level - and if the tiny lift is out of order or there are several people waiting for it, then there are a LOT of stairs to climb. And then you have to cross the footbridge and drop down to Platform 1...
 

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