Euston Square Puzzle

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Alex McKenna

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It is planned to connect the new HS2 station to Euston Square underground station, but it has always puzzled me why they didn’t place the Met station near the main line station itself. The track passes near Euston, indeed the East end of the Met’s platform is quite near, but there is no entrance there. I did see reference to an over-run tunnel under Euston Road for the London and Birmingham locos, way back in time, which might be the obstruction? Anyone know the facts?
 
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Euston Square tube station was originally named Gower Street. It wasn't intended solely to serve Euston station, but rather the general Gower Street area, including the hospitals there. The connection to Euston station is made worse because the exit from Euston Square station is at the extreme western end of the platforms. As part of the HS2 works at Euston I believe a sub-surface travelator link will be installed from the eastern ends of the platforms.
I'm not aware of any over-run tunnel. There's just a big car park below the concourse of Euston station.
 

swt_passenger

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The Met line and stations were built by cut and cover under Euston Rd, the relatively major thoroughfare; the line couldn’t have easily deviated away to the front of Euston Station which was set well back from the street line north of Drummond St. Old maps of the time suggest Euston Road was the only sensible route for the Met, very few “east/west” roads allowed a continuous route across the whole area, fortunately Kings Cross and St Pancras were further south than Euston, but I suspect only by accident...

Euston station concourse today is somewhat nearer the Euston Road than it was when the Met first opened.
 
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hwl

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It is planned to connect the new HS2 station to Euston Square underground station, but it has always puzzled me why they didn’t place the Met station near the main line station itself. The track passes near Euston, indeed the East end of the Met’s platform is quite near, but there is no entrance there. I did see reference to an over-run tunnel under Euston Road for the London and Birmingham locos, way back in time, which might be the obstruction? Anyone know the facts?
A rather large sewer stops* a direct underground pedestrian link
*or rather makes one very difficult and expensive so always other things higher up the list to spend money on.
 

DelW

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I may be proposing a Victorian equivalent of a conspiracy theory here, but ...

That stretch of the Met was built with both influence and some of the funding from the GWR - it was arguably as much a City extension of the GWR as it was the start of a future London Underground system. And by the time it was built, the GWR was in competition with the LNWR for traffic to Birmingham and beyond. So maybe there was no great wish to make it easier for travellers from the City to change onto the LNWR?
 

edwin_m

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There was a tunnel bored westwards from the original Kings Cross Met site (adjacent to what became KX Thameslink), which I believe was intended to become a link to Euston station but for some reason didn't. It was incorporated into the new Kings Cross Met station in 1940 and I think became the current eastbound running tunnel.
 

Dstock7080

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The plans also call for a new subway link between Euston station and Euston Square station – creating a new hub of the Northern, Victoria and Circle/Met/Hammersmith lines.
 

bassmike

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There was a tunnel bored westwards from the original Kings Cross Met site (adjacent to what became KX Thameslink), which I believe was intended to become a link to Euston station but for some reason didn't. It was incorporated into the new Kings Cross Met station in 1940 and I think became the current eastbound running tunnel.
Correct, the remains of the west extremity an be seen from the west end of the eastbound platform at Kings Cross St Pancras. Just a few yards heading straight west.
 

John Webb

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I may be proposing a Victorian equivalent of a conspiracy theory here, but ...

That stretch of the Met was built with both influence and some of the funding from the GWR - it was arguably as much a City extension of the GWR as it was the start of a future London Underground system. And by the time it was built, the GWR was in competition with the LNWR for traffic to Birmingham and beyond. So maybe there was no great wish to make it easier for travellers from the City to change onto the LNWR?
The Met lines were laid by 'cut and cover' directly under Euston Road because that was the only place where it could be easily done - straying off to one side or another would have needed the purchase or permission of private property owners. Whereas the public road only needed the civic authorities to give permission, as they did foreseeing (I hope!) that it would ease the traffic of the day.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Whereas the public road only needed the civic authorities to give permission, as they did foreseeing (I hope!) that it would ease the traffic of the day.
Albeit possibly not whilst construction was still in progress. :rolleyes:
 

Lucan

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The Met line and stations were built by cut and cover under Euston Rd, the relatively major thoroughfare; the line couldn’t have easily deviated away to the front of Euston Station
The issue surely is the required walk along Euston Road between the Met and the NR stations, not the shorter walk from Euston Road up to the NR station entrance.
 

Bletchleyite

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The Met lines were laid by 'cut and cover' directly under Euston Road because that was the only place where it could be easily done - straying off to one side or another would have needed the purchase or permission of private property owners. Whereas the public road only needed the civic authorities to give permission, as they did foreseeing (I hope!) that it would ease the traffic of the day.

I think there's also that the Euston station of the day I believe had the frontage (and the famous arch) roughly in line with the buffer stops of the present platforms. That meant there was much more of a walk to get to the Euston Road anyway, and so also having to head a bit to the side to get to Euston Square wasn't that big a thing.
 

swt_passenger

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The issue surely is the required walk along Euston Road between the Met and the NR stations, not the shorter walk from Euston Road up to the NR station entrance.
Perhaps, but the Main line station was still a fair distance north even if the Met station was a bit further to the right/east, or if the entrance was at its other end. The OP seemed to want the Met station impossibly close.
 
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Euston Square tube station was originally named Gower Street. It wasn't intended solely to serve Euston station, but rather the general Gower Street area, including the hospitals there. The connection to Euston station is made worse because the exit from Euston Square station is at the extreme western end of the platforms. As part of the HS2 works at Euston I believe a sub-surface travelatorlink will be installed from the eastern ends of the platforms.
I'm not aware of any over-run tunnel. There's just a big car park below the concourse of Euston station.

I don't believe it's travelators, just a sub surface foot passage, c/w ramps, gate lines, etc. as required. I doubt the distance is long enough to warrant travellators.

There's a page in the following presentation that accompanied the HS2 Phase 1 Bill during Lords Parliamentary scrutiny that gives an indication of the thinking as at that time P2250(15) (zoom it a bit)... https://assets.publishing.service.g.../file/550196/Exhibit_A_Overview_of_Scheme.pdf
 

Snow1964

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I don't believe it's travelators, just a sub surface foot passage, c/w ramps, gate lines, etc. as required. I doubt the distance is long enough to warrant travellators.

There's a page in the following presentation that accompanied the HS2 Phase 1 Bill during Lords Parliamentary scrutiny that gives an indication of the thinking as at that time P2250(15) (zoom it a bit)... https://assets.publishing.service.g.../file/550196/Exhibit_A_Overview_of_Scheme.pdf

I think there was another plan somewhere that showed it in section (but I can’t think where).

From memory a series of piles are bored outside the line of existing tunnel and proposed passageways. a new capping slab is cast which forms a replacement road. The basic idea of building a new bigger tunnel outside has been been used before (eg Aldgate East) Part of existing tunnel roof and walls are then removed. The platform extensions at Blackfriars were done in similar way although roof pillars were precast units there.

Although not obvious from those plans, I assume where the new passageways which will join at Eastern end allow the platforms to be lengthened a bit, which gives a bit more space for S8 trains.
 

norbitonflyer

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I may be proposing a Victorian equivalent of a conspiracy theory here, but ...

That stretch of the Met was built with both influence and some of the funding from the GWR - it was arguably as much a City extension of the GWR as it was the start of a future London Underground system. And by the time it was built, the GWR was in competition with the LNWR for traffic to Birmingham and beyond. So maybe there was no great wish to make it easier for travellers from the City to change onto the LNWR?
And from the LNWR's perspective, the last thing they would want to do is encourage people to use the Met to reach the City instead of their own extension to Broad Street (in co-operation with the North London Railway) then under construction. It opened in 1865, less than two years after the Met.
 

Alex McKenna

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The issue surely is the required walk along Euston Road between the Met and the NR stations, not the shorter walk from Euston Road up to the NR station entrance.
Exactly. Obviously the Met couldn't divert to the North, I meant to question the West-East location of the station.

The Met line and stations were built by cut and cover under Euston Rd, the relatively major thoroughfare; the line couldn’t have easily deviated away to the front of Euston Station which was set well back from the street line north of Drummond St. Old maps of the time suggest Euston Road was the only sensible route for the Met, very few “east/west” roads allowed a continuous route across the whole area, fortunately Kings Cross and St Pancras were further south than Euston, but I suspect only by accident...

Euston station concourse today is somewhat nearer the Euston Road than it was when the Met first opened.
I realise it wouldn't be practical to divert the Met line Northwards, but was questioning the West-East location, and the puzzling choice of the Met's location, to the West of the "ideal".
 

Lucan

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Perhaps when the Met was built (1863) Euston was mostly used by long distance travellers of the better-off classes who would have turned up by cab. The suburban services and commuting traffic were not as important then. So the planners did not see much demand for interchange between the Met and the LNWR. Just a theory, although they made a better connection at King's Cross/St Pancras, and of course Paddington but maybe becaise the GWR was a shareholder.
 

Bletchleyite

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Perhaps when the Met was built (1863) Euston was mostly used by long distance travellers of the better-off classes who would have turned up by cab. The suburban services and commuting traffic were not as important then. So the planners did not see much demand for interchange between the Met and the LNWR. Just a theory, although they made a better connection at King's Cross/St Pancras, and of course Paddington but maybe becaise the GWR was a shareholder.

Didn't the Met basically invent London commuting? You're likely right about Euston - most of the commuter towns towards and including Northampton grew massively in the 60s and 70s. Bletchley for example was a tiny rural market town in World War 2 when all the Bletchley Park stuff was going on.

ISTR even in the 1980s the weekday Northampton Line service was just 2tph.
 

coppercapped

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Perhaps when the Met was built (1863) Euston was mostly used by long distance travellers of the better-off classes who would have turned up by cab. The suburban services and commuting traffic were not as important then. So the planners did not see much demand for interchange between the Met and the LNWR. Just a theory, although they made a better connection at King's Cross/St Pancras, and of course Paddington but maybe becaise the GWR was a shareholder.
Absolutely true - no well-off passenger was going to struggle to get into a Metropolitan Railway train at Gower Street having dragged his trunks from Euston. Incidentally, the shortest walking route would have been along Drummond Street to George Street and then south to the Met station.

I'm not sure connections were that good at Paddington. The original Metropolitan Railway station was at Bishops Road, (now the Hammersmith and City platforms) quite a long way from the Arrivals and Departures platforms in the main station. The Praed Street station opened a couple of years later in 1868.

In any event, in 1863, the northern limits of the built-up areas of London were just north of Regents Park, the bulk of the housing was south of the 'New Road' (now Euston Road).

Didn't the Met basically invent London commuting? You're likely right about Euston - most of the commuter towns towards and including Northampton grew massively in the 60s and 70s. Bletchley for example was a tiny rural market town in World War 2 when all the Bletchley Park stuff was going on.

ISTR even in the 1980s the weekday Northampton Line service was just 2tph.
The Met certainly invented commuting to the northwest of London, but very intensive suburban services were operated by the Great Eastern out of Liverpool Street at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century which is described here in outline https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Eastern_Railway#Suburban_services_(the_Jazz). The railway companies operating south of London also offered intensive suburban service in the same period. None of these companies had the luxury of the longer distance routes of the main lines to the north and west with their more remunerative longer distance passengers so they had to build short distance custom.

None of the longer distance routes, Great Western, London and North Western, the Midland or the Great Northern were that interested in what would today be called 'commuter' traffic.
 
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Revaulx

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Perhaps when the Met was built (1863) Euston was mostly used by long distance travellers of the better-off classes who would have turned up by cab. The suburban services and commuting traffic were not as important then. So the planners did not see much demand for interchange between the Met and the LNWR. Just a theory, although they made a better connection at King's Cross/St Pancras, and of course Paddington but maybe becaise the GWR was a shareholder.
The Met’s connection with Kings Cross wasn’t great, and was awful with St Pancras, until LT relocated the sub-surface platforms to their present location in the late 30s.

Relocate it they did though, which makes it all the odder that nothing was done at Euston in the 60s; particularly as they did a superb job on the Northern/Victoria line station.
 

Taunton

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A rather large sewer stops a direct underground pedestrian link
I did think the large sewer was north-south at Euston. It burst in the 1980s and caused a lot of dislocation in Cardington Street alongside the station. There also seem to have been a string of major water supply bursts there in more recent times.

Regarding the Metropolitan/Circle station siting, they all seem to have been done with no regard to main line stations. Kings Cross was the same, off down Pentonville Road, which was sorted out for the Underground in the late 1930s by a new station westwards. But Euston has never had the same consideration. Marylebone is equally close to the Circle Line but no station at all. Even Paddington was somewhat inconvenient until 20th Century changes.
 

tbwbear

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Regarding the Metropolitan/Circle station siting, they all seem to have been done with no regard to main line stations. Kings Cross was the same, off down Pentonville Road, which was sorted out for the Underground in the late 1930s by a new station westwards. But Euston has never had the same consideration. Marylebone is equally close to the Circle Line but no station at all. Even Paddington was somewhat inconvenient until 20th Century changes.

True. The "no regard to main line stations"theory makes sense. Although St Pancras wasn't opened until after the Circle Line opened and Marylebone wasn't opened for another 30 years. I think in 1863 we are only talking about Paddington, Euston and King's Cross. Back then they probably never considered the line could be the middle part of a three part journey between say Reading and Rugby.
 

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The Met certainly invented commuting to the northwest of London, but very intensive suburban services were operated by the Great Eastern out of Liverpool Street at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century which is described here in outline https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Eastern_Railway#Suburban_services_(the_Jazz). The railway companies operating south of London also offered intensive suburban service in the same period. None of these companies had the luxury of the longer distance routes of the main lines to the north and west with their more remunerative longer distance passengers so they had to build short distance custom.

None of the longer distance routes, Great Western, London and North Western, the Midland or the Great Northern were that interested in what would today be called 'commuter' traffic.

On the other hand, the LNWR developed intensive services around London via the part-owned West London Line, to Earls Court and even to Victoria via the LBSC lines east of Clapham Jn.
It was also an early (pre-WW1) adopter of DC electrification of these services and those to Watford and Broad St.

I can't work out what happened to the proposed Met connection at Euston, and there are strange abandoned tunnels under the station shown on HS2 diagrams.
At one time a loop line under the station for local trains was planned, but I don't know if a start was made on it.
 

SargeNpton

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I can't work out what happened to the proposed Met connection at Euston, and there are strange abandoned tunnels under the station shown on HS2 diagrams.
Are they leftover bits of the Northern Line when parts of it were rerouted at Euston during the Victoria Line construction in the 1960s?
 

swt_passenger

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Are they leftover bits of the Northern Line when parts of it were rerouted at Euston during the Victoria Line construction in the 1960s?
Perhaps, and I think there will have been changes made when lifts were replaced by escalators?
 

tbwbear

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On the other hand, the LNWR developed intensive services around London via the part-owned West London Line, to Earls Court and even to Victoria via the LBSC lines east of Clapham Jn.
It was also an early (pre-WW1) adopter of DC electrification of these services and those to Watford and Broad St.

I can't work out what happened to the proposed Met connection at Euston, and there are strange abandoned tunnels under the station shown on HS2 diagrams.
At one time a loop line under the station for local trains was planned, but I don't know if a start was made on it.

Interesting.

What sort of era was the loop line proposed ?

Do you mean a turnback loop like Grand Central in New York - basically to avoid the drivers of the local trains switching ends?

I know there was an LMS proposal to rebuild Euston station in the 1930s - it never happened obviously - would it have been then ?
 

swt_passenger

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Interesting.

What sort of era was the loop line proposed ?

Do you mean a turnback loop like Grand Central in New York - basically to avoid the drivers of the local trains switching ends?

I know there was an LMS proposal to rebuild Euston station in the 1930s - it never happened obviously - would it have been then ?
1907 apparently, the drawing is linked in the recent thread about turnback loops:
post #71 refers
 

edwin_m

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Are they leftover bits of the Northern Line when parts of it were rerouted at Euston during the Victoria Line construction in the 1960s?

Perhaps, and I think there will have been changes made when lifts were replaced by escalators?
All of the above I believe, though I've not heard of work ever starting on the turnback loop. The station west of Euston that served what became one of the branches of the Northern survived as a ventilation pump room but has either been demolished already or is about to be, as it's in the HS2 footprint. The one for the other branch was to the east, and I think on the site of what became the BR Headquarters on Eversholt Street. Both of those had lifts and I believe were connected at shallow depth to a common entrance to the main line station, as well as a deeper-level interchange connection with a ticket office for people to book their onward journeys when they were different companies.

One platform tunnel is also wider than usual. This used to be an island platform and the connecting tunnels to the filled-in second track are still there.
 
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