• Our booking engine at tickets.railforums.co.uk (powered by TrainSplit) helps support the running of the forum with every ticket purchase! Find out more and ask any questions/give us feedback in this thread!

Trivia: Nice UK underground mainline stations

Status
Not open for further replies.

AlastairFraser

Established Member
Joined
12 Aug 2018
Messages
2,240
While reading the thread in International Transport about the most hated non-UK stations, I noticed that many of them were underground, like Barcelona-Sants and New York Penn, and wondered if it would be the case to most people that all low level platforms are nasty? Or are they just not built very nicely.

Are there any (UK or International - but mainline/heavy rail, not metro) low level or underground railway stations that you think are actually quite pleasant? I think for one, Zürich HBF Low Level is rather nice. It’s brightly lit and seems to have a colourful patterned wall of blue and silver.

If you can’t think of any nice below ground stations, do you have any ideas as to how they could be MADE nicer? Because some stations, such as those under big cities, have to be underground.
I actually quite like the new B'ham New Street, if that can be considered underground, now that it's properly integrated with local public transport modes.
If City Thameslink is considered underground, then I like that station's design.

moderator note: posts #1 - #10 originally in this thread.

(1) Trivia: Nice International underground mainline stations | RailUK Forums (railforums.co.uk)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

61653 HTAFC

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Dec 2012
Messages
17,737
Location
Another planet...
I quite like several of the underground stations on Merseyrail, in particular James Street and (Birkenhead) Hamilton Square... not sure they qualify as objectively pleasant though!
 

bramling

Veteran Member
Joined
5 Mar 2012
Messages
17,845
Location
Hertfordshire / Teesdale
Sunderland is NOT nice.........shall I start a new thread? :D

I still don’t get what people find so bad about Sunderland. Whilst it’s not going to win any awards for being pleasing on the eye, the station is well situated, is easy and quick to get from street to platform, and sheltered from the elements whilst on the platform. I don’t see what there is not to like about it, at least from a functionality point of view it ticks most boxes.
 

Hadders

Veteran Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
27 Apr 2011
Messages
13,390
Essex Road? :D

There'll be some Crossrail central section nominations when it opens.
 

DB

Guest
Joined
18 Nov 2009
Messages
5,036
I still don’t get what people find so bad about Sunderland. Whilst it’s not going to win any awards for being pleasing on the eye, the station is well situated, is easy and quick to get from street to platform, and sheltered from the elements whilst on the platform. I don’t see what there is not to like about it, at least from a functionality point of view it ticks most boxes.

About ten years ago they tarted it up (prior to that it was pretty grotty), and I agree it's OK - not great, but not particularly unpleasant either.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,389
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
I actually quite like the new B'ham New Street, if that can be considered underground, now that it's properly integrated with local public transport modes.

Yeah, I like New St in its updated form - I was going to pick it if you hadn't. The platforms are a bit manky, but you don't have to wait down there, the concourse is bright, airy and spacious with lots of facilities plus those in the shopping centre above.

It just needs some bi-modes so the DMUs can be got rid of, so it no longer stinks of fumes and the noisy fan system could be removed.

St Pancras Thameslink is nice

Agreed, it has a very German S-Bahn feel to it.

I quite like several of the underground stations on Merseyrail, in particular James Street and (Birkenhead) Hamilton Square... not sure they qualify as objectively pleasant though!

I think the Liverpool city centre refurbs were a complete missed opportunity - all they did was replaced the 1970s panelling and tiling with lighter coloured but similar panelling and tiling - cleaned them up, sure, but didn't make use of the actual impressive features of the cavernous old stations. Strip all that out, add more murals like the semi-disused James St platform has, fit uplighting to emphasize the high ceilings etc, then they'll be nice. I hope when Liverpool Central gets fully redone they will do that.

I still don’t get what people find so bad about Sunderland. Whilst it’s not going to win any awards for being pleasing on the eye, the station is well situated, is easy and quick to get from street to platform, and sheltered from the elements whilst on the platform. I don’t see what there is not to like about it, at least from a functionality point of view it ticks most boxes.

The entrance I used when I went there was horribly 1970s, and the platform area is just dingy. It's like Liverpool Central but worse.
 

D365

Veteran Member
Joined
29 Jun 2012
Messages
11,503
St Pancras Thameslink is nice
Agreed. They (London & Continental Railways) did a great job in maximising the available space, bearing in mind that there wasn't room for more than two platforms. Far more spacious than any of the S-Bahn stations in Munich.
 

DerekC

Established Member
Joined
26 Oct 2015
Messages
2,143
Location
Hampshire (nearly a Hog)
St Pancras Thameslink is OK, but I really can't see how anyone likes New Street. The platforms are narrow and crowded, the air quality is often lousy and the signage on the concourse is really confusing - stampedes from the A end to the B end are all too frequent! I admit that I am (or used to be prior to Covid) usually joining an XC southbound 4- or 5-car Voyager in the peak, which probably doesn't help.
 

backontrack

Established Member
Joined
2 Feb 2014
Messages
6,383
Location
The UK
Stratford International is subsurface. It's also big and empty, and feels a little like you're walking through someone's Minecraft building what with its rigid nature and lack of users. I don't know if I like it, but it's interesting, because it's unique to the network.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,389
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
St Pancras Thameslink is OK, but I really can't see how anyone likes New Street. The platforms are narrow and crowded, the air quality is often lousy and the signage on the concourse is really confusing - stampedes from the A end to the B end are all too frequent! I admit that I am (or used to be prior to Covid) usually joining an XC southbound 4- or 5-car Voyager in the peak, which probably doesn't help.

Because I know it, the rubbish signage isn't of consequence to me, and its facilities above ground at least match Manchester Piccadilly.
 

Purple Orange

On Moderation
Joined
26 Dec 2019
Messages
3,458
Location
The North
I can't think of any underground mainline stations that I like. Oppressive, dark, often cluttered, dirty. Thw question got me thinking about the style of station that I do like and the features of an underground station are not found there.

A great station needs to be a place that is not just a transport hub or something to pass through. It needs to have a sense of space and light, married with good retail options. Not even New Street gives me the sense of decent retail options at a station. It's a shopping centre first, railway station second and when I have resurfaced I have left the station and entered the Bull Ring mark 2.

If the question included the tube, I'd list a number of subsurface stations such as Baker Street. Those are by far the best underground stations in the UK.
 

6862

Member
Joined
3 Dec 2014
Messages
506
It does seem that we don't do underground mainline stations as well here in the UK as they do on the continent. Having said that, I think Farringdon could be a contender for a nice underground mainline station (even though the mainline platforms are immediately adjacent to LU platforms so might be pushing the definition a bit).
 

Tio Terry

Member
Joined
2 May 2014
Messages
1,178
Location
Spain
London Liverpool Street is classed as an Underground Station according to the Sub-Surface Railway Regulations 2009. Not sure if everybody would consider it nice though!
 

Tio Terry

Member
Joined
2 May 2014
Messages
1,178
Location
Spain
It looks somewhat dated, but I don't think it's bad per-se.

I had my office there for many years - just above what is now the entrance to McDonalds! I know the station quite well, I was there during the building of Broadgate and all that went with it, I'm quite fond of it personally but I can accept that some will not have my kind of knowledge of its innermost workings and know all the stories about it's past.
 

Bevan Price

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2010
Messages
7,374
I can't think of any underground mainline stations that I like. Oppressive, dark, often cluttered, dirty. Thw question got me thinking about the style of station that I do like and the features of an underground station are not found there.

A great station needs to be a place that is not just a transport hub or something to pass through. It needs to have a sense of space and light, married with good retail options. Not even New Street gives me the sense of decent retail options at a station. It's a shopping centre first, railway station second and when I have resurfaced I have left the station and entered the Bull Ring mark 2.
I agree. Anything with a (usually commercial) building above all (or many) of the platforms tends to be dark & grim. Even trying to judge the "least bad" station would not be easy.
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
4,104
I don't think they are beautiful per se, but I love the period stasis of some of the ones in Liverpool and Glasgow. Some retro design for sure. Those networks would never be built today, so it's pretty cool they exist now, as a monument to those two cities' wealthy global pasts.

St Pancras Intl feels like an a European airport or high speed station. It's super functional and slick, but doesn't illicit much positive feeling.
 

Purple Orange

On Moderation
Joined
26 Dec 2019
Messages
3,458
Location
The North
I don't think they are beautiful per se, but I love the period stasis of some of the ones in Liverpool and Glasgow. Some retro design for sure. Those networks would never be built today, so it's pretty cool they exist now, as a monument to those two cities' wealthy global pasts.

St Pancras Intl feels like an a European airport or high speed station. It's super functional and slick, but doesn't illicit much positive feeling.

Each to their own I guess, but I do get a positive feeling at St. Pancras. The arched roof, the light, the arcade feel to the lower mezzanine area, plus the destinations: Paris, Amsterdam and beyond. Even the piano I like! I ignore fact that Bedford, Leicester and Ebsfleet are among the U.K. destinations.
 

Metal_gee_man

Member
Joined
28 Oct 2017
Messages
669
Some of the contenders for worst, 90% of the Southern platforms at Victoria, City Thamelink, Glasgow Central Low Level & Euston.

Some of the best Canada Water overground, St Pancras & whilst not perfect at platform level, I do like Birmingham New Street
 

47271

Established Member
Joined
28 Apr 2015
Messages
2,983
Sunderland's problems are all above ground, with a concourse - if we can even call it that - trapped in the 1970s with ticketing arrangements to match. The below ground section is modern and clean, and handles its traffic very well. They just need to sort out the ghastly upstairs.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,389
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Sunderland's problems are all above ground, with a concourse - if we can even call it that - trapped in the 1970s with ticketing arrangements to match. The below ground section is modern and clean, and handles its traffic very well. They just need to sort out the ghastly upstairs.

I still think it's dingy below ground too, and it has DMUs stinking it out - DMUs in underground or low-ceiling covered platforms (e.g. Manc Vic, New St) need to be an absolute no-no. I'd agree that upstairs is worse, though.
 

Purple Orange

On Moderation
Joined
26 Dec 2019
Messages
3,458
Location
The North
Sunderland station is awful. Worse than Manchester Victoria by a country mile. It’s the shorter humpbacked brother of New Street, and New Street certainly isn’t pretty. Both have hygiene problems.
 

Purple Orange

On Moderation
Joined
26 Dec 2019
Messages
3,458
Location
The North
What's over the top of it? Just a run-down shopping arcade? If so, could it be opened out?

1960s built single story retail units. I’d demolish the lot and build a new concourse over the top of the station at the northern end, closer to the high street, with a glass roof at the southern end, while keeping a lift and stairs to the main road where the current entrance is. I’d also bring in the disused platforms.
 

Killingworth

Established Member
Joined
30 May 2018
Messages
4,972
Location
Sheffield
I still don’t get what people find so bad about Sunderland. Whilst it’s not going to win any awards for being pleasing on the eye, the station is well situated, is easy and quick to get from street to platform, and sheltered from the elements whilst on the platform. I don’t see what there is not to like about it, at least from a functionality point of view it ticks most boxes.
I've only ever used Sunderland station once, arriving on quite a long Metro journey from the north side of Newcastle. I'd heard it was dismal but when I arrived there was a Great Central train in the opposite platform just leaving and that brightened it up. When the train left my expectations were so much confirmed that I seem to have deleted the photographs I took! I took a few outside and this is the best shot. The lack of toilets at the major station in a British city with a population of 277,000 was noted. However it only clocked up 427,000 passengers in 2019-20 so they clearly don't need them. The majority of users are very likely to be regulars using the toiletless Metros, but any others venturing to Sunderland should be aware.

That first impression was a shame, because once away from the station I found the riverside round to Roker has been greatly improved in recent years.
IMG_20200220_123747.jpg
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top