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Euston station

From Academic Kids

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Fašade of Euston Station, London
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"Euston Arch:" the original entrance to Euston Station, as enlarged, ca 1851
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Euston station concourse
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Euston station platforms

Euston station (also known as London Euston), is a large railway station in Central London. The station is the southern terminus of the West Coast Main Line with trains to and from Birmingham, Manchester, Holyhead and Glasgow, as well as many local services. It is also a major interchange station for the Underground.

Euston is located in the London Borough of Camden, on the northern edge of the city centre, just outside the congestion charge zone, but in Travelcard Zone 1.

Train services into Euston are run by Virgin Trains and Silverlink, with First ScotRail overnight sleeper train services to Scotland.

Contents

History

Although the present station building is in the International Modern style, Euston was the first inter-city railway station to be built in London. Its Greek Revival Doric portal, "Euston Arch", introduced the concept of a monumental railway station as the modern portal to a city. Its loss helped galvanize the environmental conservation movement in Britain, which had previously been focused on preserving aristocratic power houses, picturesque vernacular architecture and unspoilt landscapes. The loss of the original Pennsylvania Station in the United States has been referenced as comparable.

The original station was opened on July 20, 1837, as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway constructed by Robert Stephenson. It was designed by a well-known classically trained architect, Philip Hardwick, with a 200ft (61m) long engine shed by structural engineer Charles Fox. Initially it had only two platforms, one for departures and one for arrivals. Until 1844, trains had to be pulled up the hill to Camden Town by cables as they did not have enough power to get there under their own steam.

The station grew rapidly over the following years as traffic increased. It was greatly expanded in the 1840s, with the opening in 1849 of the spectacular Great Hall, built in classical style. It was 125 feet long, 61 feet wide and 62 feet high (38.1 by 18.6 by 18.9 m), with a coffered ceiling and a sweeping double flight of stairs leading to offices at the northern end of the hall. A 72 foot (21.9 m) high Doric arch was erected at the station's entrance to serve as a portico; this became renowned as the Euston Arch.

The station and the railway that it served experienced several changes in management, being owned in turn by the London and North Western Railway (18461922), the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (19231947) and British Rail (19471993).

In the early 1960s it was decided that the old building was no longer adequate and needed replacing. Amid much public outcry the old station building (including the famous Euston Arch) was demolished in 1962 and replaced by a new building, which opened in 1968. The modern station is very much a creation of 1960s architecture. It is a long, low structure with a frontage of some 647 feet and a very functional (and windswept) concrete exterior. Part of the station building includes two office towers which look out onto adjacent Melton Street and Eversholt Street. The station itself has a single large concourse populated with the usual assortment of shops and eateries, separated from the somewhat bleak train shed. A couple of small remnants of the older station were kept, close to Euston Road, but were hardly an effective sop to those offended by the loss of the former building. The station is set back much further than the 19th century original and since the construction of additional office buildings in front of it, it is effectively screened from view from the road.

Euston is widely regarded as the ugliest and the most unpleasant of all of the Central London rail termini. The dark ramps which passengers have to descend from the concourse down to platform level seem claustrophobic to many, while the concrete-adorned square outside the entrance is a popular stamping ground for beggars (who also frequent the station concourse itself), and rough sleepers. It is unfortunate that this is the first view that many visitors and tourists get of the capital.

Following privatisation of the railways in the 1990s, train services were taken over by private companies, on a franchise. The station itself was taken over by Railtrack and was subsequently transferred to Network Rail.

Main-line Services

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Underground Station

Euston tube station is on the City branch (for Bank) and the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line. It is also on the Victoria Line. To the extreme irritation of travellers with baggage, it is not on the Circle Line, even though that line passes by under Euston Road, in front of the building. The nearest Circle Line station is one block to the west, at Euston Square.

This station is heavily congested at peak periods, due to large numbers of commuters from north-west London and main-line stations to Rugby colliding with long distance travellers ariving from, or leaving for, stations on the West Coast Main Line.

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External links

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UK railway stations:

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