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Victoria Station (London)

From Academic Kids

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Victoria_Station_Concourse.jpg
Victoria Station concourse

Victoria station is a London Underground and railway station in London, in the City of Westminster. It is in Travelcard Zone 1.

The eastern side, comprising platforms 1 - 8 services Kent, and the western side comprising platforms 9 - 19 is the terminus for lines running from Surrey and Sussex, including Gatwick Airport and Brighton. Although this split is still generally held to, there are various crossovers allowing trains to access any platform. As the western "Brighton" side is the busier of the two, slight disruption on that line sometimes results in some of its suburban services using the eastern "Chatham" station.

The London Underground station lies to the north of the mainline station concourse. There are two ticket halls. The hall closer to the mainline station serves the Victoria Line. The other, further north along a tunnel, serves the District and Circle Lines.

Victoria Coach Station is half a mile south-west of the railway stations. It is the main London coach terminal and serves all parts of the UK.

History

Victoria station is the only main line terminal station in what is known as the West End of London. Its origins lie with the Great Exhibition of 1851, when a railway called the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway came into existence, serving the site of the exhibition halls which had been transferred to Sydenham from Hyde Park. The terminus of that railway was at Stewarts Lane in Battersea on the south side of the river. In 1858 a joint enterprise was set up to take trains over the river: it was entitled the Victoria Station and Pimlico Railway; and was 1.25 mile (2km) in length. The railway was owned by four railway companies: the Great Western (GWR); London & North Western (LNWR); the London, Brighton and South Coast (LBSCR); and the London Chatham and Dover Railways (LCDR). It was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1858.

Entrance to Victoria Station
Enlarge
Entrance to Victoria Station

The station was built in two parts: those on the western side, opened in 1862, with six platforms, ten tracks and an hotel (the 300-bedroom Grosvenor) were occupied by the Brighton company; whilst adjacent, and in the same year, the Chatham company were to occupy a less imposing wooden-fronted building. The latter's station had nine tracks and was shared by broad-gauge trains of the GWR, whose trains arrived from Southall via the West London Extension Joint Railway through Chelsea. The GWR remained part owner of the station until 1932, although its trains had long since ceased to use it. Each side of the station had its own entrance and a separate station master; a wall between the two sections effectively emphasised that fact.

At the start of the twentieth century both parts of the station were rebuilt. It now had a decent frontage and forecourt, but not as yet a unified existence. Work on the Brighton side was completed in 1908 and was carried out in red brick; the Grosvenor Hotel was rebuilt at the same time. The Chatham side, in a Edwardian style with baroque elements, designed by Alfred Bloomfield, was completed a year later. The two sections were eventually connected in 1924 by removing part of a screen wall, when the platforms were renumbered as an entity. The station was redeveloped internally in the 1980s, with the addition of shops within the concourse, and above the western platforms.

The station was now serving boat trains, and during WWI it became the hub of trains carrying soldiers to and from France, many of them wounded. After the war the Continental steamer traffic became concentrated there, including the most famous of those trains, the Golden Arrow. The area around the station also became a site for other other forms of transport: a bus station in the forecourt; a coach terminal to the south; and it is now the terminal for trains serving Gatwick Airport

Victoria is also well-served by London underground. The sub-surface Circle and District Lines opened in the 1860s; and the Victoria Line line came to Victoria Station with the third phase of construction of the line - the station's platforms were opened on March 7, 1969, six months after the Victoria line had started running in outer London.

External links

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