After several months of passing through without stopping, at 5:47am this morning an Elizabeth line train carrying passengers called at Bond Street station for the first time.
Bond Street station had been due to open with the rest of the Elizabeth line, and even as the Elizabeth line was delivered late, Bond Street was even later, and had more work to catch up on. Finally, this morning the final station* on the Elizabeth line opened, completing the Crossrail project.
Apart from making trips into the West End much faster, in providing a connection with the Central and Jubilee lines, it’s also expected to reduce overcrowding on those lines during rush hours. People from northwest London heading to Canary Wharf are likely to swap to the Elizabeth line, releasing more spaces on the Jubilee line as it passes through the rest of central London.
Likewise, the connection will speed up trips to Ealing Broadway and Stratford that would usually be taken on the Central line, and release more capacity on the Central line, especially as it passes through the City of London.
Design-wise, the station is similar to the other central London stations on the Elizabeth line, with large cavernous platform tunnels and exits at either end.
The route up to the Hanover Square exit has the longest escalator on the Elizabeth line, and is just one metre short of beating Angel tube station for the title of the longest on the entire TfL network. The ticket office is a large rectangular block, finished off with bronze detailing and with lots of windows to one side that will be filled with light. There’s no ticket office here, just ticket machines.
At the other end of the station is the connection to the older part of Bond Street station, and is also the spot that offers some of the more interesting architectural details.
Two sets of escalators lead from the platform to the street, with a break halfway up to provide a corridor to the other tube stations. That gives the escalator a pleasing aspect that I haven’t seen elsewhere, and that is if you stop a metre or so from the bottom of the lower escalators and look up, you can see the second set of escalators beyond, with hints of the artwork on the ceiling.
It’s a view that few will notice as they hurry to work, but do take a moment to pause one day and admire the view.
This double-set of escalators and large concourse with artwork is arguably one of the more interesting designs for escalators on the London Underground. Not as visually grand as say the entrance to Canary Wharf or Woolwich, but more interesting structurally.
The station art is by the British artist Darren Almond, who has created three abstract artworks for the spaces above and around the new Bond Street station western ticket hall escalators. In form and style, two of these resemble large-scale adaptations of the embossed metal nameplates that were once affixed to British locomotives. Each work is made by the same heritage sign company that makes boilerplates for locomotives. The artworks have been sponsored by Selfridges and the City of London.
Also, pay attention to the angular bronze ceiling half way up the escalators that provides both decorative detailing and acoustic absorption.
The station is set to accommodate nearly 140,000 Elizabeth line passenger journeys daily. This will more than double the number of people currently using Bond Street station.
The legal authority to open the station was granted by the Office of Road and Rail last week, and their letter authorising the station opening is here (pdf).
In a couple of weeks time, the Elizabeth line will also start offering through running on the lines, and Bond Street station is showing a mix of current maps and the map that will apply from 6th November.
More photos from the station opening
*There will be another station at Old Oak Common opening in a few years time, but it was added for HS2 and wasn’t part of the core Crossrail project.