A pair of new moving walkways opened this morning at Bank tube station transforming the connection between the Northern and Central lines.

Previously the link between the two lines involved a spiral staircase at the Central line end, a narrow corridor and more stairs to the Northern line, but now there’s a simple wide moving walkway, and a short set of escalators.

So, 62 years after Bank station opened Europe’s first ever travolators, the same station has gained two more moving walkways.

It’s a transformative change and also a change that wasn’t part of the original Bank tube station upgrade plans, but was added when the construction firm uncovered a way of fitting it into the station.

It’s all down to the big upgrade to the Northern line end of the station where the large new southbound platform was constructed. To build that, Dragados came up with a construction method that required the two Northern line platforms to be further apart than had been anticipated, but in doing so, opened up space for a long, and most importantly, very straight corridor between the Northern and Central lines.

And a straight corridor can have a moving walkway in it.

  • A few months ago, the new Northern line platform opened.
  • A few weeks ago, the new escalators linking the Northern line and DLR opened.
  • This morning, the new moving walkway linking the Northern/DLR and Central line opened.

It’s a very long, and very wide corridor, with two moving walkways on either side and a corridor between, so people familair with the Jubilee line at Waterloo station will recognise the layout. Unlike Waterloo, this is a bright white corridor that’s a marked change from the rest of the station.

Step into the light!

And there’s another difference which people who use both will appreciate. The moving walkway at Bank is wider than the walkways used at Waterloo — 1.2 metres wide at Bank, compared to 1 metre wide at Waterloo. That makes it a lot easier for people who walk along the walkway to walk past the people who choose to stand still.

A lot easier.

As it’s situated right at the top of the new DLR escalators, it’s also a far more convenient route between the DLR and Central line, and although there are no lifts at the Central line end, it’s still a more accessible route than the winding staircase that people used to have to use.

As Bank station already has two moving walkways, linking the Waterloo & City line to the ticket office, these moving walkways are numbers 3 and 4. At the Central line end are three new escalators, numbers 23, 24, and 25.

This escalator shaft looks normal, but is an engineering triumph.

Normally, an escalator shaft is dug down from the top to the bottom, but as the top sits between two narrow Central line platforms there simply wasn’t the space for all the equipment so they had to dig upwards from the bottom. That meant they were able to keep the Central line open, and baring the sudden appearance of some wooden shuttering on the platforms, hardly anyone would have known that the work was being carried out.

At the top of the new escalators, a wide concourse has been created, leading to the two Central line platforms, and a newly installed set of barriers on the platforms to control crowds. The visual transition between the dark and narrow Central line platforms and the new moving walkway corridors is dramatic.

Friday is now the quieter working day at Bank station, so opening the moving walkway today saw it mainly being used by people less familiar with the station, and less aware that this is a new addition to the station. So much so, that your correspondent saw a fair number of people using the walkway, then turning around to try and work out what I was photographing.

Surely it’s not that interesting, is it?

Of course it is – especially if you’re a regular user of Bank station who has struggled through that narrow corridor linking the Central line to the other platforms and now have a wide new corridor to use.

It’s not just that the space is so much wider and nicer to use, but it’s also a simpler route to follow, and feels better designed. Almost as if Bank station isn’t the weird maze of bits of a tube station that’s been inelegantly glued together over the past century.

There’s more to come though – later this year a brand new entrance will open on Canon Street, providing a much faster route in/out of the station for people using the Northern line and DLR platforms.

Lincoln Ofokansi, Project Director at Transport for London, said: “The improvements at Bank station keep on coming with the opening today of a much-anticipated new interchange route between the Northern and Central lines. This will help reduce journey times, as well as providing much-needed congestion relief, improved wayfinding for our customers and an easier interchange that avoids the use of stairs when moving between two of the Underground’s busiest lines. This milestone also brings us a step closer to the completion of this hugely complex station upgrade.”

To read more about the behind the scenes work that created the new look Bank tube station, go here and here

Some more photos

Quickly installed signs for this morning’s opening

Escalators from the Central line to the moving walkway

Escalators from the Central line to the moving walkway

Bottom of the escalators from the Central line to the moving walkway

Along the moving walkway

The static corridor between the two walkways

The Northern line end of the moving walkway

The escalators down to the DLR are right in front of the moving walkway

Signs on the DLR platforms advertising the easier route to the Central line

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11 comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if these new moving walkways will pave the way for the ones at Waterloo to become operational again?

  2. hrishikesh says:

    make this a thing at South Ken station

  3. Nige says:

    Does this improve the interchange from the DLR to the W&C line at all ?

  4. Roger ROWLEY says:

    A huge improvement on what the old station was and movement is greatly improved as well between each line

  5. Chris Rogers says:

    It’s funny, I’ve probably used bank and the Northern/Central interchange more than most tube stations over the decades, through work and endless trots out to docklands or explorations of the City, ut due to changing personal circs and of course the pendemic I’ve hardly used it all all in years. I know the ‘old’ layout so well that it’s hard to see all this in my head.

  6. Marj says:

    I do love a travelator! I’m retired and I don’t even live in London at the moment, but I think I’m going to have to make a special trip…

  7. Cazzy says:

    I used it today and travwlling from Euston station with luggage, was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to struggle with the stairs. A most welcome addition to Bank station.

  8. K says:

    What I want now is one of those 3D maps they did ages ago for all the stations. So interesting!

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