Crossrail has set up a display of the initial design proposals for public areas surrounding 31 of its future Elizabeth line stations. It’s a bit of a display boards on stands sort of exhibition, and nothing about the tunnels here — it’s all about the stations themselves.

Some stations are obviously huge new constructions, but once you get away from Zone 2, and into the regional stations, Crossrail is more about refurbishing existing mainline stations.

Although Abbey Wood is getting a new station with a distinctive “Manta Ray” design.

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Lifts, licks of paint, new paving slabs. Not as sexy in some respects as the big tunnels, but probably more important in a way as they are the places where people will feel comfortable waiting for a train — or not.

Also with the increased crowds, the stations have to be reconfigured somewhat to cope, as do the streets and pavements outside them. Wider pavements, new crossings, better bus stops.

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In this regard, Crossrail says it has learned from some of the mistakes of the past where stations were simply dumped where the tracks went. This time they are trying to tie the stations more tightly into the local landscape and passenger needs.

Not always easy, as some of the existing stations are in very odd places indeed.

The design proposals on display are at a high level and subject to further revision. In fact changes to Ealing Broadway were announced on the day the exhibition opened.

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Incidentally, I only just noticed that the design for one of the new blocks to go above Tottenham Court Road where the old Astoria stood looks almost identical to the new Birmingham Library.

Tottenham Court Road Station - architects impression of over-site develoment_13817

Exhibition locations

City Hall – Mon-Fri 8:30am-6pm; Until 13 June

RIBA – Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; 16 June – 17 July

The Building Centre – Mon-Fri 9:30am- 6pm, Sat 10am-5pm; 21 July – 16 August

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