As Crossrail turns from building site into polished end product, a new exhibition showing off the design of the future Elizabeth line stations has opened at London Transport Museum.
Apart from the usual collection of computer generated images and text about the new stations, there are a number of scale models of what lies beneath the streets, and a mock-up of a tunnel section.
The tunnel section shows off what will probably become the defining icon of the Crossrail stations — the curved organic corners where passages link to platforms. Not just decorative, as they also allow you to “see around corners” when approaching the platform.
When it opens, the Crossrail tunnels should have a uniform design, which slowly draws back to reflect local considerations as people rise up to the surface.
Some of the signs say to look up to see the ceiling detailing of the new stations, although it’s not immediately obvious that by up, they mean straight up — they are above your head. Be warned.
It is to some degree the curse of good design in that the best is almost invisible. We notice when things are badly designed, but that door handle or sign placement that is actually the result of much testing to make sure it works is overlooked, because no one complains about it.
Do notice the dead man’s coin, a decorative feature being used at Woolwich which will happen to have a historical significance on the opening of the line, 100 years after WW1 will have ended.
Elsewhere, notes about how the lighting has been designed, the Canary Wharf roof, or even the seating, of which there is an amusing rumour about the effort which went into testing them.
Everyone loves a bit of Moquette, so you will be pleased to see a sample of the future seating fabric to be used in the trains is also on display.
The exhibition is open now at the Transport Museum. At the same time, a new book has been published looking at the station designs, which is on sale in the museum shop.