An almost modest ticket hall conceals a marvel deeper underground as Crossrail gave the public their first chance to see the massive platforms that will soon throng with paying passengers.

Although there have been chances to see bits of other stations, this has been the first chance for the public to see right into the heart of the future Elizabeth line – the tunnel platforms that will soon become its dominant feature.

It was also a chance to use a route that will hopefully never be used by the public again, the emergency stairs — all 145 steps down to the platform, and unsurprisingly, the same number back up again.

The stairs were in use as the escalators are still being fitted out, but the scale of the site soon became clear as people make their way through unfinished tunnels to get down to the platforms.

The curvaceous spaces that open up and elicited many gasps of amazement as people entered a platform space that looks like it came off the set of a space film in design and massive in scale.

The tunnels are long. Very long. So, Farringdon station, as with all the central London Elizabeth line stations has two entrances, and the public tours were to go in via the main Farringdon end as opposed to the Barbican end.

When it opens, the combination of Thameslink, London Underground and Elizabeth line will make Farringdon one of the busiest railway junctions in London. The London Underground entrance has recently been refurbished, while on the opposite side of the road a huge new Thameslink station opened, with one wall concealing a bank of escalators down to the Elizabeth line ticket hall area.

The platforms are lined with floor to ceiling platform edge doors, and vast light screens, which not only avoid the need for extra lighting, but also conceal the electrics and air cooling systems.

There wont be any hanging next-train indicators, that are so often blocked from view by other hanging signs, for the next train indicators are built into the platform edge doors themselves.

Just a very few signs will break the long, ever so long, length of the platform, and they will show people the way to get out of here. No adverts will despoil the sci-fi white corridors, for they will be replaced by video screens next to the railway tracks instead. More money for TfL, and a better design for the platforms.

But who would want to leave such an impressive space? It’s certainly changed a bit since I was last down there.

Equally large side corridors take people from the platforms to the central concourse where the escalators will lift you up to the sunlit lands once more. But here in the central concourse, there wont be any strip lighting in the ceilings, for it’s illuminated in a way that harks back to the greatest of the tube designers, Charles Holden. Brought up to date, space is given a soft glow from uplighters hidden in the station signs that punctuate the centre of the space.

The side corridors are downlit with a strip effect, and do notice the gray stone curbs that curve around the edges of the walls.

The overall effect is unlike anything that’s been seen on the London Underground before.

This being Farringdon, people using the trains are more used to travelling on large trains, whether Thameslink or Met/Circle/H&C lines, so while the station is amazing, the biggest wow-factor is about to take place a few miles up the line, at TCR and Bond Street.

People squashed onto tiny Central line trains and narrow corridors in the stations have barely an inkling of what’s happening behind the hoardings. Yes, they know a railway is being built, but many assume something slightly bigger than a tube tunnel, but the tunnels can’t be that much bigger, can they?

Imagine the reaction when they come into work after their Christmas break and see… this. The gigantic platform, huge tunnels, and running right through the heart of London, mainline sized trains.

The Elizabeth line is going to be a game changer for commuters in Central London, and a huge shock to a lot of people when it opens.

Just six months to go.

And finally, a teaser for you – spot the mistake on the route maps.

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19 comments on “See inside Crossrail’s Farringdon Station
  1. Emily says:

    No Central line interchange indicated at TCR.

    • Vinnie says:

      I think that may have been deliberately omitted since changing for Central westbound would be preferred at Bond Street. They probably also consider Oxford Circus as being a place you could get to quicker by foot from the TCR Dean Street exit.

    • Nick says:

      Correct, I think.

      If you’re travelling westbound from Farringdon and want the Central line the next two stops are both interchanges for the line anyway, so there’s no benefit in changing at TCR. The line diagram isn’t there to show you every single possible connection, but to show the ones where it’s most beneficial or you NEED to change due to lines diverging. At Bond Street the lines diverge until Ealing Broadway, so for travel to stations in the Acton area it’s probably quicker to stay on until there and travel back anyway.

      As for Oxford Circus, there will be the exit from Bond Street on Hanover Square, just round the corner:

      http://www.crossrail.co.uk/route/near-you/?xmin=-0.14952872753264698&ymin=51.512231175395655&xmax=-0.13931487560253558&ymax=51.51557960037526

  2. Sasa says:

    The strip lights in the top pic – are they just temporary? And are there any more station visits happening next month? I’d love to go.

    • James Vincent Miller says:

      they are 100% temporary, all the platform lighting comes from the light panels above the platform edge doors.

  3. Gerry says:

    Grey stone kerbs please, we’re British !

  4. Mike says:

    Ilford doesn’t have an interchange with National Rail?

  5. Rory Mitchell says:

    Liverpool Street northern line!

  6. Melvyn says:

    Users of new Northern Line exit at TCR have experience of the size of the new structures underground re interchange subways but this is only a teaser compared to Crossrail platforms which if your at the wrong end At say Liverpool Street Station ( e.g Moorgate end wanting Liverpool Street Station) some might find it easier to go up to Moorgate Circle Line platforms to travel to Liverpool Street rather than walk the length of the platform!

  7. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Why can’t the Elizabeth Line open in December this year instead of December next year. As its only 6 months left to go!

    • Chris Leadbeater says:

      Too much to complete.

      The platforms at Liverpool Street can’t be lengthened to take 9 car trains until the tunnel opens near Stratford.

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      Right. Maybe that’s why the Elizabeth Line won’t be opened until December next year as there is still work to be done including platform extensions so that 9-Car Class 345’s can stop at stations on the Shenfield branch including at Romford and Ilford and platform extensions at West Ealing, Southall, Acton Main Line & Hanwell. And the Abbey Wood branch is to open in December this year.

  8. Gordon says:

    Isn’t West Drayton the interchange for Greenfield?

  9. Uzair says:

    Liverpool Street on left-hand map – Circle line being above Central line on the interchange list?

  10. Dave K says:

    Nice write up and photos. I was gutted to miss out on a place to visit here as I’ve missed all the other station opportunities too 🙁

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