Of all the Crossrail stations, few have as many superlatives as Liverpool Street – the deepest, the widest platforms, the longest, the one that links two tube stations, the one that was part built before Crossrail was even authorised.
When it opens, Liverpool Street be unique on the new line, in that you will be able to walk in one tube station and back out of another — Moorgate and Liverpool Street, creating a link deep underground between the Northern and Central lines, although in practical terms, Bank will still be the easier interchange between those two lines.
It also makes use of a deep shaft that was built even before Crossrail was given official permission. Although Crossrail was not given the formal go-ahead until 2007, back in 1999 an office block next to Moorgate station was given planning permission, and one of the conditions was that it included a 130 feet deep ventilation shaft that could be used by Crossrail – if it was built.
Fortunately, when it was authorised, Crossrail’s route was pretty much as expected, and the deep ventilation shaft has now come into use – being fitted out by Crossrail to provide cooling to the running tunnels deep underground.
That wasn’t the only shaft dug down for Crossrail at this site though — as a gigantic hexagonal one was built nearby to house the new connections to the Northern line platforms. Architecturally, the design of the connection will be a mix of human scale tunnels, and large unexpected voids, making use of the size of the shaft to create huge open areas. You can still see the hexagonal alignment of the shaft in the passenger areas, and that’s just one small fraction of the space available.
As with most underground stations, passengers see just the proverbial tip of the iceberg, with a lot more space given over to back-of-house operations, power, mechanical, staff, fire escapes and ventilation.
Something else that wont be seen, is a large network of ground heat pumps that were included into the structure of the Moorgate end of the new station which will extract heat from the clay under London and use it to heat the future offices that will eventually be built over the new Moorgate station entrances.
Using heat from tube trains to heat office workers.
Although people will be able to go into the Elizabeth line platforms from Moorgate, that the station is called Liverpool Street is a polite necessity, as structurally, the bulk of the station is on the Moorgate half, and the staff control rooms will also be in the Moorgate end.
Here at the Moorgate end, escalators will take people down to another feature that’s unique to this particular station — a triple corridor. All the other central London stations will have two corridors – for the train platforms, but here at Liverpool Street, a third huge passenger corridor runs the entire length of the station linking Moorgate with Liverpool Street.
And for the commercially minded – notice the specially curved advertising screens designed especially for the organically curved walls that will be such a striking feature of the stations.
The platforms themselves while looking identical to the other wide central London platforms for the Elizabeth line, are in fact noticeably a bit wider as befits its location next to a major rail terminus.
Liverpool Street station is also the second-deepest point on the Crossrail project – the deepest being a short tunnel ride away, half way towards Farringdon. To reduce energy consumption, as with existing tube tunnels, they dip down as trains leave, using gravity to assist the acceleration, and rise back up — using gravity to slow the trains and reduce brake wear.
The Liverpool Street end of Liverpool Street station also features another unique feature – inclined lifts.
Rather than hiding the accessibility lifts out of the way or down lonely corridors, the lifts will ride alongside the escalators — and while obviously offering a better experience for people using them, are frankly, quite likely to be used by most people at least once just for the thrill.
The Liverpool Street end is also notable for the ceiling decoration of the ticket hall, which is designed to aesthetically deal with the fairly low ceiling, and act as acoustic baffles to reduce noise. They are also very similar in design to the pin-stripes of office suits.
Around the corner from the passenger entrance is a service entrance which supports more emergency escapes, ventilation and electrical fittings. More of the hidden ice-berg of the scale of engineering needed for a modern railway station.
Overall, the impression is of a station that is visibly closer to opening than some of the other stations on Crossrail, which is probably why there’s hardly been any news in the news about Liverpool Street — it’s less delayed than the rest of the line.
Which is good thing for the office workers as they plan to start pulling back some of the surface hoardings soon to release long since blocked off pavements back to public use.
It’ll take longer for the station to be opened, but as with the rest of the line, when it does eventually arrive, it’s going to be eye opening for people who haven’t see what’s being built down there.
Some more photos: