Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Fairlop Loop

I suppose it is because I only live a ten minute drive away from these stations that I have never used the 'loop' on the Central Line. That's not entirely true as I did end up at Wanstead once after taking a wrong train!

Today wasn't too much different to that as all that I really wanted to do was visit Newbury Park and Gants Hill Stations. I parked in Gants Hill and walked along the busy A12 to Newbury Park with the intention of getting the tube back.

My main reason for wanting to go to Newbury Park was to see the Oliver Hill designed, Grade II listed bus station adjacent to the underground station. It was opened in 1949 and still proudly displays its Festival of Britain 1951 Award for Merit. I have of course seen this many times from a car and I even lived in Newbury Park in the mid to late 60's when it would have still been relatively new but I'd never taken a wander around it.

Newbury Park Bus Station

Newbury Park Underground Station
The next part of my journey should have been relatively easy with only one stop to Gants Hill. For some unknown reason I went the wrong way, decided to get off at Barkingside and then thought I was going the right way again! Next stop Fairlop and then I realised I would need to change platforms to get back to Gants Hill. Slightly worrying considering I am a tube nerd. It did allow me to see these lovely stations that I would otherwise of missed and look out a few design details as well as their Labyrinths.

The Fairlop Loop as it was originally known was opened in 1903 for both freight and passengers by the Great Eastern Railway and its aim was to encourage growth in the suburbs. It was successful in part although some stations were hardly used and closed relatively quickly. It became part of the Central Line between 1935 and 1940. These stations still remain the least used on the whole network with around 700 passengers using Roding Valley station each day. 

These stations are beautiful, definitely Edwardian and still have Ladies Waiting Rooms. The detail in the metalwork is lovely with GER (Great Eastern Railway) clearly visible. Barkingside is also Grade II listed.

Barkingside Station

Fairlop Station
Finally on the correct train from Fairlop to Gants Hill I knew I was going to be seeing a very different design of station. This is busiest station on the Loop it reminds me of Bethnal Green and Mile End as you stand on the platform and it has it's very own roundel clock. Moving through the tiled pillars at the far end of the platform I am sure I said wow to myself. This station opened in 1947 was designed by Charles Holden who at the time the station was being planned was working on a consultancy basis for the Moscow Metro. The influence of this is clear to see and details such as the lighting, seating and tiling give it a very grand appearance. There is no surface level to the station as it is under a roundabout but what you see is stunning.

Gants Hill
A really pleasant afternoon which literally took me in a different direction to my intended one but it really was well worth it.

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