Historic Whitechapel station transformed ahead of Elizabeth line arrival

Whitechapel tube station has been transformed, as the entrance opens its doors ahead of the Elizabeth line arrival.

A brand-new ticket hall and lifts have been made available to customers, combined with a brand-new tube station totem outside which features the Elizabeth line on the list of services it supports.

Platforms have been widened, and there is step free access to the District and Hammersmith & City lines, as well as London Overground platforms.

The new stations intended for the notable Elizabeth line are much bigger compared to others in central London, in consequence to the length of the new trains being over 200m long.

Step-free access from the street to Elizabeth line trains will also be available at Whitechapel when it opens in the first half of 2022.

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The area between the London Underground platforms has also been resurfaced and hoardings have been removed, opening up the space on the platforms, subsequently offering more room for customers to circulate.

The London Overground platforms are yet to have work done, but the impressive transformation to the old sub-surface platforms acts as a key milestone.

Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said “I'm delighted that the impressive Victorian entrance at Whitechapel station has reopened with a more spacious ticket hall and step-free access. These upgrades will make a real difference to passengers using the station ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth line next year."

The upgraded ticket hall offers more space and a longer gateline, replacing the previously limited space. Other additions include four new ticket vending machines, on top of customer information screens.

As well as the renovated Victorian entrance, which dates back to 1876, local access has also been improved with a new public footway directly through the station, linking Whitechapel Road to the new entrance on Durward Street.

Consequently, there is no need to pass through the gateline, and benches and help points have also been introduced.

At Whitechapel, the London Underground passes above the London Overground, and the new ticket hall sits in a concourse built on a bridge running above both tracks; so, building on top of both operational railways and the Victorian infrastructure posed as a significant challenge for engineers.

Nonetheless, works were successful and the glass above the concourse opens up the space even more by allowing daylight into the station, and down the London Overground platforms, creating a tranquil atmosphere.

It features a unique green roof with sedum plants growing on top, offering several environmental benefits such as improved air quality, water absorption and drainage, noise reduction, whilst encouraging conservation and biodiversity.

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Andy Lord, London Underground Managing Director, said “this really is a stunning station and incorporates a renovated Victorian entrance and a green roof to boost biodiversity. I hope the local community will be as impressed with the station as I am.”

It took thousands of hours to complete construction, including working overnight when services were not in operation, and throughout some essential closures of the network.

The Managing Director added, “with step-free access to the London Underground and London Overground platforms now available, there are real benefits for customers, particularly those heading to The Royal London Hospital directly across the road.

Also included on the Elizabeth line platforms is a series of large-scale collage artworks inspired by the diversity of the local community, produced by artist Chantal Joffe, further enhancing the vibrancy of the station.

The station will offer an interchange between the Elizabeth line, the District and Hammersmith & City lines and London Overground services.

Rail Technology Magazine latest edition Jun/Jul 22


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