Charing Cross station, also
known as London Charing Cross, is a central
London railway terminus. It is unusual among
London's railway termini in that its services connect it to two of
the others, Waterloo (via Waterloo East) and London Bridge.
It is one of 18 stations managed by
, and trains serving it are
operated by Southeastern
. It is
the fifth busiest rail terminal in London.
station takes its name from its location next to the central London
road junction of Charing
Cross. The front of the station faces The Strand, while at the other end is the northern end of
Bridge, which is crossed by all trains serving the
All the platforms are accessed through ticket barriers.
original station building was built on the site of the Hungerford
Market by the South
Eastern Railway and opened on 11 January 1864.
station was designed by Sir John
, with a single span wrought
roof arching over the six platforms on its relatively
cramped site. It is built on a brick arched viaduct, the level of
the rails above the ground varying from 13 feet at the north-east
end to 27 feet at the bridge abutment at the south-east end. A year
later the Charing Cross Hotel, designed by Edward Middleton Barry
, opened on 15
May 1865 and gave the station an ornate frontage in the French
Renaissance style. At the same time, a replica of the Eleanor Cross
was erected in the station
forecourt, based on the original 13th century Whitehall Cross that
had been demolished in 1647. Distances in London are officially
measured from the original site of the cross in Whitehall, now the
statue of Charles I, and not from this replica cross.
A 77 foot length of the elegant original roof structure, comprising
the two end bays at the south of the station, and part of the
western wall collapsed at 3.45pm on 5 December 1905. A gang of men
were employed at the time in repairing, glazing and painting the
section of roof which fell. Shortly after 3.30pm a loud noise was
heard in the roof and it was noticed that one of the main tie rods
had broken and was hanging down. Part of the roof began to sag and
cracks appeared in the western wall. It was another 12 minutes
before the collapse occurred, which enabled trains and platforms to
be evacuated and incoming trains to be held back. The roof, girders
and debris fell across four passenger trains standing in platforms
3, 4, 5 and 6 and all rail lines were blocked. The part of the
western wall which fell crashed through the wall and roof of the
neighbouring Royal Avenue Theatre (now the Playhouse
Theatre) in Northumberland Avenue which was being
reconstructed at the time.
Six lives were lost (two workmen
on the roof, a W.H. Smith bookstall vendor and three workmen on the
Royal Avenue Theatre site).
At the Board Of Trade Inquiry into the accident doubts were
expressed by expert witnesses about the design of the roof, even
though the cause of the failure was attributed to a faulty weld in
a tie rod. Consequently, the South Eastern and Chatham
decided not to repair the roof but to replace it. An
enormous travelling timber gantry had to be constructed to take the
remainder of the station roof down safely. The replacement was a
utilitarian post and girder structure supporting a ridge and furrow
roof. The curve of the original roof design can still be seen on
the interior brickwork. The station was re-opened on 19 March
Following bomb damage in World War II
the hotel received extensive repairs in 1951, ten years after being
bombed. In general, this comprised of a whole new set of top
floors. The elaborate Mansard roof
the upper floors of the hotel was rebuilt in a plain neo-Georgian
In 1990 most of the area over the platforms was covered by
Embankment Place, a post-modern
office and shopping complex designed by Terry Farrell and Partners
development led to the replacement of almost the whole of the 1906
roof. The rear two spans of this structure - immediately adjacent
to the existing concourse roof - were retained as part of an
enlarged waiting area. In addition the original retaining side
walls of the station which once supported it remain in near
complete condition. Most of the Embankment Place complex is
currently occupied by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The station concourse.
Trains run a very high frequency service between Charing Cross and
London Bridge, there are 18 train departures during the off-peak
times. The typical off-peak service from the station is:
From December 2009 Southern will no longer call at Charing Cross
Cross is served by two London
Underground stations, one at each end: Charing
Cross, and Embankment. Originally Embankment was called Charing
Cross, while the present Charing Cross was Trafalgar
Square (Bakerloo line) and
Strand (Northern line) stations, combining under the new name when
connected by the new Jubilee Line
station in 1979.
The change of name acknowledged that Strand
and Trafalgar Square were closer to the station than Embankment.
Note that additionally, for a short time, the stations were signed
as "Charing Cross Embankment" and "Charing Cross Strand".
Jubilee line platforms are no longer served, following the 1999
the line in which it was diverted to Westminster and onwards south of the river Thames.
- Network rail