South London Is So Short Of London Underground

Central London Railway Stations

In the central London area, there were very few railway stations. The only two main ones that existed were Paddington and Waterloo, but they did not provide that same excellent transport service as these large railway stations in the north. There was also a big issue with the cost. Passengers having to pay more than �1 just to transfer from one train to another was a major problem, and ultimately only benefited the railways making money.

Central London Railway stations flourished in the North due to all the large railway stations that had been built there in the 1800s, The London NET ( It meant people from a greater range of areas could travel to work by train, and could easily walk to the closest station. The jobs became available due to preceding industrialisation of the north of England, meaning it was now necessary for workers to commute in much greater numbers. North London had the following large and strategically positioned railway stations:   King's Cross, St Pancras and Euston.

Complex Overground Network

Madrid is a fine city and I've only visited briefly but what we think of as a tube network there can sometimes seem more like an overground network.   First, the Atocha railway stations are the equivalent of Bank, Waterloo or London Bridge, with two stations in the city centre at Atocha and Atocha North being interchanges. Similarly at Chamartin West and Chamartin East (out west). All the station names are used in local culture, particularly for football teams.

There's also intermediate stations that make little geographic sense (to me anyway) that serve new bed communities still connected to Madrid through different kinds of transport links. London’s transport system is extensive. 112 Underground stations, 270 London Overground stations and some 80 National Rail stations! To put that into perspective the next largest network is New York with just over 300 stations total. What about globally? Well, Shanghai (The World Expo host city in 2010) only has140 — over half that of London.

But where South London did fall behind was in its Underground network. The majority of London’s Underground stations are concentrated in the North West and Central areas of the city centre, which leaves the Southeast bereft of a Tube station for over three miles. London has a surprisingly complex overground (why over ground? duh, it’s not underground) transport system. If you ever wander the streets of London you will see that trams, trains and buses all display their final stops with large letters plastered on the front.

This is one of the great mysteries of London transport and has been used as a method of navigation since before my time in London. Why is this done? How do people know which train to get on?. The London Overground is mostly a high frequency, high capacity railway covering the North and East London suburban rail network. ( source /site content/mayor-assembly/publication-and-reports/london-overground)  This is an atypical railway since it was never built to be part of a national rail network but its history and design makes it an interesting case study for urban geology.

These were some of the first electric railways in the UK. Used by millions of people every day, they’re vital to the Underground system. As part of South London's transport network, they have overground sections which don’t connect with the Underground. You might want to use them in summer, when the weather is good – or you might want a weekend away and want to explore somewhere new (like me). In the last five years, South London has lost two tube stations (Southwark and Old Kent Road to be precise) but gained an overground network made up of the old South Eastern Railway (SER), South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR), London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) and East Kent Light Railway (EKLR).

History And Geography

London can often be a confusing and disorientating place, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m going to help you out with this overview of London. I’m going to give you an idea of the geographical layout of the city, show you the general plan of transportation, highlight some important places, and give you some tips on how to get more out of your visit. All in all, I hope that my experience in London will be put to good use.

I grew up in West London, attending University in North London and working in suburban South London. However, I have also spent a good proportion of my life living or commuting in East London. Having gone back and forth all my life, I have come to agree with the notion that there is an East-West divide between Londoners. This is highlighted by the vast difference on public transport: Tube Map. It seemed to me a very obvious thing to do – I should hit the morning rush hour, the height of my potential exposure.

The reason for this was much less artful: commuting London lies to the south of the city; it follows that any boat setting out from Tower Pier would reach its northernmost point in a small fraction of the time taken to traverse the southern reaches. But, now as an adult I found it liberating to see that the layout of Charing Cross station was, in fact, the foundation of the design for the Tube map.

Like many things in London, you can trace its development back to the Romans. The first recognisable map of modern-day London featured in 1475 and appeared in print in 1558. In 1960, when the counties of London and Middlesex were abolished by the creation of Greater London, there was a small amount of smoothing out to do politically and statistically. This would have been pointless had boundaries not overlapped. There are literally thousands of streets in London and many of the streets aren't named after the person living on them, they get a number instead.

The Lay Of The Land

The clay soil in the northern, developed part of London was an ideal medium for the tunnelling. Although the ground was much harder in the south, and more expensive to dig (the metric is compared by cost per kilometre: £2. 4m per km in the north works out at £1. 5bn per km today because of inflation), it provided a firmer base on which to build an accessible system that could be extended further out than if built in soft ground nearer London.

It was decided that Meccano supplied tunneling machines could be used and the first shaft was started at Woodside. This was at the end of a railway siding hard up against Hampstead Heath on land that had been bought with 4d per share so that it could be lifted when the line was cut to make way for the construction of tunnels. It could not be filled in, as it would have blocked the Bowling Green Lane sewer, which ran below.

The construction of the first underground railway line, from Bishop’s Road to Farringdon Street, was a huge engineering feat. In a period when the London Street Sewers were being dug, and when the Embankment was being built on unstable marshlands, Butler and Hollingsworth brought in their expertise to forge new tunnels under London using the more efficient cut-and-cover method to excavate massive trenches. Over the last number of years I have been involved in discussions with several senior people who were at the plan stage of extending the Bakerloo Line.

In 1962 when there was a consideration given to extending this line north into Muswell Hill and then on to Alexandra Palace, I had the task of giving a report on soil conditions further south along this route. At first, this doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense; the ground in the north is more suitable than that in the south for starting tunnelling. After all, the whole point of a tunnel under the Thames was to create a railway line going under the river, and how is that supposed to work unless you dig down?.

Laura Grace

Laura Grace

Main Contributor and Editor of The London NET