At this morning’s Transport Committee meeting, once again I felt compelled to raise the chronic neglect of the oldest part of the tube system which lays between Paddington & Farringdon. Again, this is being ignored during the line upgrade works being undertaken by London Underground. Previously I’d brought up the signal box at Edgware Road which dates back to the 1920’s and still controls amazingly one of the biggest junctions on the tube map, as well as the control centre at Earls Court using technology from the 1950’s to manage all the District line trains passing through the station. This time I spoke about the state of disrepair on platform 5 in Baker Street where oddly, there are boards attesting to the history of the line. Water penetration from the Marylebone Road above the platforms is clearly causing damage internally to the station and will not have escaped the notice of the many passengers of the tube that make their changes in the network at this point.
My concern is simply that the oldest part of the tube has been neglected during the line upgrades while works on much newer lines like the Victoria line opened in 1970 and the Jubilee extension have had a lot more attention by London Underground both within the PPP and outside of it. Surely inventory checks of all the stations would have picked up the condition of the tracks, signals and platforms on this part of the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines?
The first underground line in the world between Paddington & Farringdon will reach reach its 150th anniversary next year since its first opening on 24th May 1862. Given the state of disrepair of platform 5 in Baker Street, it’s not surprising that we heard very little about this milestone with little or no publicity up and till now. Let’s hope it’s not allowed to get much worse before the sub-surface line upgrades eventually come round to this part the tube system in London.