Ever purchased a rail ticket to/from London and noticed it usually shows ‘London Terminals’ instead of naming the station? No? Well look away now.
Still here? Well the 'London Terminals' is simply a group of 18 railway stations, currently all within Zone 1, where you can travel to more than one station provided you do so on any reasonable route using National Rail services (i.e. you can’t use the underground).
For example, travel to London from Cambridge and you will be issued with a ‘London Terminals’ ticket (unless it is special fare restricted) as you can either arrive into London Kings Cross or London Liverpool Street. Still with me?
Well today’s stroll was a spiral walk taking in all 18 'London Terminals' stations.
Distance: around 15.5 miles.
Starting at Fenchurch Street. It was the first station to be built in the City in 1841. Originally in the Minories, the station was later rebuilt in the current location in 1854. Heading south of the river you reach London Bridge which is London’s oldest central terminus, it opened in 1836 and is situated close to, you guessed it, London Bridge. The next station on the stroll was originally opened as Waterloo Junction in 1869 and renamed to Waterloo Eastern in 1935. It wasn’t until 1977 that it was renamed again, this time as Waterloo East.
A high level walkway connects Waterloo East to Waterloo, which was opened in 1848 and was called Waterloo Bridge Station. In 1886 the Bridge was dropped. Still south of the Thames you hit Vauxhall which is on a viaduct with eight platforms. The station was opened in 1848 as Vauxhall Bridge Station, the Bridge was later dropped. Victoria was built in 1860 and named after Queen Victoria, the station was two separate stations until 1924 and still is operationally run as two sections. The eastern side (platforms 1-8) is the terminus for Southeastern services to Kent and the Venice Simplon Orient Express. Whereas the central side (platforms 9-19) is the terminus for Southern and Gatwick Express services to Surrey and Sussex.
A stroll up through Hyde Park brings you out to Paddington. Built in 1854 it replaced a temporary station on the site and is a creation of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Just the other side of Edgware Road is Marylebone which opened as a passenger station in 1899. It was designed by Henry William Braddock, a civil engineer for Great Central Railway as an 8 platform station, due to costs it only had four built. Further along the road brings you to Euston which opened in 1837 and was named after Euston Hall in Suffolk, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Grafton, the main landowners in the area. Originally designed in the style of Classical architecture, it underwent considerable redevelopment in the 1960s and is now built in International Modern style (translation: devoid of beauty).
Not devoid of beauty is nearby St Pancras. Opened in 1866 and built in the Gothic Revival style, it is now a Grade I listed building. At the time had the largest single span roof in the world. After a major renovation, it opened as St Pancras International in 2007 with the introduction of Eurostar services. Next door is King’s Cross which opened in 1852 and was named after a monument to George IV which once stood nearby. In 2005 a restoration plan was announced which saw the opening of a new departures concourse, in 2012, and the removal of the hideous 1970s extension to reveal the main frontage and open-air plaza. Heading down City Road brings you to Old Street which originally opened in 1901. The station is situated under the roundabout and has no ground-level building. It has undergone various redevelopments but it is still just "that station under a roundabout".
Further south you pass Liverpool Street which opened in 1875 replacing an earlier station at Bishopsgate. The station underwent modernisation between 1985 and 1992 which saw the closing of the nearby Broad Street station and the lines redirected to Liverpool Street. Around the corner you find Moorgate which opened in 1865. British Rail services were initially steam operated before being converted to diesel which remained in operation until the mid-1970s. It is currently undergoing redevelopment as part of the Crossrail project. Towards the Thames you come to Cannon Street which opened in 1866 with the original building designed by Sir John Hawkshaw and JW Barry. The station was badly damaged during the war and after many redevelopments it is now basically an office block with a station entrance underneath.
Heading west past St. Paul’s Cathedral is City Thameslink. The station opened in 1990 as St. Paul’s Thameslink but was changed in 1991 to avoid confusion with the nearby St. Paul’s Underground station. It has two entrances, one on Ludgate Hill (pictured) and the other on Holborn Viaduct. Heading back to the Thames is Blackfriars. Opened in 1886 it was originally called St. Paul’s. It was renamed in 1937 as Blackfriars in order to avoid confusion with, you guessed it, St. Paul’s Underground station which itself was renamed from Post Office. Blackfriars underwent significant renovation between 2009 and 2012 becoming the first station to span the Thames. Last stop is Charing Cross which was built on the site of the Hungerford Market and opened in 1864. A year later the Charing Cross Hotel, designed by Edward Middleton Barry, opened and gave the station an ornate frontage in the French Renaissance style. The station has undergone many changes, the most recent being in 1990 when the roof was demolished and an office block was built over the station.