Tottenham Court Road tube station

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The original Central Line entrance to Tottenham Court Road station (with 1980s canopy)

Tottenham Court Road is a station on the London Underground, serving as an interchange between the Central Line and the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line.

On the Central line it is between Oxford Circus and Holborn, and on the Northern Line it is between Leicester Square and Goodge Street. It is in Travelcard Zone 1.



Central London Railway

The station opened as part of the Central London Railway on July 30 1900. From that date until September 24, 1933, the next station eastbound on the Central line was the now defunct British Museum; the next stop in that direction is now Holborn. The platforms are under Oxford Street west of the Tottenham Court Road junction, and were originally connected to the ticket hall via lifts at the end of the platforms. Escalator tunnels were built at the station in 1933 and the vacant lift shafts were used as ventilation ducts. In 1938, a chiller plant began operating at the station. It was decommissioned in 1949.

Charing Cross, Euston, and Hampstead Railway

The CCEHR (Now called the Northern Line) arrived here on 22 June 1907 but used the name Oxford Street until an interchange (linking the eastbound Central Line with the southbound Northern Line via the ends of the platform) was created on 3 September 1908 from when the present name was used for both lines. The next station north on the Northern line was originally called Tottenham Court Road, but was renamed to Goodge Street at this time.

The original ticket office was on the south east corner of the junction of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road, and its original lift shafts and emergency stairs are still extant. The emergency stairs are often used as access down to the ends of the Northern line platform, as there are currently insufficient escalators for the volume of traffic using the station. The lift shafts are used for offices and station facilities.


The original CCEHR station buildings were destroyed when the monolithic and highly controversial Centrepoint tower block was built. The opportunity was used to introduce escalators from the back of the central line lift shafts to a new ticket hall under the road junction itself (i.e. beneath St Giles' Circus), and a new tunnel driven from the front of the lift shaft to the centre of the platforms to aid in controlling flow. This resulted in the lift shafts becoming part of the passageways (though still notable due to their distinct roundedness), and the original Central Line ticket hall being cut off, although it is still retained as an exit (via a winding passageway).

The northern line was also connected via escalators leading back from the foot of the central line escalators, however, these lead to the end of the northern line platforms, and are a source of congestion. This was eased by the addition of a small escalator at the centre of the platform leading back to the foot of the central line escalator. However this is in itself a cause of congestion, as traffic trying to leave the station from the northern line finds itself in the path of traffic entering and travelling to the central line.

In the 1984 the entire station was redecorated, losing the distinct tiling pattern of the Yerkes tube lines (which included the CCEHR), and of course, the plain white tiles of the Central London Railway. The new design was that of a tessellated mural by Eduardo Paolozzi (whose signature appears at several places within the station), and is a distinct and noticeable feature of the station.


The North-East exit of the station surfaces immediately in front of the Dominion Theatre, whereas the North-West and South-West exits surface on Oxford Street. Because of this and its interchange, the station is one of the busiest on the entire network and peak periods of the day entrance to the station is often briefly barred due to the sheer weight of numbers.

To solve this congestion, Transport for London intend to drastically reconstruct large parts of the station. This will involve building under the forecourt of Centrepoint a much larger ticket office, as well as new sets of escalators to reach the centre of the northern line platforms from the ticket office, and the addition of greater Mobility Impaired Accessibility to the platforms. This has the benefit of removing a little used, badly cared, and somewhat derelict underpass travelling south toward the east side of Charing Cross Road some way from the station.

If the planned Chelsea-Hackney tube is built (currently this is planned in a reduced way as Crossrail 2) it will have a station at Tottenham Court Road, and the development plans include facilities to take account of this.

If the long-proposed Crossrail project goes ahead, it too will add additional interchange facilities at Tottenham Court Road, as well as a new exit at Dean Street (leading from both the Crossrail platforms, and the parallel Central line platform), and require the demolition of the original Central line exit, and the Astoria (also known as G-A-Y - a nightclub which frequently hosts famous stars), in order to expand the western side of the original ticket office to include escalators down to Crossrail.

External links

The station was used for a sequence in the 1981 film An American Werewolf in London

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