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This morning the ‘new’ tube entrance at Waterloo was opened. Or if you prefer, re-opened. Confused? More in a moment on that! Today is the soft opening, and next week there will be fanfare when an official opening takes place. The long awaited tube entrance on the north side of York Road is now available for people to use – although it is not yet fully in use.

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The new entrance in use this morning.

It is a new tube entrance, but its not exactly a new one either. That is because work began in 1949 and the first entrance sited here opened in 1951 in readiness for the Festival of Britain. This new entrance is the third reincarnation on the site. The access to the tube remains basically the same, its just all been renewed.

There are very few pictures of the original entrance so I had to use the excellent A London Inheritance for views of that.

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The original tube entrance in the 1950s (the roundel can be seen) along with the BEA Waterloo Air Terminal (at the rear.) Source: A London Inheritance

Although the Air Terminal closed and was replaced by the Shell Centre, the interior of the tube entrance remained the same as it was originally until 15th November 2015 when it closed for re-development.

The new tube entrance has been evident behind hoardings for much of this year, and easily visible from the adjacent footbridge to Waterloo station. Now its opened once again.

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View of the new entrance from the Waterloo (York Road) footbridge.

The funding for this came from the developers of the Shell Centre complex, which is to be known as South Bank Place. None of it came from TfL’s coffers. Clearly the new entrance was a a pre-requisite in order to allow the huge re-development of the area between York Road and Jubilee Gardens to go ahead.

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TfL poster advertising the new York Road entrance.

I searched TfL Improvements but there’s absolutely nothing on the York Road entrance. They clearly have not put anything on their site about it.

Originally it was planned the new entrance would face northwards but objections ensured it faced onto York Road.

One of the greater improvements for the York Road entrance is the addition of a third escalator. It is said in publicity material that there would be a permanent artwork installation. I can only assume this means the glass roof at the entrance.

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The new escalators seen from the Bakerloo/Northern main lower hall.

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The top of the escalators and the ticket hall.

It is a spacious hall, far more than the old one was! The old one had the escalators in the middle of the hall and people could walk along either side to the main road. It wasn’t too generous in terms of space however.

In the new arrangement the hall has been moved to one side thus enabling a larger circulating space. The escalator shaft hasn’t been moved its in the same position as it always has been.

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The ticket barriers and signage.

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Departure information for the Bakerloo, Jubilee & Northern lines.

The new tube entrance also has a secondary exit (no entry at all.) Its not in use yet and wont be until the surrounding development is finished. That is because it doesn’t go anywhere except a dead end! When the hoardings come down there will be a new access route to through the new development to the South Bank and it is then the secondary exit will come into use. TfL staff told me it would generally be used at busy times also when there are huge events taking place on the South Bank.

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The secondary exit at the side of the new York Road tube station.

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When the secondary exit (at right) is in use people will be able to go to it straight from the top of the escalators.

The secondary exit isn’t the only example at this site. During the Festival of Britain there too was a side entrance in the original 1951 building giving direct access to the Festival site. I have shown this picture on my blog before (along with its smashed up tube roundel) and here it is once again:

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The old secondary entrance to the tube’s York Road station seen in 1951. Source: Guardian

In terms of disability access there isn’t any lifts. The reason for that is probably because the Jubilee can be accessed from the main tube entrance in Waterloo Road. There will soon be a new access point to the Waterloo & City Line within the main line station – but not from the new York Road entrance.

I do note from original documents a lift was envisaged for the new station entrance. It is important to note this was an ‘aspiration’ not a definite proposal from the developers. Its possible TfL was not able to match this aspiration with new access also to both the Bakerloo and Northern Lines, so its possible the idea was seen as useless because a lift would end up taking people nowhere.

Today’s opening was a soft one. The official opening will take place on Monday with the Mayor of London and TfL Mike Brown participating. I dont know what time (not important enough to know such details lol!) Ask Geoff Tech or Ian Visits I am sure they’ll know (because they will no doubt have invites to the opening!)

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