DSC 0490fi 800x425 - Victoria tube station - another step completed!

The new part of Victoria tube station, including the new bank of escalators, was opened today. The unofficial opening to the south ticket hall extension took place this morning. This gives alternative access to the Circle/District and Victoria Lines by way of a series of new passageways that link up with the existing ones from the north ticket hall (Cardinal Place.) There are new lifts too however these are not yet in use as shall be detailed later. Today’s new opening does not mean the completion of the works, far from it.
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Top of the new escalators at Victoria tube south ticket hall
Practically no announcement was made by TfL until just after 1pm today as the following tweet shows:


A later tweet was issued at3.00pm – with a picture of contractors removing the hoarding surrounding the new escalators:


Here’s TfL’s summarised explanation of why the upgrade has been done. Its the entire project in a nutshell:

Why is the Victoria Station Upgrade being built? It will double the size of the existing Victoria line ticket hall, ease congestion and improve journeys through the Underground station.
Where are the tunnels? Over 300m of tunnels are being constructed beneath the streets of Victoria, between Wilton Road and Allington Street.
Why are these tunnels being built? They link the new North ticket hall to the extended South ticket hall.
Why are the sub-surface links being built? The Eastbound link creates step-free access between the Eastbound District and Circle lines and the Victoria line, and the westbound link provides step-free access between the South ticket hall and the Westbound District and Circle lines.

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The south ticket hall’s hoarding yesterday evening (the pillars are behind)
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Overnight the hoarding had been moved back to reveal the new pillars, seen just as the station had been opened!
This took place almost exactly seven months to the day since the previous piece in the Victoria station jigsaw was completed, when the new ticket hall extension was officially opened. See my post on this back in January.
The contractors, Taylor Woodrow tweeted their own picture of the lower passageways – which is essentially a view looking in the opposite way (towards Cardinal Place) compared to the following picture of mine:


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Bottom of the new escalators with passageway at right to Circle/District Lines
TfL say the work will be completed be in December of 2018. This is as further works further works have to be done including upgrading other parts of the station and this means restricted access or closures, mainly the escalators to the District and Circle Lines. Thus there’s just a few days to enjoy the station as it is before these additional works begin on Weds 29th August. Give with one hand take with the other!
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New corridors forming a triangle – its a bit confusing for some as the next picture shows…
I noticed crowds of people gathering at this location, looking at the different passageways and then double checking and few seemed any wiser as to which route they would have to take. The problem is people can see ‘Circle/District Lines’ here and further along and for those not in the know its certainly confusing. The line maps certainly don’t help as these simply says ‘District and Circle Lines’ with an arrow pointing the other way – in fact the wrong way if one does not understand the information. TfL have put up signs to denote exactly which route goes where (but have left the confusing ones up too) and one could easily go wrong, finding themselves back in the same passageway they started at!
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The spot is one where many people get confused. Is the Circle/District Line that way – or that way? But the sign says that way!
TfL are saying in their tweets “Temporary station closures due to congestion will be reduced and there’ll be direct stair access to the westbound District and Circle lines.” But they do not let on the full extent of what is to happen. As the following tweet reveals, on 29th August access to the District & Circle Lines from the Victoria Line is thereby restricted!


DISABILITY ACCESS
Disability access takes a back seat as usual. Whilst that to the Victoria Line from Cardinal Place (north ticket hall) is afforded as has been for a while, the new access from the main line station and up to the Circle/District and down to the Victoria Line is not possible yet. Its not known when this section will be open – possibly it’ll be December when the works to the sub surface connections have been finished for all we know, although I think its quite plausible the Westbound lift to the District/Circle Lines could be opened much earlier.
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Lift to westbound Circle/District and the Victoria Line from main ticket hall not yet in use…
Although the lift to the westbound platforms of the Circle/District Lines does not provide a direct link to the Victoria Line, the deep level tube line is marked on the signs – this is because those needing to use it will be able to descend from the Westbound lines/south ticket hall to the lower level (at the bottom of the escalators) then take the passageway to the Eastbound lift (or the north ticket hall’s lower lift) which does go right down to the Victoria Line. It sounds a bit convoluted but it essentially means there is NO direct link to the Victoria Line from the south ticket hall and one must indeed effect a change of lifts (from the Westbound lift to the Eastbound lift) to gain access to the Victoria Line.
The only alternative is to go via the north ticket hall’s lower lift. Its not really an ideal situation because the alternative is also a hassle, involving quite lengthy passageways In my view its a simply a means of choosing one inconvenience over another from the south ticket hall. The only real benefit of any sort in using the new lifts will be when one uses it directly from the Eastbound Circle/District Lines to the Victoria Line.
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Accessible lift symbols blanked out for the moment….
As has been pointed out, there will be restrictions coming into force next week as other existing escalators are closed to enable further works to be undertaken as part of this huge upgrade. However, when it’s all finished there will be new access points from the Eastbound District/Circle Lines including a lift straight down to the Victoria Line. Its all behind these blue hoardings at the moment as this next picture of an arriving S Stock on the Eastbound platform shows.
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Eastbound District/Circle platform with the hoardings covering the new works due to open December 2018

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