Twopenny Tube

Image dated 1910

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Photo taken in an easterly direction · Marble Arch · W1H ·

In 1900, a pioneering underground railway began running in London.

Marble Arch station platforms, early 1900s
The Central London Railway (CLR) was given permission in 1891 for a tube line between Shepherd's Bush and a station at Cornhill, and the following year an extension to Liverpool Street was authorised. The line was built following the streets above rather than running underneath buildings, because purchase of wayleave under private properties would have been expensive, and as a result one line runs above another in places, with platforms at different levels at St Paul's, Chancery Lane and Notting Hill Gate stations. The tunnels were bored with the nominal diameter of 11 feet 8 1/4 inches (3.562 m), increased on curves, reduced to 11 feet 6 inches (3.51 m) near to stations. The tunnels generally rise approaching a station, to aid braking, and fall when leaving to aid acceleration.

The line between Shepherd's Bush and Bank was formally opened on 30 June 1900. With a uniform fare of 2d the railway became popularly known as the Twopenny Tube. It was initially operated by electric locomotives hauling carriages, but the heavy unsprung locomotives caused considerable vibration in the buildings above the line and the railway changed to using electric multiple units by 1903.

In July 1907, the fare was increased to 3d for journeys of more than seven or eight stations. The line was extended westwards with a loop serving a single platform at Wood Lane for the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition. A reduced fare of 1d, for a journey of three or fewer stations, was introduced in 1909 and season tickets became available from 1911. The extension to Liverpool Street opened the following year, providing access to the Great Eastern station and the adjacent Broad Street station by escalators. The Central London

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Marble Arch station platforms, early 1900s
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Marble Arch

Marble Arch station was opened on 30 July 1900 by the Central London Railway.

Like all the original stations on the CLR, Marble Arch was served by lifts to the platforms but the station was reconstructed in the early 1930s to accommodate escalators. This saw the closure of the original station building, designed by the architect Harry Bell Measures, that was situated on the corner of Quebec Street and Oxford Street, and a replacement sub-surface ticket hall opened further to the west. The new arrangements came into use on 15 August 1932. The original surface building was later demolished.

The platforms, originally lined in plain white tiles, were refitted with decorative vitreous enamel panels in 1985. The panel graphics were designed by Annabel Grey.

The station was modernised in 2010 resulting in new finishes in all areas of the station, apart from the retention of various of the decorative enamel panels at platform level.
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