Crystal Palace railway station

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Crystal Palace railway station
Crystal Palace railway station is in the London Borough of Bromley in south London. It is located in the Anerley area between the town centres of Crystal Palace and Penge. It is one of two stations built to serve the site of the 1851 exhibition building, the Crystal Palace, when it was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham Hill after 1851. The station was opened on 10 June 1854 by the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway (WEL&CPR) to take the crowds to the relocated Palace. It was formerly known as Crystal Palace (Low Level) to differentiate it from the nearby and now demolished Crystal Palace (High Level) railway station. The station became a terminus of the new East London Line section of the London Overground on 23 May 2010. This has been the catalyst for plans for a substantial redevelopment of the station.

From the outset trains were operated by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR). Initially the station was the terminus of a spur line from Sydenham. In 1856 the station was able to take through train services to Clapham Junction via West Norwood and Streatham Hill, following the completion of the 746 yard (690 m) Crystal Palace Tunnel. Although relatively short, the tunnel was regarded as a major engineering achievement as it was cut "through the same treacherous material , through the hill on which the Crystal Palace stands, and immediately under one of the great water towers, a superincumbent weight of 2,200 tons which taxed in its execution all the skill and workmanship of the eminent contractors." In 1857, an eastward connection was made to Norwood Junction (for the Brighton line to the south) and in 1858 the WEL&CPR was extended as far as Beckenham. From 1860 direct services were available from London Victoria. The frontage of the station was rebuilt in 1875, and was described: "Although the Roman Catholic chapel room is no longer used the station still has a cathedral-like atmosphere as one passes from the period booking hall to the vault-like station and the stairs down to the original station area". This is a description of the station trainshed roof above the staircases at the west end. However, the rest of the station has no shelter from the elements between the vast brick retaining walls. Originally the whole length of the platforms beyond the bottom of the massive staircases was covered by an elegant dual bow-spring arch iron roof. This was removed as a precautionary measure shortly after the collapse of the similar structure at Charing Cross in 1905. The line was electrified between Balham and Crystal Palace on 12 May 1911, using the LBSCR overhead system, in time for the Festival of Empire coinciding with the coronation of King George V. Electric trains from Victoria were advertised to complete the journey in fifteen minutes - a running time that has never been equalled. The station is built on the junction of two lines: the original station platforms lying on the Sydenham route, and the later platforms on the southern spur to Norwood Junction and Beckenham Junction. Following the fire in 1936 which destroyed the Crystal Palace passenger numbers fell and most services through the station were diverted to serve London-Croydon routes rather than running along the Outer South London Line. The southern platforms became the busier pair and the entrance to the station was moved to the south side of the building in the 1980s. The glazed ticket hall was constructed at this time, which echoes the profile the Crystal Palace with its arched roof structure. The original station was partially refurbished in 2002 by Railtrack at a cost of £4 million. This included a substantial amount of work on the roof of the building and refurbishment of office space on the top floor. The two outer bay platforms, which were used by terminating trains, were not abandoned in the 1970s although the track and buffers were extant but the third rail has been removed. However the southern bay was brought into use in May 2010 as part of the London Overground developments detailed below. Transport for London were also proposing to extend Tramlink from Harrington Road through Anerley to the bus station on Crystal Palace Parade, with three possible routes. However, Mayor Boris Johnson cancelled the £170 million project in November 2008.

Transport links
London Buses route 157, 249, 358, 410, 432 and night route N3.

Regular train services which serve Crystal Palace today comprise four different routes:
  • 2tph (trains per hour) between London Victoria and West Croydon
  • 2tph between London Victoria and London Bridge (the outer South London Line service)
  • 2tph between London Bridge and Beckenham Junction
  • 4tph between this station and Highbury & Islington, via New Cross Gate and Whitechapel
Alternative routes run at peak hours, and the middle two do not run during late evenings, when route 1 listed above is also extended to Epsom and Epsom Downs. On Sunday route 1 is also extended to Sutton. The London Overground services to Highbury & Islington also run in the late evenings and on holidays.

Station redevelopment
To accommodate the additional East London Line services, and to provide disabled access to all platforms of the station, substantial works are required at the station. A planning application was submitted to Bromley Council in February 2009, which will include alterations to the Victorian booking hall building, removal of the current ticket office, removal of the pedestrian bridge over Platforms 1 and 2 and new stairs to Platform 1. The original entrance and ticket hall will be brought back into use, with three lifts installed to provide access to the platforms and a new canopy will be installed over platforms 3-7. London Overground trains now terminate in either the southern (formerly disused) bay platform 3, or a new bay platform 5, part of the new central platform which has been built over the site of the removed sidings, in the centre of the old station. The two through lines serve platform 4 (previously platform 3) and platform 6, the north side face of the new central island. The former platform 4 is no longer in public use, and while at the time of the East London Line service commencing it still had its platform furniture and information displays, these have since been removed.

Preceding station National Rail Following station Gipsy Hill Southern South London Line (Outer) Sydenham Southern London Bridge to Beckenham Junction (via Crystal Palace) (Monday-Saturday) Birkbeck Southern London Victoria to Sutton via Crystal Palace Norwood Junction Terminus London Overground East London Line Sydenham

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