york road station

This is the York Road station on the London Underground. It’s located on York Way in Islington, a stone’s throw from the St. Pancras station. Despite its appearance as an only slightly dilapidated transport facility, no train has gone in or out of this station for 82 years, since September 1932. It’s one of the surprising number of abandoned Tube stations in and around London.

The York Road station was first opened in 1906 as part of the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway, which is now simply the Piccadilly Line. The problem with it appears to be its location. It was right between two very large and busy London railway hubs, and thus there wasn’t much demand for a station here. Who knows why railway designers in 1906 decided to put this one here, but, as amazingly prescient as transportation engineers often are in designing rail options that are expected to last for decades or even centuries, they do occasionally screw up. York Road handled daily trains for only twelve years, but Sunday service was suspended toward the end of World War I. The station limped along with weekday service until 1932 when the transit authority finally closed it. The station has sat empty and unused ever since. Various plans to either revive or demolish it have come to nothing.

It’s curious to think that, in the heart of busy London, there’s a place like this where tiled tunnels and ancient rails still await the squeak and bustle of trains and passengers, vanished now for the majority of a century. Pretty interesting stuff.