TCR Crossrail Station Wall

The public may not be able to visit Tottenham Court Road station’s Crossrail concourse or platforms yet, thanks to the well-publicised delay across the wider project, but the station was one of the most complete in the central section, a year ago, and so it was possible to visit the station as part of Construction Open Doors, shortly before the news of the big delay came out. Visitors were let into the new Dean Street ticket hall (approximately half way between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road’s existing ticket hall), down to the platforms and along to the far end.

One nice surprise is this concept artwork appearing on the walls in three different places, and in three different colours. It is in fact, a heavily abstracted map of the local area. Built up areas are represented by the circles, with the spaces in them being roads. Small TfL roundels denote underground stations, while a simple house symbol in the middle of a square space is a nod to the Soho Square “cottage” ventilation shaft.

The white-on-black version appears in the Dean Street ticket hall, while the grey-on-white version is down at platform level. At the other end, just the other side of the existing Tottenham Court Road station, the circulation area has a red version of the map – the stronger colour here reflecting the vibrancy of the area as Soho merges into Theatreland:

In the red map above, split across at least four smoked glass panels, a single roundel sits in the middle of a long, horizontal street – Oxford Street. Regent Street crosses here from top to bottom. Further to the right is Soho Square with its “house”, and just to the right and up a bit is the roundel for Tottenham Court Road itself. The obvious diagonal “roads” are, to the left, Carnaby Street leading down from Bond Street station (marked by another roundal) and, to the right, Shaftsbury Avenue.

It’s a nice, subtle map – most people will just see it as an abstract pattern. There are real, regular maps on plinths for navigating yourself around the intense street network surrounding the station, but if you prefer the challenge, try orientating yourself to the wall art instead.

The map is not yet accessible but the revised opening timetable for the central section of Crossrail, aka the Elizabeth line, is approximately at the end of 2020. The station essentially now complete so with luck with there will be further public tours of the station between now and the line opening.

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