For some reason, while I had always planned to post a selection of photos from my visit to Washington DC as part of last month’s holiday, I never quite got around to it. It seems to be a relatively slow day for transport news, so here’s some great rail eye candy from the Washington DC Metro:While I knew about the concrete “vaulted” design of the stations, I wasn’t actually aware that all the underground stations had this design. One might think that the repetitive design would become boring, but actually I felt it was really good – giving a consistent feel to the system as a whole and making it very easy to use and understand – because generally once you worked out the design of one station you could apply that knowledge throughout the system. Very user friendly.The simplicity of the stations’ design is great. One useful thing is that the lights at the side of the platform start flashing about a minute before the train arrives – just so you’re aware to start getting ready to jump on the train.The photo above shows a pretty major interchange station – either Metro Centre or Gallery Place-Chinatown, I can’t quite remember. If you look closely, you’ll see that around halfway along the platforms the space of the station opens up on either side. Underneath this section of the station there’s another line travelling at a 90 degree angle to this one, but all within the same space so once again it’s easy to understand how the whole thing works and easy to navigate your way around the system.

This photo shows a bit more clearly how the interchange works. There’s another line running on the lower level , with plenty of escalators providing access. You can even peer down over the side barriers and see the tracks below.

I must say I find myself wondering whether something like this is what we should be thinking about for a future Midtown railway station – as part of the CBD Rail Tunnel. As I’ve alluded to before, I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be able to, or want to, link a future North Shore Line in with the CBD Rail Tunnel. My proposition would be to run it at right-angles to the CBD tunnel and provide a cross-CBD connection, as shown in the map below:As you can see, the North Shore to Botany Line intersects with the CBD rail tunnel at Midtown Station. While I don’t think we need to build this second tunnel any time particularly soon – it would pay to think about how we might connect to such a tunnel when designing Midtown station. The station design above is one possible way of how such a station could work.

Share this


  1. Very nice, the CBD tunnel stations should definitely consider tall vaulted ceilings. Perhaps they could maintain the look of Britomart with the metal cladding, neon lights and high ceiling, but maybe use a different light colour and detail treatments to signify each station.

  2. Really nice looking station, hopefully we can get something like that when ours are built. Speaking of which, where is the business case, it was meant to be finished in September and it is nearly November

  3. I quite like the North Shore to Botany line, as it would connect the two “Republics” 😉

    Yes, what has happened to the business case, has SJ buried it in red tape? Is he able to?

  4. I can’t wait for the day that I can go from downtown to K’rd on a train! It will connect the CBD so well. Also on a rainy day being able to move around the CBD quickly and keep dry. Perfect. The CBD will come alive.

  5. Yes that’s a nice connection between the lines. I have always felt that the curving enclosure that results from bored tunnels, when not too tight, is preferable to the sense of just being in an endless basement that you can get in cut and cover systems. I guess I prefer the spaces of The Tube to some of NY subway stations; there often the spaces don’t seem to end but rather just fade off into a slightly unnerving gloom. The Tube manages a homey feel… perhaps they are often smaller and a bit too labyrinthine than is ideal, the Washington system does look to have a better scale, and nice detailing… Was there much advertising? The Tube is full of it of course.

    Bad news on the government’s balance sheet this morning, hey guess what? Tax cuts [biased towards the better off] means the public purse is emptier, what a surprise. Another excuse for these dunderheads not to invest where they should, especially now our great financial mastermind has just been so sweetly played by Holywood… to tune of $36m and our integrity.

    Meantime, in an economy in a deeper hole than ours come this public/private idea:

    1. Yes while the NY subway is fantastically effective it doesn’t win many prizes for beauty. Though remember that most of it predates the Washington metro by 40-60 years.

  6. I wonder if it would be possible to extend extend the Wynyard Station at least a little bit under Fanshawe Street and Victoria Park and then have a pedestrian tunnel between Victoria Park Market and the platform. This would allow easy, dry access to the station from Victoria Park Market, the supermarket and that general area. You could then start the curve under the Park and head up Victoria or Wellesley Street.

  7. James you want to wary of long pedestrian tunnels, difficult to make pleasant, safe, and welcoming. Especially when compared to a walk in the park above, Vic. Park Market isn’t a high volume destination compared with the numbers that will be working in the new buildings on the Tank Farm.

    1. You’d still have that option. Unfortunately Victoria Park being dominated by sports fields means that simply putting a path through there would be problematic without interfering with the fields. My reasoning behind this is that the area around Victoria Park will most likely be heavily intensified by the time we create a North Shore line and providing easy access to a station might be useful. The priority would still be Wynyard, but providing a connection through there may increase its usefulness. It’s just a thought and the numbers would have to be there.

  8. I doubt a 500m long underground pedestrain tunnel would see much use, as a rule pedestrains avoid foot tunnels like the plague, let alone ones half a kilometre long.

    An improved footpath along Halsey St would be the most direct route anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *