Addison Road? You mean Kensington (Olympia) station?
I’ve always had a feeling of great sadness about Olympia station
Indeed. Is not just the strange remnant on the tube map linking High Street Kensington and Earl’s Court to Olympia station … and it’s not the way you might end going via there when getting a train from Birmingham to Brighton, it just seems like too big a station. Even when using it to go to Personal Computer World shows in the 1980, it just seems… far too big!
Still, that is more “windswept” than “sad”.
I think you will find that there is a great sadness here. This is the West London Line, and for many, historic reasons it has interconnections with many other lines.
If you look, you will find that in the beginning, railways and rail services were often sperate: a company would be set up to navigate the land and build the stations. When a new line linked up with another, trains from companies that were linked to would hire “slots” on the new one, rather than have passengers have to make changes.
So far, so free enterprise!
Yes. So, a century later when the second world war came along, there was a great national need for the railways: not just the obvious tasks of moving troops forward or back from the front lines, the evacuation of children from cities either. Fighting machines, ammunition and food had to be mobilised too.
And the plucky West London Line?
Well, it was in the centre of the mobilization network, and uniquely connected! So Addison Road became a major, major war hub. For this to work with enough secrecy and efficiency, the other West London Line stations were shut.
And after the war?
The enemy bombing left the line in disrepair. So much that St Quintin Park and Wormwood Scrubs, Chelsea and Fulham and Battersea stations never re-opened. And Kensington (Olympia) was left as a few trains an hour, and has almost been cancelled a few times.
Tell me more.