By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies I Agree Read our cookie policy

Why does West Croydon station have platforms 1, 3 and 4, but no platform 2?

Why does West Croydon station have platforms 1, 3 and 4, but no platform 2?
May 13, 2019 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was first published by My London on 12/05/2019.

Why does West Croydon station have platforms 1, 3 and 4, but no platform 2?

Here’s a fun fact for parties when you’re chatting people up.

You’re ready to board a train from West Croydon station, and someone asks you how you get onto platform 2. But there’s a problem.

There is no platform 2, so what are you supposed to say? Why aren’t the three existing platforms numbered 1, 2 and 3?

Well, and here’s a secret. If you run really hard at the barrier between platform 3 and 4, you’ll find yourself in a wizarding world on platform 2. Actually, please don’t do that, because you’ll only blame me.

Historically, the station was the very first linking Croydon with central London – London Bridge to be precise – and it opened in 1839 on the site of the former Croydon Canal.

Known initially as Croydon station, it became West Croydon in 1851 after the opening of East Croydon station.

Anyway, West Croydon was the terminus for the railway line to Wimbledon, which closed in 1997, to make way for the tram network.

As a result, platform 2 was closed and mostly filled in to extend platform 3 to allow for trains to call closer to the station steps.

If you look back towards Waddon from the station, you can see where the railway line used to run, beneath the London Road bridge.

You'll probably have wondered where it is at some point

So, that’s why there’s no platform 2 at West Croydon. Since the closure of the platform, neither Network Rail, who own the station, or London Overground, the operators, have seen fit to rename the platforms.

As an aside, West Croydon was also the terminus for an experimental ‘atmospheric’ railway in the 1840s – which featured trains propelled by air pressure.

‘Pumping houses’ at West Croydon, Jolly Sailor (which is what Norwood Junction was known as at the time) and at Forest Hill were used to pump air in and out of a pipe laid between the tracks, inside which was a piston attached to the trains.

The idea was that the force of the air would propel the train forwards without the need for steam power.

Unfortunately, the system was unreliable and abandoned a few years after its construction, but it is believed the pumping station from West Croydon was dismantled and used as part of the Surrey Street waterworks which today stand in Exchange Square.

‘Pumping houses’ at West Croydon, Jolly Sailor (which is what Norwood Junction was known as at the time) and at Forest Hill were used to pump air in and out of a pipe laid between the tracks, inside which was a piston attached to the trains.

The idea was that the force of the air would propel the train forwards without the need for steam power.

Unfortunately, the system was unreliable and abandoned a few years after its construction, but it is believed the pumping station from West Croydon was dismantled and used as part of the Surrey Street waterworks which today stand in Exchange Square.

Comments(0)