Freedom Pass Project – Update

Last Friday’s outing was dual-purpose. I wanted to clear off Bank station for my project and I also wanted to catch the Belmond British Pullman on its trip out to Gillingham.

The meeting point for the Northern and Central underground lines along with the Waterloo & City. Add in the Docklands Light Railway and a connection to Monument Station on the District & Circle lines and it should come as no surprise that Bank Station is a maze of pedestrian tunnels. Bank Station opened in 1890 as part of an extension to the City & South London Railway – the world’s first deep-level tube line and now part of the Northern Line.

The platforms at many stations on the Bank branch of the Northern Line were not built with modern levels of use in mind. The proximity of passengers to trains in the rush hour is best described as concerning. Angel Station, once the northern terminus of the City & South London Railway, was particularly bad with its island platform – so bad that it was completely rebuilt in 1992. The northbound tracks were realigned in a new section of tunnel and the original track bed filled in to widen the southbound platform. This year it was the turn of Bank to get a bit of a rebuild. The southbound tracks were realigned, and a new platform built…

Bank Station - New Southbound Platform

…The original southbound platform became a new Concourse area. Unfortunately, it’s only a partial rebuild – the northbound platform is still very narrow. I think I shall have to return to Bank on another rainy day to do a more comprehensive photo survey.

Back to the reason I’m here – Bank is a terminus for the Waterloo & City Line and the DLR. The Waterloo & City opened in 1898, was absorbed by the London & South Western Railway in 1907, became part of the Southern Railway in 1923 and British Railways in 1948. It was only transferred to London Underground in 1994! Known as The Drain to regular commuters, it only operates on weekdays and Saturdays because, as every one knows, the City is closed on the weekend😉 Here’s one of the two platforms at Bank…

Bank - W & C line

The W&C is unusual in that it has no connection with other lines nor any section that is at ground level. All normal servicing of the stock is carried out at a depot beneath Waterloo station…

Waterloo & City Depot

When stock is in need of major work, it has to be lifted out using a crane! Fortunately, that is a rare occurrence😉

Now to the other reason for my trip – photographing the Belmond British Pullman. This train runs regularly, so it was really included as a makeweight for my day out. I will almost certainly catch it on more occasions through the summer. Rain was forecast and rain it did – Convenient for my CMMC entry this week😂 You can see the effect of the rain in these two shots of the train approaching Wandsworth Road…

67005 approaching Wandsworth Road
67005 approaching Wandsworth Road_2

..The locomotive is 67005 ‘Queen’s Messenger’.

Now I have to decide where my Freedom Pass is going to take me next 😎👍


  1. I’m intrigued by the idea that a city is closed on the weekend. Although it would take some getting used to, it somehow appeals to me. Your Freedom Pass adventures are very special, Martin. Happy travels!

    1. It’s not literally shut – just none of the bankers, stockbrokers, etc were at work 😂 Nowadays, there are lots of non-financial things going on in the City so there is an argument that perhaps the W&C should run on Sunday’s too.

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