Part of the new Tottenham Court Road station opened this week but only for access to the Northern line. Central line trains will not be stopping at the upgraded station until December 2015 at the earliest.
Despite its name the station now has no entrances or exits onto Tottenham Court Road itself. Passengers have to enter and leave the station by a single entrance on the corner of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road with no access to the underpasses to Tottenham Court Road east side or west side. The 19th century entrance at Oxford Street has also been closed.
Three escalators take passengers down to a new ticket hall where passengers have to buy a ticket from machines because the new station has no ticket office. Another three escalators take passengers up and down to the Northern line platforms.
Works to the Central line part of the station are ongoing and so trains are not stopping at Tottenham Court Road and passengers will have to either get off and walk or cycle at Oxford Circus or Holborn or change onto alternative Tube or bus routes at these stations.
The northern part of Charing Cross Road has also reopened allowing pedestrians, cyclists and motor traffic direct access into Tottenham Court Road via St Giles Circus which had been blocked by the Crossrail works since late 2010.
“By 2016, the station will be fully accessible, with five new lifts providing step-free access from the ticket hall leading to the platforms. Around 150,000 people currently use the station daily, but this is expected to rise to over 200,000 when TfL-run Crossrail serves the station in 2018,” says Transport for London (TfL).
There is also increased frequency of trains due to an upgrading of the signalling. “London Underground (LU) is now running more Northern line trains than ever before — up to 26 trains per hour during peak times through central London. By 2020, LU is planning to increase train frequencies on the line even further to at least 30 trains per hour by introducing new trains,” says TfL.
The new ticket hall and the Northern line improvements are part of the “£10 billion programme of improvement that LU is carrying out to increase capacity and meet the ever-increasing demand for its services as London’s population rises sharply and faster than any other European city”.
But despite the money spent there are no public toilets for tube passengers at the new Tottenham Court Road station. However, according to a 2011 report “at Tottenham Court Road there will be new toilets installed in the upgraded London Underground station”. So passengers will have to cross their legs until then.