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.