Thursday, October 20, 2016

The remains of Crystal Palace train station in London

Crystal Palace High Level railway station opened in 1865 to serve visitors of the giant glass structure of the 'Crystal Palace' which was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham Hill in the London Borough of Southwark in south London in 1851. 

The station, was one of the two serving the new Crystal Palace (the other being the Crystal Palace Low Level station, which is still open), and the terminus of the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway. It was designed by Edward Middleton Barry as a lavish red brick and buff terra cotta building. The station was excavated into the ridge below Crystal Palace Parade requiring major engineering works.

Traffic on the whole branch declined from 1936 after Crystal Palace was completely destroyed by fire. During World War II the line was damaged by bombs but reopened a few years later. However, the need for further reconstruction work and the fall of passenger numbers led to the decision to close the station and branch on 20 September 1954.

Crystal Palace station was demolished in 1961 and in the 1970's the site was developed for housing. However, a fan-vaulted underground pedestrian passage in finely detailed red and cream brickwork still survives and it is now a Grade II listed building.

There are different urban legends surrounding the closure of Crystal Palace station surviving to this day in the area. Some claim that an engine or carriage remains hidden inside an abandoned tunnel collecting dust, while others believe the station was closed because a commuter train was trapped by a tunnel collapse, entombing the passengers, who remain trapped there to this day. 


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