Wembley Central station
Wembley Central is a Network Rail station served by London Underground (LU) Bakerloo Line, London Overground (LO), Southern and a few London Midland services. It is located in the High Road of Wembley, north-west London. LO trains (3 trains per hour) and Bakerloo line trains use the Watford DC Line platforms on the west side of the station (1 and 2). Milton Keynes/Watford Jn to East Croydon services (operated by Southern), running 1 tph, and the 4 London Midland services a day normally use the Slow Line platforms on the east side (5 and 6). Many more London Midland services stop here in conjunction with events at Wembley Stadium.
- 20 July 1837: London and Birmingham Railway line opened
- 1842: Station opened as "Sudbury"
- 1 May 1882: renamed "Sudbury & Wembley"
- 1 November 1910: renamed "Wembley for Sudbury", coincident with construction of the "LNWR New Line"
- 16 April 1917: Bakerloo Line service commenced over New Line
- 1936 Street level building reconstructed with shopping arcade
- 1948 Further work in preparation for Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium
- 5 July 1948: renamed "Wembley Central"
- 1960s Station Square constructed on raft over station, providing most of current layout.
- 24 September 1982: Bakerloo Line service withdrawn
- 4 June 1984: Bakerloo Line service re-instated
- November 2007: Station management transferred from Silverlink Trains to London Underground
- June 2008: 1936/1948 surface buildings in process of being demolished for redevelopment
- February 2009: Southern services to East Croydon stop here more regularly (every hour Mon-Sat daytime).
Wembley Central has the appearance of an underground station due to the elevated position of the High Road (where the main entrance was until recently located behind a 1940s shopping arcade) and the enclosed nature of the platforms below the raft upon which Station Square is built; it is actually generally at or above the local ground level, having been reconstructed in its current form during the 1960s electrification of the West Coast Main Line. It is the first station out of Euston to have platforms on all three pairs of tracks and the combination of the confined space and through trains passing at speed on platforms 3 through 6 (the main line platforms) create a wind tunnel effect which can be dangerous for passengers.
As a result, the 4 mainline platforms (for Southern services and for extra stops on services for Wembley Stadium events) are locked out of use for most of the day and entrance is only allowed when trains are due, generally the Southern services, which use platforms 5 and 6 (on the slow main line). Passengers alighting from the Southern service must make their way to the end of the platform and staff will lead them out of the station. Gates into these platforms open 10 minutes before the train is expected to arrive.
The station was modernised in 2006 with additional safety features.
When a major event occurs at Wembley Stadium, such as a high-profile sporting event, rally or concert, some services which usually run through the station also stop here, often at platforms 5 & 6. However Virgin Trains' services are usually formed of trains which are too long for the platforms and take longer to set down and pick up. As a result, these services will make additional stops at Watford Junction or Milton Keynes, for customers to change onto London Midland services.
Fast London Midland services using platforms 5 & 6 are usually too long for the platforms. So, when trains are formed of more than 6 coaches, customers wishing to board and alight the train must do so from the front 4 coaches only. British Transport Police officers maintain a high presence on match days, particularly at this station and on all train services between Watford Junction and London Euston. London Midland, however, only have a couple of trains calling here every day.
The passenger footbridge at the London end of the station, completed in late 2006 by civil engineers C Spencer Ltd, carries extra foot traffic to and from the platforms during event days at the nearby Wembley Stadium; the everyday access is at the "country" end of the platforms. In practice, this means the bridge is usually locked and out of use, only being opened when the stadium itself is in use.
Other recent works include the resurfacing of platforms 1 and 2 complete with the installation of curved steel cladding panels also completed by contractor, C Spencer Ltd. The station's staff received refurbished messing facilities and new public toilets have also been installed.
In 2011-12, the station was made step-free, in preparation for the Olympics. A step-free route was provided between the station entrance and platforms 1 and 2 for the first time, with the installation of two new lifts and a stair lift. The toilets were refurbished to make them fully accessible. Two platforms were extended as well. This improvement scheme cost £2.5m.
In June 2008, the London Borough of Brent (the council of the local area where the station is) planned that the station was going to be demolished for re-development, as part of the Wembley Central Square plan, by St. Modwen construction company (although the plan also included new apartments, shops and open space surface).
London Buses routes 18, 79, 83, 92, 182, 204, 223, 224, 297, H17 and night route N18.
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Old station building
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Old station building
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Old station building
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View northward, from Down Fast platform, with Cup Final Special in 1962
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Station building during re-development
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London Underground roundel