Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Aldgate East tube station
Aldgate East is a London Underground station in Aldgate. It is in Travelcard Zone 1. It is on the Hammersmith & City Line between Liverpool Street and Whitechapel, and the District Line between Tower Hill and Whitechapel.
The original Aldgate East station was opened as part of the east-end extension to the Metropolitan District Railway (now the District Line), some way to the west, close to the Metropolitan Railway's Aldgate Station. However, when the curve to join the two railways, for eastbound travel, was created, the curve had to be particularly sharp due to the presence of Aldgate East station, at which it needed to be straight.
Therefore, in the 1940's, the station was re-sited slightly to the east of its original location with an exit facing west toward the original location. For similar reasons, the station slightly to the east of the new location, St Mary's (Whitechapel Road) (which also had a junction curve immediately after it), was closed and an additional exit placed at the east end of the nearby new Aldgate East station.
The station was designed to be completely subterranean, providing a much needed pedestrian underpass to the road above. However, in order to accommodate the space needed for this, and the platforms below, the existing track required lowering by a few feet. To achieve this task, whilst still keeping the track open during the day, the bed underneath the track was excavated, and the track held up by wooden struts. Then, once excavation was complete, an army of over 100 workmen lowered the whole track simultaneously in one night, utilising overhead hooks to suspend the track when necessary. The hooks still remain.
Since the station was built completely under a widened road, and was built after concrete had started to be used as a construction material, the platforms have a particularly high headroom. Combined with the typical 1940's style of tiling, the platform area of the station presents a particularly airy and welcoming appearance, unusual on the underground at the time of construction.
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