Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Westminster tube station
Westminster tube station on the London Underground serves the Circle, District and Jubilee lines. It was originally opened as Westminster Bridge on December 24 1868 and was given its present name in 1907. It was completely redeveloped and re-opened on December 22 1999 as part of the Jubilee Line Extension.
The station is in Travelcard Zone 1.
A vast 39m (127ft) void was excavated underneath the old station to house the escalators, lifts and stairs to the deep-level Jubilee Line platforms, the deepest ever excavation in central London. One of the most difficult problems the engineers faced was to construct the station around the Circle and District line tracks, which continued in service throughout its construction. The tracks had to be lowered by 300mm (1 foot), an operation achieved a few millimetres at a time during the few hours each night that the system was closed. The station was by far the most complex in terms of engineering of any of those on the Jubilee line and it was the last to open, just before Christmas 1999. Nothing of the old station remains.
The station's cavernous design, by Michael Hopkins & Partners, won it a 2001 Royal Institute of British Architects Award and earned it a place on the shortlist for the RIBA's prestigious Stirling Prize. The station has an extremely austere interior, comprising gigantic concrete beams and columns criss-crossed by stainless steel escalators and floors, giving it a distinct "space-age" look.
As with other stations on the Jubilee Line Extension, the Jubilee Line platforms at Westminster have a glass barrier, with its own set of sliding doors, between the platform and the tracks to assist in controlling air circulation (and presumably, extra safety). The platforms are some 32m (104 feet) below ground level, making them among the deepest on the Underground network. Because of the limited amount of space on the site, the two tunnels are "stacked" on top of each other rather than the normal side-by-side arrangement.
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