Everyone in London is familiar with the map of the Underground. Even seasoned tube users carry a map on their phones.
But the current diagram contains a fairly significant wrinkle: For nearly a year, the Underground map has indicated that the Bakerloo and Northern lines do not stop at Embankment, on the District and Circle lines. Many apps, including Citymapper, also indicate there is no Embankment station on those lines.
In fact, trains have been stopping there for a while now.
Here is the current official map from Transport for London, the government agency that runs the tube.
Clearly, the Bakerloo and Northern lines appear to bypass Embankment in favour of nearby Charing Cross:
This makes changing trains on the southern side of the District and Circle a bit tricky — passengers have to make sure they’re on the Jubilee, Piccadilly or Victoria lines, or at worst the Bank branch of the Northern line, in order to get onto the green and yellow lines. This problem comes up a lot of you’re trying to get to Victoria, one of the busiest rail hubs in London. (The Gatwick Express leaves from there.)
In fact, since early November both the Northern and Bakerloo lines have begun stopping at Embankment — a fact you only learn after getting onto trains on those lines. The stop is marked on the line maps inside the train carriages. It isn’t marked on the official map of the entire system that sits in station entrances. Thousands of people are planning their journeys incorrectly due to this omission.
It turns our that Embankment was closed to Bakerloo and Northern trains for 43 weeks this year in order to put new escalators in. The work is now complete, but a platform official told us that TfL has yet to update its maps. New maps are coming soon.
The odd result is that many people riding the tube have forgotten that Embankment exists on the Northern and Bakerloo lines. The station is now like a secret — relatively few people know it’s back in operation, so it’s incredibly empty compared to the rest of the system.
Here is what the entrance to the station looked like at rush hour yesterday:
It is really weird to be inside a tube station at rush hour that no one seems to know exists.
Notice how clean and shiny it is:
Where is everybody? This ought to be one of the busiest intersections in the whole Underground:
It gets a bit busier at platform level, but this is like a desert compared to the rest of the Northern Line at rush hour:
Once you know there is a stop there, the map starts to look rather weird. Did they really build four lines that cross just north of the Thames and not install any station to let people transfer?
In fact, inside Embankment, some of the hoardings do have the correct map:
Although this one at the entrance to the station itself had the wrong map:
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