Historical Diagram: Charing Cross/Embankment Tube Station Cutaway, 1914
Simply stunning cutaway cross-section of the London Tube station now known as Embankment in 1914. This drawing shows the station just after the opening of the new deep tube extension of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (now part of the Northern Line) from their previous terminus to the north at Charing Cross station. The extension was a single line that headed south from Charing Cross, looped back around underneath the Thames and had a single platform heading northbound here at Embankment.
The diagram shows the C+E&H tube at the bottom right: it looks like a train has just left, heading back northwards to Charing Cross. To the left, the twin tubes of the Bakerloo line can be seen. Above, the shallow cut-and-cover tunnel of the District line runs at right angles to the deeper lines, built into the actual river embankment from which the station received its name. Above them all sits the grand old Charing Cross main line railway station, with The Strand just visible at its far end (a helpful caption, “This is The Strand”, points the way).
More than anything, it’s the detail of this cutaway that I like the most. Busy people enter and exit the station, read newspapers and ride the escalators between levels. A double-decker omnibus and Edwardian car can be seen chugging along the street, and trains belch steam in the station above. Advertisements adorn the walls, and the red carriages of the Tube fairly rattle along the tracks. An early version of the Underground roundel – a red circle with a blue bar across it – can be seen above the station’s building and on the District line platform.
If the naming of the station seems a little confusing, that’s because it was. In 1914, the District line platforms were named Charing Cross (for the main line station almost directly above), while the two separate deep tube lines were both called Embankment. The C+E&H station directly to the north, which was previously just Charing Cross, became Charing Cross (Strand). By 1915, everyone had had enough of this nonsense and all the platforms at this station took on the District line name of Charing Cross, while Charing Cross (Strand) became simply Strand. At the same time, the separate Strand station on the Piccadilly line was renamed as Aldywch to prevent even more confusion.
In June 1973, the newer Northern line Strand station was closed to allow construction of Jubilee line platforms. These platforms were constructed between the Bakerloo line and Northern line platforms together with the long-missing below-ground interchange between those two lines. In anticipation of the new interchange station, Charing Cross (this station) was renamed Charing Cross Embankment. The Jubilee line platforms and the refurbished Northern line platforms opened in May 1979, when the combined station (including Trafalgar Square on the Bakerloo line) was given its current name of Charing Cross; simultaneously, Charing Cross Embankment (this station) reverted to its original name – Embankment.