Above: View of the wide southbound platform at Angel Underground Station.
Angel Underground Station was originally built by the City & South London Railway (C&SLR) and opened on 17 November 1901. It served as a terminus until the line was extended to Euston on 12 May 1907. The station is now part of the Northern Line, being on the branch running via Bank and Old Street.
Because of the depth of the platforms below ground, the station can boast the longest escalator on the Underground network – with a length of 200 feet (61 m) and a vertical rise of 90 feet (27 m). It is the fourth-longest escalator in Western Europe. That is only one of the unusual features.
When the station was built it had one narrow island platform — just 12 feet (3.7m) wide — serving trains that stopped at either side (one travelling north and the other travelling south). As can be seen from the lower picture such a narrow platform was totally unsuitable for the growing number of passengers that have been using it since the 1980s.
Above: The original island platform at Angel. Image copyright zen whisk.
The island-platform layout was one of only a few on the Underground network. Clapham Common and Clapham North are still using island platforms. Euston had an island platform until the station was redesigned during the construction of the Victoria line in the 1960s. At Angel the station was rebuilt in the early 1990s to accommodate the increasing number of passengers. The island layout was converted into a single platform for southbound trains and the northbound line was rerouted via a newly excavated section of running track and served by an entirely new platform. As a result, the southbound platform is extra wide because it is formed of the original island with the addition of the space gained from filling in the northbound line that ran beside it. The result is the view at the top of this article. Notice that the original lines served the island platform under one large arch. That arch is still there and it can also be seen in the top picture. It should be realised that the two trains seen in the lower picture both used the same arch that is seen in the present layout seen in the top picture.
Before the 1990s the unreliable lifts at Angel were removed and a new station entrance was built on Upper Street, some distance from the original entrance on City Road. The whole ‘passenger experience’ is much better than the original layout from several points of view. Tourists still come to London with street maps that are out of date and occasionally get ‘caught out’ by the fact that the present (new) entrance to the Angel Station is around the corner and then a short walk from the original entrance on City Road.