Case Study: Research – London Underground


In this article I am going to do something a bit different; I am going to show you a sample of the sort of research that you should do when researching a level design idea. This will show the basic process I follow when i am planning a level. I will start with the idea, expand it and research the topic. Once I have some general research, I will begin researching some of the key details of the environment I am creating.

The Idea:

Taking inspiration from the disused station of the London underground, I am going to create a level based upon York road station, a London underground station from 1906 until 1932.

The player has found themselves stuck in the remains of the old station and must find a way out of the level, by exploring the station and eventually progressing to the next open station on the line; Caledonian Road. The level will be set at soon after closure and be in the estimated state and look the stations where in at the time.

York Road Basic Information:

The following information was found from the following reference: Jim E Connor, 2001. London’s Disused Underground Stations. Edition. Capital Transport Publishing

York Road Station circa 2010

York Road Station as it appears now.

  • Opened 15th of December 1906 by Great northern Piccadilly & Brompton Railway between Kings cross and Caledonian Stations.
  • A Street Level Building on the corner of York Road (now York Way) and Bingfield Street; Clad in ruby-red tiling, with raised lettering signs.
  • Booking hall was connected to the platforms by emergency stairs and a single 23ft lift shaft containing two electric lifts supplied by Otis Elevator Company, with a rise of 89.49ft. The Lifts descend directly to the platform level.
  • Westbound Platform length of 351.9 foot, with the east bound was 350ft exactly. Both platforms are constructed from concrete with a width of 10ft.
  • The Parallel tunnels had a diameter of 21ft 2.5 ins and where tiled white with patterns of red.
  • Ventilation by a fan.
  • The street level building occupied by ‘The Victor Printing company’ after closure until 1989.
  • Street level building featured arched windows, ornate metal light fixtures, metal shutters and striped tiles
  • Platforms featured tiled walls, wiring, standard underground signage, painted ‘York Road’ and a signal box at the Finsbury Park end.
York Road Station plan

The plans for York road station

Time period

York Road Station circa 2010

York Road Station as it appeared during its operational period.

A 1908 Map of the london underground is available here

Piccadilly railway Carriage

The sort of carriage you where likely to spot on the piccadilly railway line, including York Road.

  • In 1932, when York Road closed, The underground was becoming much more like the modern day underground network, it was becoming a unified network of lines, rather than be individual railways.
  • The Westinghouse signalling system was first spotted around 1930’s, which is still in use today.
  • Tickets where bought from a ticket booth, where the customer would receive a card / paper stub which was used as the ticket.
Ticket Stub

Example of the sort of ticket that was used.

More will be added to this post soon! keep your eyes on twitter / Facebook feed.
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5 Responses to “Case Study: Research – London Underground”
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