Have you ever been to West Ashfield station in London, UK?

TRANSIT took note of two very interesting blog postings detailing West Ashfield “station” on the District Line of the London Underground. Apparently, London Underground staff invited a number of these bloggers and other media representatives to visit West Ashfield, and their postings inspired a lot of interest.

West Ashfield "station platform" with roundel logo and bench. Image courtesy of London Reconnections.

What makes West Ashfield “station” so interesting is that it doesn’t actually exist. West Ashfield is a training centre mocked up to look like a real London Underground station – right down to the benches, kiosks, route maps, and “lifts.” There is even a ticket window – virtual of course.

Virtual ticket window at West Ashfield "station", courtesy of London Reconnections.
"Lift" at West Ashfield "station", image courtesy of London Reconnections.

So why all the effort from London Underground to create West Ashfield “station”? The reason is simple – to give London Underground employees as much training as possible. Which explains that train simulator

Train platform simulator at West Ashfield "station" courtesy of London Reconnections.
Driver's eye view of the train simulator with real track and points. Image courtesy of London Reconnections.

Not to mention, the fully-signalled model railway:

According to London Reconnections blogger @John Bull,

“It would be easy to think that West Ashfield station was simply a visual gimic – something to enliven training sessions – but this is not the case. West Ashfield isn’t just a decorated corridor, its a micro-station environment with a very clear purpose. It may contain a number of rooms and facilities that your average station doesn’t (more on those later), but it also places trainees, when appropriate, in an atmosphere that is as similar as possible to that in which they may find themselves working.”

You can learn more about West Ashfield station by visiting these interesting and comprehensive blogs about London’s public transport:

TRANSIT Says:

We are impressed mainly by two things that relate to West Ashfield. First is the level of attention to detail and careful training. West Ashfield has all the necessary features to give London Underground employees proper training in operations, management, safety and security and customer service. Everything is in its place and no details are left out. Considering how frustrating it can be to use public transport, we at TRANSIT appreciate it when a public transport operator makes a huge, real effort to train its employees.

The second thing is that London Underground invited bloggers and various media representatives to visit West Ashfield. For some reason, we at TRANSIT do not seem to rate as “media” in the minds of Prasarana and RapidKL – meaning that we do not receive press releases or invitations to walk around trains or depots – this despite the fact that we are Malaysia’s first and best public transport forum.

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