Around The World In Fake Tube Stations

Around The World In Fake Tube Stations
UCL's PAMELA can be configured into a tube station and platform

London is the proud home of 272 tube stations which adds up to... well, more platforms than we can possibly count. But this isn't enough for some people, as there are several examples of fake and replica tube infrastructure out there, built for various purposes from heritage to science.

The fake Covent Garden station at the Jackfield Tile Museum

Fake news! Photo: Matt Brown

Deepest Shropshire isn't where you'd expect to find a replica of Covent Garden station, but stroll in off the streets of Telford and there it is. To be fair, The Jackfield Tile Museum doesn't have a duplicate platform as such, but you can stroll though a very convincing dummy of the station's tunnels.

Why here? This industrial corner of the country is where tiles for several London tube stations, including Covent Garden, were originally made, and the museum celebrates this heritage. Tiles rescued from hospitals in Fitzrovia and Ealing are among the other nods to the capital on display here.

Mock tube platform at AJ Wells & Sons on the Isle of Wight

For such a small piece of land, the Isle of Wight contains a wealth of tube oddities. Not only do old tube trains live out their retirement on the Island Line, but the tube roundels we're so familiar with in our everyday London lives have been made on the Hampshire island since 1990.

AJ Wells & Sons is the company responsible for making them, and we got the lowdown on that in early 2022. Just as fascinating is the fake tube platform installed above the roundel workshop. Points for accuracy, including the yellow 'mind the gap' on the floor, and Oyster signage.

Sadly this is one platform that doesn't open to the public.

Tube train at the Lego Store, Leicester Square

Photo: Londonist

"More London-y than the Artful Dodger's Oyster wallet" was how one member of Team Londonist described their trip to Leicester Square's Lego Store, not least due to the replica tube carriage made from the colourful bricks.

Plonk yourself down next to William Shakespeare and a Royal Guardsman for a plastic photo shoot in the carriage, before planning your onward journey with the Lego tube map on the wall. The designers have really committed to the theme — enter the store via a 'public subway' gate arch, and look up at information boards for the next departure to the likes of Brick Yard. Realistic replicas of TfL directional signage is pasted above the carriage too — have a look around.

The mini tube station at Bekonscot Model Village

A charming day out just a short hop from London, Bekonscot Model Village is home to all sorts of miniatures, including replicas of the Hoover Factory in Perivale, and London Zoo's listed penguin pool.

Our eye, naturally, was drawn to Hanton Road, a fictional, miniature tube station, whose design was inspired by Charles Holden's Arnos Grove. Particularly charming is the transparent cut-out at street level, allowing us to see down onto the platform below. Just imagine if that was a thing in real London...

UCL's PAMELA

Image: @UCLPamela

The Pedestrian Accessibility Movement Environment Laboratory — or PAMELA to her friends — at UCL is a laboratory specialising in the science of pedestrian movement. Located somewhere in Tufnell Park, it can be reconfigured to test a range of scenarios, including a tube carriage, which scientists and TfL use to test new designs for carriages and platforms.

Hoards of volunteers are brought in to replicate a packed tube, addressing important questions, such as how quickly people can get on and off the train in certain situations. This information is then used to optimise the design of new infrastructure as it's built.

Ibis Styles tube-themed hotel, Gloucester Road

The dream London commute would mean stepping out of bed straight onto a tube platform. And it exists too... sort of. From the outside, Ibis Styles Gloucester Road appears to be a regular hotel, but inside, they've committed hard to the tube theme, with Underground artwork plastering the walls, station tiles in the bathrooms, and a specially-designed, tube platform carpet alongside your bed. It's the fluffiest tube platform you'll ever set foot on.

West Ashfield tube station, West Kensington

Don't be digging out your tube map; West Ashfield isn't a real tube station. It's a replica located within an otherwise mundane-looking office block, towering over the Cromwell Road and home to TfL offices.

Fitted out with all the signalling and tannoy paraphernalia of a regular station, it was built in 2010 as somewhere for TfL to train its staff. The building is also home to a model railway, designed to simulate faults which staff can then learn how to rectify.

We've not actually visited this one ourselves (and it's not open to the public), so we'll point you in the direction of IanVisits, who toured the facility in 2010.


So ubiquitous is the tube, we're sure there must be more replicas out there. Let us know of any more fake tube stations or platforms in the comments below.

Last Updated 14 September 2022