Willesden Junction is a bit of North West London travel hub. As well as the Bakerloo Line, it is served by three branches of the London Overground, the Watford Junction, North London and West London Lines. It first opened on the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway on 10th May 1915, the mainline rail station having opened back in 1866.
The station is set on two levels, with the Bakerloo Line and Watford Junction line both serving the low level platforms while the North and West London Lines occupy the high-level ones. This, combined with the adjacent Railfreight and train maintenance depot, makes the whole complex quite a sprawling site. Virgin trains on the West Coast Mailine also thunder past here.
The Bakerloo Line platforms are covered by an attractive canopy in a traditional railway station style. In contrast, the ticket hall area and station building(providing access to all platforms and services) is a modern, non-descript design which I think dates from reconstruction work in the late 1990s.
The Pub: Le Junction,47 Station Road, NW10 4UP
In what is becoming a familiar trend at the moment, there wasn’t much by the way of pubs round the tube station here. We headed a couple of minutes up the road to ‘Le Junction’, in a rather grand old building.
The place is primarily a travellers hostel, with rooms in the floors above the bar. The ground floor is still a pub, albeit one with a reception area built in! Back in the day, I imagine this would have been a successful pub for all the railway workers based nearby. It does still maintain some traces of its former glory with an old wooden bar and the pillars dotted around the place. There have however been some rather clunky modifications, with partitions that look very out of place dividing up areas of the pub.
The seating is also comfy enough with sofas and armchairs. There’s also an old piano towards the back of the place as well as an old clock, which I assume is there for decorative purposes. Sadly there were no ales on tap on our visit, so it had to be a swift Kronenberg. Le Junction does have Sky and BT Sports, as well as regular music nights – ‘Funktion at the Junction’, as one was listed.
There isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with Le Junction. However perhaps because it was so empty on our visit, it didn’t feel to me like somewhere to really go for a drink.