New London station confuses Beatles' fans looking for Abbey Road

New London station confounds Beatle pilgrims on a mission to find that famous pedestrian crossing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 5:01am

It has to be the most famous pedestrian crossing in the world, immortalised by the Beatles on the cover of their Abbey Road album in 1969.

Situated just outside the north London EMI studios, the crossing enjoys listed status for its "cultural and historical importance" and draws thousands of tourists every year.

But a growing number of visitors hoping to take photos of themselves recreating the enigmatic, single-file crossing by the famous foursome are finding themselves in a very different part of London - thanks to a railway station.

Since the station was built last year and named after another Abbey Road at least 16km away from its more famous namesake in posh St John's Wood, tourists have been descending on the distinctly less glamorous east London neighbourhood of West Ham.

Instead of the leafy mansions and prim tree-lined streets one might expect of one of the most expensive postcodes in Britain, visitors are met with a train depot and a series of industrial parks.

"There are always loads of tourists here," said 68-year-old local resident Jack Walker. "They get here, look around, wonder where the crossing is, find out it's on the other side of London, and head back to the station."

Kirpal Singh is not complaining. His Star Newsagents has seen a surge of customers, many of whom buy bus passes or stock up on drinks and chocolate to sustain themselves on the long trek back across the city.

But while a few East London Abbey Road shops have benefited from the mix-up, a number of St John's Wood businesses are failing to see the funny side.

Blaming the confusion and corresponding loss of tourist revenue on the construction of the Docklands Light Railway link (DLR) at East London Abbey Road, they are lobbying Transport for London to change the name of the offending station.

For the record, those thinking of visiting the real thing will find St John's Wood tube station a considerably more convenient starting point than DLR's Abbey Road.