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Tanner Lane is Central London’s new road – and there’s also a new bit to Winsland Road too, which makes three ‘T’ junctions in a very short distance! The bit of London Street from Praed Street northward has been closed and the remainder of this has become Tanner Lane too. The work is being done in conjunction with the new Paddington Cube development which will see a new piazza constructed sited where the old part of London Street is. A new entrance to the Bakerloo Line (and the Elizabeth Line) will also be built with full accessibility.

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The former Post Office building in Praed Street, the site is now the junction with Tanner Lane. Source: Google Streets

The junction with Praed Street is sited where the former Post Office building was. This was shut about 2014 and the facility moved to a new site further east along Praed Street. In September 2016 the former post office premises were used as an exhibition centre for the new plans being mooted for the Paddington site. According to those plans the new road was supposed to be open in 2018! Two years later is better than nothing although the plans have obviously changed somewhat… and presumably that was to give the contractors more time to prepare the site (there were a lot of tunnels which had to be sealed off or filled in before the foundations and core for the new Paddington Cube could begin.

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The plans shown at the 2016 exhibition indicate that the new road was envisaged to be operational by August 2018!

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Artist’s impression of the new road and the user it was primarily built for.

The need to build a new road has come about because the area in front of Paddington station itself is due to become a new piazza square and it will also feature a new entrance to the Bakerloo Line. More on that another time. The one main aspect of the new road is it takes over the role of London Street and gives continued access to St Mary’s hospital.

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Very rare artists impression showing the rear of the new Paddington Cube. As the illustration shows London Street was originally going to keep its name and that would have been used for the new road too. This very spot is above the point where the Post Office Railway ends its long run from Whitechapel. See Google Streets for how the site looked in 2009.

The new road is named after Sir Henry Tanner (1849–1935) who was the architect for the former Royal Mail sorting office located in London Street. This building was of course the western terminus of the Post Office Railway (in later years known as Mail Rail.) See Google Streets for a picture of the Royal Mail building 2009.

Things certainly got moving a few weeks ago in terms of the construction of the new road. Although the works were behind hoardings one could easily see these from the upper deck of a bus!

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Tanner Lane under construction as seen from a bus in Praed Street 10 July 2020.

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The rear portion of Tanner Lane with the GWR station in the background 11 July 2020.

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The junction with Praed St looking west 18 July 2020.

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The junction with Praed St looking east 18 July 2020.

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The junction with Praed Street on 23 July 2020. The road was largely finished and road markings were being added.

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Tanner Lane at its junction with Winsland Street 23 July 2020. Road markings were being put down that very day.

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The junction with Praed Street on the afternoon of 24 July 2020. Eight road signs can be seen in this picture!

Praed Street itself was reopened about 5pm on 20 July 2020 and buses were able to use the street in both directions once again after having endured diversions for about a week and a half.

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The top end of Tanner Lane with Winsland St with a road sign already in place 24 July 2020. The ‘tunnel’ is necessary because the construction offices and mess rooms will eventually be sited on top of the structure. It will be removed once the project is completed.

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More road signs – obviously spoilt for choice! The ‘crossing ahead’ refers to the junction with Winsland Street.

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Worker painting the new hoarding along Tanner Lane 24 July 2020.

Just before 6pm on 24 July 2020 the barriers at the junction were removed and Tanner Lane was officially in use. The slight problem was pedestrians still had to use London Street for a bit as the pedestrian route through the ‘tunnel’ bit wasn’t finished.

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The barriers at the junction with Praed Street are removed!

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Tanner Lane is officially in use at 6pm on 24 July 2020!

The first vehicle to use Tanner Lane was a lorry and then a guy on a Santander bike became the first cyclist to use Tanner Lane. I don’t think he was even aware he was undertaking a rather historic moment!

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First vehicle to use Tanner Lane!

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First cyclist to use Tanner Lane. He was probably heading for the canal towpath!

The first ambulance to use Tanner Lane followed almost behind the cyclist! It wasnt NHS but a FALCK ambulance. The driver looked a bit confused because he had been sent this way by the traffic marshals in Praed Street. He stopped a short way in and looked about, wondering where he was supposed to go! The route ahead wasn’t really that clear and I think it could do with some additional signage to help motorists.

Other motorists too were stopping and wondering if this was the right route for them. The problem I think is the ‘tunnel.’ It does sort of look industrial rather than a public thoroughfare, and I think people were somewhat worried they were being sent onto a construction site!

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London Street was closed off to traffic almost immediately Tanner Lane opened. (although access remained in use a bit longer for pedestrians.) The workers are seen here putting up the barricades across London Street.

The closure of London Street will enable the next phase at the site to go ahead. This will entail the demolition of the wall between here and Paddington station and then the relocation of the services beneath the former road. Eventually this will become a piazza with seating, trees, and a brand new entrance to the Bakerloo Line. I’ll write about that some other time.

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The road name sign here until an hour or so earlier said ‘London Street.’ Now its Tanner Lane!