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London stations 'dirty and smelly'

MOST OF London's railway and Tube stations are graffiti-ridden, dark, dirty and smelly, according to a survey published yesterday, writes Christian Wolmar.

The London Research Centre, which looked at 123 stations in the London area, found a pattern of almost systematic neglect. More than four out of five stations had graffiti, only a quarter had usable lavatories and most of those had no washing facilities; more than half of station entrances were in poor repair.

The researchers also found that only 59 per cent of BR station ticket offices were staffed at the time of the survey and only 6 per cent had signs telling passengers when the ticket office would be open.

The researchers say that the high incidence of graffiti and vandalism gives the impression to the public that stations are unsafe.

Caralampo Focas, one of the report's authors, said: 'It is hardly surprising that less people are using public transport when they find such awful facilities.'

(Photograph omitted)