Why does this Elizabeth line station smell so bad?

London’s transport network is rarely the city’s freshest place to be, with distinctive, strange odours of sweat and pollution wafting out of most tube carriages and buses. But one route you might expect to be a little kinder on the nose is the newer, airier Elizabeth line.

Well, apparently that’s not the case either – and certainly not at Liverpool Street. According to MyLondon, a customer recently complained of ‘a very strong smell of mould’ at the major Lizzie line hub and asked TfL to investigate. 

Liverpool Street recently dethroned Waterloo as London’s busiest station, and the opening of the Elizabeth line is largely responsible for that. A staggering 80.4 million people passed through Liverpool street in 2023 – that’s quite a lot of suffering noses. 

So, what’s actually causing this odd scent? Well, a TfL case officer responded to the complaint, saying: ‘We would normally investigate this if a complaint was raised by the station manager. In this case, we believe the smell at Liverpool Street is not connected to mould and is a pump issue.’

The case officer explained the transport operator is investigating mould more widely across the network, but they stressed that it’s only a public health issue in certain circumstances. The spores generated when mould grows indoors can aggravate health conditions like asthma, and summer colds are often an allergic reaction to these spores. 

‘There is little purpose in undertaking airborne mould spore sampling. The primary focus should be on identifying the cause [of the smell] and rectifying it,’ continued the case officer: ‘While airborne odours associated with moulds are disagreeable, they are not toxic from a medical perspective.’

So, while this smell sounds a little nasty, it doesn’t sound like it’s too much of a health concern for passengers. Maybe just hold your nose, eh?

More on London’s transport network

Plenty of us Londoners rely on public transport on the daily, but getting to work can sometimes leave you feeling like a hot mess by the time you reach the office. Why not brush up on the hottest lines and busiest stations on the network, to know where to avoid if you can?

Did you see that London has some of the best air quality in Europe?

Plus: This London train operator is getting a brand-new fleet of trains

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