New London station bamboozles visiting Beatles fans

Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:00am EDT
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By Peter Schwartzstein

LONDON (Reuters) - It has to be the most famous pedestrian crossing in the world, immortalized 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 of 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 10 miles away, tourists have been descending on the distinctly less glamorous east London neighborhood 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."

Tourist misfortune, however, sometimes makes for much local hilarity.

Rui Araujo, a council patrol officer, recalls watching a young American couple mimicking the group's famous crosswalk pose, apparently unaware that the pock-marked east London zebra-crossing bears little resemblance to the real thing.   Continued...