LogoClive's UndergrounD Line Guides

"There are no shepherds in Shepherd's Bush," pointed out Richard, flatly.

"There are," said Hunter, from the darkness just next to Richard's ear. "Pray you never meet them."

- Neverwhere
Neil Gaiman

LogoHammersmith & City Line

A Subsurface Line

[Last modified: 2023-10-19]

Rolling stock


The first Underground railway

The Hammersmith & City Line incorporates the oldest section of underground railway in the world, from Farringdon to Paddington. The line gained its own identity on 1990-07-30, previously being described as part of the Metropolitan Line.

The earliest thoughts of underground railways in London go back to the mid-1830s; for example, there was an idea to extend what is now the NR West Coast Main Line south from Euston under Gower Street to a terminus by the Thames. The first proposal with any serious sort of backing, however, was put forward in 1851. The Great Northern Railway had just been opened, using a temporary station north of the present site of King's Cross, and the plan was for an underground line of 8 tracks from there southeast, under a newly built road, to a large station complex at more or less the present Farringdon station. Obviously the idea was to attract a substantial through-running traffic of GNR trains, and also GWR trains after a suitable link was built; two of the tracks were to use the GWR's broad gauge of 2141 mm (7'0¼"). A company called the City Terminus Co. was formed, but it could not attract enough investment; in particular, the GNR showed no interest.

Meanwhile, however, another proposal was being formed: the Bayswater, Paddington & Holborn Bridge. This would run west from King's Cross to a terminus under Sussex Gardens, near the present Lancaster Gate station. The line would run under what was then called the New Road and is now Euston Road (this had, incidentally, also formed part of the first horse-drawn bus service in London - Shillibeer's line from Paddington to the Bank - back in 1829, and bus routes along there continued to be profitable). The Paddington Vestry objected to the Sussex Gardens terminus, and so the BPHB cut back their proposed route to terminate in the area of the present Edgware Road station. The company was renamed the North Metropolitan Railway, and received its Act of Parliament in 1853.

Rather than building the line as authorized, the North Metropolitan arranged a merger with the City Terminus Co., allowing an end-to-end route to be contemplated. The NMR owners were mostly interested in local traffic, and they dropped the proposals for extra tracks and a major terminus. This also helped reduce opposition to the plan, for some people wanted the main-line railways to advance no further south into the city (and, indeed, none ever did). Instead, a terminus under the General Post Office at St-Martin's-le-Grand (location 321814) was proposed; this would allow the convenient carriage of mail. Meanwhile at the western end the line would be extended along Praed Street to in front of Paddington station, and there would be a link to the main line as well; in return, the GWR agreed to invest in the railway, which would be built with mixed gauge track (even though the 1853 Act explicitly forbade the provision of standard-gauge rails between the main line and Praed Street Junction).

The resulting merged company was renamed the Metropolitan Railway and got its new Act in 1854. Both endpoints were changed yet again before the line was actually constructed: in the east it was cut short to Farringdon, while in the west the Paddington station was moved from the front to the north side of the GWR station, where it did not need to be underground. Furthermore, by diverting the main route on to what would have been the link to the GWR, it was possible to eliminate about 500m (0.3 miles) of tunnel to the original station (however, the junction - Praed Street Junction - was built as part of the original line, and it appears that it ran to a small depot on the surface near Bouverie Place, at 269814). The line was immediately popular - within a few days of opening additional trains had to be put on running non-stop from Paddington to Farringdon to handle the extra demand.

Powers were also obtained during construction for an easterly extension to Moorgate; as soon as the line had opened, money was easily raised and the work was swiftly done.

An additional concern was motive power. Steam locomotives were the only practical possibility, but main-line experience showed how slowly smoke and steam would dissipate from tunnels. Furthermore, unlike normal railways, the Metropolitan would have a frequent service with many closely-spaced stations in the tunnels. The first proposal was for fireless steam locomotives, whose boiler would be filled with sufficient pressurized steam - presumably fed from a fixed installation - at each end of the journey. But these had not yet been successfully developed and what was actually built was a locomotive with a mass of brick inserted around the firebox. The fire would burn intensely in the open-air sections of the line, then be damped down for the tunnel sections, allowing the hot bricks to heat water into steam for propulsion. However, the prototype was such a failure, hardly able to move itself, that it gained the nickname "Fowler's Ghost". Instead, the actual service was operated from opening right up to electrification with "condensing" locomotives, where the exhaust steam was diverted into water tanks. As the steam would heat the tank water to boiling, it had to be drained and replaced with cold water at the termini; this became impractical on completion of the Circle in 1884, and thereafter the drivers would sometimes have to release steam into the tunnels to keep the train from stalling.

In addition to the link with the GWR, there were three junction curves linking the Metropolitan to the GNR at King's Cross (two facing east - one from each side of the GNR line - and one facing west). During construction a further link was authorized: the LCDR built a branch from Herne Hill that extended over the river via Blackfriars to meet the Metropolitan at Farringdon. Later a chord was added from this line facing towards Moorgate.

The opening year - 1863 - was not a smooth one. Originally the Metropolitan did not own its own trains, but ran a service with broad-gauge GWR rolling stock; no services were run from other railways, and the King's Cross links were unused (the west curve was probably never used, in fact; the track was lifted in 1865 and for many years the tunnel was filled with spoil). But when it was decided to add services from the GNR, the GWR realized that the eastern end of the line would be at capacity and unable to accept new services they were planning, resulting in a dispute over who would operate how many of the trains. The GWR set a short deadline after which it would withdraw the use of its stock. Instead of capitulating, the Metropolitan put into place a stock-building programme, and in the meantime borrowed replacements from the GNR and LNWR, enabling it to take over operations on 1863-08-11 without a gap. Incidentally, this required the GNR to hurriedly convert some engines to condense their exhaust steam (through a flexible pipe into the tender). Despite 6 derailments on the first day because the standard-gauge rail had not been aligned properly (the line had been laid with three rails throughout, but only the outer two had been used to date), the GNR stock worked successfully until the Metropolitan could introduce its own (also standard gauge); it was returned to its owners the following year.

The GWR returned to the line on 1863-10-01: both it and the GNR started working their own trains through from their lines on to the Metropolitan. Services ran from places as far away as Reading and goods traffic came to the line from all over the country. The last GWR train - from Uxbridge Vine Street - ran in 1939 while the GNR services lasted through BR days until 1977. There was even the curious situation of one service to Moorgate (between 1866 and 1868) dropping a slip coach into Paddington main station. (It is sometimes alleged that this was a train from Windsor and that it was done for the benefit of Sir Daniel Gooch. However, this may well be the conflation of two different services.)

The Widened Lines

The traffic on the eastern part of the route soon became heavy enough that the Metropolitan built a second pair of tracks from King's Cross to Moorgate. They were opened in 1868 and are called the Widened Lines or City Widened Lines - the term refers specifically to the newer tracks; they cross under the Metropolitan just west of Farringdon station, being on the south side from there to Moorgate. The Widened Lines took the services using the connections from the GNR and LCDR, as well as a new one from the Midland Railway's extension to St. Pancras (in fact, this link opened over two months before St. Pancras itself). A section of tunnel about 360m long was dug under the forecourt at St. Pancras, and could have been used to extend them further west (probably to allow a connection to the LNWR at Euston), but no track was laid in it.

As the Widened Lines' original purpose was through running from the main line railways, it is fitting that they are now part of the NR Thameslink route; they are no longer connected to LU at any point (and the link to the former GNR has also been removed). Indeed, the only time that Underground trains used them in service was from 1926 to 1935. A new link was installed from a new junction called Chalton Street Junction, west of King's Cross, connecting the original eastbound track to the eastbound Widened Line in the unused tunnel under St. Pancras (extending it about 210m). This allowed eastbound trains terminating at Moorgate to pass under the main westbound track rather than crossing it on the level; returning trains used the Widened Lines as far as Farringdon, where they crossed back to the main westbound track. Both the new link and the westbound track from Moorgate to Farringdon were electrified; the electrification was removed when this use of the Widened Lines ended. (The Widened Lines were also used for empty stock movements between Neasden and the Great Northern & City branch of the Northern Line, with trains reversing at Farringdon and Finsbury Park.) On the other hand, there were a wide range of main-line services operated across the Widened Lines, not only to Moorgate from both north and south, but also through routes like Hatfield to Herne Hill and vast quantities of cross-London goods traffic.

Another indication of the separation of the two routes occurred in 1941: the LU station at King's Cross was relocated further west to provide easier interchange, while the Widened Lines station (later renamed "King's Cross Thameslink", and eventually closed in 2007) was left at its original position to serve the connections to the GNR and MR lines. The move was facilitated by the existence of the previous link, which was taken over by the eastbound track on 1939-12-10, making space for a new platform between the two tracks (the westbound track was moved on 1940-05-19, and the eastbound occupied its old route between 1940-06-02 and 1940-06-23).

Pre-1868 layout:

                           11         1 = GNR northwards
                          |||         2 = GNR to main King's Cross station
   :   = empty tunnel     ||*         3 = GNR northbound link
   ### = platform         *||\            ("Hotel Curve")
   X   = crossing        /||| \       4 = GNR link to west
   *   = points         / 222  |          ("Maiden Lane Curve")
                       /       |      5 = GNR southbound link
                       |       |          ("York Road Curve")
                       3       |      6 = main tracks westwards to Paddington
                       |       *      7 = main tracks eastwards to Farringdon
                       |      / \
                       \     4   5
                        \   /     \
                         \ /       \#####
                          X         \----\
                         / \       ###### \

1868-1926 layout:

                         /||| \
                        / 222  |      8 = Midland Railway link
                       /       |      9 = Widened Lines
                       |       |
                       3       |
                8 8    |       \
                 \ \   |      : \
                  \ \  \     :   5
                   \ \  \   :     \    ######
           :::::::::\ \--X---------*-----------9

1926-1941 layout:

                          ||*         0 = 1926 link, removed in 1935
                          *||\        C = Chalton Street Junction
                         /||| \
                        / 222  |
                       /       |
                       |       |
                       3       |
                8 8    |       \
                 \ \   |        \   platforms
                  \ \  \         5  moved 1911
                   \ \  \         \ ######
        /----0-----/ \----*--------------------9
       /                            ######

Current layout:

              [King's Cross main line omitted]
                       :       :
                8 8    :       :      b = bay track, removed late 1940s
                 \ \   :        :
                  \ \  :         :
                   \ \  :         : ######
           ::/----\ \ \------------------------9
        /---/######\ \-------------------------9
       /    ########\               ######

The Hammersmith & City Railway

The actual Hammersmith & City Railway was created as a subsidiary of the GWR, running from the latter's main line at Westbourne Park to Hammersmith, mostly on viaducts and using mixed-gauge track. Since it was a purely suburban route serving commuters, through working on to the Metropolitan was natural and began at once.

Near its midpoint the H&CR crosses over the West London Railway, a line connecting Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction via Kensington (Olympia). Part of the WLR's route was opened in 1840 and used for an experimental pneumatic traction system. Passenger service started in 1844, but was so unsuccessful it lasted only a few months. From 1845 onwards the WLR was operated (and later owned) by a consortium of main lines and did not have any trains of its own; until 1862 it was purely a goods branch. The attractions of serving Kensington meant that a connection from Latimer Road to the WLR was part of the original design, and it opened a couple of weeks after the Hammersmith route. From then on, trains from London divided at Latimer Road (actually dividing on the viaduct until the station was opened a few years later), one portion running to Hammersmith and the other to Kensington (the Kensington portion was the rear half in both directions, meaning the two portions swapped roles on each round trip).

In 1867, with the companies on better terms, the Metropolitan bought a share of the H&CR from the GWR, after which they eliminated the broad-gauge track and operated almost all the trains (the H&CR's identity being effectively lost). To remove this traffic from their own busy main line, the GWR built a new pair of tracks from Paddington to Westbourne Park, and on 1878-05-12 they opened a diveunder to remove conflicts where the service crossed the main line (though these tracks were dedicated to Underground use, they only came into LU control on 1948-01-01 and ownership on 1950-01-23).

In 1869 the LSWR opened a new route from Kensington (Olympia) to Richmond (see the District Line for details); its Hammersmith Grove Road station was parallel to Hammersmith (1) and linked to it via a footbridge. A connection was opened in 1870 just north of the two stations, allowing the GWR to run a short-lived service from Paddington to Richmond. In 1877 the Metropolitan reactivated the connection and introduced a service between Aldgate and Richmond over this route to match the new District extension from Hammersmith to the latter, also over the LSWR. The Metropolitan service was jointly operated by the GWR from 1894 until it ended in 1906, after which the GWR changed its service to run from Ladbroke Grove to Richmond; this continued until the end of 1910, with the physical connection at Hammersmith removed a short while later (sources disagree whether it was 1911, 1914, or 1916). The LSWR line was abandoned in 1916.

Later changes

Back at the eastern end, the line was extended to Liverpool Street. Initially the line ran into the two westernmost platforms of the GER main-line station (then numbered 12 and 11, but now 1 and 2), but it was diverted on to its present route as part of the continuing drive to complete the Inner Circle (see the Circle Line page). The original connection, however, remained in place until 1904; the route is now a canteen, but the site can still be seen from trains, and until around 1990 passengers using platform 1 of the main-line station had to use a footbridge to cross the tracks, rather than walking around their end. The next step was to connect to the East London Railway via Aldgate East, after which the eastern terminus was at New Cross (see the East London Line for details) though some trains ran to Aldgate. The present-day service from Hammersmith to Whitechapel and Barking dates from 1941 - see the Circle Line for more details.

After the Middle Circle service ended (see the Circle Line page) the Kensington (Olympia) branch was served by a shuttle from Edgware Road. The branch closed in 1940.

Between 1963 and 1965 a new shorter route was built for the line between Barbican and Moorgate, south of and lower than the previous alignment. While the old route was in the open, the deviation line was placed in tunnels ready for the Barbican Centre to be built over it.

The only other significant alteration has been the complete segregation of the main line and Hammersmith & City in the Paddington area in 1968. Until then there remained various connections, particularly around the four platforms at Paddington used by the Hammersmith & City, but in that year a remodelling of the area completed the segregation: two of the platforms were transferred to National Rail, and the Underground line's layout was reduced to two plain tracks.

The line gained its own identity, rather than just being part of the Metropolitan Line, on 1989-07-30, though separate timetables using the name came into effect on 1989-05-15 while the pink colour didn't appear on maps until the following year.

During the closure of the Circle Line in 1999 extra trains were run from Hammersmith to Aldgate and terminated in the Outer Rail platform during weekday peak hours; one train in the early morning ran past Aldgate to South Kensington and then back again, providing the only service using the Inner Rail platform during the closure period.

The connecting tunnels to the main line at King's Cross have gained new uses as the King's Cross St. Pancras complex undergoes major reconstruction. A gas main was diverted (permanently) into the southern section of the "Hotel Curve" tunnel so as to keep it clear of the remaining works, while the northern section of the tunnel has been obliterated by a new ticket hall. The "York Road Curve" tunnel is still present and used for maintenance access to various equipment; the "Maiden Lane Curve" tunnel was allegedly partly reused for a pedestrian link.

The section of the Widened Lines east of Farringdon closed in 2009: arrangements for longer trains on the Thameslink route to Blackfriars meant that the platforms at Farringdon had to be extended at the east end (because of the slope at the west end), thus blocking off the junction. This section is currently being used for Crossrail work, but once this finishes it will be reconnected to the Underground tracks via a double junction at the east end of Farringdon. The line will run as double track to Moorgate and will not be for passenger service, only for stabling trains and emergency reversing. Originally the plan was for it to be singled through platform 3 at Barbican and in platform 5 at Moorgate (with no track at platforms 4 and 6 respectively). Each track would have held five trains: two between Farringdon and Barbican and three between Barbican and Moorgate. This has been replaced by a plan with scissors crossovers at the centre of Barbican station and a short distance outside Moorgate. Each track will now only hold four trains, all accessible from the platforms: one each side of the Barbican scissors and two at Moorgate. In an emergency a fifth can be stabled at the tunnel mouth at Farringdon. The two tracks will be called "top road" (the former eastbound) and "bottom road" and the stabling points will be "11 road" to "15 road" on top road and "21 road" to "25 road" on bottom road, in each case numbered from the Farringdon end.


[Note that dates are not given where the only service using a section of track is one of the Inner, Middle, or Outer Circle services - these dates are on the Circle Line page.]

The opening and reopening of the Widened Lines, York Road and Hotel Curves, the link to the Midland Railway, and the deviation under the Barbican do not have station counts associated with them because, with the exception of King's Cross Thameslink, these openings (and similar closings) do not affect the status of any station on the line. Changes to the status of King's Cross Thameslink related to these lines are always given explicitly.

key to symbols

1838-06-04 [0] {Westbourne Park} to Paddington opened [GWR]
1844-05-27 0 {Kensington (Olympia)} to {Uxbridge Road} opened [West London]
1844-11-30 {Kensington (Olympia)} to {Uxbridge Road} closed
1846-07-27 % Richmond [Richmond & West End Railway, later LSWR] [1]
1854-06-13 % Barking [LTSR] [District Line note]
1858-03-31 [2] Bromley-by-Bow to Barking opened [LTSR]
+ Plaistow, East Ham
1862-06-02 0 Kensington (Olympia) to {Uxbridge Road} reopened [West London]
1863-01-10 [6] Paddington to Farringdon opened
X King's Cross St. Pancras
1863-10-01 York Road and Hotel Curves opened [GNR]
Through services via Paddington started [GWR broad-gauge trains]
1863-12-31 Through services via Paddington withdrawn [GWR broad-gauge trains]
1864-05-02 Through services via Paddington restored [GWR broad-gauge trains]
1864-06-13 [2] Hammersmith (1) to {Westbourne Park} opened
{Westbourne Park} to Paddington started [H&CR]
+ Shepherd's Bush (2), Ladbroke Grove
1864-07-01 Kensington (Olympia) to {Uxbridge Road} started [Metropolitan]
[0] {Uxbridge Road} to {Latimer Road} opened
1865-03-31 Hammersmith (1) to Latimer Road withdrawn [GWR broad-gauge trains]
1865-12-23 1 Farringdon to Moorgate opened
< Farringdon
1866-01-01 LCDR (later SE&CR) services via Blackfriars and Farringdon started
1866-01-03 GNR services via Blackfriars and Farringdon started
1866-02-01 + Westbourne Park
1866-03-01 Farringdon to Barbican opened (Widened Lines)
1866-07-01 Barbican to Moorgate opened (Widened Lines)
1867-06-30 York Road and Hotel Curves closed
1868-02-17 King's Cross Thameslink to Farringdon opened (Widened Lines) [GNR]
1868-02-17 York Road and Hotel Curves reopened [GNR]
1868-07-13 Midland connection to Widened Lines opened
1868-12-01 = Hammersmith (1)
1868-12-16 + Latimer Road
1869-01-01 [3] Richmond to Hammersmith Grove Road [1] opened [LSWR]
X Stamford Brook, Ravenscourt Park
1869-03-14 Kensington (Olympia) to Westbourne Park withdrawn [GWR broad gauge trains]
Through services via Paddington withdrawn [GWR broad-gauge trains] [2]
1869-06-01 Kensington (Olympia) to Moorgate started [GWR]
1869-10-31 - Shepherd's Bush (1)
1869-11-01 + Uxbridge Road
1870-06-01 Richmond to [Grove Junction] started [GWR]
0 [Grove Junction] to [Richmond Junction] opened
1870-10-31 Richmond to [Grove Junction] withdrawn [GWR]
[Grove Junction] to [Richmond Junction] closed
1871-09-01 0 LCDR (later SE&CR) direct curve to Barbican opened
1871-10-30 + Royal Oak
1871-11-01 = Westbourne Park
1873-04-01 + Ravenscourt Park
1874-02-02 % Liverpool Street (main-line station) [GER]
1875-02-01 0 Moorgate to Liverpool Street (main-line station) opened
1875-07-11 Moorgate to Liverpool Street (main-line station) closed
1875-07-12 0 Moorgate to Liverpool Street opened
1876-11-18 0 Liverpool Street to Aldgate opened [3]
1877-09-17 + Upton Park
1877-10-01 Richmond to [Grove Junction] started [Metropolitan]
0 [Grove Junction] to [Richmond Junction] reopened
1884-03-03 % St. Mary's [ELR]
1884-10-05 1 Liverpool Street to Aldgate withdrawn
1884-10-06 1 Liverpool Street to St. Mary's opened[4]
0 St. Mary's to Whitechapel opened [District]
1894-01-01 Richmond to [Richmond Junction] restored [GWR]
1901-02-01 + West Ham
1902-02-01 St. Mary's to Whitechapel closed
1902-06-02 0 St. Mary's to Whitechapel reopened [District]
[1] Whitechapel to Bromley-by-Bow opened [District]
Bromley-by-Bow to Barking started [District]
1902-06-11 + Bow Road
1902-06-23 + Stepney Green
1905-07-01 * [Praed Street Junction] to Aldgate
* Aldgate East to Whitechapel [District]
1906-11-05 Liverpool Street to Aldgate restored *
* Hammersmith (1) to [Praed Street Junction]
* Kensington (Olympia) to Latimer Road
1906-12-02 Through service to East London Line withdrawn[4]
1906-12-03 * [Aldgate Junction] to Aldgate East
St. Mary's to Whitechapel started [Metropolitan]
1906-12-31 Richmond to [Richmond Junction] withdrawn [Metropolitan]
1907-09-30 GNR/SE&CR service via Farringdon withdrawn
1908-05-01 + White City (1)
1908-06-30 Midland/SE&CR service via Farringdon withdrawn
1910-12-31 [Grove Junction] to [Richmond Junction] closed
1913-03-30 St. Mary's to Whitechapel withdrawn
1913-03-31 Through service to East London Line restored[5]
1914-03-31 - Shepherd's Bush (2)
1914-04-01 + Shepherd's Bush Market
+ Goldhawk Road
1914-10-31 - White City (1)
1916-04-01 SE&CR service to Moorgate withdrawn
1916-06-03 [Studland Road Junction] to [Grove Junction] closed
1920-05-05 + White City (1) [7]
1926-03-15 [Chalton Street Junction] to Moorgate via Widened Lines [Metropolitan eastbound only] *
1935-04-27 [Chalton Street Junction] to Moorgate via Widened Lines withdrawn [Metropolitan eastbound only]
1936-03-29 Liverpool Street to Aldgate withdrawn
1936-03-30 St. Mary's to Whitechapel started [Metropolitan] *
Whitechapel to East Ham started [Metropolitan] *
1936-05-04 East Ham to Barking started [Metropolitan] *
1938-04-30 - St. Mary's
1938-10-31 = Aldgate East
1938-11-24 Through services via Paddington withdrawn [GWR] (signal box fire)
1939-07-17 Liverpool Street to Aldgate restored [8]
1939-07-03 Through services via Paddington restored [GWR]
1939-09-09 York Road and Hotel Curves, link to Midland, and King's Cross Thameslink to Moorgate via Widened Lines closed [LNER & LMSR] (war planning)
1939-09-16 Through services via Paddington withdrawn [GWR]
1939-11-18 Through service to East London Line withdrawn[6]
1940-01-01 York Road and Hotel Curves and King's Cross Thameslink to Moorgate via Widened Lines reopened [LNER]
1940-09-25 Kensington (Olympia) to Uxbridge Road withdrawn
Uxbridge Road to Latimer Road closed (bomb damage)
1940-10-04 Kensington (Olympia) to Uxbridge Road restored
[0] Uxbridge Road to Latimer Road restored
1940-10-15 Baker Street to Farringdon closed intermittently [9]
1940-10-19 Kensington (Olympia) to Uxbridge Road withdrawn
Uxbridge Road to Latimer Road closed
- Uxbridge Road
1941-01-05 York Road and Hotel Curves and King's Cross Thameslink to Moorgate via Widened Lines closed [LNER] (bomb damage)
1941-03-09 - King's Cross Thameslink
1941-03-14 + King's Cross St. Pancras
1941-05-10 Baker Street to Farringdon closed (bomb damage)
1941-07-21 1 Baker Street to Euston Square reopened
1941-10-04 [1] Euston Square to Farringdon reopened
+ King's Cross St. Pancras
1941-10-05 Liverpool Street to Aldgate withdrawn
1941-10-06 Whitechapel to Barking started
1945-10-01 York Road and Hotel Curves and (King's Cross Thameslink) to Barbican via Widened Lines reopened [LNER]
X King's Cross Thameslink
1946-05-06 Barbican to Moorgate via Widened Lines reopened [LNER]
1946-10-07 Link to Midland reopened [LMSR]
+ King's Cross Thameslink
1959-10-24 - White City (1) [7]
1965-06-21 Barbican to Moorgate deviation opened on Widened Lines
1965-12-06 Barbican to Moorgate deviation opened on Circle Line
1977-03-04 York Road and Hotel Curves closed [10]
1979-05-11 Link to Midland and King's Cross Thameslink to Moorgate via Widened Lines closed [NR]
- King's Cross Thameslink
1983-07-11 Link to Midland and King's Cross Thameslink to Moorgate via Widened Lines reopened [NR]*
+ King's Cross Thameslink
1988-05-16 Blackfriars service restored [NR] *
1999-03-05 - Ladbroke Grove, eastbound only
1999-03-13 - West Ham, eastbound only
1999-03-28 + Ladbroke Grove, eastbound only
1999-04-09 - Ladbroke Grove, westbound only
1999-05-01 + Ladbroke Grove, westbound only
1999-06-14 Liverpool Street to Aldgate started
1999-08-20 Liverpool Street to Aldgate withdrawn
1999-11-06 - West Ham, westbound only
1999-11-07 + West Ham, eastbound only
2000-06-30 + West Ham, westbound only
2000-08-27 - East Ham, westbound only
2000-09-23 + East Ham, westbound only
2001-05-11 - Great Portland Street, eastbound only
2001-05-19 - Upton Park, westbound only
2001-05-28 + Great Portland Street, eastbound only
2001-06-11 + Upton Park, westbound only
2001-06-17 - Upton Park, eastbound only
2001-06-23 Whitechapel to Barking withdrawn (cable fire near Barking)
2001-06-28 Whitechapel to Barking restored
2001-07-09 + Upton Park, eastbound only
2002-10-31 - East Ham, eastbound only
2002-12-01 + East Ham, eastbound only
2004-09-11 Farringdon to Moorgate via Widened Lines closed [NR] (construction of new station at St. Pancras)
Midland connection to Widened Lines closed [NR]
2005-05-16 1 Farringdon to Moorgate via Widened Lines reopened [NR]
0 Midland connection to Widened Lines reopened [NR]
2005-07-07 Paddington to Baker Street closed (bomb explosion on Circle Line train at Edgware Road)[11]
Baker Street to Moorgate withdrawn (in consequence)
Moorgate to Aldgate East closed (bomb explosion on Circle Line train at Aldgate)
Aldgate East to Barking withdrawn (in consequence)
2005-07-25 Baker Street to Moorgate restored
1 Moorgate to Aldgate East reopened
Aldgate East to Barking restored
2005-07-28 Hammersmith (1) to Paddington closed (bridge replacement)
2005-07-29 % Edgware Road [District Line]
2005-08-01 0 Edgware Road to Baker Street reopened
2005-08-02 [8] Hammersmith (1) to Edgware Road reopened
X Wood Lane (2), White City (1), Shepherd's Bush (2)
2007-12-08 - King's Cross Thameslink
2008-09-28 + Shepherd's Bush (4)
2008-10-12 + Wood Lane (2)
2009-02-02 Liverpool Street to Aldgate started [one day only]
2009-03-20 Farringdon to Moorgate via Widened Lines closed [NR] (platform extension at Farringdon)
2010-07-02 - Latimer Road, westbound only (platform extension)
2010-07-23 Hammersmith (1) to Edgware Road closed (Crossrail works)
2010-08-16 [8] Hammersmith (1) to Edgware Road reopened
2011-01-15 Liverpool Street to Aldgate started [two days only]
2011-01-16 Liverpool Street to Aldgate withdrawn
- Latimer Road (platform extension)
2011-08-01 + Latimer Road
2014-10-05 - Latimer Road, eastbound only
2014-11-03 + Latimer Road, eastbound only
2015-04-10 - Royal Oak (staircase replacement)
2015-05-11 + Royal Oak
2017-06-17 Wood Lane to Edgware Road closed (unsafe building near the line)[12]
2017-06-25 5 Wood Lane to Edgware Road reopened
2020-03-18 - Barbican, Bow Road (Covid-19)
2020-03-19 - Great Portland Street (Covid-19)
2020-03-20 - Stepney Green (Covid-19)
2020-05-18 + Bow Road
2020-06-08 + Barbican
2020-07-06 + Great Portland Street
2020-09-01 + Stepney Green

[1] The original R&WER station was a terminus and its exact location is unknown. The lines were extended westwards by the LSWR on 1848-08-22, and the station was replaced by a new one on the through lines (at the present location) during 1849-09. A separate "Richmond New" terminus was opened on the line from Hammersmith and Gunnersbury, and on 1937-08-01 they were combined into one.

[2] Services continued using standard-gauge trains. It is unclear whether these were already running or whether they started on the cessation of the broad-gauge service.

[3] Through running started on 1875-12-04; until then, Aldgate was served by a shuttle from Liverpool Street.

[4] A through service between Hammersmith (1) and New Cross (1) started on this date. From 1884-10-01 to 1884-10-05 trains ran on this service but did not carry passengers between Liverpool Street and St. Mary's. See the East London Line page for more details about this route.

[5] These services initially ran between South Kensington and both New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate via Edgware Road. See the Circle Line and East London Line pages for more details about this route. On 1914-02-09 the western terminus changed from South Kensington to Hammersmith (1). The service was peak hours only from 1936-05-04 and all-day Monday to Friday only from 1938-11-28.

[6] See the note for this date on the East London Line page for more details about this closure.

[7] From 1920 to 1959 White City station was only open on occasional days in association with events at the nearby exhibition centre. In particular the 1920-05-05 opening was for that day only. The station officially closed on 1959-10-24, but the last known service to use it was three days earlier.

[8] From this date until 1941-10-05, trains terminated at Aldgate in rush hour and Whitechapel at other times. During this period a through Metropolitan Line service also ran from Uxbridge to Barking.

[9] Following bomb damage near King's Cross on 1940-10-16, services ran intermittently in this section for the next few months.

[10] The official closure date was 1976-11-06, but the line saw occasional use until this later date.

[11] On 2005-07-08 only the closure extended from Aldgate East to Hammersmith (that is, there were no services on the entire line or on the other lines sharing the route from Aldgate Junction to Praed Street Junction).

[12] The closure actually started part way through 2017-06-17. From 2017-06-18 a 4tph service ran between Hammersmith and Wood Lane with one train confined to each track in service hours, though able to run through the closed section out-of-hours. The line from Hammersmith to Edgware Road was also closed for all of 2017-06-14 because of a fire that gutted the same building.


The line is double track throughout. It is in tunnel from Bow Road to Paddington, though some stations and short sections are in the open air, and in the open elsewhere.

At Barking trains may terminate in the bay, or may run into the sidings to the east of the station. Trains entering service from the sidings must use the District Line westbound platform (which is south of two National Rail tracks and is across an island platform from the westbound main line), which is reached by a diveunder on the east side of the station and a flyover on the west side.

The former Widened Lines, now part of National Rail, run beside the line from Moorgate to King's Cross Thameslink; they are to the south at first, and cross underneath at a shallow angle immediately west of Farringdon.

At Paddington the island platform forms the northermost part of the main-line station. Westwards from there the line parallels the National Rail line as far as Westbourne Park, crossing from north to south side via a diveunder west of Royal Oak; there is no longer any connection to the main lines.

Although Hammersmith (1) on this line and Hammersmith (2) on the District and Piccadilly Lines are completely separate stations, interchange between the two on a single ticket is permitted.

There are railings on the viaduct near Latimer Road, placed there in 1869 after a passenger mistook the parapet for a platform and fell to his death.


The service is 6tph at all times.

All trains serve Hammersmith at the west end. Currently peak trains all serve Barking, while off-peak trains alternate between Plaistow and Barking at the east end.

Now that the Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City Lines use the same rolling stock, inter-line services have become more common. One early train daily runs from Acton Town via Edgware Road and Liverpool Street to Barking. Three westbound trains early every morning start from Upminster instead of Barking while three eastbound trains in the evening (two on Saturdays) terminate at Upminster. On weekdays there is a fourth such train each way in the middle of the day. These trains run with District Line crews east of Barking. On Sunday evenings one westbound train runs from Plaistow to Edgware Road and then continues as a District Line train to Ealing Broadway.

There have been periods when all trains ran to Barking and, until the facilities were removed in 2010, trains terminated at Whitechapel rather than Plaistow. It used to be the case that, at the start and end of service, some trains ran from or to Neasden Depot in service.

When planned engineering work is in progress, closing the southern half of the Circle Line, Hammersmith & City Line trains may be extended to Upminster, or services may run only as far as Whitechapel with the District Line operating from there to Upminster with each service reversing in one of the two platforms.

On 2015-08-01 a signalling problem blocked the curve from Aldgate Junction to Aldgate East Junction. Replacement services operated between High Street Kensington and Barking via Embankment. The same pattern has since been used during disruption such as a planned closure of the northern half of the Circle Line.

The minimum running time is 59½ minutes (50 minutes between Hammersmith and Plaistow).

Covid-19: services were reduced to 4tph from 2020-03-19, trains running the entire length of the line. Normal services were restored on 2020-06-15.


  <= West               1   7                              East =>
                         \   \
        H-/    /    /               \       \   /    \
              /    3                 8       4 5      6

A = Aldgate Junction          === shows the Widened Lines section
B = Barking
E = Aldgate East
F = Farringdon
H = Hammersmith (1)
K = Baker Street Junction
L = Latimer Road Junction
M = Moorgate
O = Kensington (Olympia)
P = Praed Street Junction
R = Richmond
S = St.Mary's Junction
X = King's Cross Thameslink
1 = Metropolitan Line to Amersham, Chesham, Watford, and Uxbridge
2 = District Line to Upminster
3 = Circle Line and District Line via High Street Kensington
4 = Circle Line via Aldgate
5 = District Line to Ealing Broadway, Richmond, and Wimbledon
6 = former link to East London Line
7 = links to Midland and (formerly) GNR main lines
8 = link to Blackfriars and main lines south of the river


key to notation

Locations are listed down the page in the eastbound direction.

233787 53.84 [TT=TT= X] [Z2] Hammersmith (1)
[-] ((Hammersmith (1)))
232792 53.18 [-] [Richmond Junction[13]]
231796 52.97 [OPX] [Z2] Goldhawk Road
232798 52.72 [OP] (Shepherd's Bush (2))
232800 52.45 [OPX] [Z2] Shepherd's Bush Market
232803 52.26 [OP] (White City (1))
233805 51.9 [OP] ![Z2] Wood Lane (2)
236808 51.54 [-] [Latimer Road Junction]
237809 51.44 [OPX] [Z2] Latimer Road
242813 50.79 [OPX] [Z2] Ladbroke Grove for Portobello Road
249817 49.99 [OP] [Z2] Westbourne Park
258815 49.00 [IP] [Z2] Royal Oak
264814 48.38 [...=14vW=E] ![Z1] Paddington
269814 47.76 [-] [Praed Street Junction]
272817 47.44 [W=we=E X] [Z1] Edgware Road (1)
279819 46.72 [=6WE5=-=1v1=ns=4v] [Z1] Baker Street
280820 46!59 [-] [Baker Street Junction]
288821 45.79 [OP] [Z1] Great Portland Street
294823 45.17 [OP] [Z1] Euston Square
300827 44.10 [-] [Chalton Street Junction]
302828 44.32 [CP] [Z1] King's Cross St. Pancras
304829 43.90 [=#WE#=|='B'ns'A'=] [Z1] (King's Cross Thameslink)
315818 42.47 [=ns=WE= X] ![Z1] Farringdon
320818 41.96 [=WE=WE= X] [Z1] Barbican
324814 41.33 [=6V =4VV=WE1=] [Z1] Moorgate
331815 40.81 [OPX] [Z1] Liverpool Street
335813 40.32 [-] [Aldgate Junction]
40.10 [-] [former Aldgate East Junction]
40.04 [OP] ((Aldgate East))
39.96 [-] [Aldgate East Junction]
338813 39=88 [OP] [Z1] Aldgate East
342816 39=37 [OP] (St. Mary's)
344817 39=33 [-] [St. Mary's Junction]
347818 39=05 [IPX] [Z2] Whitechapel
355821 38=05 [OP] [Z2] Stepney Green
365825 36=95 [w=WE=e] [Z2] Mile End
371827 36=47 [OP] [Z2] Bow Road
370827 36=38 [-] [tunnel mouth]
379826 35=46 [=#we#=1WE2=] [Z2/3] Bromley-by-Bow
392829 34=07 [w7=8eW1=2E] ![Z2/3] West Ham
399832 33=27 [=#we#=1WE=3V] [Z3] Plaistow
411837 32=03 [=#we#=1WE2=] [Z3] Upton Park
424842 30=62 [OP] ![Z3/4] East Ham
432848 [-] [Barking Station Junction]
443843 28=43 [ww=eW=we=VE=v X] [Z4] Barking

335813 40.32 [-] [Aldgate Junction]
336812 40.19 [i=vv=E] [Z1] {Aldgate}

243792 53=38 [=WEB=v] [Z2] {Kensington (Olympia)}
240796 52=89 [-] [Addison Road Junction]
238799 52=42 [OP] (Uxbridge Road)
237800 52=32 [-] [Uxbridge Road Junction]
237800 [OP] [Z2] Shepherd's Bush (4)
237802 52=1 [OP] (Shepherd's Bush (1))
236808 51.54 [-] [Latimer Road Junction]
237809 51.44 [OP] [Z2] Latimer Road

181751 61=11 [=we=TT=TT=T] [Z4] {Richmond}
192767 59=00 [OP] [Z3/4] {Kew Gardens}
198783 57=28 [IP] [Z3] {Gunnersbury}
203786 56=65 [-] [Acton Lane Junction (LU/NR boundary)]
207788 56=20 [-] [Turnham Green Junction (eastbound)]
212788 55=78 [-] [Turnham Green Junction (westbound)]
213788 55=66 [IP] [Z2/3] {Turnham Green}
218788 55=13 [-] [Z2] {Stamford Brook}
225787 54=39 [IP] [Z2] {Ravenscourt Park}
228787 54=27 [-] [Studland Road Junction]
232789 53=60 [OP] (Hammersmith Grove Road)
232790 53=48 [-] [Grove Junction[13]]
232792 53.18 [-] [Richmond Junction[13]]
231796 52.97 [OP] [Z2] Goldhawk Road

[13] Most Ordnance Survey maps use the names "Grove Junction" and "Richmond Junction" for these two junctions and these names are used on this page. However, one 1916 map uses "Hammersmith Junction" and "Grove Road Junction" respectively instead and other sources have used "Grove Junction" or "Grove Road Junction" for both junctions.

The platform layouts of Ravenscourt Park and Turnham Green are shown as of 1906, when the service was withdrawn.


There are no depots on the line itself; the former Hammersmith Depot is now officially simply a stabling point. Any servicing work is done at one of the depots on other subsurface lines that handles subsurface stock (Ealing Common, Upminster, and Neasden).


The line shares track with the Circle and Metropolitan Lines between Aldgate and Praed Street Junction, and with the District Line from Barking to Aldgate East Junction; this section has an unsignalled connection to the LO GOBLIN line at the west end of Barking station, while there used to be a connection to the East London Line at St. Mary's Junction.

Rolling Stock

The line is operated by S7 stock. It was formerly operated by C stock, with the last service running on 2014-02-11.

All stock is permitted on the line, with the following historical exceptions:

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