LogoClive's UndergrounD Line Guides

"Willesden Junction! Heading down to Kensal Green.
Watford High Street! Damn, we've gone too far."

- Orpheus in the Underground
John Hudson

LogoBakerloo Line

A Yerkes Tube

[Last modified: 2023-03-26]

Rolling stock


The route of the Bakerloo includes the oldest attempt at a tube railway: the Waterloo & Whitehall Railway was authorized in 1865 to construct a pneumatic railway (that is, one where trains are pushed though a tunnel by air pressure) from Great Scotland Yard to Waterloo station. The single cast iron tube, 3.89 m (12'9") in diameter, would have crossed the river by being laid in a ditch dredged in the bed of the Thames. Though work did start, a general financial crisis prevented additional capital being raised, and the work was abandoned in 1868, with the company being wound up in 1882. The trench excavated at the northern end is now the wine cellar of the National Liberal Club.

Also in 1882, an electric railway - the Charing Cross & Waterloo Electric Railway Company - was proposed to run from Trafalgar Square to Waterloo station. It would generally have been a subsurface line, but would have crossed under the Thames in twin cast-iron tubes. Sufficient money could not be raised, and only about 20 m (60') of tunnel was built.

The real Bakerloo Line was created as the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway, intended to connect those two points via Charing Cross, a route with heavy bus traffic. The company was acquired by the Yerkes group after construction halted for financial reasons. The abbreviation "Baker-loo" appeared in an Evening News headline[1] and it was soon adopted officially (without the hyphen).

Extension in both directions - to Edgware Road and Elephant & Castle - was quick, but continuation to Paddington waited while the Underground and the GWR tried each to bluff the other into paying for it. Eventually the LNWR decided to construct local lines (known as the "New Lines") parallel to its main line between Euston and Watford Junction; steam service would run throughout, and the Bakerloo would use them from Queen's Park to Watford Junction, with a new tube to connect the former to Paddington. This section is discussed in more detail below.

The Bakerloo and District lines were powered from the same source. It was found that on the Bakerloo, the outside power rail tended to leak to ground via the tunnel walls, while on the District the centre rail tended to leak to ground. Therefore the Bakerloo was operated with the polarity of the power rails reversed. On 1915-12-11, the two sections having been insulated from each other, the Bakerloo was switched to the normal arrangement.

Both World Wars gave rise to concern about the possible effects of a direct bomb hit on the tube lines passing under the Thames. During World War I, steel frames were fitted in the Bakerloo Line tunnels at Embankment and Waterloo stations; these could be filled by hand with wooden baulks, a task taking nearly an hour. A request in 1916 for steel for powered floodgates was refused, so the next idea was to add an extra lining to the tunnels under the river. This too was rejected at the time, but after the war it was still considered worthwhile because it would also protect against other types of incidents. So in 1919 a lining of 1.27 cm (½") steel plate was installed along 165 m (540') of the southbound tunnel and 145 m (480') of the northbound; a thicker flat plate was installed beneath the tracks and the space below it filled with concrete, and the track was replaced by a lower design to gain the necessary clearance. This work would later prove not to be durable against water seepage, and by 1944 it had deteriorated so badly that it had to be removed and the track relaid.

In 1938, when war appeared to be imminent, the Bakerloo Line tunnels under the Thames were plugged with concrete and the service terminated at Piccadilly Circus. During this closure, preparations were made to allow floodgates to be installed at a later date at the northern end of Waterloo station and both ends of Embankment station (they were eventually installed between September and December 1939). These floodgates are 33 cm (1'1") thick, weigh about 6 tons, and can resist about 800 tons. They could be closed electrically in 25 seconds, or if necessary by hand; special fitted plugs were then inserted in the gaps around the rails. Interlocks with the signalling prevented a train from being trapped under the river. The floodgates are no longer functional; apparently one stuck during weekly tests in the 1990s, after which they were decommissioned.

In the 1930s powers were granted to extend south to Camberwell Green (location 325768). The only use made of these was to build new longer sidings beyond Elephant & Castle on the new alignment (the old sidings aimed eastwards towards the New Kent Road; the new ones extend under the Walworth Road). The plans were revived in the 1950s, this time with an intermediate station at Walworth Road (location 324781). Test sections of tunnel were dug, but the idea was abandoned because of the cost. A third attempt was made to revive them in the early 1970s, this time continuing to Peckham Rye NR station (location 342763) and a new depot site beyond, but once again the proposals were allowed to wither away.

From 1939 to 1979 the Bakerloo operated a second branch to Stanmore; see the Jubilee Line page for details, including dates.

[1] In 1933 an obituary in the News Chronicle attributed it to one Captain G.H.F.Nichols, who was a reporter on the Evening News, though not at the time the name first appeared.

Watford, Croxley, and Rickmansworth

[The Croxley and Rickmansworth branches are only marginally within the remit of CULG, but I have chosen to give them the benefit of the doubt.]

The LNWR Rickmansworth branch was a typical country branch line. Leaving the main line at Watford Junction, it ran mostly through open countryside to the edge of Rickmansworth; the one intermediate station was at the south end of Watford High Street. Opened in 1862 as the Watford & Rickmansworth Railway, it carried some local traffic as well as serving both interchange sidings for the Grand Union Canal and various private sidings along the way. It was not financially successful, and was taken over by the LNWR in 1881.

As mentioned briefly above, in about 1907 the LNWR decided to construct new local lines, known as the "New Lines", to Watford Junction. In the original plan these would have started with a large loop tunnel under Euston surfacing in the Kensal Green area. From there they ran along the east side of the main line to north of Willesden, dived underneath, and emerged on the west side at Wembley Central. Then they continued parallel to the main line to Bushey, where they diverged west to meet the Rickmansworth branch just south of Watford High Street.

Within a few years cost-cutting had resulting in changes to the plan. The Euston loop was gone, and instead junctions at Camden would allow trains to use either the main station at Euston or to follow the NLR to Broad Street. However, agreement had been reached with the Underground to extend the Bakerloo Line to Queen's Park, and some New Line trains would run on to the Bakerloo, resulting in a through service from Watford Junction to Elephant & Castle. At the same time a new branch would be opened to Croxley Green, and a triangular junction built so that both Croxley and Rickmansworth could have a direct service to London (though only Croxley ever did, and then not on to the Bakerloo). This is what was finally built. The New Lines were electrified from the start, but the two branches originally ran steam services, only being converted later.

The LNWR and Underground built a single fleet of trains - the Watford Joint Stock - for all the electric services. This was painted in LNWR colours (chocolate to waist level and white above), making it easy for Bakerloo passengers to distinguish it from the purely Underground stock (red to waist level and cream above). In deference to main-line views, it was the only tube stock ever to be fitted with parcel racks. The stock was maintained at Croxley Depot, near Bushey. Most trains using this depot left and entered service at Watford Junction; however, until 1951 there were also services that terminated at Harrow & Wealdstone after the morning peak, ran empty to the depot via the southwest side of the triangle, then returned the same way in the afternoon to enter service at Bushey.

In 1930 the Joint Stock was replaced on Bakerloo services by the Watford Replacement Stock, though it continued to be found on the branches for many years longer. The Replacement stock was in standard Underground colours, but from 1932 to 1937 it carried a blue stripe along the cream. By the latter date all stock used on the Bakerloo had been fitted with equipment (such as "weak field", which gives a higher top speed) to allow it to run on the New Lines and so there was no operational need to distinguish the two routes. Since train describers were not to be installed until after World War II, passengers were left with only the destination indicator on the front of the train to determine whether it ran beyond Queen's Park.

In the 1960s the Bakerloo's Watford service was cut back in rapid steps until there were just a few peak-hour trains running north in the evening, stabling at Croxley overnight (or over the weekend), and then returning in the morning peak. This arrangement looked set to survive: the problems of running them were not quite enough to overrule the benefits of the depot space at Croxley. But the opening of the Jubilee Line meant that Neasden Depot would no longer be conveniently available to the Bakerloo, and so a new site was found at Stonebridge Park. As soon as this was fully operational the services north of there were ceased[2]. However, it soon became clear that this had been overly pessimistic and that it would be worthwhile to resume the service as far as Harrow (it turned out that nearly all passengers from north of there were going to Euston).

There are proposals to restore the service to Watford Junction. In the meantime, the entire line from Euston to Watford Junction operates as "route 2" of the London Overground network.

The Rickmansworth branch closed to passenger traffic in 1952; now that nationalisation had brought them into common ownership, it duplicated the Metropolitan Line without good reason. But the Croxley branch continued to carry peak-hour services - both to London and Watford - for many years longer, and in the 1980s Watford Football Club's rapid promotion brought new traffic in the form of football specials to a new station by the stadium. However, by the 1990s the service had been reduced to a single train from Watford and back at 6 o'clock on weekday mornings. Finally, in 1996 the line was severed to make way for a new road and the service replaced by a bus or taxi that accepted rail tickets. There were plans to make it a branch of the Metropolitan Line (see the Future Plans page for details) and some initial work was done, but the project is currently halted.

[2] Croxley Green depot survived another few years in BR service, closing on 1985-11-12 and demolished the following year.


North of Queen's Park, the terms "opened", "closed" etc. are used as if the "New Lines" are a separate railway from the main line. Contrary to practice elsewhere on these pages, electrification symbols are used for the "New Lines".

Dates for the erstwhile Stanmore branch are given on the Jubilee Line page.

key to symbols

1837-07-20 % Harrow & Wealdstone [as part of the opening of the London & Birmingham, later LNWR, main line]
1841-12-01 % Bushey
1842- % Wembley Central
1844- % Hatch End
1858-05-05 % Watford Junction
1862-10-01 1 Watford Junction to Rickmansworth Church Street opened [Watford & Rickmansworth, later LNWR, steam service]
1866-09-01 % Willesden Junction
1879-06-02 % Queen's Park
1906-03-10 6 Baker Street to Lambeth North opened
1906-08-05 0 Lambeth North to Elephant & Castle opened
1907-03-27 0 Marylebone to Baker Street opened
1907-06-15 0 Edgware Road (2) to Marylebone opened
1912-06-15 [1] Watford High Street to Croxley Green opened [LNWR steam service]
+ Watford West
[4] Harrow & Wealdstone to Willesden Junction opened [LNWR "New Lines" steam service]
+ Kenton, North Wembley, Stonebridge Park, Harlesden
1913-02-10 [2] Watford High Street to Harrow & Wealdstone opened [LNWR "New Lines" steam service]
+ Headstone Lane
0 Bushey to [Croxley Junction] opened [LNWR "New Lines" steam service]
1913-12-01 0 Paddington to Edgware Road (2) opened
1914-04-01 + Carpenders Park
1915-01-31 [1] Kilburn Park to Paddington opened
+ Warwick Avenue
1915-02-11 0 Queen's Park to Kilburn Park opened
1915-05-10 1 Willesden Junction to Queen's Park opened *
1915-06-06 + Maida Vale
1916-10-01 + Kensal Green
1916-12-31 - Carpenders Park
1917-01-09 - Stonebridge Park (fire)
1917-04-16 * Watford Junction to Harrow & Wealdstone started
* Bushey and Watford High Street to [Watford West Junction] (for depot access)
* Harrow & Wealdstone to Willesden Junction started
1917-08-01 + Stonebridge Park
1919-05-05 + Carpenders Park
1922-10-30 * [Watford West Junction] to Croxley Green [LMSR services]
1927-09-26 * [Watford West Junction] to Rickmansworth Church Street [LMSR services]
1933-07-03 + South Kenton
1938-09-27 Piccadilly Circus to Elephant & Castle closed, tunnels plugged
1938-10-08 4 Piccadilly Circus to Elephant & Castle reopened
1939-08-31 - Maida Vale, Oxford Circus[3], Embankment
1939-11-20 Stanmore branch added to the Bakerloo (see the Jubilee Line for further information)
+ Oxford Circus
1939-12-17 + Charing Cross
1940-01-09 + Maida Vale
1941-01-16 Waterloo to Elephant & Castle closed (bomb damage at Lambeth North)
1941-04- 1 Waterloo to Elephant & Castle reopened
1944-08-13 Piccadilly Circus to Elephant & Castle closed (repairs)
1944-08-25 4 Piccadilly Circus to Elephant & Castle reopened
1952-03-02 Watford High Street to Rickmansworth Church Street closed
1952-11-17 = Carpenders Park
1963-09-07 [Colne Junction] to [Croxley Junction] closed
1963-11-18 0 [Colne Junction] to [Croxley Junction] reopened [BR services]
1966-06-04 [Colne Junction] to [Croxley Junction] closed
1979-04-30 Stanmore branch transferred to the Jubilee Line
1982-09-24 Watford Junction to Harrow & Wealdstone withdrawn [LU]
Harrow & Wealdstone to Stonebridge Park withdrawn [LU]
1982-12-04 + Watford Stadium [4]
1984-06-04 Harrow & Wealdstone to Stonebridge Park restored [LU]
1990-06-24 - Edgware Road (2) (lift replacement)
1992-01-28 + Edgware Road (2)
1996-03-22 Watford High Street to Croxley Green closed [5]
1996-11-10 Piccadilly Circus to Elephant & Castle closed (tunnel strengthening)
1997-03-03 Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus northbound closed (derailment)
1997-03-15 0 Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus northbound reopened
1997-07-14 4 Piccadilly Circus to Elephant & Castle reopened
1999-10-22 Harrow & Wealdstone to Stonebridge Park withdrawn [LU]
Stonebridge Park to Queen's Park closed (track replacement)
-= Stonebridge Park (building work)
1999-10-29 - Stonebridge Park (building work)
1999-11-01 Harrow & Wealdstone to {Stonebridge Park} restored [LU]
3 {Stonebridge Park} to Queen's Park reopened
1999-11-10 + Stonebridge Park
2000-02-12 - Baker Street (escalator repairs)
2000-02-15 + Baker Street
2001-01-28 - Edgware Road (2) (lift repairs)
2001-02-17 + Edgware Road (2)
2002-09-01 - Baker Street, northbound only (escalator repairs)[6]
2002-11-22 Waterloo to Elephant & Castle closed (firefighters' strike)
- Edgware Road (2), Regent's Park
2002-11-30 1 Waterloo to Elephant & Castle reopened
+ Edgware Road (2), Regent's Park
2003-02-03 + Baker Street, northbound only
2004-10-22 Harrow & Wealdstone to Stonebridge Park withdrawn [LU]
Stonebridge Park to Queen's Park closed (various engineering works)
2004-11-01 Harrow & Wealdstone to Stonebridge Park restored [LU]
3 Stonebridge Park to Queen's Park reopened
2006-07-10 - Regent's Park (lift replacement)
2007-06-13 + Regent's Park
2009-12-24 Stonebridge Park to Queen's Park closed (various engineering works)
2010-01-04 3 Stonebridge Park to Queen's Park reopened
2013-05-24 - Edgware Road (2) (lift replacement)
2013-12-21 + Edgware Road (2)
2014-01-07 - Embankment (escalator replacement)
2014-11-01 + Embankment
2016-04-01 - Paddington (Crossrail work)
2016-07-12 - Lambeth North (lift replacement)
2016-08-01 + Paddington
2017-02-13 + Lambeth North
2019-08-10 - Watford High Street (staircase refurbishment)
2019-08-19 + Watford High Street
2020-03-19 - Charing Cross (Covid-19)
2020-03-20 - Kilburn Park, Warwick Avenue, Regent's Park (Covid-19)
2020-05-18 + Warwick Avenue
2020-07-13 + Kilburn Park
2020-07-27 + Regent's Park
2020-08-10 + Charing Cross
2022-12-16 Watford Junction to Queen's Park closed (various engineering works)
2022-12-24 14 Watford Junction to Queen's Park reopened
2023-02-10 Watford Junction to Queen's Park closed (various engineering works)
2023-02-20 14 Watford Junction to Queen's Park reopened
2023-07-22 Watford Junction to Queen's Park closed (various engineering works)
2023-07-31 3 Stonebridge Park to Queen's Park reopened
2023-08-10 Stonebridge Park to Queen's Park closed (various engineering works)
2023-08-18 14 Watford Junction to Queen's Park reopened

[3] Oxford Circus street access was closed, but trains still stopped and interchange to the Central Line was still possible.

[4] Though this date is provided by several sources, a few state that the opening date was in 1984. The station was only used when there was a home match and not always then. It was never formally closed; the last recorded use was 1993-11-28.

[5] Officially the service was withdrawn from 2003-09-29, but after 1996 it was actually a daily minibus or taxi.

[6] The station reopened each weekend, but was closed on weekdays. From 2003-01-13 the station also opened at about 20:00 each weekday. From 2003-02-03 it also opened from 10:00 to 15:30. It reopened fully on 2003-05-02.


The line is in tube until just south of Queen's Park station, where it emerges between the two tracks of the main line's local, or "New", lines. North of the station, trains run through the depot shed and then on to National Rail track from there to Harrow & Wealdstone, turning back via a central siding north of the station. The line runs parallel to the West Coast Main Line from Queen's Park to Bushey and at Watford Junction; it starts on the east side of the main line, swings around the yards north of Willesden Junction, then dives under the main line between Stonebridge Park and Wembley Central. It then runs on the west side to Bushey, and swings out to the west through the central part of Watford.

On the National Rail line, the fourth rail is active from Kilburn High Road (the station south of Queen's Park, where there is a crossover) to the Harrow & Wealdstone siding. Trains running between these points must be fitted with LU-compatible tripcock gear, and all signals have train stops. On approach to Queen's Park, the junction signal can only be cleared for the route to the Bakerloo platform if power is being drawn from the negative rail. Both this route and the one into Stonebridge Park depot can only be set if the train describer indicates an LU train. While there are no LU passenger services to Kilburn High Road, there are several LU empty stock workings there each day.


At the south end, all trains run to Elephant & Castle (except that trains running to London Road depot may terminate at Waterloo). At the north end, typically 6tph terminate at Harrow & Wealdstone, 3tph at Stonebridge Park (in both cases at irregular spacings to allow the 4tph NR service to fit in), and the remainder (between 6tph and 13tph) at Queen's Park.

The minimum running time is 25 minutes from Elephant & Castle to Queen's Park or 46 minutes to Harrow & Wealdstone.

Carpenders Park station operated as a request stop from September 1926 until September 1935, though it appears that all trains stopped on Sundays for part of this period.

One unusual service ran on 2017-01-09 because of strike action: for much of the day, trains operated between Harrow & Wealdstone and Marylebone, running non-stop south of Queen's Park.

Covid-19: services were initially typically 6tph between Queen's Park and Elephant & Castle, while a 2tph service operated between Harrow & Wealdstone and Queen's Park (reversing at Kilburn High Road), though sometimes this did not run, leaving passengers to rely on the Overground service, which itself was often reduced to 2tph. On 2020-04-23 the Harrow service increased to 3tph and the next day the main service to 10tph. Normal weekday services were restored on 2020-05-18 and weekend services on 2020-05-31.


Diagram CBD


key to notation

Locations are listed down the page in the southbound direction for the main section and the westbound direction for the former Croxley and Rickmansworth branches. The two branches meet the main section facing in opposite directions.

110973 74=22 [T=TT=4T =6ns=ns=t =b] [ZW] {Watford Junction}
113960 72=79 [IP#] {Watford High Street}
111958 72=55 [-] [Z8] [Watford High Street Junction]
113955 72=09 [-] [Colne Junction]
118952 71=52 [=NS=ns=ns=] [Z8] {Bushey}
118935 69=39 [=NS= nsns#] ((Carpenders Park))
119934 69=37 [N=S nsns] [Z7] {Carpenders Park}
130914 67=12 [=NS= nsns#] [Z6] {Hatch End}
139905 65=91 [=NS= nsns#] [Z5] {Headstone Lane}
154894 64=00 [=NS=ns=ns=] ![Z5] Harrow & Wealdstone
167883 62=26 [=NS= nsnsX] [Z4] Kenton
173870 60=86 [N=S nsnsX] [Z4] South Kenton
176862 59=96 [=NS= nsnsX] [Z4] North Wembley
182851 58=69 [=NS=ns=ns=] [Z4] Wembley Central
196842 56=98 [OPX] [Z3] Stonebridge Park
209834 55=45 [OPX] [Z3] Harlesden
219829 54=40 [N= T=SX] [Z2/3] Willesden Junction
233828 52=90 [OPX] [Z2] Kensal Green
51=86 [-] [Queen's Park Junction]
51.81 [-] [boundary with NR]
245832 51.58 [ns =ns= n=NS=sX] [Z2] Queen's Park
51.28 [-] tube mouth
253833 50.78 [CP] %[Z2] Kilburn Park
259827 49.89 [CP] %[Z2] Maida Vale
261820 49.11 [CP] %[Z2] Warwick Avenue
265813 48.24 [CP2] %[Z1] Paddington
271817 47.51 [OP] ![Z1] Edgware Road (2)
274819 47.05 [OP] %[Z1] Marylebone
280820 46!55 [N9=-=10n/S8=-=7s] %[Z1] Baker Street
287822 45.67 [=N =S] ![Z1] Regent's Park
290812 44.80 [n6==4NS3==5s] %[Z1] Oxford Circus
296806 43.83 [OP] %[Z1] Piccadilly Circus
300804 43.28 [CP] %[Z1] Charing Cross
303803 42.91 [OP4] %[Z1] Embankment
311799 42.44 [N3= S4=] %[Z1] Waterloo
41.72 [-] [London Road depot access]
316795 41.57 [CP] ![Z1] Lambeth North
319791 40.74 [CP2] ![Z1/2] Elephant & Castle
40.44 [-] [end of northbound tube]
40.38 [-] [end of southbound tube]

118952 71=52 [=sn=sn=SN=X] {Bushey}
113955 72=08 [-] [Colne Junction]
109955 72=71 [-] [Croxley Junction]
108954 72=74 [-] [Croxley depot access]
107953 72=77 [-] [Watford West Junction]
103954 73=19 [B=] (Watford Stadium)
098956 73=69 [=B] (Watford West)
090958 74=7 [-] [Present end of the line]
088958 74=84 [=V] (Croxley Green)

110973 70=43 [T=TT=4T =6ns=ns=t =b] {Watford Junction}
113960 71=82 [IP#] {Watford High Street}
111958 72=07 [-] [Watford High Street Junction]
109955 72=71 [-] [Croxley Junction]
108954 72=74 [-] [Croxley depot access]
107953 72=77 [-] [Watford West Junction]
062941 77=70 [=VV] (Rickmansworth Church Street)


The main depot is Stonebridge Park, on the east side of the line and reached from the south via a connection at the north end of the station (the boundary between LU and NR is at 57.16, and the depot extends to 58.04). There is a smaller depot at London Road, on the west side of the line, reached from the north via a single track connection; the depot is in the open air, with the tube mouth at 41.30 and the depot extending to 40.99. When services ran to Watford Junction trains were also stabled at Croxley Green depot, reached by running south from Watford High Street on to the Croxley Green branch and then reversing into the depot itself. During the period that the Stanmore branch was part of the Bakerloo, the main depot was that at Neasden.


Southbound Jubilee trains can switch to the Bakerloo at the south end of Baker Street; northbound Bakerloo trains can switch to the Jubilee at the north end.

Rolling Stock

The line is operated by 1972 (mark II) Tube Stock.

1959, 1967 (empty 4-car units fitted with tripcocks only), and 1972 (mark I) Tube Stock may run on the LU-owned section other than the crossover at Piccadilly Circus (where there is a known risk of derailment). Only 1972 Tube Stock may use Queens Park south shed because the current rail layout may cause other trains to be "gapped".

No LU trains are permitted to run north of the reversing siding at Harrow & Wealdstone or south of the reversing points at Kilburn High Road (because of the lack of fourth rail), or to enter the bay platform at Willesden Junction.

1972 Tube Stock only operates in 7-car trains (made from a 3-car unit and a 4-car unit coupled together). 4-car units may run empty on their own (only one cab has door controls, radio, and passenger alarm), but 3-car units are restricted to depots (they only have one cab).

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