Welcome to london-railfan.info
Railfanning London‘s Railways

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Visitors to London who are also transport enthusiasts (‘railfans’) sometimes ask for advice as to the ‘best’ things to see on London’s railway network. Typically they mean the London Transport railways, or in other words the underground (subway, metro) and whilst the information below is primarily about that it also briefly looks at the wider railway scene within London. This is especially important as there are many instances of interworking and shared services with London's other railway systems - the mainline railway (National Rail), the Docklands Light Railway and Croydon / London Tramlink.

This guide is primarily about present day services, so historical information is only included where it helps explain aspects of the transport network as it is today.

The UndergrounD railway uses trains of two distinctive sizes, these being the small profile ‘tube’ trains and the larger profile trains which are in fact very similar in size to trains used on the rest of the British railway system. The latter would be because when they first opened most of the routes served by the larger profile trains were originally served by steam locomotives hauling unpowered passenger carriages, so (apart from the extensive operations in tunnels) they were little different from the many other British railways.

District and Piccadilly Line trains at Stamford Brook station. . Northern Line train exits a tunnel mouth just to the north of Hendon Central station. . District Line and C2C trains at West Ham station.
London's underground trains come in two different sizes.
A small profile 1973 'tube' stock Piccadilly Line train passes a large profile D78 District Line train at Stamford Brook station.
. The nickname "Tube" comes from the almost circular tube-like tunnels through which the small profile trains travel.
A 1995 'tube' stock Northern Line train exits a tunnel mouth near Hendon Central station.
. The large profile 'subsurface' trains are the same size as mainline trains.
C2C Electrostar Class 357 and District Line S stock trains pass at West Ham station.

This is the single page version of this guide, and therefore this is a very BIG page!
Click here for a multi page version of this guide with much smaller pages.


Page Index

Small Profile ‘Tube’ Trains
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Large Profile
‘Subsurface’ Trains

The East London and Northern City Lines were ‘London Transport’ railway services but nowadays are operated as part of the mainline (National Rail) ‘London Overground’ and ‘Great Northern’ networks. For many years the Northern City Line was included on Underground maps but is not any more.

Local Light Railways

The Docklands Light Railway and Tramlink both use modern light rail vehicles.

DLR trains are computerised / self-driving whilst the trams are driven by ordinary mortal humans.

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Sign advertising location of station entrance. . Walk left stand right escalator sign.
Sign advertising a station entrance - typically where station entrances are below ground the subterranean passageways also act as public subways (aka: passageways) which allow pedestrians who are not travelling on the trains to cross the road and avoid the traffic. . To expedite passenger flows escalators have rules
- which visitors are requested to follow.
As someone who usually walks I say "thank you" :-)
Please remember to hold the handrail - I do, even when walking!
Roadway style cross hatched 'yellow box' at station platform entrance. . Pass along platform sign.
Wall and floor signage encouraging passengers who have just entered a station platform to spread out along its length - rather than just congregate near the entrance, where (at busy times) they cause congestion and prevent other passengers from also accessing the platform.

Fares and Tickets

London's railway fares are based on a zonal system, most of the information in this guide is about sights in zones 1-4 which covers the centre of London and much of the suburbs.

There are several ways to pay transport fares in London. Especially on the Underground, Docklands Light Railway and Tramlink buying paper tickets from the station at the start of the journey is the most expensive way to pay fares. But if you will only be travelling a little and just want to sample London's transports in the simplest way possible without worrying about ticket types or something going wrong which leaves you being charged more than expected, then this might be the easiest solution.

Since 2003 it has also been possible to pay transport fares using smart cards. In London these are marketed as Oyster cards. These can store a maximum of three prepaid season tickets plus some cash value in what is as an electronic purse (e-purse). Nowadays using the e-purse is known as Pay As You Go (PAYG) although some places still use the older, more accurate name which was PrePay. Although Oyster cards have to be purchased the fares charged are nearly always significantly lower than by buying paper tickets.

Both Londoners and visitors from elsewhere in the UK can also pay their fares using EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard, Visa)¤ contactless RFID credit and debit cards and some smartphone apps (except when travelling on the heritage Routemaster buses on route № 15h). The fares are normally the same as with Oyster cards, although on days when many journeys are made the total fare charged sometimes works out as being slightly cheaper than Oyster cards! The fares are charged to the credit / debit card accounts as a single transaction, overnight. Some people from outside London may also have ITSO specification smart cards on which it might also be possible to load prepaid Travelcard season tickets that can be used within London, eg: The Key which is a ticketing solution from one of the major British transport operators. ITSO card holders need to investigate compatibility and acceptability before travelling - especially as whilst the ITSO specification includes electronic purses (for PAYG travel) these may be restricted to local geographic areas outside of London.

¤This includes Visa payWave, Mastercard PayPass, Barclays PayTag, Barclays bPay, American Express, ApplePay, Android Pay, plus other EMV compatible payment systems which use NFC (near field) chips that are (or soon will be) integral parts of devices such as: mobile (cell) telephones / smart phones / watches / jewellery / keyfobs / self-adhesive tags / wristbands / gloves etc - or subdermally, ie: inside the human body (typically one of the hands). Although not officially supported some of the other types of electronic payment systems might also work (eg: PayPal).

Each person must have their own payment card, where passengers have joint bank / credit card accounts (eg: a married couple) then the long numbers (typically with 16 digits) and / or expiry dates must be different. Otherwise only one of them can use that card account and the other person must use a card from a different account.

Visitors from overseas will probably also be able to use EMV contactless bank cards and smartphone apps but should note that their bank will treat the transport fares as an overseas payment so will probably also charge currency conversion and overseas transaction fees.

In London the anonymous type of Oyster card is easy to buy and can be shared with anyone - although only one person can use it at a time. Being anonymous means that your name and address is not recorded. These are sold blank, so you will also need to add some e-purse (money) value. When your visit is over it can either be kept for a future visit or handed back for a refund. If all your transactions are in cash and the e-purse value is very small then the refund will probably be in cash. Otherwise it will be a cheque that will be posted to you later. Extra money can be added to the e-purse at almost all underground / other railway stations in London (at some stations only at the self-service ticket machines) as well as at over 3700 local shops throughout the London area. This is known as a top-up. No matter whether you are using cash or a plastic card there are no additional or handling fees for a top-up - so if a shop wants extra money then you should refuse to pay and complain to the Oyster helpline. Unlike Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian cities, the London Oyster card is only for paying public transport fares.

It is also possible to buy a Visitor Oyster card before arriving in London, either from the Transport For London (TfL) online shop or at other locations such as on Eurostar trains or aircraft travelling towards London. With these the purchase price includes some e-purse value so that the Oyster card is ready to use. This is especially useful when arriving at airports / St Pancras Eurostar as it means that you can avoid the ticket office queues and walk straight to the Underground / DLR platforms. Visitor Oyster cards have decorative designs which make for a nice souvenir of your visit. When first introduced these cards were advertised as never expiring, so that they could be used again and again on future visits to London. However, it is possible that some older types of Visitor Oyster cards will expire in 2018 when the computer technology used by the PAYG ticketing system is changed. These are expected to only be the Visitor Oyster cards which use older and less secure transaction protocols, such as MIFARE Classic. It is likely that Visitors Oyster cards with a white letter D in a blue square on their backs will still work - these use a newer and more secure transaction technology called MIFARE Desfire.

If anonymous and visitor Oyster cards are bought using cash and always have financial value added using cash then they are suitable for passengers who do not want their every movement tracked 24/7. However it is also worth remembering that in London CCTV cameras are everywhere, and that some of these are connected to computers which detect people's activity and use facial recognition softwares.

There was a time when it was possible to return an Oyster card and receive the refund without any other formalities, however nowadays you need to complete an application form and show proof of both identity and where you live. I am not sure if different arrangements are available for visitors from overseas.

The introduction of the Oyster system has led to a revolutionary change in fares and ticketing within London, significantly reducing the time it takes passengers boarding buses to pay their fares / have passes 'read' and reducing queues at station ticket offices. PAYG means that many of the advantages of period tickets are now available to everyone - even infrequent visitors - who on arrival at stations just walk straight past the ticket sales area to the ticket barriers, where they touch in and then continue directly to the platforms.

There is much more information on ticketing in London on the Fares & Ticketing Systems page of the citytransport.info website .. These links to other websites may also be of interest.
http://www.londontoolkit.com/briefing/travelcard_oyster.htm .
http://www.oyster-rail.org.uk .
http://www.londontoolkit.com/briefing/travelcard_oyster.htm .
http://www.oystercard.com (this is the 'official' Oyster website) ..

There is a long term desire to encourage as many travellers as possible to use EMV bank cards instead of Oyster cards. The reason is that Tf L wants to reduce the costs of the ticketing system and leave the finances to the banks, who it sees as being financial experts. However not everyone has credit / debit cards, nor even bank accounts (eg: children, the bankrupt) and some people feel much safer paying their fares in advance of travel. Therefore Oyster is expected to remain for many years to come. As anonymous bank cards do not exist so it is easy for every person's travels to be traced and recorded, in the process creating a massive database for commercial companies to exploit.

Electronic Ticketing Terminology

The information below uses the term "London electronic ticketing" to refer to all forms of smart cards - Oyster, EMV contactless bank debit / credit cards, smartphone apps, etc.

London's Electronic Ticketing When Travelling To / From The Airports

Heathrow Airport: When travelling to / from Heathrow Airport London's electronic ticketing systems can ONLY be used on the Piccadilly Line underground train - NOT the Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect trains.

Gatwick Airport: Although it is possible to use London's electronic ticketing to pay fares when travelling between London and Gatwick Airport, this is probably the most expensive way to pay fares. Paper tickets (sometimes even if bought at the station just before travel) and pre-paid tickets (bought from the Internet) are nearly always cheaper. Especially if travelling by Southern or Thameslink and NOT on the Gatwick Express

Stansted, Luton Airports: Not accepted, but you can buy a Visitor Oyster card at these airports, this will make life easier when you arrive in London.

City Airport: This airport is inside London and all of London's electronic ticketing systems are accepted on the DLR.

St Pancras Eurostar: This too is inside London and therefore all of London's electronic ticketing systems are accepted. Visitor Oyster cards can be bought (at the buffet counter) on trains travelling towards the UK.

The Best Ticket For Railfanning

If you are going to spend a whole day railfanning then although they are more expensive I recommend using paper One Day Travelcard (ODTC) tickets. These can be used on almost ALL of London's trains (except Heathrow Express / Connect to and from Heathrow Airport or the SouthEastern High Speed service between St Pancras and Stratford International) as well as most of London's buses and trams and once you have your paper ticket you are completely free to travel wherever you wish (within the zones in which it is valid) safe in the knowledge that you will not be forced into paying anything extra. The advantage of using paper tickets is that there are no time limits on how long your journey takes - so you can stop at stations and watch trains without also watching the time. These tickets can be bought from virtually all railway station and Tramlink ticket machines, but not at Ticket Stops. (Newsagents, etc.,) Note that in London tickets are always based upon a calendar day, and expire at 4:29am the next morning - this allows you to use night buses as well.

On Monday - Fridays an off-peak ODTC can only be used after 09.30. If you wish to go railfannning before this time then you must have a 'peak' ticket - which is more expensive.

At weekends and bank / public holidays off-peak tickets can be used all day.

DANGER! Beware Electronic Ticketing Journey Time Limits

Be VERY careful with PrePay / ‘pay as you go’ (PAYG) London electronic ticketing. PAYG is advertised as being ideal for all passengers with the promise that providing you always 'touch-in/out' correctly when starting or ending your journey the total fares charged for that day will be 'capped' below the cost of a paper ticket (known as ‘fares capping’). However, for railfanning there is a problem; PAYG enforces time limits on journeys, so if you keep stopping to watch trains the system may think that you have forgotten to ‘touch in’ at the start of a journey or ‘touch out’ at the end of the journey, and you risk being charged a ‘maximum fare’ which could be over £8.00 - even if you have already reached the ‘fares cap’ for that day. Because of this people on a limited budget without any spare cash may find themselves stranded somewhere in suburban London and unable to afford to get back to their hotel. This nearly happened to me (once!) so I am speaking from the voice of experience.

With PAYG the cost of individual single fares also depends on the time of the journey. Fares are higher on Mondays - Fridays during the morning and evening busy periods. ‘Rush hour’ (also known as ‘peak’) fares are charged if you ‘touch-in’ at the start of a journey before 9.30 (even if the train leaves the station after this time) and between 4pm - 7pm (16:00 - 19:00). However, if you make enough journeys during on that day to reach the fares cap then this will not matter.

Only 'off-peak' fares and fares caps are charged at weekends and on bank / public holidays.

The RFID electronic cards used by London's Oyster / contactless electronic ticketing system plus the ITSO compatible cards used outside of London may often be called smart cards, but in reality they are very dumb. This is because they rely on error-prone humans to let the fares calculation system know where the passengers are at the start and end of each journey, plus at interchange locations if they are eligible for cheaper fares. Maybe one-day there will be no need to have card 'read' at each end of the journey (plus at interchange stations) as these systems will simply scan people as they walk about... But would people really like living in a society with a level of electronic surveillance which would mean that their movements are tracked 24/7, no matter where they are?

Fares Differential (With Unspoken Aim?)

As part of a policy of discouraging passengers from using paper ticketing - so that these can then be withdrawn with the excuse given that since hardly anyone uses them so there is no need for them - all cash fares are significantly more expensive than when the same journey is paid for using London electronic ticketing. Whilst there are extra costs involved with paper tickets and handling cash, the very large price differential can only be understood by a desire to discourage cash fares. An unfortunate side effect of this is that casual visitors and tourist / travel information magazine articles, brochures etc., aimed at overseas visitors usually only talk about the cash fares, and this will make their readers think that travelling on London's public transport is extremely expensive and best avoided.

No Single Day Oyster Pay Once Ride-At-Will Tickets

Even though this option is available in many overseas cities the people who decide London's fares have decided not to allow passengers to buy electronic ticketing variants of the single day ODTC. They prefer PAYG with fares capping, citing the ability to change one's journey at a whim without having to buy a new ticket as representing some kind of 'holy grail' that makes everything good.

No Problems With Weekly / Other Period Oyster Tickets

There are some people here in London who refuse to use PAYG electronic ticketing. This is because they feel that there are too many problems with failed 'touchings' that result in the system invoking maximum fares - which they see as being charged a penalty fare - even though they have done nothing wrong. These issues do not cause problems to passengers with weekly or longer 'Travelcard' period tickets that are loaded on Oyster cards - and who are only travelling within the correct fares zones for their ticket.

Swiping a London RFID Oyster card. . Poster reminding passengers to touch in and out.
Touching an RFID Oyster card on a pink route validator card reader to tell the ticketing computers that I am avoiding Central London's zone 1 and therefore entitled to be charged a cheaper fare for my journey. . Sign reminding passengers using RFID Oyster cards to tell the ticketing system's computer where they are by touching in / out every time they enter or leave a station.

Staying for several (or more) days?

If staying in London for several days and planning on doing a lot of railfanning it might work out cost-effective to buy a weekly Travelcard season ticket. Providing you stay within the zones of the ticket's validity then there are no journey time limits - especially if you have a paper weekly ticket. If the weekly ticket has been loaded on an Oyster card then providing you load some PAYG value and touch-in / out at both ends of your journey then you are also allowed to travel outside the zones of the ticket's validity. Any extra charges are automatically collected when touching out at the end of that specific journey. Note that at the present time (2016) Travelcard season tickets can only be loaded on Oyster cards and some types of ITSO smartcards. They can NOT be loaded onto EMV bank cards or smartphones. This might change in 2018...

Note that if a season ticket does not include Zone 1 then sometimes the ticketing system will think that you travelled that way even when you did not. Using the pink 'route validator' will usually avoid this issue, although for some journeys the system automatically assumes that you travelled via a specific route no matter the reality. eg: Stratford - West Brompton can be made by Overground (with some through trains) which stays outside zone 1 or the District and Central Lines, via zone 1.

Note that most 'National Rail' train operators require that passengers with season tickets (even if only for one week) also have a photocard. These are free to obtain and just require a passport type photograph.

BritRail / Eurail Pass? National Rail Railcard? 2FOR1 Discounts

Overseas visitors with BritRail / Eurail passes should check their documentation as it is likely that they will need to buy additional tickets for travelling on the London Underground / DLR / Tramlink. However these passes are accepted on London's suburban trains - including the London Overground, which is also a 'mainline' train service. There could be a grey area where Underground and mainline trains provide shared services - it may be best to only travel on the mainline train, so that even if the Underground train comes first (and is travelling on the same tracks) it is allowed to pass / you stay on the platform.

Holders of National Rail / mainline railway railcards may find that they can benefit from cheaper tickets - a lot depends on the type of card they have. Sometimes the discount can be 'loaded' on to an Oyster card that is registered it in your name, as then the discount is automatically applied. Sometimes it is also possible to buy discounted one day Travelcards - although often on weekdays there is a minimum charge which negates the benefit. The documentation will explain more.

Many London visitor destinations offer discounts (such as 2for1 ie: 2 entry tickets for the price of 1) to passengers who travelled to London by train. This offer also applies to people who have paper One Day Travelcards BUT these MUST be bought at a National Rail / mainline railway station and NOT at an Underground / DLR / Tramlink station or ticket machine. Eurostar tickets, BritRail / Eurail passes and London electronic ticketing solutions are NOT accepted for this offer. BEWARE: Some transport staff do not understand the significance of where the ticket is bought - you want a ticket which is orange and cream with the National Rail logo (the two half arrows pointing in opposite directions). See the photograph below. NB: the 2FOR1 offer can also be used by people who live in London, but again they must have the 'right' type of ticket!

This link explains more, and you can also download the special vouchers you will need from here:
http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/faq.aspx#1 .

All Line Rover?

All Line Rovers are effectively National Rail season tickets which can be used on almost any train on the mainline railway system. This includes London Overground and virtually all of London's suburban railway network. However, they are NOT accepted on the Underground / DLR / Tramlink, as these are urban railway networks / not part of the mainline / National rail network. They are also not accepted on the privately funded Heathrow Express, nor the Heathrow Connect between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow Airport.

All Line Rovers can be bought by anyone, whether a British resident or otherwise. They are available in 7 and 14 days versions. However, the various private companies which operate the national railway network do not like this ticket because they say that they do not receive enough money from it. Therefore it is hardly ever promoted and can sometimes be difficult to purchase. In addition, in 2011 four longer-distance railway operators (CrossCountry, East Coast, East Midlands Trains, Virgin Trains) introduced new rules prohibiting their use to board or alight from trains at 10 railway stations - including several in or near London - before 10:00 in the morning on weekdays (Monday - Friday). However this new rule does not apply at weekends or on bank / public holidays.

More information can be found at this link which leads to information on all the British regional rover tickets
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/rangers_and_rovers.aspx .

See caption for picture information. See caption for picture information.
Open ticket gates in the late evening at London's King Cross station. The 2for1 offer can only be used if passengers have paper tickets for travel to / within London which look like this platform ticket.

Image & license: Ansbaradigeidfran / Wikipedia encyclopædia. CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Rail_platfrom_ticket_Kings_Cross.jpg

Only Travelling By Bus?

London’s buses charge a flat fare irrespective of distance travelled and when travelling by bus passengers only need to 'touch-in' when boarding at the start of the journey.

In London it is NOT possible to pay bus fares in cash.

For people who will only be travelling on buses - and not trains - then using London electronic ticketing in PAYG mode represents the cheapest way to pay fares. What is called a Hopper fare means that passengers can benefit from two journeys for the price of one journey. The second journey is automatically made free if the passenger uses the same payment card / device within 60 minutes of the touch-in at the start of the first journey. Unfortunately the system does not allow for delays or time spent waiting at bus stops for the second bus. In addition daily fares capping means that fares stop being charged the 4th time a bus fare is paid on a calendar day - ie: all future bus journeys (on that day) are free!

If staying for five days (or more) then a weekly / longer bus pass might be worthwhile - sometimes these can be bought as paper tickets or loaded on Oyster cards (but NOT EMV contactless cards or smartphone apps... this might change in 2018).

Hopper fares are only available for two consecutive bus journeys, which means that you must NOT use the same payment card to pay a fare on a different transport - unless it is a Croydon tram, which then counts as the second journey. (This is expected to change in 2018)

Because an Oyster card which has a negative PAYG balance is then blocked it must be topped-up and the negative balance cleared before starting the second (free) journey. This comment does not apply to other types of London electronic ticketing as these do not have an e-purse

Bus passengers who do not have Oyster cards and do not want to use other types of electronic ticketing can also buy one-day Bus & Tram passes. These can be bought at many locations including many (but not all) railway station ticket machines, Oyster Ticket Stops, Tramlink ticket machines at tram stops and Visitor centres. Although slightly more expensive than the daily fares cap these are ideal for passengers who are only in London for a day or two, who do not wish to use the railways and who want a paper ticket souvenir of their visit. Station ticket machines sell paper passes whilst other locations sell special single-use cardboard Oyster cards.

If you have a paper ODTC (or a Travelcard season ticket) then when travelling by bus this ticket can be used anywhere in London - even if the ticket is only for Zones 1-2, on the buses this ticket can be used to travel in all the zones - and even on most of the London red buses which travel outside of London.

Also note that there are a few private bus services in London which do not accept any type of 'London' ticket.

Borismaster / new style Routemaster bus. . Historic Routemaster bus.
The first of the 1000 famous new buses which were created for
Mayor Boris Johnson and are officially called New Routemaster.
These buses are used on over 25 bus routes serving much of
Central London and some suburban districts.
. The original iconic Routemaster buses are still used on heritage services over part of central London bus route №15.
Normal bus fares are charged
- but contactless bank / credit cards are NOT accepted.

There is also a website where it is possible to find the location of any bus is London . http://londonvf.co.uk/.

Tram fares

Tram passengers generally pay the same flat fare as bus passengers, and passengers with smartphone apps, contactless and Oyster cards should use the card readers on the tram stop platforms before boarding the tram. This includes at Elmers End and Wimbledon stations where the trams stop inside the railway stations' fares paid areas. ALL Passengers travelling TO Wimbledon who are using electronic ticketing, no matter what type - ie: even if it is a Travelcard season ticket - are supposed to 'touch-in' before boarding the tram.

After 'touching-in' PAYG passengers are allowed 70 minutes to complete their journey during which time the next 'touch-in' (perhaps because they needed to change to another tram to complete their journey) is not charged.

It is also possible for passengers interchanging between a tram and a bus to benefit from the 60 minute Hopper fare for a free second journey. Even passengers interchanging between buses and trams at Wimbledon station are entitled to benefit from Hopper fares, however to get around the station ticket gates blocking the Hopper fares passengers will be charged a second fare at the time of travel but are then supposed to receive an automatic refund of the second fare at a later date.

Although the two main railway stations in Croydon are in zone 5 the entire tramway system is a special fares zone and any prepaid Travelcard season ticket which is valid in zones 3, 4, 5 or 6 can be used on the trams. Note that the need for Travelcards to be valid in at least one of the zones served by the trams is one of the few differences between tram and bus fares.

Tickets bought from Tramlink ticket machines at tram stops are valid for 90 minutes and include a change of tram, if this is required to complete a journey. However the cost of cash paper tickets is much higher than the cost of a fare paid using London's Electronic Ticketing solutions.

Tramlink ticket machines also sell paper tickets valid to underground stations - however these journeys must be made via Wimbledon and the District Line - they are not accepted on any other railway services.

Tramlink ticket machines also sell One Day Travelcards and One Day / 7 Day Bus & Tram Passes; these also make for nice souvenirs of your visit!

There is more tram ticketing information in the Tramlink section below.

Croydon Tramlink. . Croydon Tramlink.
Modern light rail trams / streetcars combining private right of way and street trackage in and around Croydon, which is to the south of the Greater London metropolitan area.

River Buses

There are many different river bus operators and they all seem to charge different fare scales and some offer different discounts for passengers who are using PAYG or have a Travelcard. Generally the discounts are better for passengers with Travelcards. The services available vary between tourist-themed leisure cruises and public transport-type services aimed at local people. This page at the TfL (Transport for London) website offers more detailed information.
http://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares/river ..

Riverbus pier entry. . Tourists buying river cruise tickets in Westminster.
It is possible to use waterbuses to travel in London, fares vary depending on the company operating the service and whether it is a tourist-themed leisure cruise or aimed at local people making normal public transport-type journeys.

Cable Cars

The Emirates Air Line cable car in east London charges special (higher!) fares. Passengers who pay using London's Electronic Ticketing systems in PAYG mode should remember to touch-in at the start of their 'flight' and touch-out on arrival at the other end. Note that the cost of Air Line 'flights' is excluded from fares capping. Passengers with Oyster cards may receive discounts which are not available to passengers who pay their fares in a different way.

Passengers with paper tickets and Travelcard season tickets (of whatever type) will also need to pay an extra fare but should let the ticket staff know about their other tickets as these may entitle the holder to a discount / cheaper fare. Passengers who wish to travel on a 360° 'out and back' ride should visit the ticket office to buy a special two-way pass.

Between 10:00 and 15:00 (10am and 3pm) flights normally take about 10 minutes. Note that for the benefit of regular passengers who commute on the cable car earlier and later flights will usually take about 5 minutes, and that at very busy times daytime flights may be speeded up as well, so as to reduce queueing / waiting times.

Emirates Air Line cable car. . Emirates Air Line cable car.
Emirates Royal Victoria cable car terminus and some cranes from when the Royal Victoria Dock was a working dockyard. Close nearby is Royal Victoria DLR station. . Two Emirates Air Line cable cars and an aircraft (seen near the top of the image) pass by the distinctively styled Crystal building, close to Royal Victoria DLR station.


Photography

The railways say that their trains and stations are private property to which the public are only admitted for the purpose of travelling - and not ‘railfanning’ or filming. That said, as a general theme the 15 different organisations which operate local railway services within London tolerate amateur photography anywhere where passengers are admitted and whilst the passenger is passing through the station as part of a journey from A to B. A few train operators only permit photography in bad grace and mainly because so many people / tourists have mobile phones with cameras nowadays that it is virtually impossible (and represents bad ‘public relations’) to even try and stop them taking photographs - especially of family groups (for instance: standing next to a station name sign).

Railfans should note that if intending to stay at one station for longer than the next train they are supposed to visit the station master’s office and let them know who you are and why you are there. Some station staff might ask what you are doing or even tell you photography is not allowed. This is NOT correct but alas, some station staff like to make their own rules. (This can also happen because they were not trained properly when they started their job). It is important to understand that there is a high state of alert about a possible terrorist attack so you may be questioned by the police if taking photos. This has happened to me, several times. Of course answering truthfully about who you are, what you are doing and why is the only way to keep the authorities happy - and it saves you having to remember your previous answers. Sometimes it is useful to have a few ‘railfan’ style magazines (etc) which can be shown to anyone who questions your interest in transport. Whilst we here in Britain do not need to always carry identity cards / internal passports with us, it can be useful to have something with your name and address just in case the police decide to verify that you are of no interest to them.

Bridge view. . Bridge View.
Open-air sections of railway often have bridges over them, especially near to stations. Online maps and 'street view' camera systems represent the best way to find these, although for some locations whilst it is easy enough to see the trains the security fencing can make photography a challenge. West Hampstead Jubilee Line station. . Another hazard with attempting to photograph from bridges comes from vegetation, especially in spring, summer and autumn. This view shows Piccadilly Line trains at Sudbury Town station.

If you are stopped by any official (especially a security guard) for using your camera try to put it away (a zipped pocket is ideal) as quickly as possible. By law only a judge in a court of law has the right to demand that you delete your photographs from your camera. So it is actually a criminal offence for any police officer or member of station / railway staff to force you to do this. If in the unlikely event you are asked to do this its best to try to avoid confrontation by suggesting that you will leave the station on the next train (and of course you must then do this). If the official is really intent on you deleting your images then refuse and demand to see a superior officer. Whilst it is unlikely that events will reach this stage you should note that a police officer can confiscate your memory cards to use in a court of law at a later date.

There is a known issue (that is, known amongst ordinary people - officialdom seem to be blind to this) where some people who wear official uniforms (especially PCSO's - Police Constable Support Officers and private security guards) do not seem to understand that photography is permitted and even within the general street scene harass otherwise innocent people who are using cameras. There was one extreme example where someone believed to be a PCSO told some Austrian tourists that it was illegal to photograph buses and that they must delete their images. Tragically the tourists did not know better and complied with this request - just because someone may be an overseas visitor does not give people in authority the right act illegally.

At some stations the station master interprets the photography rule as being that whilst still image cameras are acceptable, video cameras are not.

As a general guide tripods should not be used, as they create a tripping hazard. Tripods are prohibited at London Underground stations. Also railfans should be sensitive in their subject material and try to avoid photographing people - especially ‘close-up’. Even though this is sometimes done with the CCTV surveillance cameras (albeit without the person being filmed realising it) few passengers like camera-wielding railfans being intrusive with their photography.

It is strictly forbidden to use flash or other artificial lighting on station platforms. Especially not when filming trains entering stations as it can induce short-term blindness for train drivers whose eyes have become accustomed to the dark tunnels. You may be asked to leave the station if you break this rule.

Another issue is that the press officers / media centres of some of London's rail operators are so concerned about their public image that they want to maintain 100% control of anything that shows or visually represents the transport services they provide. It is if anything an understatement to say that their attitude is one of a   paranoid fear   that people with cameras (even tourists) have the sole desire to use whatever they photograph in ways which damage the reputation of the organisation. This attitude is of course quite normal for large commercial companies, with it even having happened that they threaten transport enthusiasts who create personal websites (such as this) with prosecution (slander / libel etc) for saying things about them which they do not like. Not me, thankfully, but it has happened... of course no names are being detailed here!

The topic of harrassment of people using cameras is also raised on one of the Nostalgia, Heritage & Leisure pages on the citytransport.info web site ..

Advice if asked to pay an 'on the spot' fine

British police do not ask for money so you should NEVER be asked to pay a fine to someone who claims to be a police officer. If in doubt ask to see a superior police officer.

See caption for picture information. See caption for picture information.
Recording images of something it was known was about to become history - Surrey Quays station, East London Line, just weeks before the prolonged closure for rebuilding into part of the London Overground network. People in Strasbourg, France, photographing an historical
artifact which has been preserved for the benefit of future
generations (historic rolling stock).

Why Taking Photographs Is Important And Good

Photography is a creative activity which expands upon an historic meme of recording events which in later years will be of interest to historians and the wider population, helping future generations discover and understand how people lived in times past and how that era contributed towards creating the society in which we live today. In 'olden times' this data recording might have included paintings, mosaics, rock / cave wall art, statues, busts, miniature models, etc.

Photography also conforms with the important ethical motto of doing no harm unto others and the moral code which requires that people
take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.

Further Reading / Second Opinion

For further reading about railway photography this page at the District Dave London Underground themed discussion forum may be of interest. Although the page is titled "Photography on the Underground: Rules and Advice" it also looks at the Docklands Light Railway, Tramlink and the Mainline Railways (including Network Rail). http://districtdave.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=selfhelp&action=display&thread=6610 .


So, what to see????

As a general guide all services in the Central London area are below ground, whilst the services which reach the suburbs travel in the open air. People who just wish to sample a 'tube' train can do so by travelling on any of the 'small profile' lines as listed near the top of this page. Just expect to be in a deep level subterranean section of railway.

If you would like to see detailed diagrams showing track layouts and on which side of the track station platforms are located, then the London maps at this website may be of interest.
http://carto.metro.free.fr/metro-tram-london/ .
More links to websites of interest can be found on the further information resources section of this page.

To make planning easier this guide lists services line by line, detailing what part of the line is below ground, what part is in 'open air' and some other information which may be of interest. Because of the extensive interworking of some services some sections of line are also detailed in a separate section further down the page.

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Bakerloo Line
Bakerloo Line 1972 Mk2 Tube Stock. . Bakerloo Line 1972 Mk2 Tube Stock.
The Bakerloo Line uses 1972 Mk2 Tube Stock seen here (above left) leaving South Kenton station.
These are the oldest trains still in full-time daily service on the London Underground network.
The 1972 Mkl Tube Stock was used on the Northern Line and (for a few years) the Victoria Line, but have now been replaced.

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Below / Above Ground

In tunnel from Elephant & Castle to just outside Queens Park.

Above ground between Queens Park and Harrow & Wealdstone. There is also a short tunnel just to the north of Kensal Green station.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

. Bakerloo Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Ed g2s / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bakerloo_Line.svg
General Information

Many Bakerloo Line trains terminate at Queens Park; those which travel further north terminate at either Stonebridge Park or Harrow & Wealdstone. Some older UndergrounD maps will show the Bakerloo Line as also extending to Watford Junction, however these services operated between 1917 and 1982; nowadays only London Overground trains travel between Harrow & Wealdstone and Watford Junction. Some older UndergrounD maps will also show a section of Bakerloo Line between Baker Street and Stanmore. However this was only between 1939 and 1979; nowadays Jubilee Line trains provide services to Stanmore.

Central London:

Waterloo station Bakerloo Line platform. . Vitreous enamel platform wall cladding Embankment.
The sharply curved southbound Bakerloo Line platform at Waterloo.

Of the three stations served by both Bakerloo and Northern Line trains this is probably the best choice for passengers wanting to interchange between the two lines.
. At Embankment all the station platforms plus some passageways are clad in white vitreous enamel.
Whilst the decorative stripes are repeated on all three sets of platforms (Northern, Bakerloo, District & Circle lines) there are subtle differences in the pattern designs and colours.

Some older UndergrounD maps will include a Bakerloo Line station called Trafalgar Square. The building of the Jubilee Line saw this station being merged with the Northern Line station that used to be called Strand and renamed Charing Cross.

Changing trains at this station is not recommended because of the very long walk through a narrow passageway between the Bakerloo and Northern Line platforms.

Cockspur Street pedestrian subway mural Trafalgar Square London. Cockspur Street pedestrian subway mural Trafalgar Square London. Cockspur Street pedestrian subway mural Trafalgar Square London.
The walls of the Cockspur Street pedestrian subway exit from the Bakerloo Line ticket hall have been decorated with murals showing local buildings and historic information from the past 800+ years. Click images to see larger versions in new windows. .
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Charing Cross station Bakerloo Line wall mural. Charing Cross station Bakerloo Line wall mural. Charing Cross station Bakerloo Line wall mural.
Some of the platform wall images on the Bakerloo Line platforms at Charing Cross station.
These images reflect the proximity of the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.

At Oxford Circus station there is an easy 'same level' interchange with Victoria Line trains travelling in the same direction (ie: northbound with northbound and southbound with southbound). Interchange between northbound and southbound trains or with the Central Line is via steps and passageways.

The Bakerloo line platforms at Piccadilly Circus are unusual in that the two platform tunnels are arranged 'back to back' with outside platforms - at most subterranean stations the platforms face each other and share the same platform accesses. In addition, at the north end of the station there is a crossover track which allows passengers to see both platforms at once.

Iconic subterranean station entrance at Piccadilly Circus. . A crossover track Piccadilly Circus see London Overground Class 378 and Bakerloo Line 1972 Mk2 Tube Stock.
Two views from Piccadilly Circus station:
An iconic 'London' street entrance to a subterranean station passageway. . The Bakerloo Line platforms and crossover track as described in the text above.

At Baker Street station there is an easy 'same level' interchange with Jubilee Line trains travelling in the same direction (ie: northbound with northbound and southbound with southbound). Interchange between northbound and southbound trains or with the Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines is via steps / escalators and passageways.

Baker Street is globally renown for its association with a fictional detective (Sherlock Holmes), and the Bakerloo Line platforms (plus some other areas) use a silhouette of the famous man as a motif.

Silhouettes of Sherlock Holmes on Bakerloo Line platform at Baker Street station. . Silhouettes of Sherlock Holmes on Bakerloo Line platform at Baker Street station.
Sherlock Holmes silhouettes at Baker Street station.
As the image on the right. suggests, the large silhouettes are formed of many smaller versions of the same image.
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Statue of Sherlock Holmes at Baker Street station. . Statue of Sherlock Holmes at Baker Street station.
The large statue of Sherlock Holmes just outside Baker Street station - this is next to the main Metropolitan Line exit.
Because of the direction of the sun it is often easier to photograph the back of the statue than the front.

Stations At Different Locations With The Same Names: For historic reasons two stations served by Bakerloo Line trains are ‘duplicates’. At both Edgware Road and Paddington different Underground trains call at identically named stations which are at separate locations a short walk from each other.

The Bakerloo Line station named Edgware Road is located on the Edgware Road just north of its junction with the Marylebone Road. The other station with the same name is served by the District, Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines and is located a short walk away on the southern side of the very busy Marylebone Road.

The Bakerloo Line station named Paddington is also used by District and Circle Line trains (which travel through High Street Kensington) and is located near the main concourse of the mainline / National Rail station, whilst the Hammersmith & City and Circle Line trains (which travel through Royal Oak) use the suburban platforms (numbers 15 & 16) which are part of the mainline railway station and totally separate from the other underground lines.

Edgware Road Station Green Wall. . Edgware Road Station Green Wall.
In an experiment to try to reduce urban air pollution the south-facing wall at Edgware Road (Bakerloo Line) station has been planted as a 'green wall' which features a variety of living plants that absorb some pollutants. After several years the results of this experiment have been very encouraging, suggesting that it would be worthwhile doing likewise at other locations.

However this green wall has not met with universal acclaim, with some people saying that it looks rather 'twee' whilst critics suggest that this is little more than environmental tokenism and that if London's Transport decision-makers were really interested in reducing (or even eliminating) the street-based air pollution over which they have any control then they would be converting London's buses to electric trolleybuses, as these do not emit any tail-pipe pollution at all - making them as environmentally (and city) friendly as London's many electric railways and the Croydon Tramlink trams.

North London: The route between Queens Park and Harrow & Wealdstone is mostly located alongside the London - Glasgow West Coast Main Line (WCML). The entire route has six tracks - or more!

At Queens Park station there is an easy 'same level' interchange with London Overground trains travelling in the same direction (ie: northbound with northbound and southbound with southbound). Interchange between northbound and southbound trains is via the station ticket hall.

Travelling on a Bakerloo Line train north of Queens Park is very much recommended. Immediately to the north of this station the trains travel inside the depot trainshed (IMPORTANT: you *must* be on a Bakerloo line train, and not an Overground train) then the tracks merge and the Underground and Overground trains provide a shared service.

There is more information about this section of the Bakerloo Line in the Shared Service Routes section below

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Central Line
Central Line 1992 Tube Stock. . Central Line 1992 Tube Stock.
The Central Line uses 1992 Tube Stock, seen here (above left) from the road to Sainsbury's supermarket which also passes by the Newbury Park station car park.
Apart from closing the doors at stations and initiating station departure (which are still controlled by a 'real human') Central Line trains are fully automated. To ensure that the train drivers retain their licences to drive trains they are sometimes manually driven (especially on Sundays).
Below / Above Ground

In tunnel through Central London (just outside White City - just outside Leyton) and to the east of London between (just outside) Leytonstone and (just outside) Newbury Park via Redbridge. There is also a short tunnel between Chigwell and Grange Hill stations.

In open air at Stratford (only for the station), Leyton - Epping / Newbury Park via Woodford and White City to Ealing Broadway / West Ruislip.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

. Central Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Karldupart / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Central_Line.svg
General Information

Photographic viewpoints which I've used include:
* Depot Road which is just a little to the north of White City station,
* Victoria Road (and Chase Road) which are either side of North Acton station,
* a footbridge over the tracks near to Park Royal Piccadilly Line station,
* a footbridge over the tracks close to the Sainsbury's supermarket car park near to Newbury Park station,
* the footpath outside Newbury Park station, * and Station Way road bridge over the tracks near to Roding Valley station.

West London: White City station is one of several on the Underground which has 3 tracks and 4 platforms - normally the centre track is used for trains which terminate here. White City is also one of the few stations on the London Underground where trains pass on the right. One of the crossovers between right and left hand running is in the tunnel so not visible, but the other one is in open air and located partway between White City and East Acton stations. After East Acton the Central Line is alongside the New North Main Line (NNML). Nowadays this mainline railway route is only used by the occasional freight trains (plus one passenger train to / from Paddington a day per direction). North Acton is another station where trains sometimes terminate, but here the 3 tracks have just 3 platforms.

The line splits after North Acton, with one branch going towards Ealing Broadway. This is the route of the original 'Central London Railway'. The approach to Ealing Broadway station is alongside the Great Western Main Line and often longer distance trains from Paddington station can be seen. This includes High Speed Trains heading towards Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea and Penzance, diesel suburban trains and the electric Heathrow Express / Connect trains travelling to Heathrow Airport.

Diesel and electric trains meet at Greenford station. . Central Line.
Diesel and electric trains meet at Greenford station - note that despite having platforms on both sides specially designed for easy 'cross platform' interchange with the Central Line trains the diesel trains no longer open their doors on both sides. This change of policy seems to date from the introduction of the Class 165 trains which have sliding doors that the railway staff control (the previous trains had hand-operated doors which passengers opened and closed), and be because the railway sees what benefits passengers as being less important than what is easy for its staff. Looking down on the Central Line where the West Ruislip branch runs alongside the 1903 'New North Main Line' (NNML) which nowadays is little used - but it is proposed will 'one day' become part of HS2, the high speed railway which (if built) will link London with northern England.

This was seen from a bridge over the railway which is near to Park Royal Piccadilly Line station (accessed via the underpass below the A40 Western Avenue roadway) and a short walk from Hangar Lane Central Line station.

Especially between Hangar Lane and Greenford the railway is close to the A40 Western Avenue, and by looking out the window to the left it is possible to see the traffic. Because of the distance between stations (and the low road speed limit which is enforced by speed cameras) so if you are lucky the trains will seem to be travelling faster than the road traffic! The railway is elevated here and you will also see many houses and other buildings.

At Greenford the (half hourly, not Sundays) diesel shuttle train from Paddington via Ealing Broadway terminates in a third track between the Underground trains. Note that although there are platforms on both sides the diesel trains only use one of them. This is the last station in Zone 4. Just before South Ruislip the mainline railway route from Marylebone joins the NNML so that if you travel this far you may see some Chiltern trains travelling towards Birmingham. West Ruislip is in Zone 6. Some Chiltern Railways trains from Marylebone also call at South or West Ruislip stations and One-day Travelcards / Oyster PAYG can be used on these trains too. (If using a Travelcard remember to ensure that it is valid in Zone 6). The Chiltern trains are not frequent - check the timetable if you wish to use them. Between Ruislip Gardens and West Ruislip there is a large Central Line depot which also has a non-passenger link with the Metropolitan / Piccadilly Line Uxbridge branch. (Link not visible from passenger trains).

Greenford was London's first UndergrounD station to have up escalators from the ticket hall to the trains.

click me for video Trains at Greenford station feature in one of my ‘YouTube’ videos - using footage from the 1980's, 1990's, 2009 and 2010 the film shows a wide variety of rolling stock, including some older types of train which have now been replaced.
This can be seen by clicking either the projector icon or this link:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Gr8aoyMBAw .

Central London: Several stations show evidence of the platform lengthening works from 1938/9. Look for a widening of the station tunnel diameter partway along the platform. Holland Park (eastbound) is a good example of this. Because the section of line in Central London was originally built to follow the streets above them some stations (eg: St Pauls, Chancery Lane) have platforms separated vertically (one above the other) rather located side-by-side. In addition, the St Pauls - Bank - Liverpool Street section includes many sharp curves, as the line mirrors the historic street pattern of that very old part of London. This explains the sharply curved station platforms at Bank, as seen below.

Sharply curved platform at Bank Station - Central Line. . Sharply curved platform at Bank Station - Central Line.
Sharply curved platforms at Bank station. This is a good station to hear the famous "mind the gap" announcement.
Curved platforms pose a special problem as they have to allow for the ends of the carriage to "overhang" and depending on the sharpness of the curve this can result in large gaps between the train and the platform.
On inside curves (above left) the gap will be at the carriage ends whilst on outside curves (above right) the gap will be the centre of the carriage.
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Central Line platforms at Shepherds Bush. . Central Line platforms at Redbridge.
Looking along the platforms from the eastern end of Shepherds Bush station. . Redbridge is one of the few subterranean stations served by the small profile 'tube' lines that was built using the 'cut and cover' method. This was because it is very close to the surface. It also explains why the station has straight rather than curved (arch-shaped) walls.
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Tunnel Mouths near Newbury Park. . Award winning bus shelter Newbury Park.
A northbound train travelling towards Hainault exits the tunnel mouths very close to Newbury Park station, as seen from the footpath alongside the A12 Eastern Avenue. The former mainline railway route to Ilford which was in the gap between the tracks is now closed. This was filmed in December 2014, looking south. Looking in the opposite direction it is possible to look over a wall and see (and photograph) Newbury Park station. . The award-winning large arched concrete bus shelter outside Newbury Park station which dates from 1952, plus sign (which is illuminated at night) advertising the location of the station to passing traffic.
(The sign is at far left edge of the image where approaching traffic can easily see it).

East London: Many stations at the eastern end of the Central Line retain much of their Victorian-era architecture. The section from Leyton to Epping and round the northern side of the loop to Newbury Park is a former steam railway which only became part of the Underground in the 1940's. Many of these stations had goods yards which closed in the 1960's and have now become car parks. The last British Railways diesel train to Epping ran in 1970 and the connection (by Leyton station) has been built removed. The line between Leytonstone and Newbury Park is underground, it was built in the 1930’s and during the 1939-1945 war was used as a munitions factory with a narrow gauge railway in the tunnels. Leytonstone station has three platforms, westbound trains use an island platform and it is possible for two westbound trains to arrive simultaneously (one each from Snaresbrook and Wanstead stations).

Many stations on the Epping route are a distance apart and the trains travel more quickly than in central London. Plus there are nice views of suburban London and the countryside. Between South Woodford and Woodford the railway crosses over a busy roadway which is 5 lanes wide in each direction. This is where the M11 motorway meets the A406 North Circular Road. When it opened the road had a 70mph / 120km/h speed limit, but since the anti-car politicians came to power the speed limit was reduced by 30% (to 50mph / 80km/h) and nowadays there are digital speed cameras as well :-(

The section of railway between Buckhurst Hill and Epping are outside of London / in the county of Essex. Buckhurst Hill, Theydon Bois and Epping are traditional 'older' stations - Buckhurst Hill opened in 1856, although the present buildings date from 1892. A few photographs showing some heritage features at Buckhurst Hill station in the 1990's can be found at this link... http://citytransport.info/BuckhurstHill.htm . Unfortunately since I took these photographs the lovely frosted windows with the writing have been replaced with plain glass. Epping is a small town some miles outside of London - it is even outside the M25 orbital motorway. The journey here is through open countryside. The railway used to continue beyond Epping to Ongar, however that section closed in the 1980's. More recently however it was reopened as a private museum railway which uses steam and diesel trains. Timetable and fares information for the Epping Ongar Railway can be found at this link: http://eorailway.co.uk/ .

Loughton is one of several stations on this route which were rebuilt in the late 1930's. It is also another station which has 3 tracks and 4 platforms. For many years after the Central Line had taken over the normal passenger services steam excursion trains would travel from Loughton taking passengers to seaside destinations - often travelling via the East London Line and on to the south coast.

There is a large depot between Hainault and Grange Hill. Part of this can be seen from the platforms at Hainault station - or by travelling between these two stations.

The entire Hainault loop is in zone 4. Barkingside and Fairlop are good examples of Victorian-era stations and have a frequent train service. Near to Fairlop station is a low bridge under the railway which tall road vehicles often hit. If you want to see how a station that has had its Victorian-era platform canopies cut in half (as a cheaper alternative to costly repairs) then Chigwell may be an excellent example, but note that trains between Hainault and Woodford operate at 20 minutes intervals and the service ends early in the evenings. Between Roding Valley and Chigwell a farm can be seen out the window (look to the north, away from London). This is easiest to see in the winter, when the trees do not have any leaves. Nearby the railway crosses over the M11 Motorway.

A short walk from Roding Valley station along Station Way is a bridge over the railway which I've often used. The bridge is actually over the main Epping line but in the distance (looking south) it is possible to see where the Hainault loop joins the Epping route. A link to a Google map showing this location can be found below
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll=51.616504,0.042325&spn=0.002905,0.006899&t=m&z=17 .

For many years the section of track between Hainault and Woodford was used to test the automation system which was later used on the Victoria Line. Every one of the Victoria Line's 1967 Tube Stock trains was tested here, alongside the small fleet of 1960 Tube Stock trains which provided the main service. The only through trains to central London were the rush-hour journeys from the Hainault depot which ran in passenger service from Grange Hill. When returning to the depot at the end of the rush hours they showed a destination of Grange Hill via Woodford. However nowadays almost all services operate as through trains from Central London - normally these travel via Newbury Park and show the destination of Woodford via Hainault. when travelling towards Woodford. When leaving Woodford they show a destination of Hainault. Sometimes these trains wait a few minutes when passing through Hainault. Many passengers still change trains at Woodford, as it is usually quicker than travelling via Newbury Park.

Gants Hill is famed for having a large arched waiting area between the platforms which is similar to some stations on the Moscow metro. The station is in the middle of a large roundabout and the entrance is part of the pedestrian walkway system under the roads. Newbury Park is famed for the large arched bus shelter which was built in 1952 and is just outside the station. Note however that just because a structure is visually significant does not mean that it is also practical. The shelter may keep a person dry but is of minimal benefit on cold windy winter days. It is possible to look down upon Newbury Park station from the A12 Eastern Avenue outside the station.

Two trains side by side. . Mile End station cross platform interchange.
Westbound trains waiting to enter Leytonstone station.
The train on the left has come from Snaresbrook station whilst the train on the right has come from Wanstead station.
. Cross platform interchange with District Line and Hammersmith & City Line S Stock trains at Mile End. The Central Line train is on the far track. Both trains seen here are eastbound.
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The station entrance walkway at Leytonstone features 17 mosaic murals on the theme of the famous film director Alfred Hitchcock, who was born in Leytonstone.

More information about and photographs of these murals can be found at this link: http://www.thejoyofshards.co.uk/london/hitch/ .
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Hitchcock Mosaics Leytonstone.
A scene from No.17.
Hitchcock Mosaics Leytonstone.
Alfred Hitchcock with Marlene Dietrich and a scene from Rear Window.
The building in the Rear Window is the Green Man pub
which is located at the north end of Leytonstone High Road.
Hitchcock Mosaics Leytonstone.
A scene from Psycho.
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Bethnal Green station platform decoration. . Eastbound Central Line train describer.
The platform wall tiling at Bethnal Green is typical of the subterranean stations built under the 1935 'New Works' plan and which opened in the late 1930's and the 1940's. The colour band varied from station to station. The concealed lighting over the station name frieze is a newer addition. . Some eastbound Central Line Destinations: Woodford via Hainault trains serve all stations to Hainault via Newbury Park and then after a short wait continue on to Woodford via Grange Hill, Chigwell and Roding Valley - but often passengers travelling to these stations find it quicker to catch an Epping / Debden / Loughton train and change at Woodford.

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Circle Line
S7 Train Travelling Through Brick-Lined Deep Cutting. . Inside S7 S Stock Train.
The Circle Line uses S Stock ‘subsurface’ trains which have 3 sets of opening doors per car, air-conditioning and internally are of a walk-through design.
The photograph (above - left) shows an S Stock train arriving at Bayswater station. This section of line was built during the days of steam trains and it includes many open air sections which ventilated the tunnels and allowed the smoke to dissipate.

S Stock Variations: Although they all look the same there are two different types of S Stock train.
The S7 variant have 7 cars with only longitudinal seating. These are used on the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines.
The S7+1 variant have 8 cars with only longitudinal seating. There are only a few of these trains which are used on the Metropolitan Line.
The S8 variant have 8 cars, a mix of longitudinal and facing seats and are used on the Metropolitan Line.

Route maps inside S7 S Stock train. . Line name on S Stock train side.
S7 Stock trains have two route maps:
District Line (left);
Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines (right).

Many tourists are becoming confused
- because they look at the wrong map!
. S Stock trains show the line name and destination on their sides.
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Circle Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license: Ed g2s / DavidCane / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circle_Line.svg

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

Below / Above Ground

The main part of the Circle is almost entirely below ground, although many stations are partly or wholly in open air. The tunnels include many short open air sections which date from the days of steam trains when ventilation openings were needed to allow the smoke to clear. Only a few of these are shown on the map

The west London section between Hammersmith & Paddington is in open air, except for the flyunder below the Great Western Main Line between Westbourne Park and Royal Oak stations.

For more information see the Hammersmith & City Line and District Line sections.

Claustrophobia

twin tunnel symbol Information for people who are happy to travel on trains which are above ground but experience claustrophobia when in tunnels.

Most of the tunnels used by Circle Line trains are wide enough for two tracks (ie: a train in each direction), however there are a few locations with narrow single track tunnels. Almost all of these are very short...

* Just outside Tower Hill and Mansion House stations,
* Kings Cross St Pancras station platforms plus station approaches / exits.

There are also two tunnels the whole way between South Kensington and Gloucester Road stations plus a very short distance west of Gloucester Road station (about the length of a train). These tunnels were all built for two tracks each but when the track layout in the area was changed in the 1950's the tunnel which is used by eastbound trains was reduced to single track. However the tunnel used by westbound trains still has two tracks - one track is dedicated to Circle Line trains whilst the other track is dedicated to District Line trains. More information and some photographs from this section of track can be found in the District Line section below.

General Information

Almost the entire Circle line uses tracks shared with other trains - only the sections Aldgate - Tower Hill (including the outer two platforms at Aldgate station), Gloucester Road - High Street Kensington (including platform 2 at Gloucester Road station) and platform 2 at Edgware Road station are dedicated to Circle Line trains.

Despite its name Circle Line trains no longer go 'round and round' in a circle all day, but actually travel from Hammersmith in a loop around the Circle via Royal Oak, Baker Street, Kings Cross, Aldgate, Victoria and High Street Kensington stations before ending their journeys at Edgware Road station. They then retrace their route back to Hammersmith.

Stations At Different Locations With The Same Names:
Three stations served by Circle Line trains are ‘duplicates’. Edgware Road, Paddington and Hammersmith all feature separate stations served by several different Underground Lines.

In addition, during their journey Circle Line trains call at Paddington and Edgware Road stations twice! Furthermore, at Paddington they call at two different sets of platforms at different parts of the station!

S Stock train Notting Hill Gate station.
Looking out the open doors of an outer-rail (clockwise) westbound Circle Line train at Gloucester Road's platform No.2.
This platform is only used by Circle Line trains travelling to Edgware Road via High Street Kensington.
Opposite is eastbound platform No.3 which is used by both District and Circle line trains travelling to Victoria.

Stations At Different Locations With The Same Names: For various reasons three stations served by Circle Line trains are ‘duplicates’. At Edgware Road, Paddington and Hammersmith different Underground trains call at identically named stations which are at separate locations a short walk from each other.

At Edgware Road the Circle Line (and District Line and Hammersmith & City Line) trains use an open air station that was originally built by the Metropolitan Railway. The totally separate Bakerloo Line station with the same name is a short walk away across busy roads.

At Hammersmith the Circle (and Hammersmith & City) Line trains use the former Metropolitan Railway station which remains largely as built in 1868. The other station called Hammersmith is a short distance away across some busy roads. It is used by District & Piccadilly Line trains and has been modernised with its main entrance inside a shopping centre.

At Paddington the Circle (and Hammersmith & City) Line trains which travel through Royal Oak station use the suburban platforms numbered 15 and 16 which are alongside the mainline railway station. By way of contrast Circle (and District) Line trains which travel through High Street Kensington call at the Underground station that is located near the main concourse of the mainline / National Rail station and (at a deeper level) is also used by Bakerloo Line trains.

S Stock Circle Line underground train at Edgware Road (subsurface) station. . S Stock Circle Line underground train at Edgware Road (subsurface) station.
An eastbound / clockwise / outer rail Circle Line train travelling
via Kings Cross St. Pancras, Liverpool Street, Tower Hill, etc.,
arrives at Edgware Road station platform 1.
. A westbound S Stock Circle Line train going to Hammersmith
at Edgware Road station platform 4.
Edgware Road (subsurface) station platform information. . Edgware Road (subsurface) station platform information.
Edgware Road (subsurface) station showing which trains usually call at which platform ..

Edgware Road subsurface station has four platforms, is in the open air and was built by the Metropolitan Railway. The Circle (and District) Line trains which travel via High Street Kensington usually end their journeys at the centre two platforms whilst the Circle (and Hammersmith & City) Line trains which are travelling between Royal Oak and Baker Street use the outer two platforms. The other station called Edgware Road is a short distance away across some busy roads and is used by Bakerloo Line trains.

Northbound trains approaching Edgware Road often have to queue to enter the station and sometimes the resulting tailback even delays trains before they reach Paddington station.

Westbound S stock underground train at Liverpool Street station subsurface platform. . Westbound S stock underground train at Kings Cross St Pancras station subsurface platform.
A busy moment as an inner rail (anti-clockwise) S Stock Circle Line train calls at the westbound platform at Liverpool Street station.

With westbound trains from stations on the northern side of the Circle Line (Liverpool St - Great Portland St) travelling to over 6 different destinations it is always wise to check the electronic train describer to ensure that you travel on the correct train.
. An inner rail (anti-clockwise) S Stock Circle Line train calls at the westbound platform at the westbound platform at Kings Cross St. Pancras station. The subsurface platforms here opened in 1941 and are unique (for the subsurface network) in being more like a deep level tube station.
.
S Stock train St James's Park station. . S Stock train Notting Hill Gate station.
An outer rail (clockwise) Circle Line train travelling to Edgware Road arrives at the westbound platform at St James's Park station. . An outer rail (clockwise) Circle Line train travelling to Edgware Road departs from the northbound platform at Notting Hill Gate station.

Some History: The Genesis Of The Circle Line

The creation of what was known as the Inner Circle came from a July 1863 report by a House of Lords (British Parliament, Upper House) select committee which had been asked to consider the best proposals for railways in London. This report recommended the building of an "inner circuit of railway that should abut, if not actually join, nearly all of the principal railway termini in the Metropolis."   The new line almost succeeded in serving all of the termini stations, missing out only Marylebone (which did not exist in the 1860's), Fenchurch Street and Waterloo - the latter most likely because it is in south London and there was little appetite to include river crossings in the Inner Circle.

The project was so large and expected to be so expensive that in 1864 the Metropolitan Railway (MR) created a second railway company - the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR) - to help raise the required funds. It was intended that the two railway companies would merge when the works had been completed, but because the MDR was significantly less profitable (and there was a personality clash between the two Chairmen) this did not happen and instead they started to argue, eventually becoming bitter enemies.

To build the new sections of railway it was decided that the MR would build the western and eastern portions from Edgware Road station to South Kensington and from Moorgate Street station to Tower Hill, whilst the MDR would build the southern portion linking these two locations. Some historical accounts claim that the MDR considered building Tower Hill station with four platforms and for most (if not all) trains to end their journeys here.

Because both companies had their eyes on the lucrative museums and exhibitions traffic in the South Kensington area some of the tunnels and stations around the south-western corner of the circle were built with four tracks, with three stations also having separate platforms for each of the railway's trains.

Unfortunately the MDR ran out of money and construction could not proceed further east than an unplanned four platform terminus station at Mansion House.

In 1871 construction works had become far enough advanced to allow for Inner Circle trains to be travelling between Moorgate Street and Mansion House via High Street Kensington.

The MR was slow to build east of Moorgate Street, two of the reasons for this being the expense of building through the City area and the realisation that the planned circular railway would see its income and profits being shared with the MDR (ie: going down!). It did not help that by now funding the works that had been completed had left both railways in parlous financial conditions and therefore their main focuses had turned away from completing the Inner Circle to starting new services in other parts of London where there were prosperous suburbs that could be served much more profitably.

The lack of progress annoyed many city financiers and in 1874 they created the Metropolitan Inner Circle Completion Railway Company (MICCRC) to build the missing link.

Circle Line London 1872 Map. . 1884 Railway Map Aldgate Area London.
The horseshoe shaped Inner Circle in 1872.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Edgepedia / DavidCane / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circle_Line_(1872).svg
. The joint railway built by the Metropolitan and District Railways
in 1884 which completed the inner circle and connected them
to the East London Railway.

Map modified by me, original source & license:
Edgepedia / DavidCane / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Completing_the_Circle.svg
.

Even though the MICCRC was unable to raise sufficient finance the mere thought of competition from it encouraged the MR to quickly build the section between Moorgate Street and Aldgate. By now the MR wanted to extend its services to join the East London Railway (ELR) [this is the route which included the Brunel tunnel below the River Thames] and the South Eastern Railway (SER) which operated to the south of London*, so in conjunction with the MDR it bought out the MICCRC. In an effort to ensure that (this time) the circular service was actually realised the Houses of Parliament added a clause to the enabling legislation for the revised plans and new line to the ELR [the 1879 Metropolitan and District Railway (City Lines and Extensions) Act] which required the operation of a fully circular service and gave both the MR and MDR the legal right to run their trains on sections of railway owned by the other company. The Parliamentarians were not taking chances with possible future arguments! To help the two railways complete the project extra finance was made available from the City and the Metropolitan Board of Works.

*The Chairman of the MR, Sir Edwin Watkin, was also a director of about a dozen other railway companies, including the ELR, the SER plus the French Chemin de Fer du Nord and was instrumental of the creation of the Great Central Railway Main Line which ran services between London and Manchester via Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester. Watkin had ambitious plans for through trains between Manchester in northern England and France via a Chunnel Tunnel. He actually started building this tunnel but Parliament, citing fears of a possible French invasion of the British Isles, forbade its construction and forced him to stop.

Construction of the Inner Circle restarted in 1881. Building from Aldgate, and using its unexpired legal powers from many years previously, the MR reached Tower Hill first - in 1882. At Tower Hill the MR hurriedly built a temporary station in just three nights and two days! and named it Tower Of London. The MDR's extension from Mansion House to a different Tower Hill station was completed in 1884, and within just a few weeks the long awaited fully circular services finally began. (It could be said that the speed in which things were built and opened in those days puts to shame how slowly things are done in the present era).. However the arguments between the two railway companies still continued. The MDR pretended that the Tower of London station did not exist and refused to sell tickets to it. So within a week it ended up closing.

At first all stations served by the new service were equipped with a booking (ticket) office from each of the two railway companies. The aim behind this was because the fares income was apportioned between them on the basis of the number of passengers who travelled over each section of railway, and the two companies always wanted to ensure that passengers bought tickets which gave them the greater share of the income - even if it meant that the passengers were sold tickets for the longer and slower route around the Circle. This situation was possible because (especially at first) one railway company operated the clockwise trains and the other company the anti-clockwise trains.

In 1933 Parliament merged most of London's public transports into a new organisation called the London Passenger Transport Board. This ended the enmity between the MR and what by now was known as the District Railway. The new owners did not like being subjected to the legal requirement to operate an Inner Circle service which travelled round and round in circles and within 16 months ensured that it was repealed. This suggests that even then there was a desire to change this service so that it served two terminal stations. Perhaps if the Parliamentarians had realised the future possibilities they would have refused to repeal the statutory obligation for the full circular service.

Although many years later, the Circle was broken in 2009, with Circle Line trains now travelling from Hammersmith via Shepherds Bush around the loop as far as Edgware Road and then retracing their journeys. This change has significantly inconvenienced passengers whose journeys between north and west London now require an enforced change of trains at Edgware Road station. However, since the break in the Circle is to the north-west of the line it does mean that the City financiers retain their through services in and around the City area - thereby meaning that (for them) the spirit of the 1879 requirement to operate a filly circular service has been retained.

London's Other Circle Lines

Over the years London has had other 'Circle' railway services, however these all only form(ed) partial circles - so that trains did/do not fully encircle London. These were the Super Outer Circle, the Outer Circle, the Middle Circle and a service which is not named or marketed as a Circle.

The Super Outer Circle was a short lived service from St Pancras station via a circuitous route via north and west London to the District Railway's Earls Court station.

The Outer Circle started in 1867 at Broad Street station and followed what nowadays is known as the North London Line and West London Line to Kensington Olympia, from where the destinations varied over the years and at different times included Victoria station, Mansion House and Earls Court. In later years this service only ran between Willesden Junction and Earls Court and in the 1920 was electrified (using the same system as the Underground) as part of the London and North Western Railway's extensive suburban electric services to the north and west of London. This service closed as a result of WW2 but a very similar service is now running again as part of the London Overground network.

The Middle Circle began in 1872 as a Great Western Railway service between Moorgate Street and Mansion House which in west London travelled via what nowadays is the West London Line and Kensington Olympia station. This service ended in 1905 and was replaced by an electric Metropolitan Railway service between Kensington Olympia and Aldgate or Whitechapel (different trains served different destinations). The railway electrification was done by the GWR as part of the project to electrify the Hammersmith & City Railway which it jointly owned with the Metropolitan Railway. Later the service was cut back again to become a shuttle between Edgware Road and Kensington Olympia, and it ended completely in 1940 as a result of WW2 bomb damage.

A map showing the above Circle services plus the Inner Circle can be found at this link:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Circle_Routes_of_Victorian_London.png .

In 2012 London Overground starting running what amounts to a new outer circle service that travels via the East London Line, South London Line, West London Line and North London Line. However, instead of through trains this is operated in two segments with passengers who want to make a complete circuit needing to change trains at Clapham Junction and either Canonbury or Highbury & Islington. Note that travelling complete circles using these services should not be attempted if paying fares using an Oyster card in PAYG mode or a contactless card. Instead paper One Day Travelcards are required, or since the London Overground Network is part of the mainline railway (National Rail) so the All Line Rover, BritRail and Eurail passes can be used on these trains.



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District Line

The District Line uses two different types of ‘subsurface’ trains:
1) The main section of the District Line (Ealing Broadway / Richmond / Wimbledon - Upminster) uses both D78 subsurface trains which have 4 single leaf doors per car and the new air-conditioned walk-through S Stock trains which have 3 sets of double doors per car.
2) The Edgware Road - High Street Kensington - Earls Court - Putney Bridge - Wimbledon service only uses the S Stock trains.

District Line D78 stock. . Inside District Line D78 stock.
District Line D78 subsurface train seen from another train whilst passing at Ealing Common depot* (above left). The internal view was taken at Wimbledon station and also seen is a British Railways Class 455 train in SouthWest Trains livery.

*Ealing Common Depot can be seen from District and Piccadilly Line trains whilst travelling between Ealing Common and Acton Town stations.
S7 Train Arrives At Notting Hill Gate station. . Inside S7 S Stock Train.
District Line S7 Stock subsurface train travelling to Wimbledon arrives at Notting Hill Gate station (above left).

S Stock Variations: Although they all look the same there are two different types of S Stock trains.
The S7 variant have 7 cars with only longitudinal seating. These are used on the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines.
The S7+1 variant have 8 cars with only longitudinal seating. There are only a few of these trains which are used on the Metropolitan Line.
The S8 variant have 8 cars, a mix of longitudinal and facing seats and are used on the Metropolitan Line.

Route maps inside S7 S Stock train. . Line name on S Stock train side.
S7 Stock trains have two route maps:
District Line (left);
Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines (right).

Many tourists are becoming confused
- because they look at the wrong map!
. S Stock trains show the line name and destination on their sides.
.
District Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license: Ed g2s / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:District_Line.png

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

Below / Above Ground

Almost entirely below ground in central London. On the main east-west section in open air at Whitechapel, Blackfriars (a little), Sloane Square, South Kensington and Earls Court stations. Because the line was built for steam trains there are many small ventilation portals which allow in daylight and fresh air. Only a few of these are shown on the map.

In east London in open air from Upminster all the way to Bow Road, which is partially open air and partly in tunnel.

In west London in open air from West Kensington to Richmond / Ealing Broadway, West Brompton to Wimbledon (although there is a short tunnel which does not have a station) and on the Olympia branch.

The Edgware Road - Earls Court section is almost entirely below ground from 'near to' Edgware Road to High Street Kensington. The stations on this route - and the sections of tunnel between them - also include many short open air sections; this dates from the days of steam trains when ventilation openings were needed to allow the smoke to clear.

Claustrophobia

twin tunnel symbol Information for people who are happy to travel on trains which are above ground but experience claustrophobia when in tunnels.

Most of the tunnels used by District Line trains are wide enough for two tracks (ie: a train in each direction), however there are a few locations with narrow single track tunnels. Almost all of these are very short...

* Westbound trains from Upney approaching Barking (flyunder - to pass below other tracks),
* Just outside Tower Hill and Mansion House stations,
* Northbound trains West Brompton - Earls Court (flyunder - to pass below other tracks),
* Southbound trains High Street Kensington - Earls Court (flyunder - to pass below other tracks).

There are also two tunnels the whole way between South Kensington and Gloucester Road stations plus a very short distance west of Gloucester Road station (about the length of a train - as seen below). Both of these tunnels were built for two tracks each but when the track layout in the area was changed in the 1950's the tunnel which is used by eastbound trains was reduced to single track. However the tunnel used by westbound trains still has two tracks - one track is dedicated to Circle Line trains whilst the other track is dedicated to District Line trains.

Westbound tracks west of Gloucester Road station. . Eastbound tracks west of Gloucester Road station.
District and Circle line tracks as seen from Gloucester Road station looking towards Earls Court and High Street Kensington stations.

Left: This tunnel is only used by westbound trains - seen here is a District line train travelling towards Earls Court,
next to it are the Circle line tracks which lead to High Street Kensington.

Right: This tunnel is only used by eastbound trains and the tracks from Earls Court and High Street Kensington merge into one.
Although built for two tracks, nowadays the eastbound tunnels only have one set of tracks.
.
General Information

If you have a very old map it might show a branch between Acton Town and South Acton, however this closed on 28th February 1959.

Stations At Different Locations With The Same Names: For historic reasons three stations served by District Line trains are ‘duplicates’. At Edgware Road, Paddington and Hammersmith different Underground trains call at identically named stations which are at separate locations a short walk from each other.

At Edgware Road the District Line (and Circle Line and Hammersmith & City Line) trains use an open air station that was originally built by the Metropolitan Railway. The totally separate Bakerloo Line station with the same name is a short walk away across busy roads.

At Paddington the District Line trains use the Underground station which is also used by Bakerloo Line trains and is located near the main concourse of the mainline / National Rail station whilst the Hammersmith & City Line trains use the suburban platforms (numbers 15 & 16) which are part of the mainline railway station and totally separate from the other underground lines.

At Hammersmith the District Line trains use the modernised former Metropolitan District Railway station which is shared with Piccadilly Line trains. The main entrance to this station is inside a shopping centre and close to Hammersmith bus station. Hammersmith & City (and Circle) Line trains use the former Metropolitan Railway station which is a short walk away across some busy roads.

Bow Road station. . Bow Road station.
Bow Road station was opened in 1902 by the Whitechapel and Bow Railway. The station booking hall is a Grade II listed building.
Also seen here is the view looking down to the platforms as seen from the station ticket hall (filmed through glass).

The route to Upminster: The surface section of this route has four tracks with two used by Underground trains and two used by C2C trains from Fenchurch Street station. The section between Aldgate East and Barking is also used by Hammersmith & City Line trains - see the Shared Service Routes section below.

Historic wall of London at Tower Hill station. . Vitreous enamel platform wall cladding Embankment.
A small section of the historic wall of London.
This is at the back of the westbound platform at Tower Hill station
NB: remember that for safety reasons flash photography is prohibited on the London Underground.
. At Embankment all the station platforms plus some passageways are clad in white vitreous enamel.
Whilst the decorative stripes are repeated on all three sets of platforms (Northern, Bakerloo, District & Circle lines) there are subtle differences in the pattern designs and colours.

Central London: Mansion House is best avoided as the station staff especially dislike people using cameras. Although below ground Embankment is well lit and the station platforms are partially staggered, making it easier to see the whole of the trains on the opposite platform (albeit from the back). Westminster station was rebuilt in the 1990's and has won many awards for its modern architecture. The metal flooring and grey concrete walls gives the interchange to the Jubilee Line a distinctive 'space station' ambiance. However this is another station where passengers using their cameras are unwelcome. Victoria is an extremely busy station where the platforms are frequently very crowded.

Temple station London . Sloane Square station London
The platforms at Temple station. Above the tracks daylight can be seen entering from a small ventilation portal. . Above the platforms at Sloane Square is an iron conduit carrying the former River Westbourne, which is now the Ranelagh Sewer.
This station's arched glass roof was destroyed in an air raid in 1940.

projector icon Temple station in 1990 and 2014/5 features in one of my ‘YouTube’ videos. Also seen (in 2015) is the local area, including a nearby park with a ventilation portal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94dKoxjl300 .

Olympia service: When the service is operating District Line trains to Kensington Olympia trains only normally travel there from High Street Kensington station (usually bay platform No. 3) via Earls Court station. This service only normally operates at the weekends and for special events, and even then with long waits between trains (typically 20 or 30 minutes). Instead passengers are expected to either travel by bus (which might cost an extra fare) or travel a much longer route changing to London Overground (West London Line) or Southern trains at West Brompton. Many freight trains also pass through Kensington Olympia station, as the West London Line links railways to the north and the south of London.

Until 1946 this station was known as Addison Road.

projector icon Kensington Olympia station features in one of my ‘YouTube’ videos. Most footage comes from 2011 but there are additional scenes from 1968 and the 1980's.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOnovv49zaE .

Historic train describer Earls Court. . Kensington Olympia Station.
Historic eastbound train describer at Earls Court.

The blank position might have been used by the through trains (from Ealing Broadway) to the seaside town of Southend-On-Sea which were known as the Southend Corridor Express.
These trains ran from 1st June 1910 until 1st October 1939, with (usually) three trains a day, per direction, changing between steam and electric locomotives at East Ham or Barking stations.
. Kensington Olympia station as seen looking north from a road bridge.

This station is mainly served by trains operated by London Overground (West London Line) and Southern.
In addition many goods (freight) trains travel through here.
The residential buildings on the right are on the site of further platforms at this formerly very busy station.
For many years this was known as Addison Road station.

The route to Ealing Broadway: This is mostly shared with Piccadilly Line trains and is looked at on the Shared Service Routes section below.

The route to Richmond: This is shared (at different locations) with Piccadilly Line and London Overground [North London Line] services and is looked at on the Shared Service Routes section below.

The route to Wimbledon: This is the only District Line branch which is served by trains which use both the east-west route via Victoria and the north-south route via High Street Kensington. It is looked at below the next photographs.

Ealing Broadway, Wimbledon & Richmond are busy suburban stations in zones 3 or 4 where there is a wider variety of trains to see. More information about them can be found further down this page.

Paddington subsurface station arched roof tunnel ventilation gaps. . High Street Kensington station.
Paddington station (District & Circle Line platforms) is one of several which retains its distinctive arched roof. This section of line was built during the days of steam trains and it includes many open air sections which ventilated the tunnels and allowed the smoke to dissipate.

The bridge forms one of the walking routes between the Bakerloo Line and platform 1.

In the far distance can be seen the back of a stationary train that is queueing to enter Edgware Road station. This photograph was taken at 14:30 (2.30pm).
. High Street Kensington station has four platforms.
The two platforms on the right with S Stock trains are used by District and Circle line trains travelling to / from Edgware Road.

Platform 3 is used on days when District Line trains are travelling to Olympia whilst platform 4 is rarely used by trains carrying passengers.

Platforms 3 and 4 are terminals (bay platforms), the tracks end at the far end of the station - the buffer stop red lights at the end of the track for platform 3 can be seen in the larger image.

Edgware Road - Wimbledon: In addition to the main east - west service through central London there is also a north - south District Line service which travels Edgware Road - High Street Kensington - Earls Court - Putney Bridge - Wimbledon. Between Edgware Road and High Street Kensington stations this route is also served by Circle Line trains.

Nowadays both District and Circle Line trains end their journeys at Edgware Road station, Circle Line trains normally use platform No.2 and District Line trains platform No. 3.

Northbound trains approaching Edgware Road often have to queue to enter the station and sometimes the resulting tailback even delays trains before they reach Paddington station.

Originally the Edgware Road - Wimbledon service only ran between High Street Kensington and Putney Bridge. These trains were extended to Edgware Road in 1926 and for a while in the 1950's - 1970's sometimes travelled as far as Aldgate via Kings Cross.

The Edgware Road - High Street Kensington (- South Kensington) route was originally built by the Metropolitan Railway for the Inner Circle service and most of the stations are partially or wholly in open air. Paddington, Bayswater and Notting Hill Gate stations still retain their distinctive arched trainshed roofs. Of the three Notting Hill Gate is the best for seeing the roof (as seen in the photograph at the top of this District Line section). High Street Kensington station has been rebuilt and the station entrance is now at the end of a shopping arcade.

Inside West Brompton station District Line trainshed. . Southfields station frontage.
Inside West Brompton station District Line trainshed.
Both elevated walkways have steps which lead down to the platforms.
. Station frontage detail at Southfields - although built by the London & South Western Railway this station has always been served by Metropolitan District Railway / District Line trains. In 1905 the trains switched from steam to electric traction. Mainline trains stopped serving this station in 1941 but even today some SouthWest Trains services pass through here, albeit mostly not carrying passengers.

The route to Wimbledon: Inside the trainshed at the Victorian-era West Brompton station is an unusual series of walkways which cross the Underground tracks at different levels. This station is also served by trains which use the West London Line (WLL) - namely the London Overground Clapham Junction - Willesden Junction (- Stratford) service and the Southern Milton Keynes - South Croydon service. Interchanging between the southbound WLL and northbound District Line platforms is at grade, however in the opposite direction requires using the steps and elevated walkways. This station has Pink Oyster card readers which passengers interchanging between Underground and Overground / Southern trains who are paying fares via Oyster PAYG should use for cheaper fares if their journey does not include Zone 1.

Fulham Broadway station has been modernised and the new station entrance is through a shopping mall. The old station entrance is no longer used by railway passengers and has been converted into a retail shop, which is now closed. The historic trainshed has a glass roof which lets in daylight, however the newer parts of the station are fully enclosed. Putney Bridge has three platforms, one of which was dedicated to trains which terminated here. However because the S Stock trains are too long to fit this platform it is no longer used. The railway crosses the River Thames just south of Putney Bridge station. Note that Putney Bridge is for road traffic, the bridge used by the trains is called Fulham Railway Bridge and there is a pedestrian walkway on the western side of this bridge.

Parsons Green - East Putney is elevated, offering interesting views of mostly traditional British terraced housing in a very expensive part of London.

At East Putney the District Line merges with the mainline railway. The route from here to Wimbledon was built by the London & South Western Railway and the architecture of the two intermediate stations reflects this. Nowadays only the District Line operates local 'all stations' passenger services along this line, although a small number of SouthWest Trains (SWT) services still travel along here. Mostly these are travelling to / from Wimbledon depot. SWT services also use this route when other lines are closed for track maintenance. This section of railway only became part of London Underground in 1994, when the former British Railways was being privatised and split-up into many smaller businesses. Even now much of the signalling on this route is controlled by Network Rail, as part of the national railway network. Between Wimbledon Park and Wimbledon the trains pass a SWT depot. At Wimbledon the District Line has four platforms, these are located on the opposite side of the station to the Croydon trams and even seeing the two at the same time is 'a challenge'. A photograph showing a tram and Underground train can be seen in the Busier Suburban Stations section below

Fulham Railway Bridge. . Fulham Railway Bridge.
A train crossing Fulham Railway Bridge (left) and a plaque at the southern end of the bridge which was erected after its refurbishment (right).
This is the only bridge across the River Thames which is used by UndergrounD trains that has a footpath for pedestrians. It is very near the confusingly named Putney Bridge station - the confusion is because Putney Bridge is a road bridge and it is 10 minutes walk from this station!
These photographs were taken in the morning, in the afternoons the sun shines on the other side of the bridge.

Exploring On Foot

Photographic viewpoints in south-west London which I've used include:
* The walkway alongside the trains on Fulham Railway Bridge,
* The Thames Path on the bank of the River Thames near to Fulham Railway Bridge,
* A footbridge over the railway from Keswick Road,
* Looking both ways (north and south) from where Cromer Villas Road crosses over the railway,
* Passing trains on the railway bridge over Granville Road,
* Looking both ways from the road bridge outside Wimbledon Park station.

Below are some links to Google maps showing some of these locations.

Putney Bridge station, Putney Bridge, Fulham Railway Bridge, East Putney station.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ll=51.465264,-0.211401&spn=0.007392,0.013797&t=m&z=16

Between East Putney and Southfields stations.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.4520817,-0.2147479,15z

A closer view of Kewsick Road showing the location of the footbridge over the railway.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll=51.455498,-0.212034&spn=0.002895,0.006899&t=m&z=17

The junction of Cromer Villas Road / Sutherland Grove and the East Putney Tunnel exit (a satellite photograph).
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.4525841,-0.2092284,252m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

Wimbledon Park station and an entrance to the park.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ll=51.435792,-0.202367&spn=0.003699,0.006899&t=m&z=17

The entrance to the Fulham Railway Bridge is very near to Putney Bridge station and crossing this bridge on foot offers a very different way to experience the District Line. There are also excellent views of the trains crossing the bridge from the river bank (Thames Path) and from Putney Bridge - although from here the noise of the road traffic will prevent you from hearing the passing trains. If filming from the Thames Path or Putney Bridge the sun is in the best direction in the afternoon.

projector icon District Line trains crossing the River Thames on Fulham Railway Bridge, a river bus and the WW2 pillbox next to Putney Bridge station feature in one of my ‘YouTube’ videos:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5XEYBTap7s .

On the south side of the river Thames there is a choice of walking routes towards the next photo-spots; either along Putney High Street (the Exchange shopping centre has places to buy food and free toilets) or along Oxford Road which is a quiet residential street. Just to the east of East Putney station is Keswick Road, walking along this road will lead to a foot bridge over the railway where it is possible to look down on the passing trains and (if looking to the south) an entrance to the East Putney Tunnel.

Keswick Road ends at a road named East Hill. On the other side of this road (slightly offset) is Sutherland Grove. This leads to Southfields station and passes the Cromer Villas Road and Granville Road photo-spots.

projector icon
More ‘YouTube’ video - most of these also show some older types of train which have now been replaced.


Lineside and bridge views (look up or look down) at Keswick Road, Cromer Villas Road and Granville Road in 1990, 2014 and 2015,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-V-1Bz2gTA .

District Line and SWT trains at Southfields station, filmed in 2014.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp9J-F0thYY .

Trains at (and nearby) Wimbledon Park station in 1990, 2011, 2014 and 2015,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmPNb3mUCTA .

Lineside views of trains passing Wimbledon Park (not the station) in 1990, 2014 and 2015,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vmh6R8e2GQ ..

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East London Line
Below / Above Ground

In open air from New Cross / New Cross Gate to just north of Surrey Quays, at Whitechapel plus a little to the north of the station and much of the route to Shoreditch.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .





General Information

Strictly speaking this line no longer exists, but of course it can still be seen on many older and historic maps.

Nowadays the line is part of the London Overground network, under whose heading more information can be found.

. East London Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Ed g2s / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:East_London_Line.png
Wapping Station East London Line. . Brunel Tunnel East London Line.
Two views taken at Wapping station just a few days before the closure of the East London Line for conversion into part of the London Overground network. These photographs also show A stock trains and the historic Brunel tunnel of 1843 which was the first ever tunnel to be built under a river.


Hammersmith and City Line

The Hammersmith & City Line uses S Stock ‘subsurface’ trains: which feature air-conditioning and internally are of a walk-through design.

S7 Stock Train At Westbourne Park Station. . Inside S7 S Stock Train.
The Hammersmith & City Line uses S Stock ‘subsurface’ trains, seen here (above left) at the 1871 platforms at Westbourne Park station.
These trains have 3 sets of opening doors per car, air-conditioning and internally are of a walk-through design.

S Stock Variations: Although they all look the same there are two different types of S Stock trains.
The S7 variant have 7 cars with only longitudinal seating. These are used on the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines.
The S7+1 variant have 8 cars with only longitudinal seating. There are only a few of these trains which are used on the Metropolitan Line.
The S8 variant have 8 cars, a mix of longitudinal and facing seats and are used on the Metropolitan Line.

Route maps inside S7 S Stock train. . Line name on S Stock train side.
S7 Stock trains have two route maps:
District Line (left);
Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines (right).

Many tourists are becoming confused
- because they look at the wrong map!
. S Stock trains show the line name and destination on their sides.
.
Hammersmith & City Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license: Ed g2s / Karldupart / Perhelion / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hammersmith_%26_City_Line.svg

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

Below / Above Ground

Almost entirely below ground in central London, Edgware Road, Farringdon and Barbican stations are in open air. At Liverpool Street one end of the platform is in open air. The tunnels between Kings Cross and Barbican stations include some short open air sections which date from the days of steam trains when ventilation openings were needed to allow the smoke to clear.

In west London open air between Hammersmith & Paddington, except for the short flyunder below the Great Western Main Line between Westbourne Park and Royal Oak stations.

In east London open air at Whitechapel and then from Bow Road to Barking.

Claustrophobia

twin tunnel symbol Information for people who are happy to travel on trains which are above ground but experience claustrophobia when in tunnels.

Most of the tunnels used by Hammersmith & City Line trains are wide enough for two tracks (ie: a train in each direction), however there are one location which has narrow single track tunnels.

* This is at Kings Cross St Pancras station - the platforms plus station approaches / exits.

General Information

Until 1988 this service was officially part of the Metropolitan Line (albeit a separately operated branch) and at some locations might still be advertised as such. The name 'Hammersmith and City' is taken from the Hammersmith and City Railway (H&CR) which was jointly owned by the Metropolitan and Great Western Railways.

Central London: The Hammersmith & City Line operates along the entire length of the first section of the Metropolitan Railway which opened in January 1863 and extended from Paddington to Farringdon Street (nowadays just known as Farringdon) via Baker Street station. Over the years several of the stations on this section of railway have changed their names, these include Moorgate Street / Moorgate, Aldersgate / Barbican and Gower Street / Euston Square.

Baker Street is of course one of London‘s most famous stations. Hammersmith & City (and Circle) Line trains use the original 1863 platforms which are located just below the Marylebone Road and numbered 5 & 6.They have been restored to as near their original condition as possible. However since the original fresh air portals which allowed daylight to enter the station (and steam engine smoke to escape) have been covered over they have been fitted with electric lighting so as to help recreate this effect. The platform walls feature many plaques showing old plans and photographs of the station as it was many years ago. Baker Street has the most platforms that are served by London Underground trains in all London. Four platforms are used by Metropolitan Line trains, two platforms by Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines trains plus four deep level tube train platforms - 10 in total! Just outside the front of the station there is a large statue of Sherlock Holmes which commemorates the fictional detective's association with 221B Baker Street.

The platforms at Great Portland Street also comprise much historic brickwork and heritage style lighting. There is also a daylight / ventilation portal at one end of the station.

Although Edgware Road (subsurface) was an original 1863 Metropolitan Railway station, in the 1920's it was rebuilt to have four platforms. This was part of a plan to reduce congestion on the two track section of railway between Baker Street and Finchley Road stations by building new deep level tube tunnels from just to the west of Edgware Road station to just north of the present-day Kilburn station. However the planned new route was abandoned after new safety rules prohibited the compartment type of train that the Metropolitan Railway used on its main line services from travelling through deep level tube tunnels. Instead a solution was found which included building new tunnels between Finchley Road and Baker Street stations as an extension to an existing tube line.

The subsurface platforms at Kings Cross St Pancras date from 1941. For most of their length they comprise twin circular shaped tunnels with a side platform, thereby creating the ambiance of a deep level ‘tube’ train station. There is a photograph showing this on the Circle Line section.

The route from here to Moorgate has four tracks, the other tracks are known variously as the Widened Lines or the City Widened Lines. Nowadays some of this route is used by mainline trains as part of the Thameslink service, these can sometimes be seen whilst travelling between Kings Cross and Farringdon stations. Also visible is the remains of the westbound platform at the Kings Cross station which Underground trains stopped using in 1941. A wall prevents sight of the former eastbound platform and the platforms which Thameslink trains stopped using in 2007.

The route between Barbican and Moorgate dates from 1965 when the tracks were realigned and placed in tunnels as part of an urban regeneration scheme which included the building of the Barbican complex. Moorgate station also used to be open air but is now under an office block. This station also has 10 platforms. Four of these are used by Metropolitan / Hammersmith & City / Circle Lines trains (two for through trains and two bay platforms), two platforms are for Widened Lines trains (no longer used) and four platforms are used by deep level tube trains (two as part of the mainline railway system).

S Stock Trains Barbican station. . S Stock underground train historic platform Baker Street station.
S7 and S8 Stock trains arriving at and departing from Barbican station (both trains are moving as when stopped here they fill the platforms). When first built this station had an arched roof but it was destroyed in WW2.

On the right are the now disused Widened Lines - as detailed above.
. A Hammersmith & City Line S Stock train calls at platform 5, Baker Street station. The historic platforms 5 and 6 were part of the original Metropolitan Railway of 1863.

There are more photographs from this station in the sections which look at the Metropolitan, Bakerloo and Jubilee Lines.

Widened Lines: (This section includes some history as this helps explain some features of the present-day route).

Because of the large number of trains from other railway companies§ which wanted to access London's Financial District the 1865 extension of the original Metropolitan Railway from Farringdon to Moorgate was built with four tracks, and a pair of extra tracks were added between Farringdon and Kings Cross St Pancras stations.

§The railway companies included the Midland Railway, the Great Northern Railway and the London, Chatham & Dover Railway.

Some of the trains which used the Widened Lines travelled the whole way from Kings Cross or St. Pancras to Moorgate, others only travelled between Kings Cross / St. Pancras and Farringdon - many of these trains were on services to / from various destinations in south London and crossed the River Thames on Blackfriars bridge. For a while there were also services from south London which went to Moorgate, only using the Widened Lines between Farringdon and Moorgate. In addition many goods (freight) trains used the Widened Lines, some of these served the various goods yards which were near Farringdon station, others were on longer journeys between north and south London.

In the days of electric traction some Metropolitan Railway services that terminated at Moorgate also used the Widened Lines. But only when travelling eastbound, ie: towards Moorgate.

Nowadays only the Thameslink service which links destinations to the north and south of London still uses the Widened Lines. However since 2009 they have only used the section between St Pancras and Farringdon stations.

Prior to 2009 some Thameslink trains from the north of London travelled all the way from St Pancras to Moorgate. The reason why the section between Farringdon and Moorgate closed is that when Thameslink trains were lengthened from 8 to 12 carriages it was decided that the only way that the northbound platform at Farringdon could be extended to accept the longer trains was to build over the trackbed of the route to Moorgate. Extending the other end of the platform at Farringdon was not done because of a downhill gradient that was thought to be too steep for a station platform. This explains why Moorgate and Barbican stations have two disused platforms.

Longer term plans are to re-connect the closed section of the Widened Lines to the Underground's tracks and use it as additional sidings, so it is unlikely that passengers will be able to travel along this section of track again.

City Widened Lines map. . Thameslink and London Underground trains at Farringdon station London.
The Metropolitan Railway's main route and its City Widened Lines.
Vine Street Depot belonged to the Metropolitan Railway.
Smithfield Market Goods belonged to the GWR.
The GNR was the Great Northern Railway.

Map modified by me, original source & license:
Edgepedia / DavidCane / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:City_Widened_Lines.svg
. Thameslink Class 319 trains using the Widened Lines platforms
and London Underground trains at Farringdon station.

When looking at the historic information about the Metropolitan Railway it is important to remember that in those days it was just one of the many British railway companies. The MR saw itself as being a mainline railway that in every way was equal in status to its contemporaries. Therefore it would be wrong to think in terms of 'present-day' terminologies such as 'rapid transit', 'urban metro', 'subway', etc.

Stations At Different Locations With The Same Names: For historic reasons three stations served by Hammersmith & City Line trains are ‘duplicates’. At Edgware Road, Paddington and Hammersmith different Underground trains call at identically named stations which are at separate locations a short walk from each other.

At Edgware Road the Hammersmith & City Line, Circle Line and District Line trains use the former Metropolitan Railway station. The totally separate Bakerloo Line station with the same name is a short walk away across busy road junctions.

At Paddington the Hammersmith & City Line trains (and Circle Line trains travelling to / from Hammersmith) use the suburban platforms (numbers 15 & 16) which are part of the mainline railway station and totally separate from the other underground lines. These platforms are partly in open air and many First Great Western and Heathrow Express / Connect trains can be seen from them.

At Hammersmith the Hammersmith & City (and Circle) Line trains use the former Metropolitan Railway station which remains largely as built in 1868. A short walk away across some busy roads is the former District Railway station which nowadays is used by District & Piccadilly Line trains and has been modernised with its main entrance now inside a shopping centre.

S Stock and class 360 trains at Royal Oak. . train on railway bridge over Freeston Road in west London.
A Hammersmith & City Line S Stock train travelling towards Hammersmith arrives at Royal Oak station. Alongside and using one of the adjacent Great Western Main Line tracks is a Class 360 Heathrow Connect service to Heathrow Airport. . A Hammersmith & City Line S Stock train travelling towards Hammersmith crosses Freeston Road, which is a short walk from Latimer Road station.

West London: Between Paddington and Royal Oak the line runs alongside the northern side of the mainline railway, and between Royal Oak and Westbourne Park the Underground trains use a dive-under to swap between the northern and southern side of the mainline trains. Royal Oak is a good location for watching passing mainline trains, including the Heathrow Express, local diesel trains to Reading and InterCity 125 High Speed Trains to Bristol, South Wales, Devon, Cornwall etc. However, because you will be looking south it will often be easier to photograph the trains when the weather is cloudy.

The section Westbourne Park - Hammersmith is on a brick arch viaduct which in 1864 was built by the Great Western Railway's (GWR) and served by its broad-gauge trains - these had tracks which were 7 ft 0¼ in [2140 mm] apart). Originally there were only a few stations, with more opening over a number of years.

The present-day Wood Lane station dates from 2008. Over the years this station has been opened and closed several times, its 2008 reopening was because it is very near the large ‘Westfield’ shopping centre that opened in the same year. Also nearby is the Central Line‘s White City station.

Just outside Hammersmith station the trains pass a small depôt. Hammersmith station was built by the Metropolitan Railway in 1868.

S Stock Train on brick arch viaduct. . S Stock Train near Latimer Road station.
A southbound Hammersmith & City Line S Stock train travelling towards Hammersmith approaches Latimer Road station.
The railway arches below the tracks are used as light industrial workshops.
. A northbound Hammersmith & City Line S Stock train travelling
towards Barking passes the former route to the West London Line
as it arrives at Latimer Road station.

Closed Link At Latimer Road: This link was built as part of the original Hammersmith & City Railway. It went to the nearby West London Line and originally was used by GWR services which went to Addison Road station (now known as Kensington Olympia). Over the years it was used by both GWR and Metropolitan Railway services to various destinations, including the Middle Circle service which ran between Moorgate and Mansion House via Addison Road. Eventually however only Metropolitan Railway trains on the short Edgware Road - Addison Road shuttle used this link and it was completely closed in 1940 as a result of air raid bomb damage.

East London: The Hammersmith & City Line joins the District Line at Aldgate East station. Some readers may recall that off-peak trains used to terminate at Whitechapel but nowadays they continue further, usually all the way Barking although it is still possible for them to terminate in the bay platform at Plaistow. Since the introduction of the S Stock a few Hammersmith & City Line trains even travel to Upminster. This is very rare. The through trains to New Cross / New Cross Gate on the East London Line are now but a distant memory.

The route from midway between Bow Road and Bromley-by-Bow stations to Upminster has four (or more) tracks, the other pair of tracks are used by C2C services between Fenchurch Street and the coastal town of Southend-On-Sea. Further information can be found in the Shared Service Routes section below.

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Jubilee Line
Jubilee Line uses 1996 tube stock. . Jubilee Line uses 1996 tube stock.
The Jubilee Line uses 1996 tube stock seen here (above left) by using a telephoto lens to get around the visual blockage caused by the close mesh railings of the public footbridge just south of West Hampstead station.
Apart from closing the doors at stations and initiating station departure (which are still controlled by a 'real human') Jubilee Line trains are fully automated.

.
Below / Above Ground

Open air Stanmore - Finchley Road and Canning Town - Stratford.
The rest is underground.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

. Jubilee Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Ed g2s / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jubilee_Line.svg
General Information

Jubilee Line Part 1: The section from Stanmore to Wembley Park opened in 1932, originally as part of the Metropolitan Railway. Because of soaring passenger numbers the existing Metropolitan Railway route could not cope with demand and a solution was found in building a new tube sized line south from Finchley Road to reach the Bakerloo Line at Baker Street, and then extend the Bakerloo Line trains to Stanmore. In 1979 this route was diverted south of Baker Street to run along a new alignment to Charing Cross via Bond Street and Green Park stations which became known as the Jubilee Line.

Between Wembley Park and Finchley Road the route is shared with the Metropolitan Line and Chiltern Railways services from Marylebone station; there is more information about this in the 'shared service' section below.

St Johns Wood is especially feted for its architecture and the distinctive 1930's 'uplighter' lights in the escalator shaft. A short walk from this station is Abbey Road, where there is a famous (music) recording studio and zebra crossing as used by the Beatles pop group on the cover of one of their records.

Willesden Green station. . West Hampstead station waiting room.
Two Jubilee Line trains at the historic Willesden Green station as seen from Lydford Road railway bridge*. Although originally built by the Metropolitan Railway, nowadays Metropolitan Line trains only stop here at times of travel disruption. On the left can be seen the tracks used by Chiltern Railways trains which travel to / from London Marylebone station. . Inside the waiting room at West Hampstead station with
a 1996 Tube Stock train at the northbound platform.
* This link leads to a Google map showing this location; there is more information about this in the 'shared service' section below.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll=51.547403,-0.213118&spn=0.011636,0.027595&t=m&z=15 .

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St Johns Wood escalator shaft. . St Johns Wood escalator shaft.
Escalator shaft at St Johns Wood which opened in 1939, showing the bronze uplighters and heritage-style modern metal escalators (plus fixed step central staircase) which look as if they still include real wood in their construction. . The Jubilee Line platform walls at Baker Street station feature murals depicting scenes from seven of Conan Doyle's stories about the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
This image shows a scene from The Sign Of Four.
.
Bond Street station. . Southwark Jubilee Line platforms.
A Jubilee Line 1996 tube stock train at Bond Street station.
Above the seats can be seen the 'wrapping paper' motif which represents a wrapped gift that had been purchased in one of the many shops (retail outlets / stores) in the vicinity of this station.
. North Greenwich - Westminster have platform edge doors;
this is Southwark station.

Jubilee Line Extension The Jubilee Line route between Green Park and Stratford opened in 1999 and is often still known as the Jubilee Line Extension (JLE). At the same time the Jubilee Line platforms at Charing Cross were closed, although when there is disruption to the service trains still travel to Charing Cross (to reverse direction of travel) but passengers are not allowed to travel in them. The closed platforms are often used as 'London' locations by the film (movie) industry, eg: James Bond.

The subterranean JLE stations (Westminster - North Greenwich) have full-height platform edge doors so photographing trains is 'not easy'. However many of these stations have been feted for their architectural merit, especially Westminster, Southwark, Bermondsey and North Greenwich. At the latter I dislike the way the escalators have been spread along the platform, this is because they are single escalators and as a result it is often a longer walk from the ticket barriers to the trains than would have been necessary had there been two escalators side by side - as is normal at most stations. This station has three platforms and sometimes trains from central London terminate here, instead of travelling through to Stratford.

Westminster station has won many awards for its architecture and therefore is also of interest to many people who have no interest in trains. However in many ways it probably would have been better had this station not won these awards, because whilst the station staff will happily use their extensive CCTV surveillance cameras to watch over every part of the station (from the central control room) they very much dislike passengers using their cameras to take photographs at this station.

The Jubilee Line part of Westminster station includes a large box-shaped hole that was dug out of the ground in which there are many sets of escalators between the different levels. The Jubilee Line platforms are stacked one on top of the other, plus there are different escalators for people entering / leaving the station and people changing trains between the Jubilee and District / Circle Lines. The flying buttresses, grey concrete walls and metal footplate flooring creates the impression of being in a space station.

Westminster station London.
The Jubilee Line part of Westminster station.
. .
Moving Walkway Waterloo Station. . North Greenwich escalator.
The moving walkways in an interchange passageway to / from the Jubilee Line at Waterloo station, with a 'static' walkway in between. . One of the escalators at North Greenwich station.

The main exit at Canary Wharf station has a bank of 5 escalators (which lead to an open-air piazza) plus several side exits which lead into an underground shopping and restaurant city. Built in reclaimed docklands the Canary Wharf area has become London's second financial district and everything is very modern. The shopping centre is open every day, and there are free toilets / washrooms / restrooms. The area above the station has been transformed into a very pleasant small city park with seats and water features.

Canary Wharf station entrance.
Fully weather protected secondary entrance to Canary Wharf Jubilee Line station and shopping centre.
. Canary Wharf Jubilee Line platforms.
Homeward-bound passengers queue
to board a train at Canary Wharf JLE station.

The station nearest to the Millennium Dome (which nowadays is known as the O2) is North Greenwich. Alongside is a major bus station which serves many destinations in south-east London.

Between Canning Town and Stratford the route is shared with Docklands Light Railway trains. The DLR is on the eastern side of the Jubilee Line. On the western side there is a large depot (between West Ham and Stratford). There is more information about this in the 'shared service' section below.

At busy times trains often queue to enter Stratford. This could be because there should be four platforms, instead of just three.

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Metropolitan Line

Metropolitan Line S stock train. . Inside Metropolitan Line S stock train.
The Metropolitan Line uses S stock trains, the first of which to enter passenger service is seen here (above left) at Watford station.
These trains have 3 sets of opening doors per car, air-conditioning and internally are of a walk-through design.

S Stock Variations: Although they all look the same there are two different types of S Stock trains.
The S7 variant have 7 cars with only longitudinal seating. These are used on the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines.
The S7+1 variant have 8 cars with only longitudinal seating. There are only a few of these trains which are used on the Metropolitan Line.
The S8 variant have 8 cars, a mix of longitudinal and facing seats and are used on the Metropolitan Line.

Metropolitan Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license: Ed g2s / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Metropolitan_Line.svg

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

Below / Above Ground

In tunnel from Aldgate to Baker Street, except for Aldgate, Liverpool Street (part only), Farringdon and Barbican stations. The tunnels between Kings Cross and Barbican stations include some short open air sections which date from the days of steam trains when ventilation openings were needed to allow the smoke to clear.

At Baker Street Metropolitan Line trains use platforms 1-4 which are partly in the open. Baker Street - Finchley Road is mostly in tunnel but with some short open air sections. Finchley Road station is above ground and the rest of the line all the way to Amersham, Watford and Uxbridge is above ground - except for a short tunnel on what is known as the North Curve, which is the direct route between Croxley and Rickmansworth. However this section of track is not normally used by passenger trains.

Claustrophobia

twin tunnel symbol Information for people who are happy to travel on trains which are above ground but experience claustrophobia when in tunnels.

The Metropolitan Line has a mix of single track and twin track tunnels:

* Between Baker Street and Aldgate stations most of the tunnels are wide enough for two tracks - one train in each direction.
However, at Kings Cross St Pancras station and for short distances either side of the station the tunnels are single track.

*Between Baker Street and Finchley Road stations the route mostly comprises single track tunnels although there are a few places which have either twin track tunnels or are in open air.

General Information

Outside the rush hours many trains terminate at Baker Street - despite being part of the 'Underground' the Metropolitan Line is more like an outer-suburban railway than an inner-city urban railway.

Do look at the 'next train' describers before boarding a train, as some journeys can take you a long way without stopping! After Baker Street all trains stop at Finchley Road and Wembley Park (the latter northbound only), but after that some trains may stop next at Harrow-on-the-Hill, which is in zone 5 and then Moor Park, which is a zones 6 & 7 boundary station.

The route has either 4 or 6 tracks all the way from Central London to north of Moor Park, where the line to Watford diverges.

Between Baker Street and Finchley Road you may spot the remains of several stations which stopped being used in 1939 when a new deep level tube line along the same route was opened. These stations were intended to be retained for 'special occasions' (such as cricket at Lords) but in the event because of wartime economies they ended up being permanently closed.

Metropolitan Line trains also used to call at stations between Finchley Road and Wembley Park, this too stopped (on a full-time daily basis) in 1939 when the tube trains took over the Stanmore service. However early morning / late evening Metropolitan Line trains continued to call at all these intermediate stations until the Jubilee Line was resignalled with new computerised signalling system in circa 2010. Nowadays when Jubilee Line services are disrupted Metropolitan Line trains sometimes also call at Neasden and Willesden Green, this is possible because these two stations also have dedicated Metropolitan Line platforms.

Until summer 2012 the Metropolitan Main Line had trains which dated from the early 1960's. Known as the A stock they were the largest trains on the Underground and the widest trains anywhere in Britain. When first introduced they replaced trains with hand operated 'slam' doors, and on the Amersham / Chesham route also replaced locomotive-hauled trains which changed between electric and steam traction at Rickmansworth. At one time A stock trains travelled at speeds of up to 70mph (about 120 km/h) but because of their age they were later restricted to just 50mph (80 km/h).

This page looks at some surviving historic Metropolitan Railway trains, including the the preserved Vintage (1898 and 1900) passenger carriages which were used on the Chesham shuttle service until replaced by A stock trains in the early 1960's.
http://citytransport.info/Vintage.htm .

The S stock trains are of a walk-through design and have significantly fewer seats than A stock trains - the plan is to operate trains more frequently but sceptics question whether this will work as planned and point to a similar attempt on the mainline railway (Virgin CrossCountry) which failed catastrophically, leaving some stations with less frequent and overcrowded trains. S stock trains have faster acceleration than A stock trains but a lower top speed of 62mph (100 km/h)

If travelling to stations beyond Harrow-On-The-Hill you can also travel on the diesel Chiltern Railways trains from London Marylebone station, changing en route if required. Make sure to catch a train travelling to Aylesbury via Amersham! Travelcard and PAYG tickets can be used on these trains - but only as far as Amersham.

If going all the way to Amersham, Watford and Chesham note that these places are outside zone 6 so you need Travelcards valid for zones 7, 8, 9. Because the cost of paper Travelcards for these zones is ‘very expensive’ so it is much cheaper to use ‘Oyster or contactless PAYG’, although journey time limits mean that you should not spend too long at stations watching trains. Alternatively, use PAYG in one direction and buy a 'paper' single ticket in the other direction. Paper tickets do not have journey time limits so as long as you only travel in the correct direction (ie: no backtracking) and do not leave the station you should be OK. Alternatively, if you have a BritRail pass, Eurail pass or an All Line Rover then these can be used at any station that is served by Chiltern Railways trains. With these tickets it is best to only travel on Chiltern Railways diesel trains, as they may not be valid on Underground trains.

Also, be aware that these stations are a long way - even with 'fast' trains Amersham and Chesham are about an hour (60 minutes) from Central London (Aldgate). Getting to Chesham used to require a change of train at Chalfont & Latimer, but since 2010 almost all trains travel through to Baker Street (although it is usually faster to catch a Chiltern Railways train from Marylebone and change at Chalfont & Latimer). Chesham is a nice small town with a pedestrianised shopping street a few minutes walk from the station and the scenery out the window of the countryside is very pleasant.

Between Harrow-On-The-Hill and Amersham the Chiltern and (some) Metropolitan trains use the same tracks and operate a joint service. Chiltern Railway trains typically include toilets, seats with tables and even laptop power sockets.

Baker Street station frontage. . Baker Street station commemorative plaques.
Baker Street is the spiritual home of the Metropolitan Line.
These views show the main station frontage as seen from the Marylebone Road and a closer view of the plaques.
Clicking this link will open (in a new window) a very large version of the image on the right so that the writing can be read.
.
Metropolitan Railway 1914 - 1918 war memorial. . Metropolitan Railway 1914 - 1918 war memorial.
Metropolitan Railway 1914 - 1918 war memorial which is next to platform 5 at Baker Street station.
Clicking this link will open (in a new window) a very large version of the image on the right so that the names of the deceased can be read.
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Baker Street station stairway down to ticket hall. . Baker Street station ticket hall.
A grandiose station entrance stairway which leads to the Metropolitan Line ticket hall. . Inside the Metropolitan Line ticket hall. The standing passengers are waiting to see from which platform their trains will depart - trains to Amersham, Chesham, Watford and Uxbridge usually depart from platform Nos. 1, 2, 4.
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S Stock train at station with one set of doors not open. . Typical Metropolitan Railway station exterior.
Metropolitan Line trains are too long for some stations,
so sometimes the doors at the end of the train do not open.
. Typical grandiose Metropolitan Railway styled station building. This is Edgware Road (subsurface) station which nowadays is served by Hammersmith & City, Circle and District Line trains. Other stations with similar frontages include: Aldgate, Farringdon, Great Portland Street, Paddington (Praed Street) and Willesden Green (now normally only served by Jubilee Line trains).
.
A stock train as seen from Chorleywood station car park. . Inside A stock train.
A wintry view of a northbound Fast Amersham A stock train approaching Chorleywood station as seen from the station car park. . Inside an A stock train showing its luggage racks and comfortable
high density outer-suburban style 2 + 3 bench seating.

Places where I sometimes go to watch trains on this route include the car park next to the northbound platform at Chorleywood and the road bridges near this station. If using Oyster PAYG as a ticketing solution then remember to 'touch-out' on the card reader before leaving the station - the exit to the car park has a card reader for this very purpose. If it does not register your exit then visit the ticket office and seek help.

I also like to go to Rickmansworth, the shopping street is near the station (turn right out of the station and walk though the road / pedestrian underpass below the railway) and I sometimes watch trains from the top floor of the car park at the Waitrose food store (keep walking past the underpass). The photograph (below) was taken from a footbridge to the south of the station - although there are railings I found a small gap which made this view possible.

Metropolitan Line Bridge Over Grand Union Canal. Chiltern 165 and S stock at Rickmansworth station.
Metropolitan Line S stock train crosses the bridge over
the Grand Union canal near to Watford (Met) station.
A Chiltern Railways Class 165 diesel train heading for
Marylebone and Metropolitan Line S stock train heading
for Amersham pass at Rickmansworth station.

The route to Uxbridge has a mix of stations, Ruislip is an older Victorian-era station whilst Hillingdon is modern with lots of glass - and peeling paint. Rayners Lane and Uxbridge are 1930’s ‘Art Deco’. Services are shared with the Piccadilly Line.

Metropolitan Railway 1st class Jubilee Coach 353. . View through a (scratched) Metropolitan Line train window between Chesham and Chalfont & Latimer.
This montage shows a former 1st Class Metropolitan Railway Jubilee carriage which was built in 1887 for services to Amersham and beyond. It was withdrawn from service in 1905. More information can be found on the Nostalgia page of the citytransport.info website .. . Countryside as seen through a (scratched) Metropolitan Line train window between Chesham and Chalfont & Latimer.

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Northern Line
.
Northern Line 1995 Tube Stock. . Northern Line 1995 Tube Stock.
The Northern Line uses 1995 Tube Stock, seen here (above left) using one of the extra long subterranean platforms at Highgate station.
Since June 2014 the Northern Line has used a computerised signalling system, although there is still a train driver who closes the doors at stations and initiates station departure.
Northern Line 1995 Tube Stock.
The central area seating of one car per train includes two fixed sides - these are for the benefit of passengers who use wheelchairs.



Below / Above Ground

Entirely underground from just outside Morden to just before Golders Green / East Finchley.

The sections from East Finchley to Mill Hill East / High Barnet and Golders Green to Edgware are in the open air. There is a short tunnel between Hendon Central and Colindale.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

. Northern Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Ed g2s / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Northern_Line.svg
General Information

The Northern Line was given this name in 1937 when expansion plans included its trains taking over three Northern Heights railway routes in north London. Before this renaming it was known as the Morden - Edgware line.

At 17 miles 528 yards (27.841km) in length, for many years the section from East Finchley to Morden via Bank formed the longest continuous passenger railway tunnel anywhere on Earth.

Central London:

Charing Cross Branch: Most trains which travel on the Charing Cross branch terminate at Kennington, where passengers have a ‘same level’ interchange with trains from the Bank branch. Mornington Crescent station has been nicely refurbished, especially the platforms. The platforms at Charing Cross have a very distinctive wall mural based on the construction of the nearby Eleanor Cross 1000 years ago.

Vitreous enamel platform wall cladding Embankment. . Long interchange passageway at Embankment.
At Embankment all the station platforms plus some passageways are clad in white vitreous enamel.
Whilst the decorative stripes are repeated on all three sets of platforms (Northern, Bakerloo, District & Circle lines) there are subtle differences in the pattern designs and colours.
. The interchange passageway (called Lower Access Tunnel) which links the Bakerloo line platforms with the southbound Northern line platform at Embankment. Passengers interchanging to or from northbound Northern line trains must travel via two escalators (up and then down).
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Eduardo Paolozzi mosaic Tottenham Court Road station. . Leicester Square platform wall mural.
Eduardo Paolozzi mosaic tile murals at Tottenham Court Road station.
This station is being rebuilt and for 2015 Central Line trains are not stopping here.
. The platform wall murals at Leicester Square are themed on film sprockets, this is because of the local area‘s connection with the cinema and it being where many British film premières are held.
The sprockets are coloured black the Northern line platforms
(as here) and blue on the Piccadilly line platforms.
.
Eleanor memorial Charing Cross station. Eleanor memorial Charing Cross station. Eleanor memorial Charing Cross station.
Side images: Part of the 330ft / 100 metre long mural which adorns the Northern line platform walls. Designed by David Gentleman the mural depicts scenes from the construction of the original Charing Cross, which was a memorial to Eleanor of Castile, the wife of former King Edward I.
Middle image: The Eleanor Memorial in the forecourt of Charing Cross station.

Bank Branch: For part of the route the trains travel on the right but because the line is deep underground this is only seen at stations (Bank, London Bridge, Borough). The Northern Line‘s platforms at Bank are very congested and should be avoided in the rush hours. This is partly a result of significant growth in passenger numbers but also because passengers use these platforms as part of the main interchange route between the Central Line and Monument station and that the platforms were partially narrowed to facilitate the installation of interchange passageway access stairways when the Docklands Light Railway was extended to this station. The planned solution to alleviate the overcrowding includes building a new station platform for trains travelling in one direction and converting its present-day platform tunnel into a passageway. Also note that the interchange with the Central Line includes two spiral staircases (one for passengers walking in each direction).

When built the stations at Angel and Euston (Bank branch) also featured very narrow island platforms serving both tracks but nowadays the trains have separate platforms and it is possible to tell which is the original platform because it is extra wide.

J H Greathead memorial statue City & South London Railway . . Former Northern Line very narrow platform now much wider.
A memorial statue to J H Greathead (the inscription details who he was). It is located very close to Bank station in Cornhill. The statue also hides a ventilation shaft for the Underground. Opening in 1890 the City and South London Railway (C&SLR) was London's first deep level underground railway to be bored with a tunnelling shield and the first major British railway to use electric traction. . The formerly very narrow island platform at Euston station
(Bank Branch) which since the other direction's track was
filled in has become wider than normal.

South London: The route between Stockwell and the now closed station at King William Street was London's first deep-level tube railway. Built by the City and South London Railway (C&SLR) it opened in 1890. Although it has now has more platforms much of Kennington station is still as it was built by the C&SLR. The old route to King William Street branched off the existing route between Borough and London Bridge stations.

Clapham North and Clapham Common stations still retain their very narrow island platforms between the tracks.

The stations Clapham South - Morden date from the 1920's and are of architectural merit. The street-level structures are of white Portland stone with tall double-height ticket halls, with the London Underground roundel made up in coloured glass panels in large glazed screens.

Kennington station building. . Kennington station platform.
The main station building at Kennington has changed little since its 1890 opening as part of London's first deep level electrically powered tube line. Access to the platforms is via two (modern) lifts which are located directly below the distinctive rotunda. . The platform decor at Kennington is typical of most south London Northern line stations.
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South Wimbledon station building. . Northern Line very narrow platform.
The main station building at South Wimbledon has changed little since its 1926 opening as part of the Morden extension of the City & South London Railway. Access to the platforms is via escalators. . Clapham North and Clapham Common stations still retain
their very narrow island platforms between the tracks.
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Clapham Common station . Clapham Common station
Distinctive station entrance and signage at Clapham Common station.

North London: Camden Town station (which opened in 1907) is very close to the famous Camden Market and on Sunday afternoons the station is so busy that to avoid overcrowding both escalators are used in the ‘up’ direction. Therefore it is restricted to interchange and exit only; passengers wanting to enter must use a different station nearby. This is also a junction station and trains from either of the two central London branches can travel to / from either of the two north London branches.

About 7 - 10 minutes walk from Camden Town Underground station is Camden Road London Overground (North London Line) station. Passengers paying fares using PAYG are allowed to leave one of these stations and walk to the other one and then continue their journey at no extra cost. I often interchange between trains here! There is a generous time limit for the walk between the two stations to be completed, so people who walk slowly should not worry, but this time limit does not allow for going shopping in the market.

Northern Line platform at Camden Town. . Next train describer at Camden Town.
Looking down on one of the four platforms at Camden Town. . A "next train" / passenger information display (PID) at Camden Town. Very few trains travel to Morden via Charing Cross, instead passengers need to change trains at Kennington.
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Camden Town station. . . Camden Town station.
To avoid dangerous overcrowding caused by the very many people who flock to the nearby Camden Market, on Sunday afternoons Camden Town is only open for passengers to leave the station or change trains. It is not possible to enter the station from the street.

Edgware branch: Hampstead station is the deepest on the Underground and has high speed lifts. Golders Green has 3 tracks and 5 platforms (although one is no longer used). The centre track is used by trains which terminate here. There is also a large depot here. Directly in front of the Underground station is a busy bus station which is served by many buses from the local area as well as National Express coaches from many towns and cities around the British Isles.

The Edgware branch was built in the 1920's when the area was green fields. Whilst there is nothing ‘bad’ about it, it could be said that the High Barnet branch is more interesting.

low bridge above railway. . Hendon Central station.
The Edgware branch was built for the small profile tube trains. This means that although it is mostly above ground all road bridges over the tracks were also built with tube trains in mind. . The platform at Hendon Central station.
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Brent Cross station. . Three tunnel mouths near Golders Green station.
Although the destination display on this train shows Edgware it is actually travelling to Kennington via Charing Cross. The empty space next to the train comes from the days when this station had passing loops so that non-stop trains could pass a train that had stopped here. . Three(!) tunnel mouths just south of Golders Green station.
From left to right these are for:
a siding, southbound trains, northbound trains.

High Barnet branch: Some of the oldest stations on the London Underground are on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line. Many date from 1867/72 - Underground trains only started using this line in 1940. This was as part of a wide area railway electrification scheme involving several railway routes in north London which went disastrously wrong and has left a lot of people without any railway service at all.

Some stations on this route have platforms which are longer than usual; this is because until WW2 there were experiments with 9 car (carriage / coach) trains. Highgate is the best station to see this. Nowadays all trains have just 7 cars.

Highgate station is in a deep cutting and there is an extra up escalator which takes arriving passengers higher up the hill. Nowadays trains only use the low level platforms - the high level platforms are in the open air above the ticket hall. It is sometimes possible to glimpse them from the street, although vegetation makes this quite difficult.

Decaying platform at Highgate (High Level) station. . Northern Line incomplete works route map.
The slowly decaying remains of the disused island station
platform at Highgate (High Level).
. Based on a Wikipedia encyclopædia image which has been deleted this diagram shows the planned 1930's Northern Line electrification and extensions.   Click the image to see a version which is large enough to read the text ..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Northern_heights.png
A Little Local History
Highgate‘s high level platforms are now closed; they were served by steam trains from Kings Cross, Moorgate [Widened Lines] and Broad Street stations going to Edgware [not the same station as the Underground used], High Barnet and Alexandra Palace [the latter station was at the top of the hill and right next to the Palace] and were meant to become part of the Northern Line but fate decided otherwise.
The demise of the Mill Hill East - Edgware railway came because shortly after the war started in 1939 it was closed for conversion to double [twin] tracks and for electrification but then the ‘war effort’ saw the works being suspended until the cessation of hostilities. In 1941 the section between Finchley Central and Mill Hill East was re-opened to serve a military barracks and although the rest of the line remained extant until 1964 [for goods trains] no effort was made on completing the electrification and track doubling. Nowadays part of the closed railway between Mill Hill East and Edgware has become nature reserves, whilst elsewhere it has been built over and therefore re-opening is now almost impossible. These links lead to information about the nature reserves:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copthall_Railway_Walk_and_Copthall_Old_Common .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mill_Hill_Old_Railway_Nature_Reserve .
The original plans were that at Edgware the former steam railway would be diverted to the new UndergrounD station and then a new extension would be built further north. Remains of a part built viaduct still exist in the Brockley Hill area to the north of Edgware, and further north still some sections of tunnel still remain, although to prevent people using them the entrances have been covered over. Some of the route is now also part of the M1 motorway.
Despite almost finishing the electrification works the line to Alexandra Palace station continued to be served by steam trains, although war-time coal supply issues resulted in off-peak services being cancelled and passengers encouraged to travel by bus. With it having been decided not to complete the Northern Heights electrification works the line was closed instead. Nowadays this closure is realised to have been a *very* big mistake, as the area served by this route is densely populated and the roads are very congested. Much of this line is now a parkland walkway, although a school was been built on it at Muswell Hill. The parkland walkway is very popular in the local community and has a website at this link  http://parkland-walk.org.uk/ .
The Muswell Hill Metro group is campaigning for this line to be reopened as a railway again  http://muswellhillmetrogroup.atspace.com/ .
There was also a second railway to Alexandra Palace [Palace Gates station] but despite one-time proposals to join the two lines and operate through trains the 1950's saw it also falling victim to the crazy idea that diesel motor buses can provide an attractive alternative to an urban railway. Nowadays so much of this line has been lost - built over - that reopening is impossible.
Meanwhile in 1956 the Epping - Ongar section of the Central Line was converted from steam to electric trains, even though it is in open country where few people live!!

.
See caption for picture information. . See caption for picture information.
Crouch End station in summer 2014. Instead of being served by Northern Line trains this is now part of a Parkland Walkway.

The Parkland Walkway is split into two sections. Crouch End station is on the southern section between Finsbury Park and Highgate.

The northern section includes Muswell Hill viaduct which on a sunny day offers fine views of London and many famous landmarks.
. Whilst there always was a choice of buses as well, the cessation of rail services means that local people must either use them - or their cars.

The W7 is now one of London's most intense bus services and for much of its route it must fight for space on overcrowded roads which have very slow (20mph / 30km/h) speed limits and are too narrow for any useful bus priority measures.
This was taken outside where Muswell Hill station used to be.

Further reading (with many photographs):-
http://underground-history.co.uk/northernh.php .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anHLOwH2HWU .
http://www.abandonedstations.org.uk/Northern_Heights_1.html .

A station noted for its distinctive 1930‘s architecture is East Finchley. Despite having 4 platforms most trains only use the outer two. The middle tracks lead to a depot and the now disused above-ground route to Finsbury Park via Highgate (high level) station. The main station building includes a glass wall which at one time featured two railway logos - the lower logo (for the UndergrounD) is still extant whilst the former LNER [London & North Eastern Railway] ‘fisheye’ symbol above that has now been replaced with plain glass. LNER steam trains were withdrawn in 1941, as part of the wartime effort to save coal. Whilst here also look out for the ‘archer’ statue at the London end of the platforms towards Highgate.

See caption for picture information. . Dollis Brook Viaduct.
East Finchley is one of London's 1930's Art Deco stations.
The Archer's arrow points towards central London. The glass wall on the station's front includes both the UndergrounD roundel and the former LNER fisheye symbol which nowadays features plain glass.
. The Dollis Brook viaduct between Mill Hill East and Finchley Central stations. See text below for more information.
Image & license: Grim23 at en.Wikipedia encyclopædia: CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dollis_brook_viaduct.JPG

Further north Finchley Central station dates from 1867, making it one of the oldest stations on the Underground. It was built by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&LR), although by the time it opened the EH&LR had been taken over by the the Great Northern Railway (GNR). The station was on a line that ran from Finsbury Park to Edgware via Highgate and Mill Hill. The Northern Heights plan for electric tube trains to take over this route in the early 1940's included the building of a modern Art Deco station with more platforms, but in the event this did not happen.

From Finchley Central the single track railway crosses the multi-arched Dollis Brook Viaduct which offers pleasant views over north London. Mill Hill East only has one platform and also dates from 1867. Tube trains started travelling here in 1941 to serve a nearby military barracks and the plan to convert the line to twin tracks was delayed until after the war. Because (nowadays) this line only consists of one station the train service is not very frequent. Often trains only travel between here and Finchley Central, where passengers travelling to / from Central London must change to / from High Barnet trains.

The branch line from Finchley Central to High Barnet opened in 1872 and the stations§ still retain much of their original Victorian architectural character. Woodside Park is at the centre of a residential area and in accordance with the desires of local residents there are no retail stores around it. High Barnet is in zone 5; because of local geography access to the town of Barnet is via a steep pathway up Barnet Hill.

§(The LNER opened West Finchley in 1933 using various fixtures and fittings taken from other stations around Eastern England. This remains one of London's quieter stations).

East Finchley station platform. . Finchley Central station platform.
Platform 2 at East Finchley was intended for northbound trains which came from Moorgate via Finsbury Park and Highgate High Level. Instead it is only used by trains which are entering passenger service from the Highgate Woods sidings. . The southbound platform at Finchley Central which still retains its 1867 station building.
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Woodside Park signalbox. . Woodside Park station.
The signal box at Woodside Park station as seen from the public footbridge over the tracks. Note that the station departure signal is in what would have been the correct position for where the platform would have ended had the original plan to extend it for 9-car trains come to pass. . Built by the Great Northern Railway, Woodside Park dates from 1872. Tube trains first served it in 1940 and the last LNER steam trains in 1941 - as a wartime fuel (coal) economy saving.
Note that you will need to pass through a ticket barrier if walking from one platform to the other platform.
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Future Expansion

There are proposals to extend the Charing Cross branch from Kennington west towards Battersea Power station, via one intermediate station.

If this goes ahead it is likely that line will be split into two separate lines with trains on the Edgware branch always travelling via Charing Cross and the new extension whilst trains from High Barnet / Mill Hill East will always travel to Morden via Bank.

One (or both?) of the new lines would probably be given a new name.

. Battersea Extension Map.
A map showing the route of the proposed new Battersea branch.
Image & license: Grunners / Simply south / Wikipedia encyclopædia: CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Northern_line_extension_to_Battersea.jpg

Northern City Line
Class 313 train at Moorgate station. . Tunnel Mouth Drayton Park station.
Class 313 train heading for Welwyn Garden City
at Moorgate's platform No.10.
. Entering the tunnel at Drayton Park.
Below / Above Ground

Below ground just south of Drayton Park - Moorgate.
Above ground the rest of the route.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

. Northern City Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
General Information

This is London‘s only deep level ‘tube’ line which was built for large profile trains. The southern terminus is at Moorgate (platforms 9 & 10) from where trains travel deep underground as far as Drayton Park, which is in an open air cutting and where the remains of a former depôt can be seen next to the northbound track.

Between Moorgate and Drayton Park the trains are powered via an electrified third rail; at Drayton Park they switch between third rail and overhead wire power supply systems and north of here they operate as ordinary surface suburban trains providing ‘all stations’ services along the East Coast Main Line - which is the route used by trains from London‘s Kings Cross station heading to faraway cities such as York, Leeds, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Although between 1939 and 1975 this route was used by small profile tube trains, present-day services are provided by British Railways designed Class 313 trains as part of the ‘Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern’ (TSGN) mainline railway franchise. Nowadays this line is not usually shown on UndergrounD maps but being an underground railway in London it simply had to be included in this guide.

New Trains

In circa 2018-2019 this line is expected to receive a fleet of new trains. To be known as Class 717, these will be six carriage versions of the fully walk-through air-conditioned Class 700 trains currently being built for the Thameslink service.


The first of the new Thameslink Class 700 trains at
London Blackfriars station during the pre-service testing period.
Image & license: Alex Nevin-Tylee / Wikipedia encyclopædia. CC BY-SA 4.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:700110_-_London_Blackfriars_3T13.JPG
See caption for picture information.

Extra Information

The reason why this line has larger tunnels than all the other tube lines is because when it was built (in 1904 by The Great Northern & City Railway [GN&CR]) the aim was to allow trains from the Great Northern Railway (GNR) to reach the City area of London (ie: the Financial District). However the GNR did not favour this so the line remained physically isolated. In 1913 the GN&CR was purchased by the Metropolitan Railway who planned to connect it to either the Circle Line or the Waterloo & City Line. These plans also failed to materialise. Since it was owned by the Metropolitan Railway so it eventually became part of London Transport. Other attempts to extend this line - both to the north (as part of the Underground's Northern Line) and to the south (to Woolwich and Crystal Palace) also failed to happen. Instead in the 1960's the section between Drayton Park and Finsbury Park was closed so that its platforms at Finsbury Park could be used as part of the project to build the new Victoria Line. Finally in 1976 when the two GNR suburban services which still remained as part of the (then) British Railways were converted to electric traction the original plan to divert them to Moorgate was revisited. The new electric service was marketed under the name Great Northern Electrics. Whilst an extension south (perhaps to create a north-south cross London service via London Bridge or another major south London station) would seem logical this is not possible because the route is blocked by foundations from buildings in the Bank area to the south of Moorgate station.

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Piccadilly Line
Piccadilly Line 1973 Tube Stock. . Inside Piccadilly Line 1973 Tube Stock.
The Piccadilly Line uses 1973 tube stock seen here (above left) from the road bridge close to North Ealing station.
.
Below / Above Ground

In the west of London in open air from just before Barons Court to Uxbridge / Hounslow Central, plus a short surface section near to Hatton Cross.

In the north of London in open air from Cockfosters to Arnos Grove, except for a short tunnelled section at Southgate station.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

. Piccadilly Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
DavidCane / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Piccadilly_Line.svg
General Information

Old maps will probably show a branch between Holborn and Aldwych, however this closed on 30th September 1994.

The Piccadilly Line includes many stations that were rebuilt or newly-opened in the 1930's which are of architectural interest. Mostly these are in the suburbs, in zones 3 - 6. Typically these station buildings were built in Art Deco style and are themed around tall block-like ticket halls that rise above low horizontal structures which contain offices and retail shops. The brick walls of the ticket halls are often punctuated with panels of clerestory windows and capped with a flat concrete slab roof.

Uxbridge and Cockfosters stations both feature similar and very distinctive concrete and glass trainshed roofs and platform canopies which are supported by portal frames of narrow blade-like concrete columns and beams rising from the platforms and spanning across the tracks. The term concrete cathedrals may sound unkind but it is not meant that way. These termini stations are both located in zone 6.

Southgate station. . Hyde Park Corner.
The distinctive Southgate station building which features a Tesla Coil on its roof. See text below for more information.
Image & license: Sunil060902 / Wikipedia encyclopædia. CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Southgate_station_building2.JPG
. Platform detail at Hyde Park Corner. The destinations of Hammersmith and Finsbury Park on the cross-passageway wall reflect the length of the line when this station was built.
.
Gloucester Road station. . Bounds Green station.
Piccadilly Line trains calling at Gloucester Road left and Bounds Green right.
At some stations the platforms are only just long enough for the passenger doors to be able to open with the train ends having to remain in the tunnel.

Sights in north London: The stations Manor House - Cockfosters date from the 1930's. Manor House and Cockfosters have street buildings which are modest in scale, being primarily more like bus shelters. The rest of the stations feature Art Deco station buildings which are either square, octagonal or circular and also (sometimes) have ventilation towers. Manor House and Turnpike Lane stations were built with extra passageways that linked with tram platforms located in the middle of the road, however as with the trams these no longer exist.

Northbound trains approaching Arnos Grove are sometimes delayed a short whilest queueing to enter the station, which features 3 tracks and 4 platforms. Southgate is London's only subterranean station served by small profile ‘tube̻ trains from where passengers standing on the platform can look through the tunnel and see daylight / a tunnel mouth in the distance. The station building is famed for its circular shape and distinctive Tesla Coil on its roof. Because of the way the station‘s Art Deco features are illuminated during the hours of darkness this is said to be one of the most photogenic buildings on the London Transport network.

Born in 1856, Nikola Tesla was an electrical genius who invented many things including fluorescent lighting and the alternating current electrical system we use today. He designed his machines in his ‘minds eye’ in 3D and was even able to test them for weaknesses, zoom in on individual parts, and more - all without needing pens, paper, computers / 3D modelling softwares, etc. He was known to be developing a wireless energy transmission system which would have allowed everyone to source all the energy they need from a small box placed in an outhouse. It is assumed that this would have been similar (in theme) to a radio. However his main financier (J.P Morgan) had financial interests in copper mining and seeing the potential threat to his wealth posed by Tesla‘s wireless energy transmission system vowed to do all he could to stop Tesla. In addition, the electrical supply industry was alarmed by the inability of Tesla‘s planned system to levy charges for the energy used. In other words, the electricity would have been free! Tesla died in 1943 and everything he left behind was secreted away from the public domain by the US military. Information source: Prodigal Genius by John J. O'Neill;. Publishers include Granada and Neville Spearman Ltd. The 1980 Granada paperback edition has an ISBN number of 0 586 05000 0.

The rest of the route is in zones 5 & 6. There is a depot between Oakwood and Cockfosters.

South Harrow station. . Rayners Lane junction.
Looking down (from the street) upon Sudbury Hill station just as a London-bound train is about to depart. . Piccadilly Line and Metropolitan Line S Stock trains pass at the junction just outside Rayners Lane station.
.
Looking from the bridge outside South Ealing station. . Leicester Square platform wall mural.
Looking down from South Ealing Road / opposite South Ealing station. On the far right is an approaching westbound train which will end its journey at Northfields.
Westbound trains also use the centre - right track.
The centre - left track is used by eastbound trains.
The furthest left track can also be used for eastbound trains but is more usually used as a bi-directional test track for special trains.
. The platform wall murals at Leicester Square are themed on film sprockets, this is because of the local area‘s connection with the cinema and it being where many British film premières are held.

The sprockets are coloured blue on the Piccadilly line platforms
(as here) and black on the Northern line platforms.

Sights in west London: Piccadilly Line trains started travelling west of Hammersmith in the early 1930's and eventually took over what had been District Line services on the branches to Hounslow West and Rayners Lane / Uxbridge.

The section between Barons Court and Acton Town has four tracks and is shared with District Line trains; this is looked at in the shared service section below.

The four track section extends beyond Acton Town station as far as Northfields, but the track on the north (former eastbound District line track) is mostly used as a test track and therefore rarely carries passenger trains. However both tracks are used by westbound trains. There is a large depot just after Northfields, and since this is a surface route it can be accessed by the subsurface / large profile trains as well.

The station building at Boston Manor features a narrow fin-like tower with an illuminated (at night) leading edge and roundel which rises high above the low structure and helps identify the station‘s location from a distance. Opposite the station it is possible to enjoy an excellent view of Northfields depot.

BOAC Speedbird Hatton Cross station. . Heathrow Airport T5.
The roof support columns at Hatton Cross station include the Speedbird logo of the former British airline called BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation). . Metal contraptions prevent luggage trolleys from accessing Piccadilly Line trains at the Heathrow Airport terminal 5 station.

From Acton Town the route towards Rayners Lane and Uxbridge is shared with District Line trains through Ealing Common station to where the District Line diverges towards Ealing Broadway. Between Acton Town and Ealing Common the trains pass a large District Line depot. Many of the stations on this route are also famed for their 1930‘s architecture, especially Sudbury Town. Between Sudbury Hill and Uxbridge the line is in zones 5 & 6. Trains sometimes queue to enter Rayners Lane, which is shared with the Metropolitan Line - despite being where two routes join and some Piccadilly line trains terminate this station only has two platforms and trains which reverse here sometimes delay other trains whilst station staff ensure that all passengers have alighted before the empty train enters a siding.

Alperton used to have an up escalator from the ticket hall to the eastbound platform (ie: the platform used by trains travelling towards Central London) but to save money when this needed replacing it was switched off and a wall was built around it instead. This way passengers do not see it - and do not complain that it cannot be used!

Sudbury Town station. . North Ealing station.
Famed for its architectural style, the present-day Art Deco
Sudbury Town station dates from the early 1930's when it replaced the original station building. The forecourt is used by buses.
. Looking like it was designed for a small rural village,
North Ealing station was built by the (then)
Metropolitan District Railway in June 1903.
Piccadilly Line 'tube' trains replaced District Line trains in 1932.

Park Royal station first opened as a temporary timber structure in 1931 - this Art Deco/Streamline Moderne style Grade ll listed building dates from 1936. It was designed by Welch & Lander in a style influenced by the Underground's principal architect Charles Holden. At street level the station building is attached to several curved three-floor retail and office buildings which were built in the same style. The platform used by London-bound trains still retains its original 1931 wooden pagoda waiting shelter.

Park Royal station. Park Royal station. Park Royal station.
Above Left: A platform view showing the tower with UndergrounD symbols (illuminated at night)
on several sides, circular ticket hall, fully enclosed cascades of glazed steps down to the platforms
which lead into semi-open weather protected waiting areas that include wall-mounted seating.

Above Centre: A close-up of the passimeter's ticket sales window.

Above Right: Inside the circular ticket hall as seen in 2012 after refurbishment and fitting with
automated ticket gates. The free-standing booth is a passimeter - these were used at many
stations and at quieter times of the day allowed a single member of staff to sell tickets to departing passengers from one side and collect used tickets from arriving passengers on the other side.

Right: The platform for London-bound trains still retains its 1931 original wooden platform shelter.
wooden pagoda platform shelter.

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Victoria Line
Victoria Line 2009 stock.
Image & license: Wikipedia encyclopædia / Wikimedia Commons: Public domain. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3A09NPKDT.jpg
. Victoria Line 2009 stock.
The Victoria Line uses 2009 tube stock trains seen here (above left) at the only Victoria Line location which is above ground (Northumberland Park Depot)

Apart from closing the doors at stations and initiating station departure (which are still controlled by a 'real human') Victoria Line trains are fully automated.
.
Below / Above Ground

Apart from the depot - where the public are not permitted - this line is entirely below ground.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

. Victoria Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Ed g2s / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Victoria_Line.svg
General Information.

This was London's first automated underground line and is now the first automated line ('urban metro') ever to be upgraded with a new fleet of trains and a new (different) automation system - whilst still in full passenger service.

The original automated train control system permitted the next train to be slowly entering a station whilst the train in front was still leaving. However, despite being perfectly safe, it was found that this design feature often upset passengers who thought otherwise, and therefore the train control system was modified to prevent it from happening.

All of the line's original 1967 tube stock trains - plus the 1972 Mk1 trains which were added to the fleet in the 1990's - have now been withdrawn and replaced by the 2009 tube stock trains. One unusual feature about the new trains is that they do not have heaters - anyone who has ever travelled on the Victoria Line will know that these are only needed during winter months on trains entering service (at Seven Sisters station) from the depot; at all other times this line needs its trains cooling, not heating.

Doric / Euston Arch motif Victoria Line. . Victoria Line 2009 tube stock train.
When built the seating wells on all Victoria Line station platforms featured special decorative motifs which depicted an aspect of the local area.
At Euston the motif is of the Doric Arch (also known as Euston Arch) which stood outside the station until it was rebuilt in the early 1960's.
. A southbound Victoria Line 2009 tube stock train
at Oxford Circus station.
Victoria Line Door Closing Light. . Victoria Line 2009 tube stock train.
A 2009 tube stock internal "door status" light.
These illuminate when the door is open and flash when the doors are about to close / are closing. However they are so small that very few passengers will even notice them.
One of these can also be seen in the image below.
. The first 2009 tube stock train arriving at Green Park.
This image dates from before the yellow-and-black warning signs were fitted to the doors. Also visible is an electronic destination display on the train's side.
Victoria Line 2009 stock accessibility. . Victoria Line 2009 stock accessibility.
The introduction of the 2009 tube stock also saw most Victoria Line stations being equipped with raised platform sections which
facilitate 'easy access / level entry' to a part of the train (seen here at Finsbury Park), plus wheelchair spaces inside the trains.

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Waterloo and City Line
Waterloo and City Line train at Bank. . Waterloo and City Line train at Bank.
A Waterloo & City Line 1992 Tube Stock train at Bank station and inside one of these trains.
Below / Above Ground

Entirely underground.

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

. Waterloo City Line Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Mr Thant / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Waterloo_%26_City_Line.svg
.
Class 482 Waterloo and City Line train at Bank. . Class 482 Waterloo and City Line train at Bank.
The same trains at Bank station in the early 1990's when this line was part of British Railways Network SouthEast and the trains were known as Class 482.

General Information

Open Mondays - Saturdays. Closed most Sundays.

It is best to avoid the rush hour when the trains are very, very busy.

At Bank the platforms are housed in individual tunnels which are linked by small cross-passages and join up to form a circulating area at the northern end. At Waterloo there are separate arrival and departure platforms which have independent platform accesses, and between journeys the trains go into the depot - which can be seen from both platforms.

Until railway privatisation in 1994 this line was part of British Railways - Network SouthEast - and on some station platforms you will still see some Network SouthEast logos.

Services on this line are provided by trains which were built at the same time as the Central Line 1992 Tube Stock. At the time British Railways called them Class 482, but nowadays they are known as 1992 Tube Stock. The Waterloo & City Line variants of the fleet have internal CCTV cameras and different train control systems, so therefore are electrically incompatible with the Central Line's trains.

Waterloo and City Line train at Bank station. . Former Greathead type tunnelling shield at Bank station.
Nowadays Waterloo & City Line trains are in the standard London Underground corporate red / white / blue livery.
This view also shows the raised section of platform which formed part of the first experimental attempts to find an affordable solution to creating 'easy access / level entry' (albeit only at certain specified train doorways) on older sections of the London Underground.
. Part of a Greathead type tunnelling shield (painted red) which had been used in the 1898 construction of the Waterloo & City Line. This was found in 1987 buried 59ft / 18 metres below ground during construction of the City extension of the DLR.

This can be seen in an interchange passageway at Bank station.
.
Waterloo and City Line London. . Waterloo and City Line London.
At Bank passengers to / from the street have a choice of using either a moving walkway (left) or a stepped walkway (right).

The Waterloo and City Line is unique in London in that it is not directly connected to any other railway tracks. The only way for trains to 'get in' (or out) is by crane through an access hatch in Spur Road, which is near the exit from the mainline station next to platform 1 - cross the taxi road at the pedestrian traffic signals; pass through the opening in the wall; turn left and descend the steps / ramp along Spur Road and the crane & hatch will be on your left.

A link to a Google map showing this location can be found below .
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=spur+road+waterloo+london&hl=en&ll=51.502332,-0.109756&spn=0.00561,0

Waterloo and City Line. . Waterloo and City Line.
Where Waterloo and City Line trains are craned in - and out.
The view on the left was taken looking towards Waterloo mainline station, which can be seen in the background.
The view on the right looks down into the Waterloo and City Line depot.

Extra Information

The Waterloo & City Line has a different history than most of London's tube lines in that it was built by an existing mainline steam railway - the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR). The reason was that the L&SWR wanted to link its large terminus station at Waterloo with London's Financial District.

Although over the years there have been suggestions that the line should be extended so that it becomes more than a simple two station shuttle. However this is unlikely to happen. The line is so busy in the rush hours that there is a very good case for leaving it exactly as it is.

Two changes which could yet come to pass are:

1) A small platform extension at Bank station to make it possible to use longer five carriage trains. This would be to help ease severe rush hour overcrowding. The platforms at Waterloo can already accept longer trains.

2) Conversion of the line to have London's first fully automated driverless passenger trains - such systems already operate in many overseas cities very successfully and as this line only has two stations it could act as a present-era demonstration system for similar train operations elsewhere on the London Underground.
For those who have heard of the terminologies, what is being proposed here conform to the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) classification grade of automation 4 (GoA 4) and unattended train operation (UTO).

The use of unstaffed trains in London has historical precedents. The former Post Office railway used unstaffed trains but these only carried mail - and not passengers. In the 1970's unattended train operation was tested on the Hainault - Woodford section of the Central Line, albeit not in public service. This project was called FACT - Fully Automatic Control of Trains. It is understood to have concluded in 1978, due to a lack of finance.

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Local Light Railways

London also has two rail networks which provide local transport within relatively small parts of the greater London area. In virtually any other British town these networks would be large enough to form excellent cores serving large parts of the entire conurbation; its only because London is so big that they seem so 'small'.

Many people who live in regional towns outside of London look upon London's transports with envy, wishing that similar investments could be made in their home areas as well. For lower capacity routes trolleybuses (which share the same clean air attributes) would also provide a discernable 'step change' improvement on diesel buses. The core issue here is that the Treasury wants people driving cars so that it can receive high levels of income from the taxes imposed on motoring fuels.


The Docklands Light Railway
DLR train . DLR train
The DLR uses two main types of rolling stock, both of which have been built in various batches - B90/B92/B2K above and B07 below.
At present (autumn 2015) DLR trains have either red or black ends; eventually they will all be black.
DLR train . DLR train
.
DLR Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license:
Ed g2s / Dtcdthingy / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Docklands_Light_Railway.svg
. DLR train
To encourage standing passengers to move inside the trains the seating layout inside B07 trains is being changed with some transverse seats being turned around to become longitudinal seats (autumn 2015).

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

Below / Above Ground

Most of the DLR system is elevated on modern or historic viaducts, however there are a few sections which are below ground. These are Bank - 'near to' Shadwell; 'near to' Mudchute - 'near to' Greenwich and 'near to' King George V - Woolwich Arsenal.

General Information

The DLR uses driverless computerised trains, although a human member of staff (called a passenger service agent / PSA) travels on every train. In addition to closing train doors at stations the duties of the PSA included checking that passengers have valid tickets and offering travel advice.

When it first opened the DLR featured three main sections, two of which mostly reused former ‘heavy’ railway lines with the section through Canary Wharf and the former docks area being newly built on viaducts. The stations are mostly modern with glass shelters, although exact architecture will vary depending in when they were built or rebuilt. One of the most modern stations is Langdon Park which is on the route served by Stratford - Canary Wharf trains. This is on a north-south alignment and if you wish to photograph the station name this is best attempted in the morning.

The routes to Beckton and Woolwich Arsenal were built as extensions to the system. They are largely on viaducts and serve semi-derelict industrial areas which are slowly being regenerated. Although serving different parts of the Docklands area for part of the way these two branches are within eyesight of each other so that it is possible to see and photograph trains ‘in the distance’. One very unusual feature of the Beckton branch is that part of it was built as a combined road and rail project. This is because it was built by a Government-sponsored development agency which had been made exempt from the Governments' usual financial criteria for railway investment. These financial criteria are so onerous (in other words biased against rail-bourne public transport investment) that it is usually impossible to build road and rail - especially not light rail / tramway - as one package.

For the sake of completeness, the route south of Mudchute station to Lewisham was also built as an extension - originally the line ended at an elevated Island Gardens station; this was resited underground so as to access the tunnels under the River Thames.

The section between Stratford and 'near to' Bow Road (via Pudding Mill Lane station) is located alongside the mainline railway out of Liverpool Street station and especially at busier times you will see many types of train. The section between Limehouse and where trains for Bank go underground / Tower Gateway stations is alongside the route used by mainline trains from Fenchurch Street which nowadays comprise of Class 357 Electrostar multiple-units.

The most recent section of the DLR to have been opened is the route between Canning Town and Stratford International stations. This is mostly alongside the Jubilee Line.

DLR train . DLR train
Bow Church still retains its original design of
platform shelters, from when the system first opened.
. Langdon Park is one of the DLR's newest stations.
.
London Docklands Light Railway. . . London Docklands Light Railway.
Canary Wharf and other towers from London's Docklands financial district plus the Millennium Dome / O2, the Emirates Air Line cable car and two DLR trains as seen at sunset in December from Pontoon Dock DLR station. One of the DLR trains is calling at West Silvertown station and is easier to see in the larger version of this image. . Some DLR stations only have platforms long enough for double-unit trains, so when triple-unit trains are used the fronts and backs of the trains stop outside the station and the doors remain closed. Passengers wanting these stations should walk through the inside of the train to a section which is within the station platform.
.
London Docklands Light Railway. . London Docklands Light Railway.
The DLR uses what are essentially modern-day articulated trams and Elverson Road station is perhaps the nearest it comes to having a stop within the street domain like a normal 'street tramway'. . Unlike most tramways the DLR uses an under-running third rail system. Thanks to the laying snow some third rail power collection shoes are easily seen sticking out from the side of this train. .

The DLR is unique amongst London's railways in that it uses an under-running third rail power supply system. The advantages of this system are twofold. It is much safer, as the sides and top can be covered - reducing the danger to railway staff who work in close proximity to the tracks. In snowy weather the underside is protected from the snowfall and therefore considerably less likely to be covered / blocked by snow or ice. This helps keep the service running in weather conditions which sometimes defeats London's other railways. London's other railways which use powered rails collect their power from the top surface, which is easily blocked by snow / ice, preventing the train collecting electrical power.

Photographic advice

Transport enthusiasts need to be aware that the DLR has photography rules which differ from London's other railways (of all types). To the DLR anyone using cameras (still image / video) at the same station for more than 10 minutes is seen as "working" there. Even tourists taking a few photographs!

Normally when people are working on a railway they need to comply with a range of safety requirements which includes completing a risk assessment, having public liability insurance, signing in and out at the start and end of the work duties and possibly even undergoing safety-related training. Sometimes the railway operator would also wish to supply a member of staff to oversee the filming and help ensure safety. All these cost money!

The best advice which can be given here is to explore the system filming one train and catching the next (even if only to the next station)... which for some routes will be very easy as even on Sundays trains come every 10 minutes (or more frequently) whilst at stations served by multiple routes trains are even more frequent.

The DLR also prohibits filming during the Monday - Friday rush hours, when many stations are very busy. But they welcome visitors at quieter times - which means all day weekends plus Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm (10:00 - 16:00) and after 7.30pm (19:30).

Unfortunately, as on all railway systems there are some staff who make up their own rules and simply say "no".

Suggested sample rides

Many tourists like to take the DLR out of Bank station, sitting at the front and watching where they are going. At an absolute minimum you should travel at least as far as Canary Wharf. This station has 3 tracks, but 6 platforms. Every train opens its doors on both sides! Whilst Canary Wharf is at the heart of London's Docklands financial district there is also an indoor shopping mall which includes food courts and free toilets / restrooms. If you go to Crossharbour and walk alongside the railway northbound towards South Quay then you will pass a road junction (Marsh Wall South Quay and Limeharbour) where the elevated railway turns a sharp corner, and from near to the bus stop on the opposite side of the road it is possible to see (and photograph) both sides of the train simultaneously! Plus for added benefit you will see the train’s reflection in the glass wall building. This is easiest with triple-unit trains and at times of the year when the trees are not in leaf.

To increase system capacity and avoid travelling over a flat crossing, Monday - Friday daytime trains from Bank going to Lewisham use a specially built by-pass track which misses out West India Quay station; the ride is the nearest to a (low-speed) rollercoaster that public transport could ever offer, with the by-pass track threading its way over and then under existing lines.

Another popular destination is the historic Greenwich area; for the ‘touristy’ sights you want Cutty Sark station (which is deep underground) and because many trains are now longer than when the station was built (in other words - the platforms are shorter than some of the trains) you should avoid being at the front or back of the train if travelling to here. However, railfans may prefer to travel to Greenwich station, which is a Victorian-era station with 4 platforms that is also served by SouthEastern trains (from Cannon Street and London Bridge mainline stations) and was rebuilt to create space for the DLR trains. South of Greenwich the line is elevated and twists and turns as it follows a river valley. Especially when looking out of the window on the left (travelling south) many historic wharfs and other light industrial sites can be seen, although some of these may be disused. Elverson Road station probably represents the nearest the DLR gets to being a street tramway. The DLR station at Lewisham is next to the mainline railway station; interchanging passengers will need to go through ticket gates - but obviously since you should have a valid ticket so this should not be a problem.

Having arrived here, if you then take a train (destination: Hayes) from Lewisham to Elmers End you can then also sample the Tramlink system. See the Tramlink page for further information. Although I have always been happy to pass through the Lewisham stations, this is a high crime area where I would NOT be happy walking about the streets, especially not with cameras visible.

London Docklands Light Railway. . London Docklands Light Railway.
The DLR has expanded very considerably from the early days when it used single-unit trains. This triple-unit train is seen at Canary Wharf in what has become London's second financial centre. Out of sight behind me is the Jubilee Line station of the same name. . The ponds and water features in the rather twee park above Canary Wharf Jubilee Line station, with a DLR train passing by in the distance.
.
Canary Wharf station London. . Canary Wharf station London.
Canary Wharf DLR station as seen from one of the streets which passes below it and the back of a southbound train which has just departed from this station.
.
London Docklands Light Railway. . London Docklands Light Railway.
Two DLR trains at Stratford International station.
This is near to the station used by Javelin trains from London
St Pancras station which travel on HS1 (High Speed 1).
. A DLR train at Pontoon Dock station, as seen from the Thames Barrier Park. Looking in the other direction it is possible to enjoy a grandstand view of the Thames Barrier!

The Thames Barrier Park is free to enter. Its facilities include: the unique sunken garden seen in the image above-right, pleasant lawned areas to sit on, a childrens' playground, a small café and free toilets - which are very cramped and perhaps more suited to smaller people! NB: because of vandalism the toilets are only open when the café is open.

More information about the Thames Barrier Park can be found at these links:
http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/thames_barrier_park ..
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186338-d1826194-Reviews-Thames_Barrier_Park-London_England.html ..

Note that on the other (south) side of the River Thames there is also a Thames Barrier visitor centre, however this is only open 4 days a week, charges an entry fee and is in an industrial area that is a walk or bus ride from a railway station.
http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/thames-barrier-information-centre ..

London Docklands Light Railway. . London Docklands Light Railway.
Thanks to the sharp curve it is possible to benefit from the rather unusual ability of seeing both sides of DLR trains as they pass
Harbour Exchange Square, which is between South Quay and Crossharbour stations. The glass wall building adds extra interest.
This southbound triple-unit train was photographed a little after midday, on a sunny winter day when the trees were not in leaf.
. Passing modern residential dwellings near East India station.
Depending on the type of English one speaks these could be
known as apartments, high-rise block of flats, condominiums...

Present-day DLR services

Over the years train services have varied slightly as the system has expanded; nowadays there are five primary routes, some of which overlap to provide multiple destinations from each station:-

  1. Bank - Lewisham
  2. Bank - Woolwich Arsenal (via London City Airport)
  3. Tower Gateway - Beckton
  4. Stratford - Bow Church - Canary Wharf (extended Monday - Friday rush hour mornings to Lewisham)
  5. Stratford International - Canning Town (via West Ham) - and then either to Woolwich Arsenal (via London City Airport) or Beckton.*

*This will sound bizarre but services from Stratford International to Woolwich Arsenal or Beckton tend to alternate; one is operated during weekday rush hours and the other the rest of the time! At all times it is best to take the first train and change at Canning Town, if need be.

Tower Gateway station is a (short) walk from Tower Hill Underground and Fenchurch Street C2C railway stations. The station is distinctive because it has 2 platforms but just 1 track. To make life easier one platform is for arriving passengers and the other platform is for departing passengers. This is the only station in London which uses this system. The arrival platform is also a good photo-spot to watch trains on the nearby C2C service travelling to / from Fenchurch Street station.

At Stratford the two different DLR services use different sets of platforms - trains to Canary Wharf via Pudding Mill Lane use platforms 4a and 4b which are at the upper level at the western end of the station whilst trains to Beckton and Woolwich Arsenal use platform 17 which is at the lower level and next to the main station entrance. In the opposite direction these trains use platform 16 and travel to Stratford International station; this platform is next to the Jubilee Line platforms.

At Canning Town the two different DLR services use different sets of platforms - trains to or from Bank / Tower Gateway / Canary Wharf use platforms located directly above the Jubilee Line whilst trains to or from Stratford International use a totally separate island platform between the Jubilee Line and the bus station. This means that passengers travelling to stations on the Beckton and Woolwich Arsenal branches have a choice of two different platforms from which to catch their trains.

London Docklands Light Railway. . Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
Tower Gateway Station features a single track flanked by two platforms, one of which is dedicated to arriving passengers and the other to departing passengers. . An alternative and free way to cross the river Thames is via the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. This view shows the southern entrance with the Docklands financial centre visible in the distance.

The Greenwich foot tunnel is near to Island Gardens and Cutty Sark DLR stations. This marvel of Victorian engineering was built so that people who live in this part of south London could reach jobs in the docklands area without having to use the expensive and unreliable ferry boat. It opened in 1902 and is free to use. The southern entrance is very close to the Cutty Sark historic visitor attraction, and nearby are also the centre of Greenwich, the Greenwich Observatory and more. On hot summer days the 10 minute walk through the tunnel offers a cool refuge from the ferocious summer sun.

More information about the Greenwich Foot Tunnel can be found at these links:
http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/directory_record/2013/greenwich_foot_tunnel ..
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186338-d1821177-Reviews-Greenwich_Foot_Tunnel-London_England.html ..
.

London Docklands Light Railway. . London Docklands Light Railway.
When the DLR extension to Lewisham was built the existing British Railways station at Greenwich was reconfigured to create space for the DLR trains to call within the existing platform area. However only northbound DLR trains and southbound SouthEastern trains benefit from cross platform interchange.
.
The view on the left shows a southbound SouthEastern Class 376 train plus a northbound DLR B07 train. . The view on the right shows a northbound SouthEastern Class 465 train plus a southbound DLR B90/B92/B2K train.
.
City Airport Departure Information. . London dock worker sculpture Landed.
London City Airport (LCY) flight departure information on
the high level DLR platform at Canning Town station.
. A sculpture named Landed near to the ExCel Centre which is near Custom House station. See text below for more information.

Close to the ExCel Exhibition Centre which is near Custom House DLR station (Beckton branch) is a 2009 sculpture by Les Johnson / Bronze Age Foundry in tribute to the history of the communities of the Royal Docks and the men who worked there between 1885 and 1983. It was funded by a charitable appeal supported by the Royal Docks (London) Trust who have a webpage at this link http://www.royaldockstrust.org.uk/ .. The sculpture can be a challenge to photograph, especially on sunny days when shadows and the direction of the sun can get in the way.

Even on Sundays the DLR operates frequent services - typically every 10 minutes, or less. But before travelling it is always wise to check whether weekend engineering works mean that some of the system is closed.

The DLR also looked at in the shared service routes section of this page and in the Stratford station portion of the busier stations in zones 1-4 section which looks at station where there is a wider variety of trains to see. This includes a photograph showing the different locations of both sets of DLR platforms.

. London Docklands Light Railway.
A C2C Class 357 train passes Shadwell station whilst an eastbound DLR train makes a station stop. This view is looking east, the trains are travelling west towards Fenchurch Street and Bank stations.

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Croydon / London Tramlink
Tramlink Bombardier Flexity Swift CR4000 tramcar. . Tramlink Bombardier Flexity Swift CR4000 tramcar.
The Tramlink system uses 24 Bombardier Flexity Swift CR4000 two-section articulated low floor trams which were introduced
when the system opened in 2000 (above left, seen leaving Church Street tram stop) and 10 Stadler Rail Variobahn five-section
multi-articulated trams which date from 2012 and 2015/6 with 2 more expected in 2017 (below left seen at Reeves Corner tram stop).
Tramlink Stadler Rail Variobahn tramcar. . Tramlink Stadler Rail Variobahn tramcar.

Centred on the large suburban town of Croydon, London's first Tramlink system travels through the streets in the town centre and then splits into several branches - all of which are 'off street' / on private rights of way and include sections of new-build tramway and former railway line. In Croydon town centre much of the track is in the form of a uni-directional loop which trams follow in a clockwise direction.

The fastest trains to Croydon travel between East Croydon station and (depending on route) Clapham Junction & Victoria stations or Blackfriars & Farringdon stations. Typically southbound trains will be heading for the south coast (Brighton, Eastbourne, etc) and also calling at Gatwick Airport. Slower ('all stations') trains also exist, although some of these go to West Croydon - this category includes the East London Line Overground trains.

Other routes to Croydon are via tram / train interchange stations in south London. Mitcham Junction can be reached on (some) Thameslink trains from Farringdon; Beckenham Junction can be reached by (some) trains from Victoria station, Elmers End can be reached by (some) trains from Charing Cross and Cannon Street stations, or via the Docklands Light Railway at Lewisham station. Wimbledon can be reached by the District line as well as some (fast) trains from Waterloo and Clapham Junction mainline stations.

Tramlink map.
Map modified by me, original source & license: Metrophil44 / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 4.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tramlink_map_2016.png

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

Croydon Tramlink. . Croydon Tramlink.
.
train and tram tracks . tram tracks embedded in paved road
.
Most of the Tramlink system operates on a private right of way separate from road traffic.
This Bombardier tram is approaching Arena tram stop.
. However there are locations where trams share roadspace with other traffic. This Stadler tram and diesel bus are on Addiscombe Road.

For tourists a route which allows combining many different types of train in one day would be to take the DLR to Lewisham, a SouthEastern train (destination: Hayes) as far as Elmers End and then the tram. (If you are paying fares using in 'PAYG' mode remember to 'touch-in' at the tram card reader on the tram platform; this will automatically end your railway journey and charge you a tram fare. It is important that you use the correct Oyster card reader - as otherwise you will be travelling on the tram without having paid a fare). To return to Central London travel on the tram to Wimbledon, where there is a wide choice of frequent trains back to Central London. (When changing from tram to train remember to 'touch-in' on a free standing Oyster card reader before boarding the train; this applies to all trains from all railway operators).

Despite what the transport officials may say, life really is simpler with a paper 'One Day' Travelcard, as then you do not need to worry about touching in / out and the risk of being overcharged.

Tramlink tram and delivery driver in central Croydon. . Croydon Tramlink.
With good planning even street trams and delivery drivers can
coexist peaceably - see text below for more information.
. A Bombardier tram passes historic Surrey Street market.

(Additional text for the above image) In a world of busy streets and shops which do not have rear accesses delivery drivers need to be able to park close to their destinations. The row of yellow dots painted on the road surface which delineate the tram's swept path give 'white van' delivery drivers confidence that even when the kerbside loading bays are full and they have to park on double yellow line they are still not blocking the tramline.

The 'street tramway' part of the system starts on the Croydon side of Sandilands tram stop and extends over the full town centre loop plus a small distance on the Wimbledon route as far as the bridge over the railway. Lebanon Road tram stop is on a local transport only corridor used by trams, buses and other local traffic. The town centre loop is single track and mostly restricted to either to 'trams only' or trams and vehicles which need to deliver goods to local shops. Some of the loop is also pedestrianised. At some tram stops (eg: West Croydon) the passenger waiting area is also the footpath.

The Wimbledon route includes single and double track sections, plus (just west of Merton Park tram stop) some interlaced / gauntlet track. On this route the best places to watch / photograph trams are between Ampere Way and Wandle Park. Being a former railway many sections of the route are not accessible, and its also worth remembering that with trams travelling at speeds of up to 50mph (80km/h) so it is often not safe for people to be too near the tracks.

Apart from the tunnels midway between Sandilands and Lloyd Park tram stops, the New Addington route is entirely brand new and includes some pleasant rides through woodland. Its often possible to observe / photograph passing trams from a parallel road and from the many road and foot crossings across the track. One of several good places to watch passing trams from the trackside is the area around Coombe Lane tram stop. I've done this several times, and also walked deep into the woodland areas and enjoyed what is more akin to a remote countryside walk than being in a big city. Beyond Addington Village tram stop & bus interchange the trams run alongside Lodge Lane, but because the trams are to the west of the road so in the afternoon the sun's position may inhibit photography. Near King Henry's Walk the tramway passes through the middle of a roundabout and there is also a small single track section where the trams pass around a building which was there before the tramway was built. In France the New Addington route (especially) would have featured 'lawn' track which blends in harmoniously with the local area; as I understand it this was not done on Tramlink because the people who built the tramline had no previous experience of building tramlines which included lawn track. However what this also means is that it is relatively easy to follow the tram route if using online satellite imagery services - such as Google or Bing maps.

Most of the route from Sandilands to Elmers End is a former railway, although it has been heavily rebuilt with a former one-stop branch line (to Addiscombe) being closed and the former stations now being barely recognisable as such. Apart from road crossings the best place for lineside views are in the area around Arena tram stop, which includes the South Norwood Country Park. Although the route is operated on the normal road traffic 'line of sight' principle, restricted sightlines mean that the junction where the Elmers End and Beckenham Junction routes diverge is fully signalled.

British light rail / tramway / streetcar signalling. Signals controlling trams leaving Arena tram stop and travelling towards either the Elmers End or Beckenham Junction routes.

The upper signal advises tram drivers whether to 'stop' or 'go' whilst the lower signal tells them which route has been set, ie: left towards Beckenham Junction or continue ahead towards Elmers End.

The animation is of course 'speeded-up' - what are seen here as 10 second periods of apparent inactivity represents 5 - 10 minutes.

This image (along with another Tramlink signal animation) can be found on the citytransport.info website at this link:
Road Junctions, Level Crossings And Traffic Signal Priority ..

Tram Fares

Although the two main railway stations in Croydon are in zone 5 the entire tramway system is a special fares zone and any prepaid Travelcard season ticket which is valid in zones 3, 4, 5 or 6 can be used on the trams.

If you only wish to travel on the trams (and perhaps buses as well - but NOT trains) then using Oyster PrePay / contactless bank cards / other compatible electronic payment devices in 'pay as you go' (PAYG) mode represents the cheapest way to pay fares as your 3rd journey in a calendar day will be cheaper and then the rest of your journeys (on that day) are free! If you want a souvenir of your visit then although slightly more expensive the One Day Bus & Tram pass will be ideal. These can be bought at many locations including most railway station ticket machines, Oyster Ticket Stops and Tramlink ticket machines at tram stops.

If you are staying for five days (or more) then a weekly / longer bus and tram pass might be worthwhile - note however that these can only be used with an Oyster card.

Since the trams charge a flat fare irrespective of distance travelled so passengers only need to 'touch-in' on an Oyster card reader on the platforms before boarding a tram at the start of the journey. There is then a 70 minute time limit in which journeys should be completed, and during this time the next 'touch-in' (perhaps because it was necessary to change to another tram to complete the journey) is not charged.

As tram and bus fares are mostly priced identically it is also possible for passengers interchanging between a tram and a bus to benefit from the 60 minute Hopper fare for a free second journey. Even passengers interchanging between buses and trams at Wimbledon station are entitled to benefit from Hopper fares, however to get around the station ticket gates blocking the Hopper fares passengers will be charged a second fare at the time of travel but are then supposed to receive an automatic refund of the second fare at a later date.

Hopper fares are only available for two consecutive 'street transport' journeys (two buses or a tram and a bus), which means that you must NOT use the same payment card to pay a fare on a different transport, such as a train. (This is expected to change in 2018)

Because an Oyster card which has a negative PAYG balance is then blocked it must be topped-up and the negative balance cleared before starting the second (free) journey. This comment does not apply to other types of London electronic ticketing as these do not have an e-purse

It is also possible to buy single tickets from the ticket machines which are located on tram stop platforms. These paper tickets are valid for 90 minutes and include a change of tram, if this is required to complete a journey. However this is an expensive way to pay fares and therefore is something you should only do if you just want to go for a ride on a tram and do not have any other way of paying your fare.

Tramlink ticket machines also sell tickets valid to zone 1 underground stations - however these journeys must be made via Wimbledon and the District Line. They are not accepted on any other railway services. (This is because the other railways charge higher fares to passengers without Travelcard season tickets). Note that travelling via the District Line from Wimbledon can take much longer than some of the alternatives. The ticket machines also sell other paper tickets, such as One Day Travelcards, which of course can be used on any train within the relevant zone - and make for a nice souvenir of your visit!

Tramlink ticket machines also sell through tickets for use on tram feeder bus routes T31, T32 and T33, but even though the cost is the same as any other journey, through tickets must be selected at the time of purchase. If the journey starts on a feeder bus then speak to the bus driver.

There is a Tramlink information shop in George Street (near East Croydon railway station / on the other side of the road) which sells tickets and offers travel advice.

East Croydon Railway Tramlink station. . Croydon Tramlink Shop.
The largest stop on the Tramlink system is at East Croydon,
which has three platforms and is right outside East Croydon
mainline railway station. This was filmed at about 4:30pm / 16:30.
. A short walk from East Croydon station towards Croydon Town centre is the Tramlink information shop which offers travel advice and sells tickets.

Cheapest Fares From Central London Zone 1

The cheapest way to travel to Croydon from London Zone 1 is to take the District Line to Wimbledon. This is because Wimbledon station is in Zone 3 and the maximum daily fare using pay-as-you-go (PAYG) ticketing on Oyster, contactless bank credit / debit cards or smartphone apps (in 2016) is £7.60. You will save money even if you only make 2 train journeys and 2 tram journeys (without Hopper discount). It is also possible to pay Zone 3 fares by travelling to Wimbledon on SouthWest Trains from Waterloo (and Southern from Victoria - but you must change trains at Clapham Junction). Be careful with the Thameslink trains that serve Wimbledon station as some of them travel via zones 4 and 5.

If you travel to Croydon via the train / tram interchanges at Mitcham Junction, Birkbeck, Beckenham Junction or Elmers End which are in Zone 4 then the maximum daily fare using PAYG ticketing (in 2016) is £9.30.

If you travel to either East Croydon or West Croydon stations then because these are in Zone 5 the maximum daily fare using PAYG ticketing (in 2016) is £11.00.

These fares apply all day - with daily price capping there is no extra charge if you travel in the rush hours.

If you buy one-day ride-at-will Zones 1-6 or 1-9 paper Travelcard tickets then you can travel via any route. Whilst these are the simplest tickets to use and afterwards make for nice souvenirs they are also the most expensive. Monday - Friday off-peak One Day Travelcards can be used after 9.30. At weekends and bank / public holidays they can be used all day.

Visitors who have BritRail / Eurail Passes should use these between London and Croydon and perhaps for travelling on Tramlink use either PAYG or buy a Bus And Tram Pass.

Croydon Tramlink. . Croydon Tramlink.
Elmers End is one of several stations where the trams stop within the railway fares paid area. This view shows a Bombardier tram in the single terminus platform and a northbound SouthEastern Class 465 train. . When Tramlink first opened its trams were painted in a red and white livery similar to that used by the first generation tram system which closed in 1952.
This location is close to Reeves Corner tram stop. The tram in the new livery had stopped to wait for the other tram to cross the single track Wandle flyover.

At Elmers End and Wimbledon the trams stop inside the stations' fares paid areas. To avoid possible problems with the electronic ticket gates and possibly being charged a railway maximum fare ALL passengers travelling TO Wimbledon who are using Oystercard ticketing, no matter what type - ie: even if it is a Travelcard season ticket - are supposed to 'touch-in' before boarding the tram. There is more information about Tramlink ticketing at Wimbledon station in the Wimbledon section of the page which looks at busier stations in zones 1-4. Elmers End does not have electronic gates so tram passengers with PAYG Oystercards arriving here should only use the free standing card readers if interchanging to the trains, but make sure you use the correct card reader, as otherwise you will end up being charged both a tram fare AND, when you touch-out at your destination, a railway maximum fare. This will be expensive! Passengers starting a tram journey here only need to use the tram card readers, if you arrived here by train then these will also act as a 'touch-out' for the railway journey.

Croydon Tramlink. . Croydon Tramlink.
The Beckenham Junction route includes a route-shared section alongside a little used 3rd rail electric railway. Both tramway and railway have their own bi-directional single tracks. This composite view was taken from the footbridge next to Avenue Road tram stop. . George Street tram stop is one of the tram stops located
along the town centre loop.

On the Beckenham Junction route much of the section beyond Birkbeck is alongside a little used 3rd rail electric railway branch, both railway and tramway are single track and the trams have some passing loops as well. Avenue Road tram stop is next to a bridge over the tracks where if you are fortunate you will be able to film a tram and a train in the same view (alas, my attempt was not successful, hence the composite photographic view). Note that because of mainline trains and their third rail electric power supply system there is a very strict prohibition against walking anywhere near the track; this is for safety reasons. Anyone who is foolish enough to contravene this regulation and manages to avoid being killed by electrocution / hit by a passing train and is caught by the police is likely to be prosecuted for trespassing on the railway.

West Croydon Railway Tramlink station side entrance. . Croydon Tramlink.
The town centre loop passes by West Croydon station - this shows the side entrance which is on the platform used by London Overground trains which have just arrived from north London. . Being electrically powered means that trams are good for the urban environment.
A Bombardier tram passes an air pollution monitoring facility.
Interlaced track. . Sandilands Croydon Tramlink.
Interlaced tracks under a narrow road bridge.
This is near Merton Park tram stop.
This Bombardier tram is travelling from Wimbledon
to New Addington via Croydon town centre.
. This section of tramway alongside Addiscombe Road was originally supposed to use lawn tracks, but the people who built the tramway wanted the tracks to be paved. In the distance is Sandilands tram and bus stop with a Bombardier tram travelling towards Elmers End.
.
Two examples from overseas showing something that Tramlink lacks.

Lawn / grassed trackage is a visually attractive feature which helps the tramway visually blend into the landscape - especially when the tracks are alongside existing parkland. Where required privet hedges act as a safety barrier discouraging people from walking over the tracks. In Europe many tramways include lawn trackage - especially on new-build tramways.

Lawn trackage was included in Tramlink's design brief, but because the British Government's regulations give the company which builds tramways much control over how the construction project is achieved so it was possible for this to be omitted from the final design.

More images showing lawn track and other similar ideas for overhead wire support poles can be found on this page at the citytransport.info website:
Lawn Track - Creating Green Corridors. .

Lawn tram track flanked by privet hedges. A lawn with the swept path of light rail / tram / streetcar track delineated by flowering plants.
Lawn trackage flanked by privet hedges
on route 8 in Basle, Switzerland.
A variant of lawn trackage which comprises low-level flowering
plants around the tracks, designed to help delineate the swept
path of the tramway in Zwickau, (south eastern) Germany.

More information about Tramlink can be found in the Wimbledon station section further down this page which looks at busier stations in zones 1-4. This includes a photograph showing a District Line Underground train and a Bombardier Tramlink tram

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Other Railways

Apart from the Underground, London has an extensive network of urban and suburban railway services provided by many of the mainline railway ‘train operating companies’ which provide railway services throughout Great Britain. Most of these feed into terminal stations on the fringes of ‘Central London’, however a few travel through London linking towns to the north of London with towns to the south of London.

The main central London stations and areas they serve are:-

  • Paddington; west London.
  • Marylebone; north-west London (some services interline with Metropolitan Line trains out of Baker Street station).
  • Euston; north-west London (the Overground local services interline with Bakerloo Line trains).
  • St Pancras; north London (also high-ish speed Javelin trains, but these do not accept London‘s normal tickets, so have little relevance for travel within London).
  • Kings Cross; north London.
  • Moorgate (Northern City / Great Northern Electrics); north London. NB: part-time service; during evenings and weekends trains use Kings Cross instead.
  • Liverpool Street; east and north-east London.
  • Fenchurch Street; east London. (During evenings and at weekends trains sometimes use Liverpool Street instead).
  • London Bridge, Cannon Street, Charing Cross; south and south east London,
    (some south /south east London trains terminate at London Bridge, others pass through and continue on to Cannon Street or Charing Cross.)
  • Blackfriars - south, south-east London plus Thameslink.
  • Waterloo; south-west London.
  • Waterloo (East); through station served by trains to / from Charing Cross.
  • Victoria; South and south-east London.

With the exception of Fenchurch Street all of these stations are also served by Underground trains. Fenchurch Street is within walking distance of much of London‘s main financial centre, passengers needing onward transport tend to use the nearby Tower Hill Underground station.

Most of the trains which serve these stations are electrically powered, except Marylebone (which has only diesel trains) and Paddington (the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect are electric, all other trains are diesel).

Heathrow Connect Class 360 train. . Floor illumination in Heathrow Connect Class 360 train.
Class 360 Desiro Heathrow Connect train travelling
towards London Paddington departs West Ealing.
. The Heathrow Express and Connect trains copy aircraft
by including floor level illumination inside the train.
This image was taken on a Heathrow Connect train - the small green lights are easier to see in the clickable larger image. .
.
Harry Potter platform at Kings Cross. . Meeting Place bronze sculpture St Pancras.
The Harry Potter platform 9¾ at Kings Cross station. Nowadays this can be found in the mainline railway station ticket sales area (booking office / ticket office) - it used to be located on one of the platforms, but was relocated when electronic ticket gates were installed as these restrict the platforms to only passengers with tickets. . The Meeting Place. Located at St Pancras International Station this impressive bronze sculpture can be found directly below the station clock. Passengers who arrive in London by Eurostar train can also see this statue by looking towards the front of the train.
See below for more information.
.
Meeting Place bronze sculpture St Pancras station. . . Meeting Place bronze sculpture Saint Pancras station. .
Just two of the magnificent mini dioramas in the plinth below the The Meeting Place statue at St Pancras station.
These are best seen in the larger format which opens in new windows when the images are clicked.
.

Even visitors who are not railway fans enthuse over the 20-tonne bronze sculpture of a couple in a loving embrace which is directly below the main clock and next to the Eurostar terminus at St Pancras International station - upstairs / on the floor above the retail shops.

Built by artist Paul Day this bronze statue is an imposing 30ft (9m) in height and cost £1 million. Called The Meeting Place it aims to reflect the romantic nature of train travel, and may remind travellers of a scene from a film named Brief Encounter.

Note that the image showing the statue and the clock was photographed through the glass screen which separates the Eurostar platforms from the areas accessible to the general public. These platforms are a restricted area reserved for international passengers only and can only be reached by passengers who are travelling on Eurostar trains. Since departing passengers are prevented from accessing the platforms until the train is about to depart (similar to aircraft at airports) so Eurostar passengers will probably find it easier to try to see the statute when arriving in London and before going downstairs to passport control. Of course it is also possible to see the statute from the public walkway on the general public side of the security glass screen.

Paddington Bear at Paddington station. Paddington Bear at Paddington station. Paddington Bear at Paddington station.
Tourists like to photograph themselves and their relatives sittting next to Paddington Bear
who lives under the main clock on platform 1 at Paddington station.

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Fast Regional Trains

Some trains which travel to destinations away from London also serve outer London stations, making very few (if any) stops in the inner suburbs. Depending on the route served these journeys may take 15 - 30 minutes and the trains often include 1st class seating and free toilets. In the list below the London terminal station and name of the train operator are in brackets.

  • East Croydon (Victoria [Southern], Blackfriars [Thameslink], West London Line [Southern]).
  • Bromley South (Victoria [SouthEastern]).
  • Harrow & Wealdstone (Euston [London Midland], West London Line [Southern]).
  • Harrow-on-The-Hill (Marylebone [Chiltern Railways], Baker Street [Metropolitan Line]).
  • West Ruislip (Marylebone [Chiltern Railways]).
  • Wimbledon (Waterloo [SouthWest Trains]).
  • Richmond (Waterloo [SouthWest Trains]).
  • Romford (Liverpool Street [Greater Anglia]).
  • Upminster (Fenchurch Street [C2C]).
  • Also do not forget the Thameslink trains which often provide faster journeys (than the Underground) on north-south services through London - and have free toilets.

Two stations just outside of London which are also served by longer distance trains that travel ‘fast’ within London.

  • Dartford (Victoria, Charing Cross / Waterloo East / London Bridge [SouthEastern]).
  • Watford Junction (Euston, Clapham Junction / West London Line [London Midland, London Overground, Southern, Virgin]). Special fares apply here, the situation is very confusing. Passengers travelling on Overground trains can travel to / from this station using Oyster PAYG and Travelcards which include Watford Junction. But the Euston - Watford journey takes about 50 minutes whilst travelling on London Midland services takes 15-20 minutes. I am not sure about trains operated by other railway companies, so it is best to ask.

If you want some luxury without going on a long journey then use the Heathrow Express (HeX) between Heathrow Airport and Paddington station. 1st class is especially nice, with comfortable chairs, folding tables, coat rails and more. Note that the HeX charges special fares, so make sure you know what you are paying before travelling. Being a premium service that is aimed at airline passengers they do not want to have their trains swamped by commuters and therefore do NOT accept any ordinary London tickets - no Travelcards, no Oyster cards. If you have a BritRail, Eurail Pass or All Line Rover then you should also check before travelling.

Trains which use both 25Kv AC overhead wire & 750v DC third rail

London has some trains which use both 25000v ac overhead wire and 750v dc third rail. They all operate as part of National Rail services and include Classes 313, 319, 377 and 378 on various routes around London.

Farringdon (which is served by both Underground and Thameslink trains) used to be a good station to see trains change between the two systems, however northbound trains now change from third rail to overhead wire (which includes the trains raising their pantographs) at City Thameslink station, which is underground and too dark to even see the process - let alone photograph it.

Other stations where this can be seen are Acton Central on the western side of the North London Line (London Overground) and Drayton Park on the Moorgate - Finsbury Park Northern City Line. A different way to experience this changeover is to travel in the part of the train that is under the pantograph and to listen to the sound of the changeover.

Trains on the West London Line (WLL) between Harrow & Wealdstone / Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction also change their power supply during the journey. At present they do this whilst between stations but one day this will be relocated to Shepherds Bush (WLL) station. Before this can come to pass the nearby Underground route between Hammersmith and Paddington stations (via Shepherds Bush Market) needs to be resignalled, as otherwise the electric overhead wires will cause electrical interference for the existing signalling system. Resignalling is scheduled when London Underground's S stock trains have replaced the C stock trains and as part of a plan for converting the Underground‘s subsurface lines to automatically driven trains.

Also worth knowing... the Javelin trains which travel on the High Speed Line between St Pancras station and Ashford and then use normal tracks to serve various locations is south-east England also use both overhead wire and third rail power supply systems, switching between the two at Ashford station.

projecture iconTrains changing their power supply system can be seen on one of my 'youtube' videos which was filmed in the early 1990's. Note however that the type of train seen in this video no longer operates on this route and the location (Dalston Kingsland station) is now fully 'overhead wire' only.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPg0sZPl28s ..

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London Overground
The Birth Of The Overground

The initial London Overground network comprised seven* urban railway routes which for reasons that included a lack of investment and lack of passenger awareness were (mostly) seen as transport backwaters. They were joined under one high-profile name and after much investment (and new trains) achieved a level of public awareness - and patronage - similar to that of the Underground system.
(* Although there were seven routes one of them was shortened and merged with another route, losing its separate identity at the same time).

Part of the Overground ethos has been to provide a turn up and go service so that passengers do not need to consult the timetable - they will know that (on most routes) the trains come at least every 15 minutes. Such has been the success of the Overground Network that to cope with passenger numbers most of the original routes needed to have their trains extended from four to five carriages in length.

In May 2015 some more routes were added to the London Overground network. Some of these are busy urban services whilst one is a short rural branch line. These are detailed further down this page.

Claustrophobia

twin tunnel symbol Information for people who are happy to travel on trains which are above ground but experience claustrophobia when in tunnels.

A few locations on the Overground Network have single track tunnels:

* Where trains use the historic Brunel tunnels to pass below the River Thames on the East London Line section between Wapping and Rotherhithe stations. Note that this route also includes many twin track tunnels.

* On the Euston - Watford service between Euston and South Hampstead stations plus between Kensal Green and Willesden Junction stations. On days when this service is diverted to Stratford (instead of Euston) then the trains pass through single track tunnels when travelling between South Hampstead and Camden Road stations.

Train Types and Some Route Information

Five Overground routes use five carriage Class 378 electric multiple unit trains which feature a full walk-through design and full air-conditioning. These are powerful trains which were designed for 75mph (121 km/h) operation although because much of the Overground network has a top speed of just 45mph (72 km/h) they rarely demonstrate their true capabilities. Indeed, it is a characteristic of the Overground that its trains travel calmly and sedately, with slow station approaches and gentle braking of the type which makes for very smooth journeys - and longer overall journey times.

One service uses diesel trains, these being two carriage Class 172 diesel multiple units. At the time of this page update (October 2016) this line is closed for electrification works. The line needs closing because many of the bridges need rebuilding (to create enough space for the overhead wires). In some locations the tracks are being lowered instead. In addition, the station platforms are being rebuilt to accept longer four carriage electric trains. Services are expected to resume in February 2017 although still with the diesel trains, as it will be 2018 before the brand new electric trains are built.

The services added in May 2015 use a mix of Classes 315, 317 and 321 electric multiple unit trains which are being refurbished and painted in London Overground livery. In approximately 2017/2018 these will be replaced with brand new electric trains.

London Overground 2013 Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map showing the London Overground network in 2013.
This map also shows open air and tunnelled sections of railway.
Original source & license: Cnbrb / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:London_Overground_2013.png
. London Overground 2015 Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map showing the London Overground network after more routes were added in 2015 plus interchange stations and stations with pink Oyster Route Validators.       Original source & license:
sameboat / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:London_Overground_map_sb.svg

Click maps to see larger versions in new windows! .

The 2015 map includes information on the routes which joined the London Overground network in May 2015 and lists the services as route A - route G, as per the information below.

  • A: Euston - Watford Junction
  • B: Richmond - Stratford (via the North London Line).
  • C: Clapham Junction - Willesden Junction (via the West London Line) - some of these services are extended to Stratford via the North London Line.
  • D: Gospel Oak - Barking (this route is nicknamed Goblin)
  • E: A group of four interworked services which travel via the East London Line and the historic Brunel Thames Tunnel. The core part of the route is: (Highbury & Islington - some trains only) - Dalston Junction - Surrey Quays. From here trains fan out to reach New Cross / West Croydon / Crystal Palace / Clapham Junction.
  • F: A group of three north London services which radiate from London's Liverpool Street station to Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) / Enfield / Chingford.
  • G: A short branch line shuttle service between Romford and Upminster at the eastern edge of London.
Outer Circle Line

Although not marketed as such the combination of several London Overground services forms a Circle Line around London. However, as this operates in two sections so for some journeys passengers will need to change trains at Clapham Junction [in south London] or Canonbury / Highbury & Islington [in north London]. Passengers paying fares using electronic smart card ticketing in PAYG (pay as you go) mode (Oyster, contactless, etc.,) are advised NOT to try and travel around the entire circle in one journey. The PAYG system is not designed for such journeys and passengers who try to do this will find themselves being charged an expensive maximum fare. NB: this advice also applies to for passengers who have reached the fares cap for that day and passengers with Oyster Travelcard Season Tickets which do not include both Zones 1 and 2.

However passengers with paper One Day Travelcards / BritRail passes (etc.,) can make such journeys without ticketing complications.

Routes Which Use Class 378 Electric Trains
.
Three carriage Class 378 train. . Inside the fully air-conditioned Class 378 train.
Five London Overground routes use airconditioned five (5) carriage Class 378 electric trains which are of a fully walk-through design.
The example is seen here (above left) is on the North London Line service at Highbury & Islington and in its original 2010 three (3) carriage format.
  • The Euston - Watford Junction (all stations) service. This route is powered at 750V DC via a third rail.
    The tracks between Queens Park and Harrow & Wealdstone are shared with Bakerloo Line Underground trains.
    Unlike all other Overground services, trains on this route operate at 20 minute frequencies - there is a desire to improve this but when British Railways resignalled the line in the 1980's it did so in a way which will need a lot of money to be spent to make more frequent trains possible (again).

    Very occasionally the Euston - Watford trains are diverted away from Euston station and instead travel to Stratford via the former (ie: now closed) Primrose Hill station.
  • The North London Line links Stratford in the east of London with Richmond in south-west London.
    Between Stratford and Acton Central the trains are powered at 25kV AC from overhead wires, whilst between Acton Central and Richmond they are powered at 750V DC via an electrified third rail.
    The tracks between Gunnersbury and Richmond are shared with District Line Underground trains.
    Note that for 'end to end' journeys between east and west London it might be quicker to travel via Central London.

    The North London Line is also a very busy freight route, especially the sections between Stratford and Camden Road plus Gospel Oak and Willesden Junction.
    .
Bollo Lane level crossings. . Freight train passing through Highbury & Islington.
The twin level crossings at Bollo Lane. The crossing nearer to me is used by North London Line (NLL) trains. The nearest stations to here are South Acton (NLL) and Acton Town (District & Piccadilly lines).
There is also a level crossing next to Acton Central NLL station, this being the station where the trains swap between 25Kv AC overhead wire and 750v DC third rail.
. The North London Line is also a busy freight corridor. This eastbound electrically hauled container train is travelling through platform 8 at Highbury & Islington station.

The North London Line is almost entirely above ground and represents a good way for those who do not feel adventurous to see suburban parts of London without wandering the streets and risking becoming lost. At Stratford there are good views of the Olympic Park where the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games were held. In the Hackney area the line is on a brick arch viaduct which offers many views of East London. Dating from the 1980's, when passenger services through east London were reintroduced after WW2, the stations Hackney Wick - Dalston Kingsland are all simple and low cost in design. This is an area which some people may prefer to avoid, although it should be perfectly safe to view from passing trains. The Dalston - Camden Road section is mostly multi-tracked with part of the route shared with East London Line trains and part where there are extra tracks for freight trains. Between Camden Road and Kentish Town West the line passes near to the famous Camden Market. Near to Gospel Oak look out for the childrens' play ground and the allotments (an area of urban ground split up into small patches so that people who do not have gardens attached to their houses can grow fresh vegetables and flowers). There is a twin track tunnel near to Hampstead Heath station. The line crosses the River Thames on a bridge between Gunnersbury and Kew Gardens stations.

Highbury & Islington station. . Crowded platform at Highbury & Islington.
Highbury and Islington London Overground platforms as seen from the B515 Liverpool Road.
On the left are North London Line platforms №s 8 and 7.
On the right are East London Line platforms №s 2 and 1.
Whilst the track from platform 2 connects with the North London Line, the signalling system has been designed to not allow through trains!
. Its not yet the rush hour but already platform №8 (eastbound,
North London Line) at Highbury & Islington is very busy.
Many passengers change trains here, catching the Victoria Line to Central London.
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Camden Road station building. . West Brompton platform with wire mesh fence.
Camden Road station is one of the few North London Line stations to still retain their original North London Railway station buildings.

Camden Town Northern Line station is 7 - 10 minutes walk from here. Passengers paying fares using PAYG are allowed to walk between these stations and then continue their journey at no extra cost. (Touch-out when leaving the station and touch-in when arriving at the other station). There is a generous time limit in which this journey must be completed, so people who walk slowly should not worry.
. West Brompton West London Line station is alongside the District Line station of the same name.

Passengers interchanging between southbound Overground and northbound Underground trains benefit from same-level cross-platform interchange via some gaps in the fence. Alas, passengers interchanging between northbound Overground and southbound Underground trains must use the steps / lifts - up and then down!

Most passengers paying fares using electronic smart cards (Oyster, contactless, etc.,) in PAYG mode will find their journey is cheaper if they remember to use the pink card readers. Passengers with Travelcard season tickets which do NOT include Zone 1 also need to use the pink card readers - as otherwise they risk being charged an extra fare.
  • The West London Line links Clapham Junction with Willesden Junction, changing between 25kV AC overhead wires and 750V DC third rail part way between Shepherds Bush and Willesden Junction stations.
    Some trains travel all the way from Clapham Junction to Stratford, enhancing the North London Line service frequency.
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Overground train at Shepherds Bush West London Line station . Southern train at Shepherds Bush West London Line station.
Shepherds Bush station on the West London Line is next to the very large Westfield indoor shopping centre. The Central Line Underground station of the same name is also nearby. . The West London Line is also served by an hourly Southern train which travels between Milton Keynes and South Croydon.
These trains do NOT stop at Willesden Junction.
  • The East London Line is a group of four services. They are all powered at 750V DC via a third rail. Note that one of the intermediate stations (Shoreditch High Street) is in Zone 1, which makes journeys through this station more expensive to travel on (higher fares).
    Dalston Junction - West Croydon
    Dalston Junction - New Cross
    Highbury & Islington - Crystal Palace
    Highbury & Islington - Clapham Junction via the part of the route of the former South London Line (SLL).

    Extending London Overground trains from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction resulted in the closure of the former SLL service between London Bridge and Victoria mainline stations. This ending of through SLL trains caused severe inconvenience to some former SLL passengers who must now travel longer, slower routes and change trains (at least once) and / or catch buses to complete journeys which could previously be accomplished on just the one train. To maintain the legal status (as still being a functioning railway) of the part of the SLL route which is not used by any other trains a few London Overground trains travel to Battersea Park instead of Clapham Junction - but at times of day when few passengers wish to travel!
    .
Shadwell station. . Overground trains at Whitechapel station pass below Underground trains.
An Overground train passes below a ventilation portal as it arrives at Shadwell station. Very close by is the DLR station of the same name. . At Whitechapel station East London Line Overground trains pass
below District and Hammersmith & City Lines Underground trains!

The section of East London Line between Highbury & Islington and 'near to' Shoreditch High Street was originally part of the North London Line, but for many years it had been closed. Between Dalston Junction and near to Whitechapel this line is on a viaduct which gives interesting views of the local buildings and the stations are all brand new.

The present-day Shoreditch High Street station is also new; it replaces the older Shoreditch station which was closed to allow for the extension of the route.

The section of East London Line between the old Shoreditch station and New Cross / New Cross Gate was operated by Metropolitan Railway / Line trains for over 100 years! This route includes the first tunnel ever to be built under the River Thames. The text below is copied from one of the Nostalgia, Heritage & Leisure pages on the citytransport.info website ..

35ft [11m] wide, 20ft [6m] high and 1,300ft (¼ mile / 396m) long, this tunnel runs between Rotherhithe and Wapping at a depth of 75ft [23m] below London's River Thames. It was built between 1825 and 1843 using Marc Isambard Brunel's newly invented tunnelling shield technology, by him and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This long time period included a seven year abandonment which was caused by financial problems. Originally the intention was that the tunnel should be used by horse-drawn carriages but ongoing financial problems meant that the access ramps could not be afforded and it remained for pedestrians only. In 1865 the tunnel was purchased by the East London Railway Company, this being a consortium of six railway companies who wanted to use the tunnel to provide a rail link for goods and passengers between Wapping (and later, Liverpool Street) and the South London Line. The tunnel opened for trains in 1869 and in 1884 the disused entrance shafts in Wapping and Rotherhithe were converted into Wapping and Rotherhithe stations respectively.

The six railway companies which owned the East London Railway Company included the Metropolitan Railway and the Metropolitan District Railway which eventually became part of London Transport and the Metropolitan Line / District Line. The other four railway companies eventually became part of British Railways. The Metropolitan Railway electrified the line in 1913 and ended up providing the 'local' passenger services - which included many through trains over the northern part of the Circle line to destinations such as Uxbridge and Hammersmith (both via Baker Street). The steam railways operated longer distance services (eg: to the south coast) and freight trains. Nowadays only Overground trains use this line, especially as the new link past the former Shoreditch station which joins the subterranean and elevated sections of line is quite steep and restricts access to only trains which are powerful enough to negotiate this incline.

Platform murals at Wapping station. . Platform murals at Wapping station.
Platform murals at Wapping station depicting how it would have been shortly after opening and what would have been a typical early 1960's scene when it was used by London Transport electric passenger trains as well as British Railways steam (later diesel) powered freight trains.

Rotherhithe Station - Railway Avenue. Plaque at Rotherhithe Station. Brunel Museum.
Left: Rotherhithe station and Railway Avenue.
Centre: A plaque on the brickwork above the stairs to the platforms at Rotherhithe station ..
Right: The Brunel Museum, as seen from Railway Avenue.

A short walk along Railway Avenue from Rotherhithe station is the Brunel Museum. This includes the Brunel Engine House which was designed by Sir Marc Isambard Brunel as part of the infrastructure of the Thames Tunnel. The museum has a website at this link:
http://www.brunel-museum.org.uk/ ..

To the south of Surrey Quays trains travelling to / from Clapham Junction travel on a section of railway which had been closed for many years but was re-opened for this service. At some stage in the future a new station will be built here.

Queens Road Peckham - Wandsworth Road is part of the former South London Line. Much of this route is elevated on brick arch viaducts.

The view from the train window between Denmark Hill and Clapham High Street will interest people who wish to see 'real' London away from the tourist areas but at the same time feel safer not walking the streets. Especially not with cameras visible for everyone to see.

Local people will perhaps disagree, but Peckham and Wandsworth are two more of the 'inner city South London' areas which some people may prefer to avoid.

. Surrey Quays station.
Surrey Quays station. Very close to here is the Surrey Quays shopping centre which has about 40 shops, restaurants, free toilets and a large Tesco superstore. This is very much a neighbourhood shopping centre that is used by local people, but of course visitors to London would be welcome as well. For more information visit this website http://www.surreyquaysshoppingcentre.co.uk/ ..

At New Cross Gate trains travelling to / from West Croydon and Crystal Palace merge with an existing four track section of railway which extends all the way to Norwood Junction. Trains travelling from Norwood Junction to West Croydon often have to wait for other trains to pass first.

This part of south London is also served by many trains from terminus stations such as London Bridge and Victoria; passengers paying their fares in PAYG mode should note that these other trains charge higher fares.

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London Overground train at Crystal Palace station. . Overground and Southern trains at Honor Oak Park station.
London Overground train at Crystal Palace station. The much-loved Victorian-era station building requires at least four photographs to properly show it. Nowadays only platforms 1-6 are used, with part of the station closed to passengers. . London Overground and Southern trains pass at Honor Oak Park.
The London Overground [and Southern trains which call at this station] use the outer two tracks whilst the centre pair of tracks are used by fast Southern and Thameslink trains.
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Overground and Thameslink trains at Denmark Hill station. . London Overground trains at Clapham Junction station.
London Overground and Thameslink trains at Denmark Hill station. This much-loved Victorian station was rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1980 with most of the station building being a pub called The Phoenix. Happily, there is a counter specially dedicated to railway passengers who can buy refreshments without leaving the fares paid area. . London Overground trains at Clapham Junction.
The train near to me will be travelling via Canada Water [ie: south and east London] whilst the train in the distance will be travelling via Willesden Junction [ie: west and north London].

projector icon
A short film showing Overground and other trains taken a New Cross Gate in May 2013 can be seen on 'youtube' at this link: http://youtu.be/9EpfgK8Z34g .

The Route Which Uses Class 172 Diesel Trains
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London Overground Class 172 train. . London Overground Class 172 train.
The Barking - Gospel Oak service uses two-carriage Class 172 diesel trains - seen at Blackhorse Road station (above left).
Internally these feature a much more traditional seating format.

The Barking - Gospel Oak service is the only route which uses diesel trains. This line is also used by many freight trains.

Because of severe overcrowding some rush hour trains avoid Gospel Oak station and serve Hampstead Heath on the North London Line instead.

Line Closure For Electrification

Services on this line are being disrupted as part of a plan to convert this route to electric traction.

In addition to installing overhead wires, transformers, etc., the works also include rebuilding many station platforms, replacing four bridges (plus rebuilding many others), and lowering four sections of track. As a result the entire line will be closed between October - December 2016 (or February 2017; different sources say different things!). After reopening there will also be many weekend closures. Since the line will reopen before the new electric trains have arrived so there will be a period of time when the diesel trains will operate under electric wires.

The new four carriage class 710 electric trains are expected to start being used in early 2018.

More information: http://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/rail-news/Page-12/tfl-tries-to-reduce-line-closure-time-for-goblin-electrification .

There is also a plan to extend this route from Barking on a brand new section of railway to a new residential area near to the River Thames.

The Routes Which Use Classes 315 and 317 Electric Trains
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London Overground Class 315 train. . London Overground Class 315 train.
A Class 315 train in full London Overground livery arrives at Chingford station. . The grey surround around the doorway on the right identifies this as being the nearest entrance to the wheelchair space.
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London Overground Class 315 train. . London Overground Class 321 train.
So far only some Classes 315 and 317 trains have been repainted in full London Overground livery - others just have the Overground logo on their sides. . For a while two Class 321 trains were used on the London Overground Romford - Upminster shuttle service. This Class 321 train is seen in Ilford Depot, next to a Class 315 train also in LO livery.

At present the routes which joined the London Overground network in May 2015 use a mix of Classes 315 and 317 electric trains which are powered at 25kV AC from overhead wires.

These routes are:

  • Liverpool Street station - Enfield Town
  • Liverpool Street station - Chingford
  • Liverpool Street station - Cheshunt via Seven Sisters (NOT the service via Tottenham Hale)
  • Romford - Upminster via Emerson Park

The desire is that all services from Liverpool Street will operate at least every 15 minutes but because these are busy routes which are also used by other trains and there is not always enough track capacity so sometimes trains are less frequent.

The Romford - Upminster service is a single track quiet country branch line and the one train comes every 30 minutes. There is no service in the evening after 8pm (20:00) or on Sundays.

London Overground Class 317 train. . Planned London Overground Class 710 train.
Class 317 train in London Overground livery arrives at Seven Sisters station.
Image & license: Hammersfan / Wikipedia encyclopædia. CC-BY-SA-4.0
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:317708_at_Seven_Sisters.jpg.
. An artist's impression of the planned London Overground Class 710 electric multiple unit trains which will replace the Class 315, 317, 321 and 172 trains. The type of train is the Bombardier Aventra and it is expected to start entering service in 2017 / 2018.
Publicity image as published by Bombardier
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:British_Rail_Class_710.png.
New Trains

In circa 2017/2018 a fleet of brand new Bombardier Aventra Class 710 four carriage electric multiple unit trains will replace all other London Overground trains except for the Class 378 trains.

There will be two types of new train depending on whether they can only operate on overhead wires or they can use both overhead wire and third rail electrification systems.

The overhead wire trains will be used on services out of London Liverpool Street station and on the Romford - Upminster shuttle. These trains will have a mix of longitudinal and transverse seats, similar to the Metropolitan Line S8 trains.

The trains which can use both overhead wire and third rail will be used on the Barking - Gospel Oak and Euston - Watford routes. These trains will only have longitudinal seating, similar to the Class 378 trains. The Class 378 trains currently being used on the Euston - Watford service will be merged with the fleet used on the North / South / East / West London lines.

Overground To Expand Throughout London?

In January 2016 it was announced that when the franchises for all other mainline railway routes in London are renewed control of the urban / suburban services will be transferred to Transport For London, (TfL) who it is expected will add them to the London Overground network. It remains to be seen of this comes to pass, as not all passengers will welcome this - especially as experience with the London Underground Metropolitan Line suggests that TfL will change service patterns in ways (ie: make them stop at more stations so that journeys become slower and longer) which disadvantage passengers travelling from outside of London's political boundaries. The issue is that many of these services are integrated into the Mainline National railway network whilst TfL's primary interest is serving people who live inside its political boundaries. In many areas there are towns which whilst just outside of London's political boundaries are still part of its socio-economic zone.

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Crossrail Line 1 (Elizabeth Line)

Crossrail as a name in the London context refers to two (or three) new subterranean railway lines which will travel across central London and in the suburbs extend over existing heavy rail routes. The primary aim is to reduce overcrowding on London's existing railways. The concept of introducing trains to the many areas which are remote from any railway service is seen as a secondary (less important) side effect.

What is significant about Crossrail is that its deep level 'tube' tunnels will be large enough for full size mainline trains. Until now only the deep level 'tube' tunnels used by Northern City Line were suitable for full size mainline trains.

CrossRail Map; click image to see a larger version in a new window.
Map modified by me, original source & license: Ed g2s / Wikipedia encyclopædia CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CrossrailLine1Map.svg

Click map to see larger version in a new window! .

When it opens Crossrail Line 1 (which is going to marketed to the public as the Elizabeth Line) will enable some of the existing mainline suburban and regional trains that travel into Paddington station (which is at the western edge of Central London) and almost all the trains on the Stratford - Ilford - Romford - Shenfield route which travel into Liverpool Street station (which is at the eastern edge of Central London) to be joined up via a new route through the centre of London. In addition there will be a new branch to the south-east of London which is routed via the Canary Wharf Financial District in the Docklands area, this branch will reopen a closed section of railway and end at a new interchange station at Abbey Wood, which is on the southern side of the River Thames.

Both sections of railway which will be used by Elizabeth Line trains that already exist have at least four tracks divided as being for fast (longer distance) trains and for slow (local) trains. Mostly Elizabeth Line trains will use the slow (local) tracks.

In addition to building new tunnels and stations the existing railway routes are being revamped. The first stage towards this occurred at the end of May 2015 when control of the London Liverpool Street - Shenfield suburban service was taken over by Transport for London and started using the temporary brand name of TFL Rail. To make this route suitable for the new trains many station platforms are being lengthened and the overhead wire power supply system which dates from the late 1940's is being renewed. In addition many points / switches / turnouts are being renewed or removed, so that the route will have very few remaining connections with the rest of the national rail network. One side-effect of this descoping is that freight / goods trains which used to be able to join this route at Forest Gate and then cross over to the adjacent fast lines before diverting to the North London Line (which is a major freight artery across London) at Stratford will find that the crossover tracks to the fast lines have been removed. making such journeys impossible. A potential side-effect of this is former railfreight traffic switching to the roads! The national railway system is supposed to be for the entire nation - not just the people of London!

The line to the west of London is also benefitting from much investment, but largely as part of an electrification and resignalling project that is unrelated to the Crossrail project.

TFL Rail Class 315 train. . TFL Rail Class 315 train.
A Class 315 train in full TFL Rail livery at Seven Kings station. The white railing are a recent innovation designed to prevent passengers from entering the little-used section of platform passed by fast trains. . The grey surround around the doorway on the left identifies this as being the nearest entrance to the wheelchair space.
A poster about what at the time was simply known as Crossrail at Whitechapel station. Click here to read the text on an extra large 480kb version of this image. . .
front Class 345 train Crossrail Eliabeth Line. . middle Class 345 train Crossrail Eliabeth Line.
The first of the new trains arrived in London on Friday 9th December 2016. The train type is the Bombardier Aventra, although in the British train naming scheme these trains will be known as Class 345. These two views show the first train passing platform 10a Stratford station.

Project Timeline

The first of the 65x 9 carriage air-conditioned walk-through Elizabeth Line trains will start being introduced in May 2017. These 200 metre long trains will have 450 seats and an estimated total passenger capacity of 1,500 people. They are expected to have the full Elizabeth Line branding (ie: not TFL Rail branding).

In May 2018 the local 'all stations' service between London's Paddington station and West Drayton / Heathrow Airport (ie: the Heathrow Connect) will become part of the pre-Crossrail service, either as TFL Rail or the Elizabeth Line.

In December 2018 passenger trains will start running through the tunnels below central London, albeit only between Abbey Wood (in south-east London) and Paddington stations.

In May 2019 trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield will start running through the tunnels as far as Paddington station.

Full service will commence in December 2019. This will include through trains from the east of London to Heathrow Airport and Reading. Although the Heathrow Connect service is being subsumed into the Elizabeth Line, the the non-stop Heathrow Express will continue as a dedicated service which links Paddington station with Heathrow Airport.

In the rush hours 24 trains per hour (tph) per direction will travel through the tunnels between Paddington and east London.

Only 10tph will travel west of Paddington; 4tph to Heathrow Airport, 4tph to Maidenhead or Reading and 2tph to West Drayton.

To the east of London all trains will travel to Shenfield / Abbey Wood.

In the rush hours there will also be additional trains between the existing mainline (above ground) Liverpool Street station and Shenfield. This is because this extremely busy route will need more trains than those which travel through the tunnel.

The brand new deep level tube train tunnels and the Abbey Wood branch are being equipped with radio Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) moving block signalling with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) and Automatic Train Protection (ATP). To allow train frequencies to increase the signalling is being designed for up to 30tph.

West of Paddington station Elizabeth Line trains will travel on tracks which are shared with other trains and as part of a different route modernisation and electrification scheme is going to be equipped with the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2. To the east of London the route to Shenfield uses the legacy Train Protection Warning System (TPWS).

Part of the funding for the construction of the Elizabeth Line has come from London's second financial centre at Canary Wharf. One of the conditions of their investment is that at least 50% of trains on the Abbey Wood branch serve Heathrow Airport. Especially at busy times it is possible that ALL Elizabeth Line trains to Heathrow Airport will travel to Abbey Wood, so passengers for the Shenfield branch will need to change train. This may yet change after trains have started running and the general public realise the situation.


Crossrail Line 2

Crossrail as a name in the London context refers to two (or three) new subterranean railway lines which will travel across central London and in the suburbs extend over existing heavy rail routes. The primary aim is to reduce overcrowding on London's existing railways. The concept of introducing trains to the many areas which are remote from any railway service is seen as a secondary (less important) side effect.

What is significant about Crossrail is that its deep level 'tube' tunnels will be large enough for full size mainline trains. Until now only the deep level 'tube' tunnels used by Northern City Line were suitable for full size mainline trains.


Crossrail Line two is a future rail service which will link south-west London with north and north east London.

In the 1970s this line was planned to serve two areas which do not have any Underground railway service, these being Chelsea and Hackney. At that time an unofficial line name of Chelney was mooted and the line was expected to take over part of the District Line's Wimbledon branch and then be routed via Clapham Junction, Kings Road (Chelsea), Tottenham Court Road, Angel, somewhere in the Hackney area and then over either the existing railway route to Chingford (nowadays this is now part of the London Overground network) or Epping (replacing Central Line trains).

However more recently the plans have changed and the line is likely to takeover several outer suburban routes in south-west London (this will allow increased services without having to expand London Waterloo Station) and then be routed via an interchange station with the Northern Line in south London, before following the same route as before as far as Hackney where it will split into two branches, one of which is planned to reduce overcrowding on the Piccadilly Line in north London. The other branch will be extended alongside a little used railway in the Lea Valley which is seen as needing a better rail service to act as catalyst for redevelopment. As yet the exact route and stations served is still being planned.

Using Crossrail 2 as a congestion buster for the southern section of the Northern Line is seen as being better than completing the express tube line which was planned in the late 1930s and partly built (so that the tunnels could be used during the war) in the 1940s.

Using Crossrail 2 as a congestion buster for the northern section of the Piccadilly Line would not have been necessary had two railway routes which used to serve the area not closed in the 1950s (Alexandra Palace and Palace Gates).

The imbalance in fares is also a reason why the Northern and Piccadilly Line trains are experiencing severe overcrowding, even though there are other existing railway services in the same areas. Despite London having one zonal fares system for many journeys Underground fares are cheaper than the other railways.

If built the Chelney Line is expected to open circa 2030 - 2040.

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Busier Suburban Stations Of Interest

In addition to terminal stations in Central London, there are some busier suburban stations where a variety of trains can often be seen. This list only looks at those in zones in zones 1-4. These include: Clapham Junction, Richmond, Ealing Broadway, Wimbledon, and Stratford.

  • Clapham Junction: (south London). With 18 platforms (numbered 1-17 plus 0, which is not used) this is one of the busiest stations in all of Great Britain. You will see many trains from Waterloo [SouthWest Trains] and Victoria [Southern] passing through, including the Gatwick Express and the Southern trains which use the West London Line to link destinations to the north of London with destinations to the south of London. Although not served by Underground trains, this station is on the London Overground network, being served by trains which use the South and West London Lines.

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Clapham Junction station and a map showing the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/CLJ/details.html .
Clapham Junction station. Clapham Junction station.
The London Overground platforms 1 and 2 as seen from the footbridge, with two Class 378 trains. The train in front of me is a West London Line service, the train below me is a South London Line service. To make interchange easy these trains are timed to meet here, every 15 minutes, every day. A SouthWest Trains Class 450 is at platform 3 and in the distance what is probably a Class 455 train can be seen just outside the station.

This photograph is looking east, towards Central London and Waterloo / Victoria railway stations.
The view from the far end of the platform used by the Overground's West London Line trains. On the left can be seen part of a railing which stops passengers from walking along the rest of the platform.
Looking across the station we see two SWT Class 455 trains and a Southern train, either a Class 375 or Class 377.

This photograph is looking south.
  • Richmond: (south-west London). This is a SouthWest Trains station that is also used by Overground and Underground trains. The platform circulating area includes a food outlet with tables where you can watch trains come and go. The glass skylight affords weather protection in inclement weather. Platforms 1 and 2 are through platforms for SouthWest Trains services - typically nowadays just electric multiple units of various types. Platforms 3 to 7 are terminating platforms, London Overground (North London Line) services normally use platforms 3 and 4 but sometimes also use platforms 5, 6 or 7 whilst Underground District Line trains normally use platforms 5, 6 and 7 but can also use platform 4. District Line trains can not use platform 3, as there is no fourth rail (electric power supply).

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Richmond station and a map showing the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/RMD/details.html .
Richmond station London frontage.
Richmond station London booking hall.
Richmond station was built by the Southern Railway in 1937. Richmond station ticket hall. The station entrance is on the left; to the right can be seen the steps down to platforms 2 - 7 and separate walking route to platform 1 which is located on the other side of the through tracks. This picture was stitched together from two images.
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Richmond station London . Richmond station London
The fully weather protected circulating area for platforms 2 -7 which is reached after passing through the ticket hall.

In the distance can be seen some tables and chairs where people can eat foods purchased here.
Train departure information display at Richmond station,
seen moments after the first train (London Overground
to Stratford) had departed.
The next District Line departure is the 14:03 from platform 7.

The barriers and electric ticket gates at Richmond station are a fairly new innovation. They split the circulating area in front of the trains into two and mean that passengers changing trains need to effectively leave the fares paid area (ie; break their journey) to access most of the food outlets or use the toilets. For passengers using Oyster PAYG this can result in extra costs (a new fare being charged for the next part of their journey).

  • Ealing Broadway: (west London) is served by First GreatWestern (FGW), Central and District Line trains. Platforms 1 and 2 are normally used by non-stop trains which typically includes High Speed Trains travelling towards Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea and Penzance, outer suburban diesel multiple-units and the electric Heathrow Express trains travelling to Heathrow Airport. Platforms 3 and 4 are used by local stopping and freight trains, including Class 165 diesel suburban trains and the half-hourly electric Class 360 Heathrow Connect trains. The Central line uses platforms 5 and 6 which were originally built by the Great Western Railway for the Central London Railway in 1920, so therefore always have been part of the Great Western (mainline) station. The District Line's trains use platforms 7, 8, 9. Platforms 8 and 9 are partially inside a trainshed which features historic signage. This is the original District Railway station although nowadays the street frontage is used by various retail shops and all passengers use the FGW station entrance and ticket hall.

    Although all passengers use the same ticket office the District Line's platforms are still looked after by different staff, and as a result when using my camera at this station I have sometimes found that even though the FGW staff have said 'OK' the Underground staff (on the District Line platforms) have not been happy and complained that I did not also advise them about my using my camera.

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Ealing Broadway station and a map showing some of the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/EAL/details.html .
Ealing Broadway station . Ealing Broadway station
Inside the District Line trainshed. Platform 9 is empty whilst there are D78 stock trains at platforms 8 and 7. In the distance Central Line 1992 Tube Stock trains can just about be seen in platforms 6 and 5. Platforms 1, 2 and 3 (on the far right) are hidden behind the First GreatWestern Class 165 diesel train travelling towards London Paddington station which is arriving at platform 4.
Straight in front of me is platform 5, with a Central Line 1992 Tube Stock train partially visible behind two public telephones and a hanging basket of flowers. Partly hidden in the shadow from the platform canopy another Central Line train can just about be seen in platform 6.
District Line platforms 7, 8 and 9 on the far left are empty.
  • Wimbledon: (south-west London). This is a SouthWest Trains station which is also served by trains - and trams - from several other railway operators.

    Platforms 1-4 are terminating platforms and used by London Underground District Line trains. Platforms 5 and 8 are used by SouthWest Trains inner suburban (local) services. Platforms 6 and 7 are for express and outer suburban trains, although normally most trains on the fast tracks travel through without stopping. Platform 9 is bi-directional and used by Thameslink / First Capital Connect trains which travel through to Elephant & Castle, Farringdon and the north of London. Platform 10 is used by the Croydon Tramlink trams and because of a desire to operate more trams than is possible with one platform this platform has been split into two sections so that there are now two tram platforms - Nos. 10a and 10b.

    Note that passengers using smart card ticketing (Oyster / contactless / other device) in PAYG mode who arrived here by any of the train services and are planning to depart on the tram must touch-in on the tram platform, as otherwise you will end up being financially penalised for not touching-out at the end of your train journey AND be travelling on the tram without having paid your fare. Likewise if arriving here by tram and continuing your journey by either the Underground or mainline railways then you must touch-in on one of the free-standing card readers which are on platforms 1-4 and 9. Otherwise when you touch-out at your ultimate destination station you will be financially penalised. Passengers who enter the station from the street and are intending to travel on the tram must also touch-in again on one of the tram card readers located on tram platform No.10. Otherwise the system will treat you as if you are travelling by one of the other railways and you will be financially penalised. Whilst it is usually possible to reclaim the excess charges from the Oyster helpline the process is a hassle. If you are using paper One Day Travelcards then you can ignore all these ticketing complications and just travel in the normal way!

    More detailed Oyster ticketing information for passengers using Wimbledon station can be found at this webpage:-
    http://www.oyster-rail.org.uk/wimbledon/ ..

    Passengers going to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (eg: for the annual Wimbledon Tennis Championships Tournament) should travel to Southfields station, as it is nearer than Wimbledon station.

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Wimbledon station and a map showing the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/WIM/details.html .
railway Oyster card reader Wimbledon . Tram Oyster card reader Wimbledon stn.
If paying fares using electronic smart card devices (Oyster / contactless / smartphone / keyfob, etc.,) it is very likely that you will need to use a card reader when interchanging between the trams and trains. Be careful, as forgetting to 'touch-in/out' or using the wrong card reader could prove expensive!!
Located on platforms 9/10 the card readers seen here are for any type of train (left) and trams (right).

For the benefit of interchanging passengers there are also pink (route validator) and yellow card readers the platforms (Nos. 1-4) which are used by the District Line trains - these too are for interchanging passengers - the pink card readers are for passengers making journeys where the fares are lower if the passenger avoids travelling in Zone 1 whilst the yellow card readers are for passengers who are either starting a train (underground or mainline) journey after arriving here by tram or have split their fares over several tickets with paper tickets being used to travel on mainline railway journeys operated by SWT or Thameslink and electronic smart card devices being used to pay their fares on the District Line underground trains.
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Wimbledon station frontage. Tram And Underground Train At Wimbledon station.
The main station entrance which was rebuilt by the Southern Railway in the late 1920‘s using Portland stone. The one-time vehicle access directly in front of the station (eg: for ‘kiss and ride’ passengers and the taxi rank) has now become a pedestrian piazza which features floor lighting that cycles through a rainbow of colours. On the right of this late evening photograph the setting sun illuminates the area around a flower seller's shop unit. Also visible are three SouthWest Trains and a Tramlink self-service ticket machines. People often ask whether it is possible to see a tram and underground train at the same time. In theory the answer is yes, but with the underground trains and the trams at opposite ends of the station you have to look very closely. To help the viewer the image includes an arrow (in Tramlink green) which points to a Bombardier tram.
Note that this photograph dates from before the tram platform was rebuilt. Nowadays the trams pass by this location and stop further along the platform.
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Wimbledon station frontage. Trams Wimbledon station.
Standing next to the former platform 10 tram stopping point,
in the distance can be seen a Bombardier tram at platform 10a.
On the far left is one of the Class 455 trains (in SWT livery) which includes a Class 508 carriage that was retained in London when
the Class 508 trains were sent to Merseyrail (Liverpool area).
Two Bombardier trams at Wimbledon station -
2547 at platform 10b (left) and
2550 in a special yellow advertising livery at platform 10a (right).

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  • Stratford: (east London). This is probably London's most confusing station as although the highest numbered platform is No. 17 there are actually 21 platforms, including 2 which are not used. To add to the confusion platforms 1 & 2 are next to platform 12 whilst platform 3 is at the opposite end of the station and there are two sets of platforms for Docklands Light Railway trains‼ The reasons for this are mostly historical, as is explained below.

    Apparently changing the platform numbers to something more logical would require many changes to the mainline railway's signalling systems which tell the train drivers which platforms they will be passing through, and since this change will be solely cosmetic (ie: will not improve safety and is not needed because of changes to any tracks) so in an era of financial woes this is something that will have to wait until another day.

    Note that to avoid confusion with other British stations this station is also sometimes known as Stratford (London) and Stratford Regional.
    The other stations are Stratford International and Stratford-upon-Avon.
    Stratford Station London.
    The footbridge over the station which links the traditional town centre shopping area with the Westfield shopping centre. This was filmed from the Westfield centre; a London Overground Class 378 train can be seen at platform 2.
    The footbridge is for the general public and outside of the station's fares paid area.
    Stratford Station London.
    This view from the footbridge shows a London Overground Class 378 train at platform 2
    and a Greater Anglia Class 317 train on the Cambridge service at platform 12.
    For many years there were buildings on the triangular shaped platform between what
    is now platforms 11 and 10a. However they became derelict and were removed.
    Further right can be seen platforms 10, 9 and the eastern end of platforms 8 and 6.
    This picture was stitched together from two images.
    Stratford Station London. Stratford Station London. Stratford Station London.
    Cross platform interchange between
    a Central Line 1992 Tube Stock train
    and a Greater Anglia Class 315 train
    at platforms 3 and 5.
    This view from the footbridge shows
    a Greater Anglia Class 315 train at platform 5
    and a Central Line 1992 Tube Stock train
    with its doors open on one side at platform 6.
    Near the station entrance for the
    Westfield shopping centre. Also seen
    is part of the footbridge over the station.

    Since these photographs were taken the Greater Anglia Class 315 trains seen at platform 5 are now operated by TFL Rail.

    Platforms 1 and 2 are used by London Overground trains travelling to Richmond or Clapham Junction via Willesden Junction. These are new platforms which opened in 2009. Originally they were going to be called platforms 12a and 12b (as they are next to platform 12), but instead when the trains were relocated to here from the low-level tracks they kept their old platform numbers.

    Platforms 3, 4, 5 are an island platform used by westbound Central Line trains (platform 3) and mainline trains - mostly TFL Rail (platform 5) travelling towards Liverpool Street station / Central London. Note that westbound Central Line trains open their doors in both sides, with the other platform being No.3a. Platform 4 is no longer used, it was built for local services to Fenchurch Street station but despite all the works having been completed the new service was cancelled. It was later used by the Docklands Light Railway trains which now use platforms 4a and 4b. There are three platforms here because the Central Line trains are much shorter than the mainline trains, making space for platform 4 at the western (London) end of the station.

    Platforms 4a and 4b are used by the Docklands Light Railway for services to Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Lewisham. Most signage in the station still refers to these trains as using platform 4.

    Platforms 6, 7, 8 are an island platform used by eastbound Central Line trains (platform 6) and mainline trains (platform 8). The Central Line trains will be travelling towards Epping, Hainault etc. Normally the mainline trains from platform 8 are TFL Rail local trains which call at all stations to Shenfield, but sometimes it is also used by trains to other longer distance destinations, such as Southend-On-Sea, Chelmsford, Colchester, Braintree, Ipswich, Norwich, etc., Platform 7 has never been used - it was (also) built for local services to Fenchurch Street station but despite all the works having been completed the new service was cancelled. There are three platforms here because the Central Line trains are much shorter than the mainline trains, making space for platform 7 at the western (London) end of the station.

    Platforms 9, 10, 10a are mostly used by longer distance trains from Liverpool Street station travelling to the part of England known as East Anglia. Some trains stop here, some do not. Many freight trains also pass through these platforms and this helps explain why three platforms are needed. Normally westbound (London) trains call at platform 9 and eastbound trains at platform 10, but all three tracks are bi-directional... for instance; I have been on eastbound trains which use platform 9 one day and platform 10a another day.

    Platforms 11 and 12 are usually used by trains to Stansted Airport and Cambridge - mostly platform 12, as platform 11 can only be used by through trains and the trains to / from Cambridge terminate here.

    Platforms 13, 14, 15 are used by Jubilee Line trains. These are at the opposite end of the station and at a lower level (downstairs). These platforms date from the 1990's and the numbers continued on from the already existing platform number scheme, even though (when first opened) they were next to what at that time were platforms 1 and 2!

    Platforms 16 and 17 are used by Docklands Light Railway trains travelling from Stratford International station (which is at the other end of the large shopping centre) and Canning Town / Beckton / City Airport / Woolwich Arsenal. Until 2009 these were platforms 1 and 2, this explains why the westbound Central Line became platform 3.

    Especially on Sundays, when there are trackworks, the local trains which normally use platforms 6 & 8 are diverted to platforms 9 / 10 / 10a instead OR the longer-distance trains which use platforms 9 / 10 / 10a are diverted to platform 6 (westbound) and platform 8 (eastbound).

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Stratford station and a map showing the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/SRA/details.html .
Stratford Station London. . Stratford Station London.
At Stratford westbound Central Line trains open their
doors on both sides. This view was taken on platform 3a
. The low level concourse. The B90/B92/B2K DLR train is calling at platform 16. Behind it (but not visible in this image) are Jubilee Line platforms 15, 14, 13. In the far distance, about 2/3rds up on the right edge of the image, the flat yellow structure is the roof of the short walkway to the DLR platforms 4a and 4b. .
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Stratford Station London. . Stratford Station London.
This will seem amazing, but both these photographs show the same location!
British Railways Class 416 electric multiple units on the Richmond - North Woolwich North London Line calling at the (then) platforms 1 and 2.
The area to the left of the image is now used by the Jubilee Line.
. A DLR train on the Stratford International - Canning Town - Beckton / Woolwich Arsenal service arrives at what is now platform 17.
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Stratford Station London. . Stratford Station London.
These views were taken outside Stratford Station's main entrance.
On the left can be seen Jubilee Line train at platform 15 and a Docklands Light Railway train arriving at platform 16.
On the right can be seen the main railway station entrance and the adjacent bus station.

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Station Architecture & Features

As a general theme stations which were once served by steam trains but became part of London Transport in the 1940‘s have been preserved better than those which remained part of the national railway network. For example, if you travel on North London Line (London Overground Stratford - Richmond) you will see some stations where British Railways knocked everything down and nowadays there is nothing much more than ‘bus stop’ shelters on the platforms. eg: Finchley Road and Frognal.

On the Underground stations with Victorian-era buildings can be found on all the subsurface lines, as well as the Central Line east of Leyton and Northern line north of Finchley Central.

In the 1930's many new stations were built (and some existing stations rebuilt) in connection with extensions to the Piccadilly, Northern, Bakerloo and Central Lines. Typically these followed a European geometric Art Deco style using brick, reinforced concrete and glass. Although there were individual variations they often featured tall block-like ticket halls rising above low horizontal structures housing the station offices and shops, with the ticket hall's brick walls being punctuated with panels of clerestory windows and the structure being capped with a flat concrete slab roof.

In 1979 the Bakerloo Line's Stanmore branch became part of the Jubilee Line.

Many stations on the Jubilee Line extension (Westminster - Stratford) are modern in design, as are some rebuilt stations elsewhere in London - such as Hammersmith (Piccadilly & District Lines), the new stations on the London Overground East and West London Lines, and the DLR.

Note that although not specified in the comments below, since 2000 many stations on the Underground have seen much refurbishment and installation of new safety systems and CCTV camera systems. Typically stations were refurbished in a way designed to retain what is now seen as their 'heritage' styling, with (especially) platform walls being retiled on an almost ‘like for like’ basis.

Covent Garden station. . Covent Garden station.
Designed by the architect Henry Green, London‘s Covent Garden station is typical of the over 40 stations built in the first decade of the 20th century by the Underground Electric Railways Group (UERG) for what nowadays are known as the Northern, Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines.

The UERG corporate style included distinctive ruby red glazed bricks and - to maximise financial income from the valuable land space - a structure which permits several floors of offices to be built over it. Note the distinctive London Transport roundel symbol located on the side of the building so that it can be seen by people elsewhere along the road and can act as a ‘homing beacon’ making it even easier to find the station.

At platform level the tiling each of these stations followed a different colour scheme, so as to aid identification by regular passengers travelling in passing trains.
.
See caption for picture information. See caption for picture information.
Typically these 40 stations were built with lifts and not escalators. Although some have been rebuilt Covent Garden still uses lifts, and being at the heart of an area which is very popular with both locals and tourists this station is so busy that even with four lifts crowding is commonplace. Although discouraged (because the distance between the upper and lower levels is equivalent to that of a 15 floor building) some people use the emergency spiral stairway instead.
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Nocturnal illumination of Warwick Road Entrance Earls Court station. . Historic Earls Court Road station entrance.
The Warwick Road entrance to Earl‘s Court station which was rebuilt in the mid 1930‘s to serve the new Earls Court Exhibition building. This image also shows the additional glass rotunda which in the 1960‘s was added above the 1930‘s entrance. . The Earls Court Road entrance to Earl‘s Court station which includes the railway company's names in a frieze near the top of the frontage. This was built in 1915, to a design by Harry Ford.
In sunny weather this is best photographed before midday.
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Acton Town station. . Nocturnal illumination of Warwick Road Entrance Earls Court station.
Acton Town station is typical of many of the 1930‘s Art Deco stations where the ticket hall is capped with a flat concrete slab roof and the brick walls are punctuated with panels of clerestory windows. This station was rebuilt prior to the District Line service to Rayners Lane & Uxbridge being replaced by the Piccadilly Line. . Because of the area‘s historic connection with shipping the mainline railway (SouthEastern) station building at Woolwich Arsenal follows a nautical theme with a lighthouse lamp on its top. This station is also served by the Docklands Light Railway, although its two station entrances are more traditional in format.
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Oakwood station at night. . Inside Oakwood station ticket hall at night.
Oakwood station on the Piccadilly Line is another 1930‘s Art Deco station and these views show the ticket hall as illuminated during the hours of darkness.
.
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Historic station sign Ealing Broadway. . Historic station sign West Brompton.
Historic station name signs in the District Line trainsheds at Ealing Broadway (left) and West Brompton (right).
The solid disc sign at Ealing Broadway dates from before Edward Johnston designed the familiar roundel in 1919.
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Historic UndergrounD Map Temple Station. . Historic UndergrounD Map Temple Station.
Just outside Temple station (District & Circle Lines) there is an historic 1932 UndergrounD map. These images only show part of the map.
Note that not all the services shown on the map still operate and that the Bakerloo, East London and Piccadilly Lines have partially faded.
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Historic lightbox style train describer at Barons Court. . Historic lightbox style train describer at Barons Court.
In addition to historic station buildings Barons Court still uses historic lightbox "next train" describers -
eastbound left (albeit only for Piccadilly Line trains) and right for westbound District and Piccadilly Line trains.



Shared Service Routes

London has many railway routes where services are shared between two or more different train operators / underground lines.

This takes two forms - either track sharing, which is where the different trains use the same tracks or route sharing, which is where the different services travel together side-by-side, but stay on their own tracks.

Overground Underground trains at Willesden Junction. . .
A Euston - Watford Junction London Overground train passes a Bakerloo Line train at Willesden Junction. These trains share tracks between Queens Park and Harrow & Wealdstone. Above them is another Overground train on either the North London Line Stratford - Richmond or West London Line Clapham Junction - Willesden Junction (- Stratford, some trains only) service. This photograph was taken on one of the (several) passageways between the platforms. . Piccadilly Line 1973 Tube Stock and Metropolitan Line (subsurface)
S stock trains pass at Ruislip station, as seen from the A4180 West End Road bridge over the railway.
These trains share tracks between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations. This route is entirely within zone 6. Ruislip is a Grade ll listed Victorian-era heritage station. Beyond the lattice iron footbridge there are traditional railway style platform canopies.

Track Sharing

  • Northern side Circle Line [Circle Line / Hammersmith & City Line between Hammersmith (Met) - Aldgate via Kings Cross plus Metropolitan Line just east of Baker Street - near Aldgate].
  • Southern side Circle Line [Circle Line / District Line (main section)].
  • Western side Circle Line [Circle Line / District Line (Edgware Road - Wimbledon service)].
  • Harrow-On-The-Hill - Moor Park - Amersham [Chiltern Railways / Metropolitan Line].
  • *(Barons Court) - Acton Town - Ealing Common [District Line / Piccadilly Line].
  • Rayners Lane - Uxbridge [Metropolitan Line / Piccadilly Line].
  • Queens Park - Harrow & Wealdstone [Bakerloo Line / Euston-Watford London Overground].
  • §Aldgate East - Barking [District Line / Hammersmith & City Line].
  • Richmond - Gunnersbury [District Line / North London Line London Overground].

Route Sharing

  • Stratford - Canning Town [Jubilee Line / Docklands Light Railway].
  • Fenchurch Street / Tower Gateway - Limehouse [C2C / Docklands Light Railway].
  • §Bromley-By-Bow - Barking - Upminster [C2C / District Line / Hammersmith & City Line (not Upminster)].
  • Baker Street - Finchley Road - Wembley Park [Metropolitan Line / Jubilee Line].
  • Marylebone / Baker Street - Harrow-On-The-Hill - Moor Park [Chiltern Railways / Metropolitan Line].
  • Finchley Road - Wembley Park [Jubilee Line / Chiltern Railways / Metropolitan Line].
  • Highbury & Islington - Canonbury [North London Line London Overground / East London Line London Overground]
  • West Ruislip - South Ruislip [Central Line / Chiltern Railways].
  • *South Kensington - Earls Court - Acton Town [District Line / Piccadilly Line].

*Although Piccadilly and District Line trains can use each other's tracks on the 4 track section between Barons Court and Acton Town they rarely do so - a pertinent point here being that some stations only have platforms which serve the District Line's tracks. Whilst both lines also follow the same route between Barons Court and South Kensington, they are grade separated with Piccadilly Line trains being deep underground and District Line trains being at subsurface level.

§Hammersmith & City Line trains do not normally travel between Barking and Upminster.

South of Harrow-On-The-Hill all Metropolitan Line trains 'route share' with Chiltern Railways trains. Between Harrow-On-The-Hill and Moor Park all Metropolitan Line trains to Watford plus the semi-fast and 'all stations' trains to Amersham and Chesham 'route share' with Chiltern Railways trains whilst the 'fast' Amersham and Chesham trains track share with Chiltern trains. North of Moor Park there are only two tracks and all Metropolitan Line trains track share with the Chiltern Railways trains.

A to B via C or D!

Sometimes it is possible to make the same journey - starting and ending at stations with the same name and without changing trains - yet travelling via different routes with different intermediate stations and different journey times. Note that sometimes services on one of the route 'pairs' detailed below are infrequent or only possible on weekdays (ie: NOT Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays).

On the Northern Line 'CX Branch' refers to trains via Charing Cross.
  • Victoria - Kings Cross St Pancras [Circle Line (via Aldgate only as other direction usually requires a change of train) / Victoria Line].
  • Kings Cross St Pancras - Euston [Northern Line (Bank branch) / Victoria Line].
  • Warren Street - Euston [Northern Line (CX branch) / Victoria Line].
  • Stockwell - Warren Street / Euston / Kings Cross [Victoria Line / Northern Line (CX or Bank branches as appropriate)].
  • Farringdon - Kings Cross St Pancras [Metropolitan Line / Hammersmith & City Line / Circle Line (direct trains only) / Thameslink].
  • Kentish Town - Farringdon - Kings Cross St Pancras - Elephant & Castle [Northern Line (High Barnet + Bank branches) / Thameslink].
  • Northern Line stations between High Barnet / Edgware and Camden Town - Kennington (Note that CX branch trains only operate a part-time service south of Kennington).
  • Mile End - Ealing Broadway [District Line / Central Line].
  • Finsbury Park - Kings Cross St Pancras [Piccadilly Line / Victoria Line / Great Northern (infrequent on weekdays)].
  • Finsbury Park - Highbury & Islington [Victoria Line / Great Northern (weekdays only, not evenings)].
  • Finsbury Park - Kings Cross St Pancras - Green Park [Piccadilly Line / Victoria Line].
  • Old Street - Moorgate [Northern Line (Bank Branch) / Great Northern (weekdays only, not evenings)].
  • Baker Street - Paddington [Bakerloo Line / Circle Line (only the long way around the loop via Aldgate)].
  • Baker Street - Waterloo [Bakerloo Line / Jubilee Line].
  • London Bridge - Waterloo [Jubilee Line / SouthEastern].
  • Charing Cross - Embankment - Waterloo [Bakerloo Line / Northern Line (CX branch)].
  • Liverpool Street - Stratford [Greater Anglia / Central Line].
  • Stratford - Shepherds Bush [Central Line / North + West London Lines London Overground (through trains take so long that despite the cheaper fare from avoiding Zone 1 this option is best avoided with Oyster PAYG)].
  • Stratford - Bond Street [Central Line / Jubilee Line].
  • Birkbeck - Beckenham Junction [London Tramlink / Southern (infrequent)].

Additional Shared Service Route Information

This section looks at some of the shared service routes in greater detail.
The routes are:

  • District and Hammersmith & City Lines in east London.
  • Fenchurch Street - Upminster (DLR / Underground + C2C) in east London.
  • Stratford - Canning Town (Jubilee Line / Docklands Light Railway) in east London.
  • Metropolitan / Chiltern / Jubilee in North London.
  • London Overground and Bakerloo Line in north London.
  • Piccadilly and District Lines in west London.
  • District Line and North London Line [London Overground] in south-west London.

District and Hammersmith & City Lines.

In east London the route from Algate East to Barking is used by both District Line trains to Upminster and Hammersmith & City Line trains to Barking.

The two routes merge / diverge just to the east of Aldgate East station but whilst the junction can be seen from the station platform it is in tunnel and not easy to photograph.

cross-platform interchange at Mile End. . Bow Road station London.
An eastbound S Stock Hammersmith & City train calls at Mile End where there is cross platform interchange with the Central Line. . An eastbound D78 train arrives at Bow Road station which is
partly underground and partly in open air (in a deep cutting).

Between Bow Road and Bromley-By-Bow stations the UndergrounD trains meet the route from Fenchurch Street station, as seen in the next section.

Fenchurch Street - Upminster

In East London the route from Fenchurch Street to Upminster mostly comprises of four (4) tracks with C2C trains using one pair and Underground or DLR trains using the other pair.

Between Fenchurch Street / Tower Gateway and Limehouse the C2C trains travel alongside the DLR. They operate in this formation...

North
C2C   >>>
C2C   <<< 
DLR   >>>
DLR   <<< 
South
Route sharing C2C and District Line.
In this cold misty winter morning view looking east from Tower Gateway station we see four trains - two each DLR and C2C.

Between Bromley-By-Bow and Upminster the C2C trains travel alongside Underground trains, mostly operating in this formation.

North
UND   >>>
UND   <<< 
C2C    >>>
C2C    <<< 
South

Between East Ham and Barking the route passes a C2C depot. Underground and eastbound C2C trains pass to the north of the depot whilst westbound C2C trains pass to the south of the depot.

Between Barking and Upney the route passes some District Line sidings. C2C and westbound District Line trains pass to the south of the sidings whilst eastbound District Line trains pass to the north of the sidings.

This section of route sharing actually splits partway between Bromley-By-Bow and Bow Road stations, with Bow Road station being partially in open air / in a shallow cutting.

Route sharing - four trains - 2 each C2C and DLR.
Looking east at Plaistow - on the left a Hammersmith & City Line C stock train is in the bay platform, ahead of me an eastbound District Line D78 departs whilst to the right a C2C class 357 Electrostar travelling towards London Fenchurch Street station glides through. These trains no long stop here and nowadays only sections of platform used by Underground trains remain open.

Until the line into Fenchurch Street was electrified the steam (and diesel) trains sometimes travelled on the same tracks as the Underground trains. Nowadays all trains keep to their own tracks and trains from Fenchurch Street miss out all intermediate stations - except West Ham, Barking and Upminster. Therefore many (but not all) stations on this route have four platforms, but with two of them not being used anymore. Because the Underground trains are shorter than the mainline trains so many station platforms which they serve on this route have also been shortened.

Barking Station

Barking is a large station with a reputation for railway staff who do not welcome railfans and who often go out of their way to stop them taking photographs. But it is still possible - just watch who is around you!

Usually Eastbound District Line trains travelling towards Dagenham East or Upminster open their doors on both sides (platforms №1a and №2) for cross platform interchange with trains to Shoeburyness or Southend-on-Sea via Upminster on one side (platform №4) and London Overground trains for Gospel Oak on the other side (platform №1). Trains which end their journey here only open their doors platform №2 (which is shared with C2C / platform №4) or use the dedicated bay platform (ie: №3) which is also shared with C2C (platform №4).

Most westbound Underground trains use platform №6, which is shared with C2C trains from Upminster (platform №4). The exception is the trains which use bay platform №3.

This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Barking station and a map showing the platforms:
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/BKG/details.html .

Until 1939 the through Southend Corridor Express trains from Ealing Broadway to the seaside resort of Southend-On-Sea would change between steam and electric locomotives at either Barking or East Ham stations.

Double cross-platform interchange at Barking. . S Stock Barking station bay platform.
Double cross platform interchange at Barking station looking from a London Overground train through an eastbound District Line D Stock train - which has its doors open on both sides - to see a third train (eastbound C2C Class 357 Electrostar)!

Note: Eastbound Underground trains which terminate here only open their doors on the platform shared with C2C (ie: NOT on both sides).
. An S Stock train at Barking bay platform №3. This is the former westbound platform; this photograph was taken from platform №2. which replaces the former westbound trackbed. To my left is platform №4 and just about visible on my right are platforms №1 and №1a.

Stratford - Canning Town [Jubilee Line / Docklands Light Railway]

This section of route sharing in east London is relatively new, as the DLR service along here only started in 2011. Prior to that the route was shared between North London Line and Jubilee Line trains, and even earlier than that this section of railway was a busy route used by passenger and freight trains serving London's Docklands.

Along the shared section of railway the Jubilee Line serves just three stations (Canning Town, West Ham, Stratford) whilst the DLR trains serve six stations. One of these is called Abbey Road, if you are a music fan and want to see the zebra crossing made famous by the Beatles pop group then you must go to St Johns Wood station on the Jubilee Line, and NOT this station.

An excellent photo location is the Stephenson Road bridge over the railway near to Star Lane DLR station. The link below leads to a Google map showing this location.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll=51.521789,0.005053&spn=0.002911,0.006899&t=m&z=17 .

West
Jubilee       >>>
Jubilee       <<<
DLR            >>>
DLR            <<<
East
. .
Jubilee Line and DLR (Stratford International branch)
trains pass between West Ham and Star Lane stations.
From the same viewpoint but looking in a slightly different direction it is possible to see West Ham station.
This composite view shows a Hammersmith & City Line C stock train (above) and a C2C Class 357 Electrostar (below).
Canning Town station. Canning Town station. Canning Town station.
At Canning Town station DLR trains on east-west services to / from Bank or Tower Gateway stations use the platform above
the Jubilee Line trains whilst north-south DLR trains travelling to / from Stratford International station use a separate island
platform located at ground level between the westbound Jubilee Line tracks and the bus station.

The view on the right shows a southbound DLR train using the Stratford International platforms as seen from the inside of a westbound Jubilee Line train.

Note that the high level platforms at Canning Town station are very exposed - they are windswept and despite the platform canopy when it rains passengers need to stand well back to avoid becoming soaked. Being so exposed means that in the winter these platforms are also very cold!

London Overground and Bakerloo Line in north London.

Located between Queens Park and Harrow & Wealdstone in north London this is part of route that is mostly located alongside the London - Glasgow West Coast Main Line (WCML). The entire route has six [6] tracks - or more!

Travelling on a Bakerloo Line train north of Queens Park is very much recommended. Immediately to the north of this station through trains travel inside the depot trainshed (IMPORTANT: you *must* be on a Bakerloo line train, and not an Overground train) then the tracks merge and the Underground and Overground trains provide a shared service.

Since the Bakerloo Line uses small profile ‘tube’ trains and the Overground uses ‘mainline railway’ trains and the two types of train have very different internal floor heights relative to the tracks so there are also large height differences between the train floors and the station platforms - you must step up to board an Overground train, and down to board a Bakerloo line train.

At many stations you can also see many types of train passing by, including Virgin Pendolino tilting trains going to Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow, ‘outer suburban’ London Midland trains going to Northampton and Birmingham, Southern trains which travel to south London (Clapham Junction, Croydon) - and of course freight trains.

The location which I've used to see the passing trains that is closest to Central London is near to Kensal Green station. On leaving the station turn left. The view looking down is more 'reasonable' than 'perfect'.

Harlesden is not a nice part of London and the few times I’ve used that station for trainspotting I have stood at the end of the platform that is away from the exit to the street.

Close to Willesden Junction there are some sidings and depots where a constantly changing selection of mainline rolling stock can often be seen. Also here is a London Overground depot.

There is a Bakerloo Line depot just to the north of Stonebridge Park station, part of it can be seen at the northern (Harrow) end of the northbound platform but it is better to travel on a train and look at it whilst passing by, as then you also pass some mainline railway sidings and depots where all sorts of InterCity and other rolling stock can sometimes be seen.

Route sharing Bakerloo Line and Virgin Pendolino Tilting Train At Kensal Green.
A telephoto view looking down upon Kensal Green station
with Bakerloo Line and Virgin Pendolino InterCity trains visible.

Sometimes I have been able to film Overground and Underground trains ‘side by side’ as they pass each other at Stonebridge Park and North Wembley stations. I can not guarantee that you will see this. At North Wembley I normally stand at the southern (London) end of the northbound platform, as it is away from the exit to the street and offers better views of the WCML tracks. If the trains pass in the station platform then photographers will find that the direction of the sun is not a problem.

click me for video A film which I took in 2010 and have placed on YouTube includes footage from North Wembley station showing an Underground and an Overground train passing each other. Also seen is a 'race' between an Underground train and a container (freight) train, plus a passing Virgin Pendolino tilting train.
This can be seen by clicking either the projector icon or this link:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-emj8ybZd38 .

Virgin Pendolino InterCity and 1972 Mkll Bakerloo Line underground trains pass at South Kenton station London. . London Overground Class 378 and Bakerloo Line 1972 Mk2 Tube Stock.
Virgin Pendolino InterCity and 1972 Mkll Bakerloo Line underground trains pass at South Kenton station. . London Overground Class 378 and Bakerloo Line 1972 Mk2 Tube Stock trains pass at North Wembley station.

Many people like to watch trains at South Kenton station, as you are right next to the WCML. The best views are at the London (south) end of the platform, but in sunny weather this is also the direction of the sun. Therefore I normally go there before 11am (11:00) or after 2pm (14:00).

Metropolitan / Jubilee / Chiltern

Located between Finchley Road and Amersham stations this route through north London variously features either two, four or six tracks and therefore is looked at in several sections.

Finchley Road - Wembley Park

All Metropolitan and Jubilee Line trains stop at Finchley Road.

All Jubilee Line trains stop at Wembley Park.
Most Metropolitan Line trains also stop at Wembley Park, except some southbound trains in the morning rush hour.

Between Finchley Road and Wembley Park Jubilee Line trains call at all stations whilst Metropolitan Line trains usually travel non-stop.
Neasden and Willesden Green stations also have platforms for Metropolitan Line trains, however nowadays they are only normally used when Jubilee Line services are not working.

Chiltern trains have exclusive use of a dedicated pair of tracks which extend all the way from London Marylebone to Harrow-On-The-Hill and do not call at any intermediate stations.

West
Chiltern           >>>
Chiltern           <<<
Metropolitan   >>>
Jubilee            >>>
Jubilee            <<<
Metropolitan   <<<
East
Cross Platform Interchange Finchley Road station.
Cross platform between Jubilee and Metropolitan line trains at Finchley Road station. This station is in open air but the photograph was taken in the evening.

I often stand at the southern end of West Hampstead station, as there is a frequent procession of Jubilee and Metropolitan Line trains to see, plus Chiltern trains travelling to and from Marylebone. This includes the Chiltern trains which at Neasden diverge and head towards Birmingham via West Ruislip and High Wycombe.

Two excellent photo locations which are on road bridges over the railway are at Mapesbury Road and Lydford Road between Willesden Green and Kilburn stations. The link below leads to a Google map showing their locations.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll=51.547403,-0.213118&spn=0.011636,0.027595&t=m&z=15 .

Looking towards Willesden Green stn from Lydford Road. Looking towards Kilburn stn from Mapesbury Road.
Looking towards the historic Willesden Green station building from Lydford Road railway bridge. Looking towards Kilburn station from Mapesbury Road railway bridge.

At Wembley Park the Jubilee Line turns towards Stanmore and the Metropolitan Line splits into four tracks.

Wembley Park - Harrow-On-The-Hill

Between Wembley Park and Harrow-On-The-Hill the Metropolitan Line consists of four tracks (fast and slow / all stations) with the tracks used by Chiltern's trains located alongside.

At Harrow-On-The-Hill Chiltern Railways trains to Aylesbury use platform 1 whilst trains to Marylebone use platform 2. Fast Metropolitan Line trains to Amersham and Chesham usually use either platforms 1 or 3 whilst slow (all stations) trains can only use platform 3. Watford trains usually use platform 3 and Uxbridge trains usually use platform 4. Platforms 5 & 6 are used by Metropolitan Line trains going to Baker Street / Moorgate / Aldgate, typically platform 5 is for slow (all stations) trains and platform 6 for fast (ie: next station Finchley Road) trains. Worth noting is that although the tracks through platform 2 are electrified the power supply rails end just to the south of the station; therefore it is normally only used by the diesel Chiltern Railways services.

This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Harrow-On-The-Hill station and a map showing the platforms:
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/HOH/details.html .

West
Chiltern                         >>>
Chiltern                         <<<
Met Fast + Semi-Fast  >>>
Metropolitan Slow       >>>
Metropolitan Slow       <<<
Met Fast + Semi-Fast  <<<
East

Harrow-On-The-Hill - Moor Park - Amersham

Between Harrow-On-The-Hill and Moor Park there are four tracks - two are used by Chiltern Railways and fast / semi-fast Metropolitan Line services and two are used by all stations Metropolitan Line services. Trains travelling to Watford can only travel on the 'all stations' tracks.

North of Moor Park the fast tracks lead to Rickmansworth whilst the all stations / slow tracks split into two pair, one of which merges with the fast tracks and the other diverges towards Watford.

Between Rickmansworth and Amersham there are just two tracks which are used by both Metropolitan Line and Chiltern Railways trains.

West
Met Fast + Chiltern   >>>
Met Fast + Chiltern   <<< 
Met All Stations         >>>
Met All Stations         <<< 
East

The direct route between Croxley and Rickmansworth is not normally used by trains carrying passengers.

Chiltern 165 at Harrow OTH station. Chiltern 165 and A stock at Rickmansworth station.
A Chiltern Railways Class 165 diesel train calls at
Harrow On The Hill station's platform No.2.
Cupholders on a Chiltern Railways train which travels for part of its route on Metropolitan Line tracks.
These trains also have toilets and depending on the type of rolling stock they may have tables as well.

Ticketing Advice

Note that going to Moor Park and further north requires a Travelcard which is valid in zones 7, 8, 9. These are very expensive!

One alternative solution would be to use PAYG and be careful to not spend too long inside the fares paid area. Some ticket machines also sell platform tickets, which cost £1. If buying a platform ticket remember to touch in/out with your Oyster or contactless card.

Passengers with BritRail / Eurail Passes or an All Line Rover can use these at Harrow-On-The-Hill and all stations Moor Park - Amersham. To avoid possible complications it is best to travel on Chiltern Railways trains from Marylebone station, and NOT Metropolitan Line trains.

Most of the photographs seen on this website were taken when I had one-day Travelcards for zones 2-9 which did not include zone 1, however these tickets are no longer sold - which is a shame, as the 1-9 version costs more than 3x the price of the former 2-9 one-day ticket.

projector icon

These videos (filmed around 1992-4) on youtube will be of related interest...

Trains at Willesden Green - filmed in the 1990's shows Metropolitan Line, Jubilee Line and British Railways trains.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLZ9W_wqhwU .

South of Wembley Park
http://youtube.com/watch?v=sFd_7gewfGE .

Metroland Racing
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Qj5MNlCl2L4 .

District / Piccadilly Lines

Located in west London this route variously features either two or four track.

Between South Kensington and Barons Court the small profile Piccadilly Line tube trains are deep underground, whilst the large profile District Line subsurface trains are either on the surface or just below it.

On the four track section between Barons Court and Acton Town most Piccadilly Line trains travel between Hammersmith and Acton Town without stopping (usually using the middle tracks), whilst District Line trains call at all stations.

North
District      >>>
Piccadilly  >>>
Piccadilly  <<<
District      <<<
South

projecture icon

This can be seen on some of my 'youtube' videos which date from the early 1990's.

Chiswick Park station
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2CuicFD63I .

Stamford Brook Station
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMG2O9I5XSs .

There are two Underground stations at Hammersmith. The District and Piccadilly Lines use the station which has been modernised and included as part of a shopping centre whilst the Hammersmith & City and Circle Line trains use the former Metropolitan Railway station which is a short walk away and remains largely as built in 1868.

The 'retail complex' now surrounding Hammersmith station (District and Piccadilly) incorporates a very pleasant all-day pub with plenty of seating for tired railfans and a good choice of beers, with a nice atmosphere.

During the day Piccadilly Line trains normally pass through Turnham Green station without stopping. A few Piccadilly Line trains call here very early in the morning and late in the evening.

Track sharing at Ealing Common station. Track sharing at Ealing Common station. Track sharing at Ealing Common station.
District Line: larger profile subsurface train - a
large step up from the platform into the train.
Piccadilly Line: smaller profile tube train - a small step down from the platform into the train
- as is also seen in the view looking out through the open doorway.

Close observation will show that both types of train can be seen in both platform views. Filmed at Ealing Common station.

Between Acton Town and Ealing Common stations the line passes a large District Line depot.

Ealing Common station only has two tracks which are used by both Piccadilly and District line trains. Because of the different floor heights above the tracks passengers boarding trains need to step up into the larger trains, and down into the smaller trains. Sometimes you see ‘one of each’ train in the station at the same time - probably the rush hours are best as the trains are more frequent. I normally stand on the platform used by trains going to Ealing Broadway / Rayners Lane - Uxbridge. I prefer the far end (London) end of this platform as it is away from the station exit and opposite a junction where trains can go into the depot. Because of this junction it is often possible to see a some ‘sparking’ of the electric power collection shoe as trains travelling towards Acton Town leave the station.

click me for video Trains at Ealing Common station feature in one of my 'youtube' videos. The film is called Little And Large At Ealing Common and comprises footage taken in the 1990's plus the still image photographs seen above.
This can be seen by clicking either the projector icon or this link:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp53UlAFOWk ..

District Line / North London Line [London Overground]

Track sharing at Gunnersbury station. Track sharing at Kew Gardens station.
District Line D78 stock and London Overground Class 378 trains pass at Gunnersbury station, as seen from the road near the station entrance. District Line D78 stock and London Overground Class 378 trains pass at Kew Gardens station.

Located in south-west London the line between Gunnerbury and Richmond is used by District Line trains to Upminster and London Overground (North London Line - NLL) trains to Stratford.

Over the years I have sometimes been able to photograph one of each type of train ‘side by side’ at Kew Gardens and Gunnersbury stations, especially after 16:00 (4pm) in the evening rush hour when the District Line trains are more frequent. There is a road bridge at the southern end of Kew Gardens station which offers excellent views of passing trains. Kew Gardens station includes a public house which is popular with the locals. At one time there was an entrance to one of the station platforms, however now that the station has electronic gates the doorway has been closed. Note that the two platforms have separate sets of ticket gates - both the pedestrian underpass and foot bridge are now 'outside' of the fares paid area. Passengers wishing to reach the 'other' platform must effectively leave the station and then re-enter it.

Richmond is a fair-sized station controlled by SouthWest Trains. The platform circulating area includes a coffee shop with tables where you can watch trains come and go. The glass skylight affords weather protection in inclement weather. Platforms 1 and 2 are through platforms for SouthWest Trains services - typically nowadays just electric multiple units of various types. Platforms 3 to 7 are terminating platforms, London Overground NLL services can use any of these platforms but the lack of fourth (electric power supply) rail prevents District Line trains from using platform 3 whilst since the introduction of S stock trains District Line services are not allowed to use platform 7.

Richmond station is also included in the Busier Suburban Stations section about suburban stations in zones 3 or 4 where there is a wide variety of trains to see.

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Other Information

Train Directions

On the London Underground the direction of the trains are generally described with reference to the cardinal point to which they are travelling, which means northbound / southbound / eastbound / westbound. By way of contrast, on the mainline railways trains travel 'up' towards London (the central London terminus station where they end their journeys) and 'down' (away from London).

Also worth visiting / information resources

The London Transport Museum which is right in the heart of Central London in the historic Covent Garden area and near the Underground station of the same name. Also within easy walking distance are Leicester Square and Charing Cross stations (it is advised to consult a streetmap for exact walking routes).

The London Transport Museum features a wide range of mostly historic transports including horse buses, trams, trolleybuses, motor / omnibuses, steam trains, electric locomotives, early tube trains and much, much, more. In addition there is a large well stock book shop which also sells DVD's, souvenirs and model railways and a coffee shop. Entry to the retail shop is free. Whilst the museum does charge an entry fee the tickets are valid for a year, so return visits are free, although some proof of identity is requested.

Another specialist book shop is the Ian Allan Shop which is just a few minutes walk from Waterloo station on a road called Lower Marsh. The best station exit is near to platform 1; turn right when leaving the station; walk along the footpath between the side of the station building and taxi road as far as the pedestrian traffic signals, cross the road; pass through the opening in the wall; turn left and descend the steps / ramp along Spur Road; Lower Marsh is on the right near the bottom of the incline and next to the Zebra Crossing - however because of the curved road layout it will not be seen until you are very close to it. As an aside, as you descend Spur Road you will pass the location where trains are craned in and out of the Waterloo & City Line.

Alternatively, Lower Marsh is also very near to Lambeth North Bakerloo Line station. Turn right immediately after leaving the station, cross Bayliss Road at the traffic lights and walk along Westminster Bridge Road; Lower Marsh is on the right, just before the railway bridge. Lower Marsh is an interesting street, with several specialist small shops and cafe's (including an organic cafe) which are well used by local people.

London Transport Museum, Covent Garden. Ian Allen Shop, London.
The London Transport Museum is very easy to find
in the historic leisure-themed Covent Garden area.
Ian Allan bookshop which is just a few minute's walk from
Waterloo mainline station (exit near platform 1).

Online London Railways Map

Transport enthusiasts may find this webpage which leads to some online maps that show most railways within the London area to be of interest.

Being geographic makes it easy to work out where different lines pass close to each other, although if intending to walk between suburban stations it is advised to also consult a normal streetmap (online or paper) to decide upon the best walking route. Underground lines are shown in their correct line colours. Also shown are non-passenger lines and even some closed lines.

This map is free and comes in two versions - a simple graphic file or a high quality portable document 'pdf' file. With the 'pdf' file it is possible to zoom-in and (in many instances) see the lines in great detail - including full track diagrams at junctions.

The link leads to the London page of a much larger website that looks at many urban transport systems:
http://carto.metro.free.fr/metro-tram-london/ .

Alternatively, there are other good quality maps that can be bought - many people find that paper documents are more convenient when 'out and about'.

Links Which May be Of Interest

These links all open in new windows .

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ National Rail Enquiries (NRE) - an impartial website for planning rail travel. Note however that individual mainline railway train operating companies (TOC) sometimes have cheap 'special offer' tickets which are only promoted on their own websites.

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/tocs_maps/tocs/ An interactive map showing where each TOC operates and includes links to further information about each of the TOCS. These latter pages include direct links to the TOC's own websites.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ The official Transport For London travel advice website. This also includes a journey planner which sometimes offers different travel options (and different fares!) than the NRE site.

http://tubephotos.dannycox.me.uk/stationsbyline.html This website has a page of information for just about every Underground and DLR station.

http://www.davros.org/rail/culg/ Clive's UndergrounD Line Guides also explores the London Underground, and includes much historical information as well.

http://underground-history.co.uk/front.php Disused Stations On London's Underground   Many pages of information and photographs about closed sections of for Underground railway, stations which have fully or partially closed (ie: Holborn which has two closed platforms), fictitious stations which only existed in films / on the television, the former tram tunnel and more.

http://www.abandonedstations.org.uk/ This web site is about closed railway routes and closed stations throughout London, including the Underground, the mainline railways and the DLR.

http://150greatthingsabouttheunderground.com/ Conceived in 2013, which was 150 years since the first section of the Metropolitan Line opened, this blog celebrates 150 great things about the London Underground.

http://mic-ro.com/metro/ The Metrobits website is a creative resource for the many urban Metro, Subway, MRT, Rapid Transit, U-Bahn, Metrorail etc., networks planetwide.

http://londonstransport.proboards.com/thread/454/general-transport-related-links A thread at the londonstransport.proboards discussion forum which contains many links to other websites of interest. Most of these are about railways in London.

http://londonstransport.proboards.com/thread/50/various-transport-related-links A thread at the londonstransport.proboards discussion forum which contains many links to blogs with a frequent London transport content, resources for train and bus operations, more...


The following discussion / chat forums may also be of interest; note that whilst anyone can read messages you must create an account if you wish to join in any of the discussions.

Railforums This chat / discussion forum looks at all of Britain's railways, and more...

District Dave This chat / discussion forum that was created by a District Line train driver and has become a true treasure trove of information about London's Underground.

londonstransport This chat / discussion forum only started in 2013 but is slowly building up a store of interesting information.

Bus Forum Although primarily about London's buses there are sections for London's many railways.




Small Profile ‘Tube’ Trains
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‘Subsurface’ Trains
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Local Light Railways
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The background image.
The background image for these pages: a tiled mural at Kings Cross station (Pentonville Road entrance) which celebrates the merging of London Transport and British Railways services when the north-south Thameslink service was introduced. Note that this station entrance is closed at weekends.
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