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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. This page is part of a guide which aims to answer that question.

If this is the first time you have reached these pages then it is best to go to the Opening Page which sets the scene, explains the difference between the small and the large profile trains, offers advice on the best type of ticket to buy and photography tips.

Alternatively, it is possible to view everything on one page


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Waterloo and City Line
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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
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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.
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Bank station London moving walkway. . Bank station London stepped walkway.
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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Small Profile ‘Tube’ Trains .
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Large Profile
‘Subsurface’ Trains
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Local Light Railways .
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See caption for picture information.
The entrance to the Waterloo & City Line at Bank station
on a Sunday when the line is (usually) closed.







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