LogoClive's UndergrounD Line Guides

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

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

- Neverwhere
Neil Gaiman

LogoHammersmith & City Line

A Subsurface Line

[last modified 2000-02-02]


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

The earliest thoughts of underground railways in London go back to the mid-1830s; for example, there was an idea to extend what is now the Railtrack West Coast Main Line south from Euston under Gower Street to a terminus by the Thames. The first proposal with any serious sort of backing, however, was put forward in 1851. The Great Northern Railway had just been opened, using a temporary station at or near the present site of King's Cross, and the plan was for an underground line of 8 tracks from there southeast, under a newly built road, to a large station complex at more or less the present Farringdon station. Obviously the idea was to attract a substantial through-running traffic of GNR trains, and also GWR trains after a suitable link was built; two of the tracks were to use the GWR's Broad Gauge of 2141 mm (7'0.25"). A company called the City Terminus Co. was formed, but it could not attract enough investment; in particular, the GNR showed no interest.

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

Rather than building the line as authorized, the North Metropolitan arranged a merger with the City Terminus Co., allowing an end-to-end route to be contemplated. The NMR owners were mostly interested in local traffic, and they dropped the proposals for extra tracks and a major terminus. This also helped reduce opposition to the plan, for some people wanted the main line railways to advance no further south into the city (and, indeed, they never did). Instead, they proposed a terminus under the General Post Office at St-Martin's-le-Grand, allowing the convenient carriage of mail. Meanwhile at the western end the line would be extended along Praed Street to in front of Paddington station, and there would be a link to the main line as well; in return, the GWR agreed to invest in the railway, which would be built with mixed gauge track.

The resulting merged company was renamed the Metropolitan Railway and got its new Act in 1854. Both endpoints were changed again before the line was actually constructed: in the east it was cut short to Farringdon, while in the west the Paddington station was moved from the front to the north side of the GWR station, where it did not need to be underground. Furthermore, by diverting the main route on to what would have been the link to the GWR, it was possible to eliminate about 500m (0.3 miles) of tunnel to the original station. Powers were obtained during construction for an easterly extension to Moorgate; as soon as the line had opened, money was easily raised and the work was swiftly done. In addition to the link with the GWR, there were three junction curves linking the Metropolitan to the GNR at King's Cross (two facing east - one from each side of the GNR line - and one facing west). During construction a further link was authorized: the LCDR extended its line from Herne Hill over the river to Blackfriars and Farringdon; later a chord was added from this route to Moorgate.

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

The GWR and GNR then both began working trains through from their lines on to the Metropolitan (the last GWR trains, from Uxbridge Vine Street, ran on 1939-09-15); there was even one curious case of a Windsor to Aldgate train dropping a slip coach into Paddington main station for the benefit of Sir Daniel Gooch. The traffic soon became heavy enough that the Metropolitan built a second pair of tracks from King's Cross to Moorgate. They were opened in 1868 and are called the Widened Lines or City Widened Lines - the term refers specifically to the newer tracks; they cross under the Metropolitan just west of Farringdon station, being on the south side from there to Moorgate. The Widened Lines took the services using the connections from the GNR and LCDR, as well as a new one from the Midland Railway's extension to St.Pancras. A section of tunnel about 360m long was dug under the forecourt at St.Pancras, and could have been used to extend them further west (probably to allow a connection to the LNWR at Euston), but no track was laid in it.

As the Widened Lines' original purpose was through running from the main line railways, it is fitting that they are now part of Railtrack's Thameslink route; they are no longer connected to LU at any point (and the link to the former GNR has also been removed). Indeed, the only time that Underground trains used them in service was from 1926 to 1935, when eastbound trains terminating at Moorgate made use of a new link (west of King's Cross) from the original eastbound track to the eastbound Widened Line in the unused tunnel under St.Pancras (extending it about 210m); this allowed them to pass under the main westbound track rather than crossing it on the level. (The Widened Lines were also used for empty stock movements on and off of the Great Northern & City branch of the Northern Line.) Another indication of the separation of the two routes occurred in 1941: the LU station at King's Cross was relocated further west to provide easier interchange, while the Widened Lines station was left at its original position. The move was facilitated by the existence of the previous link, which was taken over by the eastbound track on 1939-12-10, making space for a new platform between the two tracks (the westbound track was moved on 1940-05-19, and the eastbound occupied its old route between 1940-06-02 and 1940-06-23).

Pre-1868 layout:

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

1868-1926 layout:

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

1926-1941 layout:

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

Current layout:

                       :       :
                8 8    :       :      b = bay track, removed late 1940s
                 \ \   :        :
                  \ \  :         :
                   \ \  :         : ######
           ::/----\ \ \------------------------9
        /---/######\ \-------------------------9
       /    ########\               ######

The actual Hammersmith & City Railway was a subsidiary of the GWR, running from the latter's main line at Westbourne Park to Hammersmith, mostly on viaducts and using mixed gauge track. Shortly after it opened, it was linked at Latimer Road to the West London Railway. The latter connects Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction via Kensington (Olympia), and the first portion was opened in 1840 using pneumatic traction. From 1845 onwards the line was operated (and later owned) by a consortium of main lines and did not have any trains of its own.

Since the H&CR was a purely local route, through working on to the Metropolitan was natural and began at once. In 1867, with the companies on better terms, the Metropolitan bought a share of the H&CR from the GWR, after which they eliminated the Broad Gauge track and operated almost all the trains (the H&CR's identity being effectively lost). To remove this traffic from their own busy main line, the GWR built a new pair of tracks from Paddington to Westbourne Park, and in 1878 they added a diveunder to remove conflicts where the service crossed the main line.

In 1869 the LSWR opened a new route from Kensington (Olympia) to Richmond (see the District Line for details). With the two Hammersmith stations being parallel and connected via a footbridge, it was natural to open a connection just north of the two stations, and an H&CR Richmond service commenced. This service ran until the end of 1906, and the track was subsequently removed.

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

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

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


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

1838-06-04 Paddington to Westbourne Park [GWR service]
1844-05-27 Latimer Road to Kensington (Olympia) [West London service]
1844-11-30 Latimer Road to Kensington (Olympia) closed
1846-07-17 % Richmond (disputed; may be the 27th)
1854-06-13 % Barking (see District Line file)
1858-03-31 Barking to Bromley-by-Bow [LTSR service]
1863-01-10 Farringdon to Paddington
1863-04-01 Latimer Road to Kensington (Olympia) [West London service]
1863-10-01 York Road and Hotel Curves [GNR service]
1864-06-13 Paddington to Westbourne Park [H&CR service]
1864-06-13 Westbourne Park to Hammersmith
1864-07-01 Latimer Road to Kensington (Olympia) [Metropolitan service]
1865-12-23 Moorgate to Farringdon
1865-12-23 < Farringdon
1866-01-01 [LCDR and GNR service via Blackfriars]
1866-02-01 + Westbourne Park
1866-03-01 Barbican to Farringdon (Widened Lines)
1866-07-01 Moorgate to Barbican (Widened Lines)
1867-06-30 York Road and Hotel Curves closed
1868-02-17 Farringdon to King's Cross (Widened Lines) [GNR service]
1868-02-17 York Road and Hotel Curves [GNR service] reopened
1868-07-13 Midland connection to Widened Lines
1868-12-01 = Hammersmith
1868-12-16 + Latimer Road
1869-01-01 Hammersmith (Grove Road) to Richmond [LSWR service]
1869-03-14 Moorgate to Paddington [GWR Broad Gauge trains] service withdrawn
1869-10-31 - Shepherd's Bush (West London Railway link)
1869-11-01 + Uxbridge Road
1870-06-01 Grove Road Junction to Richmond [GWR service]
1871-09-17 LCDR direct curve to Barbican
1871-10-30 + Royal Oak
1871-11-01 = Westbourne Park
1873-04-01 + Ravenscourt Park
1874-02-02 % Liverpool Street (main line station) [GER]
1875-02-01 Liverpool Street (main line station) to Moorgate
1875-07-11 Liverpool Street (main line station) to Moorgate closed
1875-07-12 Liverpool Street to Moorgate
1876-11-18 Aldgate to Liverpool Street
1877- + Upton Park
1877-10-01 Grove Road Junction to Richmond [Metropolitan service]
1884-10-06 St.Mary's to Liverpool Street
1901-02-01 + West Ham
1905-07-01 * Whitechapel to Praed Street Junction
1906-11-05 * Praed Street Junction to Hammersmith and Kensington (Olympia)
1906-12-03 Whitechapel to St.Mary's [Metropolitan service]
1906-12-31 Grove Road Junction to Richmond service withdrawn
1907-10-01 [GNR & SE&C service via Farringdon withdrawn]
1908-05-01 + White City
1908-07-01 [Midland & SE&C (ex LCDR) service via Farringdon withdrawn]
1910-12-31 Ladbroke Grove to Richmond [GWR shuttle service] withdrawn
1910-12-31 Grove Road Junction to Studland Road Junction closed
1913-03-30 Whitechapel to St.Mary's service withdrawn
1914-04-01 + Goldhawk Road
1914-04-01 = Shepherd's Bush
1914-10-31 - White City
1916-04-01 [SE&C service to Moorgate withdrawn]
1920-05-05 + White City (see note)
1926-03-15 [Metropolitan eastbound only service via Widened Lines] *
1935-04-27 [Metropolitan eastbound only service via Widened Lines] withdrawn
1936-03-30 East Ham to St.Mary's [Metropolitan service] *
1936-05-04 Barking to East Ham [Metropolitan service] *
1938-04-30 - St. Mary's
1938-10-31 = Aldgate East
1940-10-15 Baker Street to Farringdon closed intermittently (see note)
1940-10-19 Latimer Road to Uxbridge Road closed
1940-10-19 Uxbridge Road to Kensington (Olympia) service withdrawn
1940-10-19 - Uxbridge Road
1941-03-09 - King's Cross St. Pancras
1941-03-14 = King's Cross St. Pancras
1941-05-10 Baker Street to Farringdon closed (bomb damage)
1941-07-21 Baker Street to Euston Square reopened
1941-10-04 Euston Square to Farringdon reopened
1959-10-24 - White City
1976-11-06 [ex-GNR service withdrawn]
1979-05-11 Widened Lines closed
1983-07-11 Widened Lines opened *
1987- Blackfriars service resumed *
1999-03-05 - Ladbroke Grove (eastbound only)
1999-03-13 - West Ham (eastbound only)
1999-03-28 + Ladbroke Grove (eastbound only)
1999-04-09 - Ladbroke Grove (westbound only)
1999-05-01 + Ladbroke Grove (westbound only)
1999-06-14 Liverpool Street to Aldgate opened
1999-08-20 Liverpool Street to Aldgate service withdrawn
1999-11-06 - West Ham (westbound only)
1999-11-07 + West Ham (eastbound only)

Note: following bomb damage near King's Cross on 1940-10-16 services ran intermittently in this section for the next few months.

From 1920 to 1959 White City station was only open on occasional days in association with events at the nearby exhibition centre. In particular the 1920-11-05 opening was for that day only.


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

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

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

At Paddington the island platform is on the north side of the mainline station, and forms part of it. The line then parallels the Railtrack line as far as Westbourne Park, crossing from north to south side via a diveunder west of Royal Oak; there is no longer any connection to Railtrack.

The station at Hammersmith is on a separate site from that on the District and Piccadilly Lines; there is no longer a connection to the latter route. Despite the separate site, interchange between the lines on a single ticket is permitted. In contrast, there is no such interchange permitted between the Shepherd's Bush station on this line and that on the Central (and in turn these should not be confused with the short-lived station on the link to the West London Railway).


Trains run between Hammersmith and either Whitechapel or Barking:

Monday-Friday: peak: all Barking
off-peak until 2100: split 50% each
Saturday: until 2100: split 50% each
Monday-Saturday: after 2100: all Whitechapel
Sunday: all day: all Whitechapel

A few trains terminate at Plaistow, and at the start and end of service some trains run from or to Neasden Depot in service. Five trains start from Barking on Sundays, but none run eastbound.


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

A = Aldgate Junction
B = Barking
E = Aldgate East
H = Hammersmith
K = Baker Street Junction
L = Latimer Road Junction
O = Kensington (Olympia)
P = Praed Street Junction
R = Richmond
S = St.Mary's Junction
1 = Metropolitan Line to Amersham, Chesham, Watford, and Uxbridge
2 = District Line to Upminster
3 = Circle Line and District Line via High Street Kensington
4 = Circle Line via Aldgate
5 = District Line to Ealing Broadway, Richmond, and Wimbledon
6 = link to East London Line


443843 28=43 4 Barking [^1=2ET3=4ew5=6We7=8ww]
(southern bay is partial)
432848 [Barking Station Junction]
424842 30=62 3/4 East Ham [OP]
411837 32=03 3 Upton Park [=2EW1=0ew0=]
399832 33=27 3 Plaistow [T3=2EW1=0ew0=]
392829 34=07 3 West Ham [E2=1We8=7w]
379826 35=46 2/3 Bromley-by-Bow [=2EW1=0ew0=]
370827 36=38 [tunnel mouth]
371827 36=47 2 Bow Road [OP]
365825 36=95 2 Mile End [e=EW=w]
355821 38=05 2 Stepney Green [OP]
347818 39=05 2 Whitechapel [E1=2EW3=4WV]
343817 39=33 [St.Mary's Junction]
342816 39=5 (St.Mary's) [OP]
338813 39=88 1 Aldgate East [OP]
39.96 [Aldgate East Junction]
335813 40.32 [Aldgate Junction]
331815 40.81 1 Liverpool Street [=1EW2=]
324814 41.33 1 Moorgate [=1EW2=3^^4=5^^6=]
320818 41.96 1 Barbican [=1EW2=3sn4=]
315818 42.47 1 Farringdon [=1EW2=3sn4=]
304829 44.0 1 {King's Cross Thameslink} [='A'sn'B'=|=EW=]
302828 44.32 1 King's Cross St. Pancras [CP]
294823 45.17 1 Euston Square [OP]
288821 45.79 1 Great Portland Street [OP]
280820 46!59 [Baker Street Junction]
279819 46.72 1 Baker Street [^4=3sn2=1^1=-=5EW6=]
272817 47.44 1 Edgware Road [E1=2ew3=4W]
269814 47.76 [Praed Street Junction]
264814 48.38 1 Paddington [E16=15W^14=...]
258815 49.00 2 Royal Oak [CP]
249817 49.99 2 Westbourne Park [OP]
242813 50.79 2 Ladbroke Grove for Portobello Road [OPX]
237808 51.44 2 Latimer Road [OPX]
236806 51.66 [Former junction with link to WLR]
232803 52.2 (White City) [OP]
232800 52.45 2 Shepherd's Bush [OPX]
232798 (Shepherd's Bush) [OP]
231796 52.97 2 Goldhawk Road [OPX]
232792 [Grove Road Junction (H&CR)]
233787 53.84 2 Hammersmith [=1VV2=3VV]

336812 40.19 1 Aldgate [E=^^=i]
(trains reverse in the eastbound platform)
335813 40.32 [Aldgate Junction]

237808 51.44 2 Latimer Road [OP]
236806 51.66 [Start of former link to WLR]
237802 52=0 (Shepherd's Bush) [OP]
237800 52=3 [End of former link to WLR]
238799 52=48 (Uxbridge Road) [OP]
240796 [Start of LSWR Richmond branch]
243792 53=39 2 {Kensington (Olympia)} [^=BNS=]

231796 52.97 2 Goldhawk Road [OP]
232792 [Grove Road Junction (H&CR)]
232790 [Grove Road Junction (LSWR)]
232789 53=7 (Hammersmith Grove Road) [OP]
231787 54=00 [Studland Road Junction]
225787 54=60 2 {Ravenscourt Park} [CP]
218788 55=34 2 {Stamford Brook} [Not open when this service ran]
213788 55=87 2/3 {Turnham Green} [CP]
212788 55=99 [Turnham Green Junction (westbound)]
207788 56=41 [Turnham Green Junction (eastbound)]
203786 56=86 [Acton Lane Junction (LU/Railtrack boundary)]
198783 57=49 3 {Gunnersbury} [CP]
192767 59=21 3/4 {Kew Gardens} [OP]
181751 61=32 4 {Richmond} [V=VV=VV=ew=]

Distances from Studland Road Junction to Richmond are internally consistent, but the distance from Goldhawk Road is estimated. The platform layouts of Ravenscourt Park and Turnham Green are shown as of 1906, when the service was withdrawn.


The only depot on the line is Hammersmith Depot, on the south (actually east) side of the line; it can only be entered from the platforms at Hammersmith (and the short length of these platforms is the reason for the restrictions on stock length on this section). Major work is done at Neasden Depot, and some trains start and end service there for this reason.


The line shares track with the Circle and Metropolitan Lines between Aldgate and Praed Street Junction, and with the District Line from Barking to Aldgate East Junction; there is a connection to the East London Line on the latter section.

Rolling Stock

The line is operated by C stock.

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

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