Central Line

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Central line flag box.svg
Central Line route
Routing in Greater London and Essex
Route length: 74.0 km
Line color red
Opening year 1900
Line type Tubular track
Stations 49
Depots 3 (Ruislip, White City, Hainault)
Type of train used: 1992 tube stock
Passengers 260,916,000 (2011/12)
Central Line
Epping Ongar Railway
Blake Hall
North Weald
Epping Ongar Railway
Theydon Bois
Parking facility
Buckhurst Hill
Roding Valley
Roding / M11
Mount Pleasant Tunnel
Grange Hill
Hainault Depot
Parking facility
South Woodford
Newbury Park
LNER to Ilford
Gants Hill
Whipps Cross Tunnel
Gospel Oak-Barking
Great Eastern Main Line
High Speed ​​One
Lea Valley Lines
Jubilee Line / DLR
North London Line
Bow Back Rivers
Great Eastern Main Line
Mile end
Regent's Canal
Great Eastern Main Line
District Line / H&C Line
Bethnal Green
Lea Valley Lines
East London Line
Liverpool Street
St. Paul's
Chancery Lane
British Museum (until 1933)
Tottenham Court Road
Oxford Circus
Bond Street
Marble Arch
Lancaster Gate
Notting Hill Gate
Holland Park
West London Line
Shepherd's Bush
White City Depot
Wood Lane (until 1947)
Circle Line / H&C Line
White City
GWR freight line
East Acton
Great Western Main Line
North London Line
North Acton
West Acton
Piccadilly Line
District Line
Hanger Lane
Great Western Main Line
Ealing Broadway
Greenford Branch Line
Chiltern Main Line
South Ruislip
Ruislip Gardens
Ruislip Depot
Piccadilly Line
Metropolitan Line
West Ruislip
South Harefield
Harefield Road
Chiltern Main Line

The Central Line is a metro -line of the London Underground . It is shown in red on the route network map. It runs from west to east and, at 74 kilometers, is the longest of all underground lines. Of the 49 stations served, 20 are underground. The Central Line emerged from the Central London Railway , which opened in 1900 and which became public law in 1933. Until the mid-1940s, the route was limited to the central section between Ealing and the City of London , then significant extensions were made by integrating several suburban railways into the underground network. A section of the Essex county line that was closed in 1994 is now operated by a heritage railway.

Measured by the number of passengers, the Central Line is the most popular underground line in the city. With up to 34 trains per hour during rush hour, it is also the one with the highest frequency. It is the only underground line that runs in a west-east direction through the middle of central London. The opening of the partly parallel S-Bahn system Crossrail from 2021 will bring significant relief in the central section.


A 1992 Tube Stock train arrives at Roding Valley station

The Central London Railway , founded in 1891, was granted a concession to build an underground railway between Shepherd's Bush and Bank . Due to financing problems, the private company had to request a postponement of its temporary building permit. Construction work could not begin until 1896. The opening ceremony took place on June 27, 1900, and the scheduled service began on July 30 of the same year. In the first few years, each journey cost two pence, which is why the train was nicknamed "Twopenny Tube".

In 1908 the Central London Railway extended its route to the west to Wood Lane , where it was looped around the depot. The new station served to develop the exhibition grounds of the Franco-British Exhibition , which took place in the same year. The eastern terminus was from 1912 under Liverpool Street Station , where the line had been extended. In 1913 the Central London Railway came into the possession of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) founded by Charles Tyson Yerkes , which also combined the other London means of local transport in a holding company. The UERL entered into a cooperation with the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1911 and agreed with her to expand the underground service from Wood Lane to Ealing Broadway station . The corresponding renovation work on the GWR route began in 1912, but had to be interrupted due to the First World War. Operations finally started in 1920.

When the public service London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) took over all underground trains and the other surface local transport (trams and buses ) on July 1, 1933, the route was named Central London Line . Since August 23, 1937 it has been called the Central Line . In 1935, the LPTB proposed, as part of the extensive investment program New Works Program, to run the Central Line over GWR tracks to West Ruislip . This project was finally implemented in two stages in 1947/49. Denham was originally intended as the western terminus , where new settlements were to be built. But in 1947 the government decided to create a green belt in order to curb further urban sprawl. Due to the lack of demand, the reconstruction of the West Ruislip – Denham section was abandoned.

In the east, the underground should run on the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). In order to get to the already existing LNER railway line Ilford - Hainault , the construction of an underground link between Leytonstone and Newbury Park was necessary. Although the line was completed shortly after the start of the Second World War , the opening was postponed. During the war, the tunnel served as an underground factory for aircraft parts for the Plessey group; a freight railway with a gauge of 457 mm connected the individual departments with one another. After the end of the war, the production facilities were removed and construction of the underground continued. The section was finally opened in 1947.

Shuttle Epping-Ongar

In 1949, as the last measure of the New Works Program, the LNER line Epping - Ongar , located entirely in the county of Essex and leading through rural areas, was converted to underground service. The operation was performed with a shuttle train (shuttle) . Until 1957, trains with steam locomotives on loan from British Rail still ran on this section . The number of passengers remained low, however, so that the trains only ran during rush hour . The intermediate station Blake Hall , closed in 1981, was the underground's least used station; often not even ten passengers boarded a day. The line between Epping and Ongar had become so unprofitable that it was closed on September 30, 1994. The Epping Ongar Railway is operated on the old route .

On January 25, 2003, a train derailed at Chancery Lane station after an engine had loosened. 32 passengers suffered injuries. The entire line was closed in order to look for the causes and to make necessary adjustments to the vehicles. At the end of March, a limited number of trains ran again on the eastern and western outer routes. On April 3, the central section was also used again, and it was not until the end of April that the trains returned to the normal schedule. The closure also briefly affected the Waterloo & City Line , where the same type of vehicle was used.


The first vehicles on the Central Line were locomotive-hauled trains; the locomotives had the axle arrangement Bo'Bo 'and a central cab. The wagons were so-called gate-stock wagons with open platforms that were secured by concertina bars. As early as 1903, railcar trains were gradually used, later trains from the Standard Tube Stock .

In 1960 the prototypes of the 1960 Tube Stock were tested. Automatic Train Operation thus experienced a world premiere. These trains ran mainly between Woodford and Hainault . At the same time, the series vehicles of the 1962 tube type were put into service. This type is almost identical to the 1959 tube type .

In 1986 three new prototypes were delivered, which were designated as 1986 tube trains : train A was painted red, train B blue and train C green. They were only on duty for a few weeks. However, as they were custom-made, they were retired in 1989. After years of downtime, all but one were scrapped in 1996. The motor car of the green C-train is now in the London Transport Museum . From 1993, the last design so far was put into service, the 1992 tube type . It is the first type in which all axles are driven.


The Central Line is 74 km long and serves 49 stations. The line is mostly double-track , short sections south of Leytonstone and west of White City are three-track. The total track length is 147.1 km, of which 52.8 km are in the tunnel.

The single-track section north of Epping, which was closed in 1994, is now used by the Epping Ongar Railway . A group of volunteers took over the route in 2004 and ran a museum railroad with diesel multiple units until 2007 . After a private investor took over the route, it was renovated until 2012; since then, historical steam trains have also been operating there.

The section between Leyton and Loughton is seven years older than the Underground itself. It was opened on August 22, 1856 by the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR). The successor to the ECR, the Great Eastern Railway (GER), opened the section from Loughton via Epping to Ongar on April 24, 1865. The Fairlop Loop , as the loop above Hainault is called, was opened for the most part by GER on May 1, 1903.


From west to east:

Ruislip branch line

Main line

Chancery Lane Station
Loughton Station

Hainault branch line

Ongar branch line

  • North Weald - first operated December 25, 1949; closed on September 30, 1994
  • Blake Hall - first served December 25, 1949; closed on October 31, 1981
  • Ongar - first served on December 25, 1949; closed on September 30, 1994


The following cycle times have been in effect outside of rush hour traffic since August 2015:

  • 9 trains per hour between West Ruislip and Epping
  • 3 trains per hour between Northolt and Loughton
  • 9 trains per hour between Ealing Broadway and Newbury Park
    • 3 trains per hour of which run from Newbury Park to Hainault
  • 3 trains per hour between White City and Hainault (via Newbury Park)
  • 3 trains per hour between Hainault and Woodford

This results in a total of 24 trains per hour between White City and Leytonstone with a cycle time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. In September 2013 the frequency was increased to 34 trains per hour during the morning rush hour. Between Ealing Broadway and Hainault, 24-hour operation on weekends should have been introduced on September 12, 2015. Due to disagreement with the unions, this date had to be postponed.


Near the West Ruislip depot, the Central Line runs over the Uxbridge branch of the Metropolitan Line and the Piccadilly Line . Since 1973 there has been a connecting track between the two lines. The London Borough of Hillingdon asked Transport for London in 2011 to allow some or all of the Central Line trains to run on this platform to Uxbridge , as the terminus West Ruislip is in a quiet suburb and Uxbridge is a much more densely populated regional center. The Hillingdon District Council also cites a possible reduction in road traffic on the A40 expressway, which runs parallel to the Central Line to Ealing, and the Uxbridge Road as a further argument in favor of the connection . Transport for London stated that such a connection would not be possible before 2017 because the signaling system on the Metropolitan Line would have to be renewed to be compatible with the rolling stock on the Central Line.

The planned route of Crossrail 2 from the south-west to the north-east of London is to be opened around 2030. For a few years the plans were to take over the Epping branch of the Central Line between Leytonstone and Epping. Since 2013, this suggestion is no longer included in the preferred route options.

The Central Line runs directly below Shoreditch High Street Station , which opened in 2010 and is on the East London Line from London Overground . Local politicians want to be able to change at this point. While there were a number of benefits, the plans have been postponed indefinitely. The reasons for this were high costs, interruptions to the Central Line during construction and the fact that the platforms were too close to the sidings at Liverpool Street Station.

Web links

Commons : Central Line  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  • John R. Day, John Reed: The Story of London's Underground . Capital Transport, London 2008, ISBN 1-85414-316-6 .
  • Christian Wolmar : The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever . Atlantic Books, London 2005, ISBN 1-84354-023-1 .
  • J. Graeme Bruce, Desmond F. Croome: The Central Line . Capital Transport, London 1996, ISBN 1-85414-297-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ London Underground - Performance Data . Transport for London website (Performance Data Almanac). Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  2. ^ Day, Reed: The Story of London's Underground . P.56
  3. Wolmar: The Subterranean Railway . P. 154
  4. ^ Bruce, Croome: The Central Line. P. 20
  5. ^ Bruce, Croome: The Central Line . Pp. 25-26
  6. ^ Charles Edward Lee: Seventy Years of the Central . London Transport, Westminster 1970, ISBN 0-85329-013-X , pp. 27 .
  7. ^ A b Day, Reed: The Story of London's Underground . Pp. 145-150
  8. ^ Day, Reed: The Story of London's Underground . P. 151
  9. ^ Day, Reed: The Story of London's Underground . Pp. 185, 204
  10. HSE publishes final report on Chancery Lane tube derailment. (No longer available online.) Health and Safety Executive, March 17, 2006, archived from the original on September 24, 2015 ; accessed on September 6, 2015 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.hse.gov.uk
  11. Central line facts. Transport for London, archived from the original on February 28, 2014 ; accessed on September 6, 2015 .
  12. Detailed track plan of the London Underground. carto.metro.free.fr, accessed September 6, 2015 .
  13. ^ Joe Brown: London Railway Atlas . 3. Edition. Ian Allan Publishing, London 2012, ISBN 978-0-7110-3728-1 .
  14. ^ Douglas Rose: The London Underground, A Diagramatic History . Capital Transport, London 1999, ISBN 1-85414-219-4 .
  15. What we've done. Transport for London, 2015, accessed September 6, 2015 .
  16. Night Tube Start Date Postponed As Talks Continue. Sky News, August 27, 2015, accessed September 6, 2015 .
  17. ^ Extending Central Line to Uxbridge will cut traffic. Get West London, June 17, 2011, accessed September 6, 2015 .
  18. New plans for 'Crossrail 2' cut Redbridge out of £ 12bn line. Ilford Recorder, February 6, 2013, accessed September 6, 2015 .
  19. ^ The East London Line extension. London Underground Railway Society, January 13, 2009, accessed September 6, 2015 .