Circle Line (London)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Circle line flag box.svg
Line color: yellow
Opening year: 1863 (1949)
Line type: Underlay
Stations: 35
Length: 27 km
Depot: Hammersmith
Vehicles: S7 floor (7 cars per train)
Passengers: 114,609,000 (annually, with H&C)

The Circle Line is a metro of -line London Underground that around the center of London around leads. It is shown in yellow on the route network map. In the north and east it forms the border to tariff zone 1. The line has 35 stations and is 27 km long. Until December 2009 the Circle Line was a pure ring line , when the branch to Hammersmith was taken over , it was given the shape of a ring-radial line. For most of the route, it uses the tracks of the District Line , the Metropolitan Line and the Hammersmith & City Line . Some of the infrastructure has existed since 1863, but the Circle Line has only been an independent line since 1949.



High Street Kensington Station in 1892

The Metropolitan Railway , the world's first underground railway, opened the line between Paddington and Farringdon on January 10, 1863 . In the same year a special commission of the House of Lords recommended the construction of an inner ring route. This inner circle was supposed to connect existing and planned railway terminus with each other. In 1864, the Metropolitan District Railway (commonly known as the District Railway ) was established and began building an underground line between South Kensington and Tower Hill . Six years later, the work was completed.

In 1871 the District Railway opened the new Mansion House terminus , and in 1876 the Metropolitan Railway reached Aldgate station . So there was still a gap of around two and a half kilometers. Due to numerous differences between the two companies, the construction progress was delayed and a further parliamentary resolution was necessary in order to be able to complete the ring. On October 6, 1884, the time had finally come. From that day on, the Metropolitan Railway ran the ring line clockwise and the District Railway counterclockwise.

More ring routes

The various ring routes of the Victorian era

In addition to the Inner Circle , there were other routes that circled London, even if they did not form a closed ring. The London and North Western Railway operated from 1872 an outer circle (Outer Circle) on the route Broad Street - Willesden Junction - Earl's Court - Mansion House. In the same year, the Great Western Railway introduced the Middle Circle , from Moorgate via Latimer Road and Earl's Court to Mansion House. Both were withdrawn to Earl's Court in 1900 and 1909 and later abandoned entirely. The Great Western Railway last operated a shuttle train from the Hammersmith & City Line to Addison Road (now Kensington Olympia Station ) until 1940 .

From 1880 to 1882 the Midland Railway operated a Super Outer Circle from St Pancras via West Hampstead and South Acton to Earl's Court.


Metropolitan Railway and District Railway electrical test train (1900)

Both railway companies, which used trains pulled by steam locomotives, were challenged by new competitors with electric tube trains and trams in the city center at the beginning of the 20th century. Since steam trains in tunnels were increasingly considered dirty and outdated, the decision was made to electrify the routes. Both companies carried out a joint electrical test operation on the section between Earl's Court and High Street Kensington in 1900 and agreed on an AC system. When the investor Charles Tyson Yerkes took a stake in the District Railway with his holding company Underground Electric Railways Company of London in 1901 , however, based on his experience in the United States , he preferred a direct current system with busbars . After mediation by the Board of Trade , District Railway and Metropolitan Railway began to electrify their lines. On July 1, 1905, the work was completed.

When electrical operation was to start on July 1, 1905, it turned out that the Metropolitan trains had somewhat narrower pantographs and were therefore not compatible with the southern part of the ring line. The Metropolitan trains then had to be adapted. Finally, the unrestricted electrical operation on the ring line began on September 24, 1905. The Metropolitan Railway took over all ring line courses on October 31, 1926, with the exception of three trains on Sundays.

London Transport

On July 1, 1933, the Metropolitan Railway and the District Railway, the other subways and numerous tram and bus companies went on in the public London Passenger Transport Board . The first route network plan designed by Harry Beck showed a metropolitan line north of High Street Kensington and Mark Lane (now Tower Hill) and a district line south of these two points. On the 1947 route map, the Metropolitan and District Lines were represented together with the same color. In 1949 the Circle Line first appeared as a separate line in yellow on the route network map.

In 1998, the Circle Line's infrastructure was partially privatized and transferred to a public-private partnership , with operational management being transferred to the Metronet consortium. In 2007 Metronet went bankrupt, after which the transport company Transport for London took full control. On July 7, 2005 , bombs exploded on two Circle Line trains. One was between Liverpool Street and Aldgate , the other was at Edgware Road Station . The bombs killed 15 people, including the two suicide bombers. The Circle Line was closed for four weeks after the attacks and was restarted on August 4th.


On December 13, 2009, the Circle Line was extended to Hammersmith and uses the same tracks there as the Hammersmith & City Line. The line has since run counterclockwise from Edgware Road around the entire inner city ring back to Edgware Road and on to Hammersmith. With a fixed terminus, London Underground promised more punctuality and greater capacity on the Hammersmith branch.


In the beginning it was steam locomotives that made their rounds. In 1905 trains of the B Stock were put into service, which were renovated again in 1934. In 1936 the M Stock was put into service. Over the years, the vehicle fleet has mixed, it went from the Co / Cp Stock to the P Stock of the District Line and Metropolitan Line. The C Stock was put into service between 1969 and 1977 . This was replaced by the S Stock in 2012/13 .

Circle Line trains are serviced at the Hammersmith depot, near the Hammersmith terminus. At night, the trains are transferred to parking facilities at Barking , Farringdon and High Street Kensington stations . The Hammersmith depot was built by the Great Western Railway on behalf of the Metropolitan Railway when the shared line was electrified at the beginning of the 20th century.


The Circle Line uses tracks for most of its route, which are also used by the District Line , the Metropolitan Line and the Hammersmith & City Line . Only two short sections are traveled by the Circle Line alone, namely the two connecting curves between the stations High Street Kensington and Gloucester Road and between Aldgate and Tower Hill .

Until the introduction of a fixed terminus on December 13, 2009, each train left the circuit once a day and went to the Mansion House or Tower Hill stations . There the train turned around and then continued in the opposite direction so that the wheels were more evenly loaded and worn. The Circle Line was particularly affected by operational disruptions and delays, as a total of six branches at the same level had to be passed. Delays that occurred here when a train had to wait until another cleared the branch could only be compensated with difficulty by the Circle Line. In contrast to the other lines, there was no way to make up for lost time when sweeping at the terminus.

Since December 2012, 6 trains per hour have been running on the Circle Line. On the section served jointly with the Hammersmith & City Line , there is an average of 5 minutes.


Former route of the Circle Line
Circle Line has been running since December 2009
Circle Line
Goldhawk Road
Hammersmith Depot
Shepherd's Bush Market
Central Line
Wood Lane
Latimer Road
Ladbroke Grove
Westbourne Park
District Line
Royal Oak
High Street Kensington
Gloucester Road
Notting Hill Gate
South Kensington
Sloane Square
Edgware Road
Metropolitan Line
Baker Street
St James's Park
Great Portland Street
Euston Square
King's Cross St. Pancras
City Thameslink
Mansion House
Cannon Street
Tower Hill
Moor gate
Liverpool Street
District Line
Hammersmith & City Line

Details about the stations

(counterclockwise from Edgware Road)

With District Line

Entrance to South Kensington Station
Temple station
Blackfriars tube stn and Thameslink northern entrance 2012
  • Edgware Road - opened January 10, 1863, closed July 23, 2011, reopened August 23, 2011
  • Paddington - opened October 1, 1868 as Paddington (Praed Street) ; renamed Paddington on July 11, 1948, closed on July 23, 2011, reopened on August 23, 2011
  • Bayswater - opened as Bayswater on October 1, 1868; renamed Bayswater (Queen's Road) & Westbourne Grove in 1923; renamed Bayswater (Queen's Road) in 1933; renamed Bayswater on September 1, 1946, closed on July 23, 2011, reopened on August 23, 2011
  • Notting Hill Gate - opened October 1, 1868, closed July 23, 2011, reopened August 23, 2011
  • High Street Kensington - opened as Kensington High Street on October 1, 1868, renamed High Street Kensington in 1880
  • Gloucester Road - opened October 1, 1868 as Brompton (Gloucester Road) ; renamed Gloucester Road in 1907
  • South Kensington - opened December 24, 1868
  • Sloane Square - opened December 24, 1868
  • Victoria - opened December 24, 1868
  • St. James's Park - opened December 24, 1868
  • Westminster - opened as Westminster Bridge on December 24, 1868, renamed Westminster in 1907
  • Embankment - opened as Charing Cross on May 30, 1870; renamed Charing Cross Embankment on August 4, 1974; renamed Embankment on September 12, 1976
  • Temple - opened May 30, 1870
  • Blackfriars - opened May 30, 1870
  • Mansion House - opened July 3, 1871, closed October 29, 1989, reopened February 11, 1991
  • Cannon Street - opened October 6, 1884
  • Monument - opened October 6, 1884 as Eastcheap ; renamed Monument on November 1, 1884
  • Tower Hill - opened as the Tower of London on September 25, 1882; closed October 6, 1884 andreopenedthe same day in a new location as Mark Lane ; renamed Tower Hill on September 1, 1946; closed on February 4, 1967 and reopened at the original location a day later

With Metropolitan Line and H&C Line

The open top Barbican station
Entrance to Paddington Station (northeast view)
  • Aldgate - opened November 18, 1876
  • Liverpool Street - opened as Bishopsgate on February 1, 1875; renamed Liverpool Street on November 1, 1909
  • Moorgate - opened as Moorgate Street on December 23, 1865; renamed Moorgate on October 24, 1924
  • Barbican - opened as Aldersgate Street on December 23, 1865; renamed Aldersgate on November 1, 1910; renamed Aldersgate & Barbican in 1923; Renamed Barbican on December 1, 1968
  • Farringdon - opened January 10, 1863 as Farringdon Street ; closed on December 22, 1865 and reopened a day later at the current location; renamed Farringdon & High Holborn on January 26, 1922; renamed Farringdon on April 21, 1936
  • King's Cross St. Pancras - opened January 10, 1863 as King's Cross ; renamed King's Cross St. Pancras in 1933, closed on March 9, 1941, reopened at the current location on March 14, 1941
  • Euston Square - opened as Gower Street on January 10, 1863; renamed Euston Square on November 1, 1909
  • Great Portland Street - opened as Portland Road on January 10, 1863; renamed Great Portland Street on March 1, 1917
  • Baker Street - opened January 10, 1863

With H&C Line

Hammersmith Station
  • Edgware Road
  • Paddington - opened as Paddington (Bishop's Road) on January 10, 1863; renamed Paddington on September 10, 1933, operated by the Circle Line since December 13, 2009
  • Royal Oak - opened on October 30, 1871, on the Circle Line since December 13, 2009
  • Westbourne Park - opened February 1, 1866; closed on October 31, 1871 and reopened a day later at the current location, served by the Circle Line since December 13, 2009
  • Ladbroke Grove - opened as Notting Hill on June 13, 1864; renamed Notting Hill (Ladbroke Grove) in 1880, renamed Ladbroke Grove (North Kensington) in 1919, renamed Ladbroke Grove in 1938, served by the Circle Line since December 13, 2009
  • Latimer Road - opened December 16, 1868, on the Circle Line since December 13, 2009
  • Wood Lane - opened on October 12, 2008, on the Circle Line since December 13, 2009
  • Shepherd's Bush Market - opened June 13, 1864 as Shepherd's Bush ; closed on March 31, 1914 and reopened a day later at the current location, renamed Shepherd's Bush Market on October 5, 2008, served by the Circle Line since December 13, 2009
  • Goldhawk Road - opened on April 1, 1914, on the Circle Line since December 13, 2009
  • Hammersmith - opened on June 13, 1864, closed on November 30, 1868 and reopened a day later at its current location, since December 13, 2009 the terminus of the Circle Line

Circle Line Pub Crawl

A pub crawl is a (very English) form of pub crawl in which a number of pubs are visited one after the other and one drink (typically a pint or half a pint) of ale is drunk at a time. In the so-called Circle Line Pub Crawl, the participants have a drink at each individual station in a nearby pub. They often wear specially made T-shirts and can be recognized by them (and by their level of alcoholism after a few stops). Since May 31, 2008, alcoholic beverages are no longer allowed on the trains and stations.


  • John R. Day, John Reed: The Story of London's Underground . Capital Transport, London 2008, ISBN 978-1-85414-316-7 .
  • Oliver Green: The London Underground: An illustrated history . Ian Allan Publishing, Birmingham 1987, ISBN 0-7110-1720-4 .
  • Desmond F. Croome: The Circle Line. An illustrated history . Capital Transport, London 2003, ISBN 1-85414-267-4 .
  • Mike Horne: The District Line. An illustrated history . Capital Transport, London 2006, ISBN 1-85414-292-5 .
  • J. Graeme Bruce: Steam to Silver: A history of London Transport Surface Rolling Stock . Capital Transport, London 1983, ISBN 0-904711-45-5 .
  • Allan Jackson: London's Metropolitan Railway . David & Charles, Newton Abbott 1986, ISBN 0-7153-8839-8 .

Web links

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

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. 2008, p. 14.
  3. ^ Horne: The District Line. 2006, p. 5.
  4. ^ Green: The London Underground. 1987, pp. 7-9.
  5. ^ Green: The London Underground. 1987, p. 12.
  6. a b c Bruce: Steam to Silver. 1983, p. 11.
  7. ^ Horne: The Metropolitan Line. P. 28.
  8. ^ Green: The London Underground. 1987, p. 24.
  9. ^ Green: The London Underground. 1987, p. 25.
  10. Bruce: Steam to Silver. 1983, pp. 40-41.
  11. ^ Green: The London Underground. 1987, p. 33.
  12. ^ Green: The London Underground. 1987, p. 54.
  13. ^ Underground route map from 1949. A History of the London Tube Maps, accessed on January 31, 2013 (English).
  14. Metronet calls in administrators. BBC News, July 18, 2007, accessed January 31, 2013 .
  15. 7 July Bombings - Edgware Road. BBC News, accessed January 31, 2013 .
  16. 7 July Bombings - Aldgate. BBC News, accessed January 31, 2013 .
  17. ^ Circle Line extended to the west. BBC News, March 5, 2009, accessed January 31, 2013 .
  18. Circle Line facts. Transport for London, accessed January 31, 2013 .
  19. Jackson: London's Metropolitan Railway. 1986, p. 185.