London Underground History
Page last modified 11/2/2019
London Underground (& tramways etc.) For other London railways, main line and suburban. see GB railways.
1) Click Here for more events relating to London
2) Click Here for image of construction of London Underground tunnel (ca. 1920?)
3) Click Here for image of 1930s London tube train.
4) Click Here for image of Chiswick Park station,original and as rebuilt 1932
5) Click Here for 1933 London Underground map and Beckís initial sketch
6) Click here for map of proposed Edgware-Bushey-Watford railway.
7) Click here for How Deep is Your Tube Station. Map of depth/elevation of London tube stations, both absolute (to sea level) and relative (to ground level. Also which stations are vulnerable to a 10 metre tidal surge.
2009, Work on Londonís Crossrail began.
2001, Lots Road power station, which had generated electricity for the London Underground, became redundant.
1994, The Beckton branch of the Docklands Light Railway opened.
30/9/1994, On the London Underground, the Epping to Ongar line and the Aldwych spur closed.† The Ongar line only caried 100 passengers a day. At Aldwych, only 450 people a day used the line, and a lift needed replacing at a cost of £3million. Aldwych (opened 30/11/1907) had served as an air raid shelter during World War Two and was not reopened until 1946. Postwar proposals to extend the Aldwych spur to Waterloo never materialised.
31/8/1987, †Londonís Docklands Light Railway began running, a month behind schedule.
17/12/1981, The Law Lords ruled the Greater London Councilís cheap fares policy, effectively subsidised from rates, was illegal.
31/10/1981, Blake Hall station on the Central Line, London Underground, closed. It had been the least-used station on the network, with an average 6 passengers a day.
30/4/1979, Prince Charles opened the new Jubilee Line on the London Underground.
16/12/1977. The Piccadilly Line was extended from Hatton Cross to London Heathrow Airport.
7/3/1969, Londonís Victoria Line opened, from Warren Street to Victoria, see 3/11/1968.
3/11/1968. The second section of Londonís Victoria Line opened, from Highbury to Warren Street, see 1/9/1968 and 7/3/1969.
1/9/1968, The first section of Londonís new Victoria line opened, from Walthamstow to Highbury, see 3/11/1968.
4/10/1964, Services on the Moorgate to Finsbury Park line, north London, were cut back to Drayton Park to allow for Victoria Line trains at Finsbury Park, see 1/9/1968.
9/4/1964. The first driverless trains ran on the London Underground. They were first trialled on the Central Line between Woodford and Hainault.
5/1/1964, The first automatic ticket barrier on the London Underground was installed, at Stamford Brook station.
1963, Construction of Londonís Victoria Line began.
9/9/1961, London Metropolitan line services north of Amersham were withdrawn.
1960, Londonís Metropolitan line was electrified from Rickmansworth to Amersham and Chesham.
27/9/1960. Bank Underground Station, London, opened the first travelator, or moving pavement, in Europe.
18/11/1957, Londonís Central Line opened from Epping to Ongar.
25/9/1949, The Central Line, London, opened from Woodford to Epping.
21/11/1948, In London, Central Line trains began running between Hainault and Woodford.
31/5/1948, In London, Central Line trains began running over the loop from Newbury Park to Hainault, and North Acton to West Ruislip.
14/12/1947, In London, the Central Line was extended from Leytonstone to Woodford and through the north Ilford tunnels to Newbury Park.† The former surface rail connection between Newbury Park and the Romford line was used by goods trains until March 1956.
30/11/1947. In London, steam trains from Liverpool Street ceased to run on the Chigwell to Newbury Park loop.
5/5/1947, In London, Central Line trains began running to Leytonstone.
4/12/1946, In London, Central Line trains began running to Stratford.
1/7/1946. Londonís Aldwych to Holborn spur line re-opened.† It had been closed during the War and used as an air raid shelter
3/3/1943, 173 people were crushed to death whilst descending the stairs into Bethnal Green Underground station to shelter during an air raid. A woman at the top of the stairs, carrying a child, slipped and fell on those immediately in front of her, causing those below to lose their balance too.
11/1/1941, Bank Underground station, London, received a direct bomb hit during the Blitz. 51 died.
12/11/1940, Sloane Square London Underground station received a direct bomb hit just as a train was leaving in the evening. 35 people were known killed and 2 hospitalised (some estimate a death toll of 79) with three missing. Train services were running again 2 weeks after the event.
14/10/1940, At 8.02pm, a German World War Two bomb made a direct hit on Balham Underground station, where hundreds of people were sheltering from the air raid. Water rushed in as water mains and sewage pipes burst. 68 people were killed.
13/10/1940, Bounds Green Underground station was hit by a German bomb; 17 died and 20 were injured.
17/9/1940. Marble Arch became the first tube station to be hit by German bombs. 20 died and over 40 were injured.
20/11/1939, Bakerloo Line trains began through running to Stanmore from Baker Street.
8/3/1939, London Transport collected four million used tickets, which were then analysed manually to see which were the most and least used routes, in order to plan for future development.
1936, Metropolitan Line services were cut back from Verney Junction to terminate at Amersham. London Transport had taken over the Metropolitan Railway in 1933, inheriting its servoices from Baker Street to the remote Verney Junction.
4/5/1935, Londonís Leicester Square tube station opened.
1934, At Holborn, the Picadilly and Central lines were connected by a subway and escalators. Previously, passengers had to exit British Museum Station and cross High Holborn to change.
1933, Northfields station, on Londonís Piccadilly Line, opened.
23/10/1933, The Piccadilly Line was extended from South Harrow to Uxbridge.
31/7/1933, Londonís Piccadilly Line was extended from Enfield West (now Oakwood) to Cockfosters, see 13/3/1933.
1/7/1933, The new London passenger Transport Board came into existence, coordinating all bus, tram and tube services within a radius of 20-30 miles of Charing Cross. Only main line rail services were excluded. The tube map was also reorganised according to a new design by Harry Beck. B3eck was paid 5 Guineas for his map, the style of ehicvh has been widely copied around the world, and not just for subway maps.
13/3/1933, Londonís Piccadilly Line was extended from Arnos Grove to Enfield West (now Oakwood), see 19/9/1932 and 31/7/1933.
10/12/1932, The Metropolitan railway branch from Wembley to Stanmore opened.
5/11/1932, London Transport changed the name of Gillespie Road station to Arsenal after the local football club.
10/1932, The Piccadilly Line was extended to South Harrow.
19/9/1932, The Piccadilly Line, London, was extended 4 Ĺ miles from Finsbury Park to Arnos Grove, see 13/3/1933.
21/5/1932. Down Street Station, on the Piccadilly Line, closed. It was very close to Hyde Park Corner and Dover Street, now renamed Green Park, in a prosperous area of Mayfair where many had their own transport.
10/12/1928, In London, the new Underground Station at Piccadilly Circus opened.
13/9/1926, In London, the Underground extensions from Charing Cross (Embankment) to Kennington and from Clapham Common to Morden (5 miles) were opened. There were plans for further extensions to the Northern Line south west from Morden as suburban development took place in the Sutton area; however it was agreed that the Southern Railway would serve these new residential areas,
1925, The Metropolitan line from Harrow to Rockmansworth was electrified. The Metropolitan line branch to Watford opened.
2/11/1925, The Metropolitan line branch to Watford opened.
18/8/1924, Londonís Northern Line opened from Hendon Central to Edgware, 3 miles, see 19/11/1923.† The line was to have been extended to Bushey Heath but this never materialised due to the instigation of the Green Belt, meaning the housing necessary to make this extension viable would not be built.
20/4/1924, The interchange at Camden Town between the City and South London Lines and the Northern Line to Golders Green, Highgate, came into use.
19/11/1923, Londonís Northern Line opened from Golders Green to Hendon Central, 1 ĺ miles, see 18/8/1924.
3/8/1920, Londonís Central Line was extended from Shepherdís Bush to Ealing Broadway.
16/4/1917, Bakerloo line trains began running from Queens Park through to Watford.
1915, Londonís last horse tram route (Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe) was electrified.
11/2/1915. Londonís Bakerloo Line was extended from Kilburn Park to join the Euston main line railway at Queens Park.† See 31/1/1915.
31/1/1915, Londonís Bakerloo Line was extended from Paddington to Kilburn Park.† See 11/2/1915.
6/4/1914, The short Northern Line extension from Strand (Charing Cross) to Charing Cross (Embankment) opened, to improve connections to the District and Bakerloo lines.
1/12/1913, The Bakerloo Line was extended from Edgware Road to Paddington.
28/7/1912. Londonís Central Line was extended from Bank to Liverpool Street.
15/6/1912, The railway from Watford to Croxley Green was opened.
4/10/1911. Britainís first escalators were introduced, connecting the District and Piccadilly lines at Earlís Court station in London.
1/7/1910. The Central Line was extended from White City to Ruislip.
1909, Dollis Hill station, N W London, opened.
2/5/1909, The railway spur from Osterley to Hounslow Town, originally closed on 1/4/1886, but later re-opened with electrification, finally closed.
1908, Brondesbury Park station, London, opened.
30/11/1907, Aldwych Station, London, opened. The Great Northern and Strand Railway (GNSR) was intended to have its southern terminus at Holborn but the creation of Kingsway and Aldwych as a slum clearance programme by the Greater London council persuaded the GNSR to continue another 524 metres to serve the theatres and offices in the new development. However the plan by Charles Yerkes to join up the Brompton and Picadilly line with the GNSR at Holborn left Aldwych as an awkward spur, see 15/12/1906 and 30/9/1994.
23/7/1907, Londonís Northern Line opened between Kennington, Camden Town and Golders Green.
22/6/1907, London Undergroundís Northern Line opened, from Strand (Charing Cross) to Golders Green, also the branch from Camden to Highgate (now Archway).
15/6/1907, The Bakerloo Line was extended from Marylebone to Edgware Road.
12/5/1907, Londonís Northern Line was extended from Angel Islington to Euston.† Total mileage, from Clapham Common to Euston, was now 7.26 miles.
27/3/1907, The Bakerloo Line was extended from Baker Street to Marylebone.
1906, Lots Road power station opened, for generationg power fot the London Underground.
1906, Eastcote Station, on the Metropolitan Line to Uxbridge, opened.
15/12/1906, Londonís Piccadilly Line opened, from Hammersmith to Finsbury Park.† Originally two companies had been formed, the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (incorporated 6/8/1897), to build a line from Piccadilly to Earls Court; and the Great Northern and Strand Railway, to build a line from Wood Green via Finsbury Park to a terminus at The Strand.† In 1901 both companies were bought by the Yerkes Group, which sought to merged the two schemes and abandon the section north of Finsbury park.† The two schemes were merged on 8/8/1902.† See 30/11/1907.
5/8/1906, The Bakerloo Line was extended south from Kennington Road (now Lambeth North) to Elephant and Castle.† There were planned future southward extensions to Camberwell and Lewisham.
10/3/1906, The Bakerloo Line on the London Underground was opened, between Baker Street and Waterloo.
1905, A tunnel for the Northern Line, London, was driven under Hampstead Heath to emerge in the rural countryside of Golders Green (which had been forest and heath until the 1700s until enclosed for farmland). Urban development began almost immediately.
1904, The street tramway from London was extended from Southall to Uxbridge through Hayes. Perivale station.
13/12/1904. Londonís Metropolitan Railway went electric.
1903, The† electric tram was extended from Isleworth to Kingston and Hampton Court.
28/6/1903, The Piccadilly Line was extended from Ealing to Rayners Lane.
6/2/1903, In the UK, a Royal Commission was set up to find a solution to Londonís traffic jams. Options included new electric tramways, but these would take up valuable road space, or new tube lines, following the success of the Ďtwopenny tubeí opened in 1900 from Shepherds Bush to Bank (now the Central Line).
1902, Londonís District line was extended east from Whitechapel to Upminster.
9/4/1902† In London, the Underground Electric Railways Company was formed.
1901, Trams began running from Purley via Croydon to London; the service was withdrawn in 1951.
17/11/1901, Londonís Northern Line was extended from† Moorgate to Angel Islington. It was also extended south from Clapham North through Tooting.
4/1901, Londonís first electric tramway began operations, from Shepherds Bush along the Uxbridge Road to SActon and Kew, operated by London United Tramways Ltd.
27/6/1900. London's Central Line opened, from Shepherdís Bush to Bank station, 7.5 miles.
3/6/1900, Londonís Northern Line was extended from Stockwell to Clapham Common.
25/2/1900, Londonís Northern Line opened from Bank to Moorgate.
8/8/1898, Londonís Waterloo and City line, from Waterloo to Bank, opened.
18/12/1890, Passenger services began on the City branch of the Northern Line, see 4/11/1890.† Services ran from Stockwell to King William Street (now Bank).
4/11/1890, The first electrified underground railway system, what is now the City branch of the Northern Line, was officially opened by the Prince of Wales.† Passenger services began on 18/12/1890.
8/7/1889, The Metropolitan Line, west London, was extended from Rickmansworth to Chesham, see 1/9/1887 and 1/9/1892.
3/6/1889, The District Line was extended from Putney Bridge to Wimbledon, west London.
1/9/1887, The Metropolitan Line, London, was extended from Pinner to Rickmansworth, see 25/5/1885 and 8/7/1889.
25/5/1885, Londonís Metropolitan Line opened as far west as Pinner.† See 1/9/1887.
21/7/1884, In west London, the railway from Osterley to Hounslow West opened, see 1/5/1883 and 1/4/1886.
1/5/1883, The railway from Acton Town to Hounslow, west London, opened.† At Osterley the line as opened went to a station at Hounslow Town, see 21/7/1884.
25/9/1882, The London Underground line from Aldgate to Tower Hill was opened.
12/8/1880, Londonís Metropolitan Line was extended from Willesden Green through Harrow.
1/3/1880, The District Line railway from West Brompton to Putney Bridge, west London, was opened.
24/11/1879, The Metropolitan Line from Baker Street to Willesden Green opened.
1/7/1879, The District Line railway between Turnham Green and Ealing Broadway, west London, was opened. On the Metropolitan Line, Swiss Cottage to West Hampstead opened.
1/6/1877, The District Line from Hammersmith to Ealing Broadway, W London, opened.
1876, The horse tramway from Shepherdís Bush to Acton opened.
18/11/1876, The last section of Londonís Circle Line, from Mansion House to Bishopsgate, 1.5 miles was completed.† The two companies involved, the Metropolitan and District, had fallen out but City interests compelled the completion after an independent railway company was floated, the Metropolitan Inner Circle Completion Company.
9/9/1874, The railway between Earlís Court and Hammersmith, London, opened.
6/1874, The horse tramway from Shephreds Bush and Acton opened. It was suoerseded by an electric tramway in 1901.
1/4/1872, The railway from Finchley to High Barnet, north London, opened.
3/7/1871, The London Underground (District Line) railway from Blackfriars to Mansion House opened.
10/4/1871, The London railway between Wapping and Shoreditch opened.
30/5/1870, The London Underground (District Line) railway from Westminster to Blackfriars opened.
7/12/1869, The East London Railway opened from New Cross Gate to Wapping. It used a former pedestrian tunnel under the Thames that had opened in 1843. In 1876 a link with the Great Eastern Railway at Bishopsgate was opened. In 1880 a branch from Surrey Docks began operations. Until 1941 District Line trains from central London ran direct to New Cross via the St Marys Curve, just west of Whitechapel, but after that date the East London Line ran as a separate route, from Shoreditch.
1/3/1869, Londonís Metropolitan railway, opened 10/1/1863 and operating on both broad and standard gauge, changed to standard gauge only.
24/12/1868, The London Underground (District Line) railway from Gloucester Road to Westminster opened.
1/10/1868,The London Underground railway from Paddington to Gloucester Road was opened.
23/12/1865, The Metropolitan Line was extended 0.75 miles east from Farringdon to Moorgate.
13/6/1864, The Hammersmith branch of Londonís Metropolitan Line, 2 Ĺ miles of line from Westbourne Park, was opened.