London’s tube stations that began life as a terminus

When one asks which tube stations are true underground termini, Brixton, Walthamstow (both Victoria Line) and Bank, Waterloo (both Waterloo & City Line), Elephant and Castle (Bakerloo Line) plus Heathrow Terminal Five (Piccadilly Line) will most likely come to mind.

There were loads more underground tube station termini at one time but all these are now through stations. It is those we take a look at, in terms of when the line opened and when the stations became through routes. The six stations mentioned above are still termini so are not included, neither are any former termini stations on the sub-surface lines included as these would have originally been in the open – and thats a separate subject altogether.

This is a completely new perspective on London’s tube system. I have never seen the topic discussed anywhere and that’s why I have written this.

As many of us will know, the first deep level tube was the City and South London Railway (CSLR.) Its carriages and locomotives were dragged up to the surface for maintenance and repairs. There were termini at King William Street and Stockwell. People may think both do not count as they are no longer extant on the current Northern Line system.

King William Street definitely doesn’t count because it was abandoned in favour of a new route northwards. In fact the entire line north of Borough to King William Street was abandoned, and a new alignment (including stations at London Bridge and Bank) took the line to Moorgate, which was the line’s new northern terminus for a short period.

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Clapham Common – the original CSLR station was a terminus until 1924. This is the new enlarged station built on the site of the old.

The old Stockwell station ceased to be a terminus when services were extended to Clapham Common – another terminus before the Northern Line reached Morden in 1924. The original Stockwell station was closed in November 1923 and the present one slightly further south opened in 1924. It was partially rebuilt in 1971 to accomodate the Victoria Line yet doesn’t count because it was always a through station.

The old (abandoned) CSLR station was originally a terminus, before services were extended, and trains still run through the site of the old station so that counts.

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This Northern Line train is seen leaving the newer Stockwell station – which doesnt count under the rules. Yet the remainder of the train at that very moment is passing through the old Stockwell station – which DOES count 🙂

I have a slight problem with Clapham Common station. At this time of writing this update (28 June 2017) I had looked at my reprint of the City & South London Railway re-opening 1924, which informs me Clapham Common was rebuilt. On page 23 of the book it says “On the southern section entirely new stations have been constructed at Clapham Common and Stockwell.” I’m not fully certain of the implications of this so I cross referenced this with photographs and maps to double check. Originally the station entrance was on the corner of Clapham Park Road. The platforms were accessed by lifts/stairs at the northern end. In 1924 the station was rebuilt – the new entrance being on the centre island in Clapham High Street further south and giving access via escalators and stairs to the southern end of the platforms. No mention of the station being totally rebuilt is cited anywhere else, not even in Charles Lee’s Northern Line – a Brief History (1973).

I’m not too certain what this means, is it like Clapham North (which the book claims was ‘undergoing an extensive remodelling’) and which looks pretty much like Clapham Common anyway! The book clearly states Clapham Common is entirely a new station so am not sure it should even be included in this list of former tube termini unless the extent of this work can be correctly ascertained.

In the other direction the CSLR was extended, first to Moorgate as previously mentioned, before being extended to Angel and ultimately Euston (Bank branch). Euston became a through station in 1924 when the line was extended to Camden.

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Euston (Bank branch.) This was originally an island platform – and the City & South London Railway terminus until 1924.

The second tube to be opened was the Central London Railway (CLR) in 1900, again entirely underground. The first station, Shepherds Bush, seems a mixed bag but I suppose its allowed as terminus refers to passenger operations. Hence Shepherd’s Bush was a terminus for passenger services even though trains continued empty to the depot at Wood Lane. It became a through passenger station in 1908 and that left Bank as the CLR’s one and only deep level terminus station.

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Shepherd’s Bush – a terminus until 1908 even though trains continued out of service to the depot at Wood Lane.

Bank remained the CLR’s eastern terminus until 1912 when Liverpool St opened as a terminating station, a status that was maintained for many years. We will come back to Liverpool St later.

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Bank station – the Central London’s eastern terminus for quite a few years.

Next in the list of line openings, the Great Northern & City line opened between Moorgate and Finsbury Park in 1904, with underground termini at both places. This line eventually became the City (or Highbury) branch of the Northern Line. The Finsbury Park platforms terminated adjacent to the Piccadilly’s. Since the City branch was neither extended to Alexandra Palace nor Bushey Heath, how did this particular station become a through one? That’s simple! It was taken over by the Victoria Line – whose line extended towards Walthamstow.

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Finsbury Park Victoria Line. London’s only tube station that looks like a roller coaster! The result of trying to fit modern 1960’s infrastructure within an underground terminus built sixty years earlier!

The Baker Street & Waterloo (aka Bakerloo) opened March 1906 from Baker Street to Kennington Road (now Lambeth North.) The latter was a terminus for five months until the line extended to the Elephant. In the opposite direction, it opened to Marylebone (aka Great Central) for a short while in 1907 before reaching Edgware Road that same year.

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Paddington,  the Bakerloo’s terminus 1913-14. This current dead end (a terminus of sorts!) within the station area will become a ‘through route’ to Crossrail when it opens in 2018.

The Bakerloo terminus at Paddington was originally meant to be south of the mainline station. Those plans were dropped and Edgware Road remained the terminus whilst the company debated the direction its line should take. The desire to connect to the main lines at Queens Park meant the Bakerloo had to build a circuitous route to bring it right underneath Paddington station facing north towards Queen’s Park. Paddington was the Bakerloo’s terminus between 1913 – 1914.

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The northbound platform at Finsbury Park. The Piccadilly’s terminus until 1932.

The Piccadilly Line opened in 1906 as the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway. Its one and only underground terminus was at Finsbury Park (already a terminus for the Great Northern & City) and the facility became a through one in 1932 when services were extended to Arnos Grove.

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The Hampstead tube’s original southern terminus at Charing Cross.

Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead of 1907 – both Charing Cross and the original Highgate (aka Archway) were the underground termini. The line continued into the open at Golders Green station and to access the line’s depot. In 1914 the Hampstead Tube was extended to Embankment, making Charing Cross a through station.

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Embankment station – ‘end of the line’ – but not even a terminus. Confusing! 🙂

Embankment wasn’t a terminus, even though it was a destination. Trains reached the station via a now closed loop then continued their journeys northwards. The Embankment loop line closed when the line was extended to Kennington in 1926.

The changes at the Hampstead tube’s southern end left Archway (the old Highgate station) as the line’s one and only true underground terminus, a role it retained for a good thirty three years.

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High Barnet train leaving the old Highgate (1907-1939) en route to the new Highgate (opened 1941)

Some may point out Charing Cross on the Jubilee Line as being an underground terminus. Yes that was one. However its like King William Street on the City and South London Railway, its not a through station because it was by-passed completely.

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Hainault bound train entering the 1946 section of Central Line beyond Liverpool Street.

The last deep level tube station on the original London tube network to retain terminus status was Liverpool Street. Through services commenced in 1946. The work had begun well before World War Two as the picture below shows. This was the case on most of the Central Line’s eastern extensions where the war slowed things up. Liverpool Street tube station was a terminus a decade longer than originally planned.

After Liverpool Street became a through deep level tube station, that was pretty much it. The long, drawn out first phase of London’s tube network had been completed. There were no more tube stations in London that could be made into through stations – unless the capital began building more tube lines.

Just over twenty two years later the Victoria Line came on stream, the first of what can be considered a second phase of new tube lines for London. The Piccadilly Line’s western extensions followed soon after, and the most recent the Jubilee Line. These all had deep level termini that eventually became through stations.

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Victoria – originally a terminus before the ‘branch’ on the left to Brixton opened.

The Victoria Line had two underground termini that eventually became through stations. These are Victoria (1969 to 1971 before it became the station en route to Brixton) and Warren Street (before the line was extended to Victoria.) The line’s other temporary terminus, Highbury and Islington, doesnt count as it had formerly been a through station on the Northern City Line.

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Hatton Cross, the Piccadilly’s temporary terminus before it was completed to Heathrow.

The Piccadilly’s extension to Heathrow was done in stages and Hatton Cross was the new terminus between 1975 and 1977, before the line opened onwards to Heathrow Central. This too began life as a terminus in 1977, but became a through station in 1984 when the loop to Terminal Four began.

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Heathrow (1) 2 & 3 was formerly Heathrow Central, a terminus from 1977-1984.

The Jubilee Line consists of substantial lengths of new tube line. The line opened in stages and North Greenwich was the terminus south from Stratford between 14th May 1999 and 17 Sept 1999. The next stage then was to Bermondsey (until 24 Sept 1999) and finally to Waterloo (until 20 October 1999.)

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The architectural delight that is Bermondsey station, a deep level tube terminus for just one week!

Waterloo (Jubilee Line) is clearly the last ever tube station to begin life as a terminus and thus marks the end of the second stage of construction for London’s tube network.

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Passengers waiting at Waterloo (Jubilee) this was a terminus for just under a month.

Will there be any more? There’s the possibility Elephant & Castle (Bakerloo) will become a through station (that had first been planned as early as 1931 when proposals were mooted to extend the line to Camberwell) but the present proposals are dependent on final plans being made. That may mean a new through station being built instead and the old one closed. The Bakerloo’s extension seems to be written in concrete so we may yet get to see an intermediate terminus, perhaps this will be New Cross before the line is completed to Lewisham? Time will tell.

What is the longest period a deep level tube station had as a terminus?

The longest without a doubt is Finsbury Park (Great Northern & City) with a record 60 years between 1904 and 1964 before becoming a through station. Following in second place is Liverpool Street with 34 years, delayed considerably by World War Two, and thirdly the old Highgate (aka Archway) which managed 33 years before being extended on to Finchley and Mill Hill East, the only part of the Northern Line’s Bushey Heath extension to be built. Then its back to Finsbury Park (Piccadilly Line) for fourth place, having sustained that role for 26 years. Fifth place is Clapham Common managed 17 years  from 1907 to 1924.

What is the shortest period a deep level tube station had as a terminus?

The Jubilee holds three stations as the shortest lived termini, and the record holder is Bermondsey with just one week as a terminus. The tube line that holds the record for most stations that began as termini is however the Bakerloo. The second in the list is Kilburn Park with just two weeks as a terminus. (31 Jan to 11 Feb 1915.) Third is Waterloo (Jubilee) with 3 weeks six days in 1999. Marylebone (Great Central) comes next with 11 weeks and two days as a temporary terminus before the line was extended to Edgware Road.

It could easily be assumed the next, in fourth place, would be Highbury and Islington (Victoria Line) with 13 weeks in that role. However I have already discounted this. It had been in use as a through station for sixty two years, so that’s clearly no terminus even though the Victoria Line stopped there for three months.

The station most definitely in fourth place goes to Warren Street in 1968/1969, because it was a real terminus (13 weeks and five days) before becoming a through station.

In fifth place is North Greenwich (Jubilee) with exactly 18 weeks in 1999.

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Lambeth North, once a terminus. Can anyone see the ‘N’ (for either Kennington or Westminster)

Its back to the Bakerloo for sixth place. Lambeth North station (as Kennington Road and which was renamed Westminster Bridge Road) had 21 weeks and one day as a termini before services were extended to the Elephant. At the other end of the line was Baker Street, another short lived terminus and that’s in seventh place. The list below completes the tally.

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From terminus to cess pit? Despite Lambeth North winning awards for its frontage, the station itself is a filthy hell hole. Does TfL even care?

London had 25 deep level tube stations that were originally termini. Temporary termini such as Piccadilly Circus being the Bakerloo’s terminus from November 1996 to July 1997 or Seven Sisters doubling as a terminus for four weeks in 2016 are not counted as per the rules.

Full list of underground termini in year/month of opening and on becoming through stations.

Stockwell CSLR (1890-1907)

Shepherd’s Bush (1900-1908)

Bank (1900-1912)

Moorgate (1900-1901)

Angel (1901-1907)

Finsbury Park – GNR/City (1904-1964)

Lambeth North – as Kennington Road/Westminster Bridge Road (March – August 1906)

Baker Street (1906-1907)

Finsbury Park – Piccadilly (1906-1932)

Marylebone – as Great Central (March-June 1907)

Edgware Road (1907-1913)

Charing Cross (1907-1914)

Clapham Common (1907 – 1924)

Euston – City branch (1907-1924)

Archway – as Highgate (1907-1939)

Liverpool Street (1912-1946)

Paddington (1913-1915)

Kilburn Park (Jan-Feb 1915)

Warren Street (December 1968 – March 1969)

Victoria (1969- 1971)

Hatton Cross (1975-1977)

Heathrow Terminals (1) 2 & 3 – as Heathrow Central (1977-1984)

North Greenwich (14 May – 17 Sept 1999)

Bermondsey (17 Sept – 24 Sept 1999)

Waterloo (24 Sept – 20 Oct 1999)

NOTE: Highbury & Islington (September – December 1968) was a terminus on the Victoria Line, but had previously been a through station on the older Great Northern & City Line, so doesn’t really count.

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