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London Paddington

London Paddington
Trains in the Victorian trainshed.
Location of Paddington in Central London
Location Paddington
Local authority City of Westminster
Managed by Network Rail
Station code PAD
Number of platforms 14
Fare zone 1
OSI Marylebone (National Rail) [2]
Lancaster Gate (Underground)

National Rail annual entry and exit
2007–08 Decrease 26.521 million[3]
2008–09 Increase 32.697 million[3]
2009–10 Decrease 29.104 million[3]
2010–11 Increase 32.200 million[3]
2011-12 Increase 33.737 million[3]

4 June 1838 Temporary station opened
29 May 1854 Permanent station opened

Lists of stations
External links
  • Departures
  • Layout
  • Facilities
  • Buses
  • London Transport portal
    UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°31′02″N 0°10′39″W / 51.5173°N 0.1774°W / 51.5173; -0.1774

    Paddington station,[4] also known as London Paddington,[5] is a central London railway terminus and London Underground station complex.

    The site is historic, having served as the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the current mainline station dates from 1854 and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The site was first served by Underground trains in 1863, as the original western terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway.

    The complex has since been modernised and now has an additional role as the London terminus for the dedicated Heathrow Express airport service. Paddington is in fare zone 1.

    The station is the terminus for services from Reading, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Oxford, Newbury, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance, Cheltenham, Worcester and Hereford, as well as for various inner- and outer-suburban services.


    The station complex is bounded at the front by Praed Street and at the rear by Bishop's Bridge Road, which crosses the throat of the mainline station on the recently replaced Bishop's Bridge. On the west side of the station is Eastbourne Terrace, while the east side is bounded by the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal. The mainline station stands in a shallow cutting, a fact obscured at the front by a hotel building, but which can be clearly seen from the other three sides.[6]

    The surrounding area is partly residential, and also includes the major St Mary's Hospital, as well as restaurants and hotels.[6][7]

    Until recently there was little office accommodation in the area, and most commuters interchanged between National Rail and the London Underground to reach workplaces in the West End or the City. However, recent redevelopment of derelict railway and canal land, marketed as Paddington Waterside, has resulted in a number of new office complexes nearby.[6][7]

    In addition to the Underground stations at Paddington itself, a short walk away is Lancaster Gate tube station on the Central line (see map).

    National Rail station

    The National Rail station is officially named London Paddington, a name commonly used outside London, but rarely by Londoners, who call it just Paddington, as on the London Underground map. Parts of the station, including the main train shed, date from 1854, when it was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as the London terminus for the Great Western Railway (GWR). Today, it is one of 17 railway stations managed by Network Rail.[7][8]


    The first station to open in the Paddington area was a temporary terminus for the GWR on the west side of Bishop's Bridge Road; it opened on 4 June 1838,[9] The first GWR service from London to Taplow, near Maidenhead, began at Paddington in 1838. After the opening of the main station in 1854, this became the site of the goods depot.

    The main Paddington station between Bishops Bridge Road and Praed Street was designed by Brunel, who was later commemorated by a statue on the station concourse (it has since been moved to Platform 1, by the exit to the former taxi rank), although much of the architectural detailing was by his associate Matthew Digby Wyatt. The station opened on 29 May 1854.[9] The glazed roof is supported by wrought iron arches in three spans, respectively spanning 68 feet (21 m), 102 feet (31 m) and 70 feet (21 m). The roof is 699 feet (210 m) long, and the original roof spans had two transepts connecting the three spans. It is commonly believed that these were provided by Brunel to accommodate traversers to carry coaches between the tracks within the station. However recent research, using early documents and photographs, does not seem to support this belief, and their actual purpose is unknown.[7]

    The Great Western Hotel was built on Praed Street in front of the station in 1851-1854 by architect Philip Charles Hardwick, son of Philip Hardwick (designer of the Euston Arch). The station was substantially enlarged in 1906-1915 and a fourth span of 109 feet (33 m) was added on the north side, parallel to the others. The new span was built in a similar style to the original three spans, but the detailing is different and it does not possess the transepts of the earlier spans.[7][10]

    On Armistice Day 1922, a memorial to the employees of the GWR who died during the First World War was unveiled by Viscount Churchill. The bronze memorial, depicting a soldier reading a letter, was sculpted by Charles Sargeant Jagger and stands on platform 1.[10][11]

    In 1961, the decomposing body of a male child was found in a case at the station. Paper stuffed into his mouth was the cause of death. His identity has never been discovered.[12]

    A very early construction by Brunel was recently discovered immediately to the north of the station. A cast-iron bridge carrying the Bishop's Bridge Road over the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal was uncovered after removal of more recent brick cladding during the complete replacement of the adjacent bridge over the railway lines at the mouth of the station.[7]

    The band Supertramp recorded the train sounds featured in the song "Rudy" (from the 1974 album Crime of the Century) in the station.[13]


    Today, Paddington has 14 terminal platforms, numbered 1 to 14 from south-west to north-east (left to right as seen from the main concourse). Platforms 1 to 8 are below the original three spans of Brunel's 1854 train shed, and platforms 9 to 12 are beneath the later fourth span. Platforms 13 and 14 are within the Metropolitan Railway's old Bishop's Road (Suburban) station to the north-west. Immediately alongside are two through platforms, numbered 15 and 16, used by the London Underground's Hammersmith & City and Circle lines (see below).[14]

    Platforms 6 and 7 are dedicated to the Heathrow Express, and platforms 13 and 14 can be used only by the 2- and 3-car Turbo trains used on local services. Platforms 1 to 5 and 8 to 12 can be used by any of the station's train services; however, long-distance trains generally use the south-western platforms, and local trains (including Heathrow Connect) the north-eastern ones.

    The station concourse stretches across the head of platforms 1 to 12, underneath the London end of the four main train sheds. Platforms 13 and 14 can only be reached indirectly via the northern-western end of platform 12, or from the footbridge which crosses the north-western end of the station and gives access to all platforms.[14]

    The area between the rear of the Great Western Hotel and the station concourse is traditionally called The Lawn. It was originally unroofed and occupied by sidings, but was later built up to form part of the station's first pedestrian concourse. The Lawn has recently been re-roofed and separated from the concourse by a glass screen wall. It is now surrounded by shops and cafés on several levels.[7][10]

    There are ticket barriers to platforms 2-5 and 10-16.[15]

    The fourth span has been renovated, involving repair and restoration of the original Edwardian glazed roof, so that platforms 9 to 12 inclusive can once more enjoy daylight.[16] A false ceiling or crash deck had been in place since 1996. Work was finally completed and the restored roof unveiled in July 2011. Network Rail originally planned to demolish Span 4 and build an office block over that part of the station; Save Britain's Heritage successfully campaigned against this.[17]

    A first-class lounge is situated on Platform 1, open Monday to Friday 05:30 to 00:00 and Sunday 16:00 to 00:00. The lounge includes complimentary refreshments and Wi-Fi internet access. Screens show television news and a departure board.[18]

    Heathrow Express has provided flight information display screens and self-check-in facilities for airline passengers. These are at the Heathrow Express ticket office near the dedicated Heathrow Express platforms 6 and 7.[19] Baggage check-in facilities for airline passengers were provided in 1999 in the Lawn but progressively closed. They have been replaced by retail units.[20]

    Trainshed at Paddington


    Paddington is the London terminus for frequent long-distance high-speed trains operated by First Great Western. The most important destinations for such trains are shown in the table:[21]

    Flows on long-distance high-speed trains to or from Paddington
    Journeys in 2007/08 (million)
    Reading 4.0
    Didcot Parkway 1.1
    Swindon 1.0
    Bristol Temple Meads 0.9
    Bath Spa 0.8
    Cardiff Central 0.7
    Bristol Parkway 0.6
    Newbury 0.6
    Exeter St David's 0.4
    Chippenham 0.4

    Other important long-distance destinations from Paddington are Taunton, Plymouth and Penzance in the West Country; Hereford and Worcester in the West Midlands; and Newport and Swansea in South Wales.

    The current operator, First Great Western, assigns numbers to the pocket timetables it publishes, and its services to Bath, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare and South Wales are in timetable number 1.[22]

    An integrated timetable is offered between Paddington and Rosslare Europort in Ireland via the Stena Line ferry from Fishguard Harbour railway station with through ticketing to stations in Ireland available [23] with a daily morning and evening service in both directions, changing at for example Newport, Cardiff or Swansea. This route has been in existence since 1906.

    Paddington is also the terminus for suburban trains to West London and the Thames Valley, also operated by First Great Western. The most important destinations for local trains are as shown in the table:[24]

    Suburban flows to or from Paddington
    Journeys in 2007/08 (million)
    Slough 2.0
    Maidenhead 1.6
    Oxford 1.5
    Ealing Broadway 1.0
    Hayes and Harlington 1.0
    Newbury 0.6
    West Drayton 0.6
    West Ealing 0.6
    Twyford 0.5
    Windsor & Eton 0.4

    Note: These figures exclude Heathrow Express and some TfL Travelcard data

    In 2010 Network Rail published a map showing the range and importance of all destinations served from Paddington, using 2006/07 data.[25]

    Two services from Paddington serve Heathrow Airport: the Heathrow Express travels non-stop at a premium fare, while Heathrow Connect takes the same route but calls at most intermediate stations.[26][27]

    Paddington is also an alternative London terminal for Chiltern Railways' service to Birmingham, used when London Marylebone is inaccessible for engineering or other reasons, and for one daily service (departs 11:36), towards West Ruislip, calling at South Ruislip.

    Preceding station National Rail Following station
    Terminus   First Great Western
    Greenford Branch Line
    Monday-Saturday Only
      Acton Main Line
    Terminus   First Great Western
    Great Western Main Line
    Terminus   First Great Western
    Night Riviera
    Terminus   First Great Western
    Commuter services
    Great Western Main Line
      Acton Main Line
    Ealing Broadway
    on Sundays
    Terminus style="background:#; border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Heathrow Express
    Paddington - Heathrow
    style="background:#;border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Heathrow Central
    Terminus style="background:#; border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Heathrow Connect
    Paddington - Heathrow
    style="background:#;border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Ealing Broadway
    Terminus   Chiltern Railways
    London Paddington - West Ruislip
    Monday-Friday Only
      South Ruislip

    London Underground stations

    Entrance on Praed Street
    Location Paddington
    Local authority City of Westminster
    Managed by London Underground
    Number of platforms 6
    Fare zone 1
    OSI Marylebone NR [2]
    Lancaster Gate

    London Underground annual entry and exit
    2009 Increase 42.02 million[28]
    2010 Increase 44.00 million[29]
    2011 Increase 46.48 million[30]
    2012 Decrease 46.33 million[30]

    1863 Opened (MR, as terminus)
    1864 Extension (MR, to Hammersmith)
    1868 Opened (MR, to Gloucester Rd)
    1913 Opened (Bakerloo, as terminus)
    1915 Extension (Bakerloo line)
    1926 Started (District line)
    1949 Started (Circle line)
    1990 Started (Hammersmith & City)
    2009 Extension (Circle line to Hammersmith)

    Lists of stations
    London Transport portal

    Paddington station is served by four London Underground lines through two separate stations: the Bakerloo, Circle and District lines serve a combined sub-surface and deep-level station to the south of the main line station, and the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines serve a sub-surface station to the north. Circle line services are routed through each of the sub-surface stations as part of a spiral route. Although shown on the London Underground map as a single station,[31] the two sub-surface parts are not directly linked.

    Although Paddington is not served by the Central Line, the short walk to Lancaster Gate tube station is taken by many commuters heading for the West End or the City, as it can be quicker than alternative routes.


    The first underground railway station at Paddington was opened as Paddington (Bishop's Road) by the Metropolitan Railway (MR) on 10 January 1863 as the terminus of the company's route from Farringdon. The station was to the north of the main line station and, from 13 June 1864, MR services were extended westward via a connection to the GWR's Hammersmith branch, now the Hammersmith & City line.[32]

    On 1 October 1868, the MR opened a branch to Gloucester Road, with a station called Paddington (Praed Street) in a cut-and-cover tunnel parallel to that street south of the mainline station. The deep-level Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (now the Bakerloo line) station opened on 1 December 1913 as a temporary terminus of an extension from Edgware Road to Queen's Park.[32]

    Services around the circuit of the Circle line were originally shared by the MR and the Metropolitan District Railway and were separately identified specifically as the Circle line in 1949. Hammersmith & City line services were originally operated as part of the MR (later the Metropolitan line) and were separately identified as the Hammersmith & City line in 1990.[32]

    From December 2009, the Circle Line service was altered so that trains now run in a spiral from Hammersmith via Ladbroke Grove to the former Bishops Road platforms at Paddington, then on to Edgware Road, Kings Cross, Tower Hill, Victoria, High Street Kensington and back to Edgware Road via the former Praed Street platforms at Paddington.[33] This means that eastbound trains from the District and Circle Line platforms all now terminate at Edgware Road, the next station. Passengers for stations beyond Edgware Road either have to change there, or use services from the Hammersmith & City Line platforms. The changes mean that all trains from Paddington towards Kings Cross now leave from the same platform, instead of being split between two platforms that were some distance apart.

    The platforms of the Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines (the former Bishop's Road) station are still quite separate from the other Underground platforms; they are numbered (15 and 16) in the same sequence as the mainline platforms. Interchange between either Bakerloo, District and Circle Line platforms and the Hammersmith & City and Circle Line platforms involves walking the length of the mainline station outside the London Underground barrier lines, although the ticket barriers are programmed to permit changing between the two stations as part of a single journey.


    Hammersmith & City line trains run between Hammersmith and Barking stations via Paddington (Suburban), i.e. platforms 15 and 16 of the main station. Circle line trains share tracks with the Hammersmith & City Line from Hammersmith to Liverpool Street, then around a clockwise loop via Aldgate and Victoria, arriving back at Paddington (Praed Street), before terminating at Edgware Road. District Line services run between Wimbledon and Edgware Road, and Bakerloo Line trains run between Elephant & Castle and Harrow & Wealdstone stations.[31]

        Paddington (Praed Street)    
    Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
    Bakerloo line
    towards Hammersmith (via Tower Hill)
    Circle line
    Subsurface station
    towards Wimbledon
    District line
        Paddington (Suburban)    
    Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
    towards Hammersmith
    Circle line
    towards Edgware Road (via Aldgate)
    Hammersmith & City line
    towards Barking

    Crossrail station

    A new Crossrail station is being built under Eastbourne Terrace, the road running alongside the south-west side of the mainline station, and also under the adjacent taxi rank in the Departures Road (so called because it served what was originally the departures side of the station). Eastbourne Terrace was closed for this purpose for about 2 years from 12 February 2012. A new permanent taxi rank has been provided on the other side of the station, above Platform 12. Crossrail services are due to start in 2018.[34] The new station box will be 23 metres deep and 260 metres long.[35]

    Future Development
    Preceding station   Crossrail   Following station
    Line 1
    towards Abbey Wood or Shenfield

    Paddington station in fiction

    The children's book character Paddington Bear was named after the station. In the books, by Michael Bond, he is found at the station, having come from "deepest, darkest Peru" and with a note attached to his coat reading "please look after this bear, thank you". A statue of Paddington Bear by Marcus Cornish, based on the original drawings by Peggy Fortnum, is located on the station concourse, and a small shop stocks Paddington Bear paraphernalia in the main station area.[10][36]

    The mystery novel 4.50 From Paddington (1952) by Agatha Christie begins with a murder witnessed by a passenger on a train from Paddington station.[37]

    One of The Railway Series books (The Eight Famous Engines) contains a story about Gordon, Duck and a foreign engine debating which station London is. Duck says that he used to work at London Paddington as a station pilot so he thinks Paddington is most important. However, Gordon later finds out that the station in London is St. Pancras.

    There is an underground Paddington Station, separate from the real one, on the North London System in the novel The Horn of Mortal Danger (1980).[38]

    In the Sherlock episode, "The Hounds of Baskerville", Sherlock Holmes and John Watson go to Paddington Station in order to get to Dartmoor for a case.

    Transport links

    London bus routes 7, 23, 27, 36, 46, 159, 205, 332, 436 and Night route N7.



    External links

    • Network Rail
    • National Rail (Station code: PAD)

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