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Whitechapel station

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Title: Whitechapel station  
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Subject: East London Line, Aldgate East tube station, Shadwell railway station, New Cross Gate railway station, Stepney Green tube station
Collection: Buildings and Structures in Whitechapel, District Line Stations, Former East London Railway Stations, Former Metropolitan District Railway Stations, Hammersmith & City Line Stations, Railway Stations Closed in 1902, Railway Stations in Tower Hamlets, Railway Stations Opened in 1876, Railway Stations Opened in 1884, Railway Stations Opened in 1902, Railway Stations Served by Crossrail, Railway Stations Served by London Overground, Railway Stations with Vitreous Enamel Panels, Tube Stations in Tower Hamlets
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Whitechapel station

Entrance on Whitechapel Road
Whitechapel is located in Greater London
Location of Whitechapel in Greater London
Location Whitechapel
Local authority London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Managed by London Underground
Owner Transport for London
Station code ZWL
Number of platforms 4
Fare zone 2
London Underground annual entry and exit
2011 12.62 million[1]
2012 13.04 million[1]
2013 14.45 million[1]
2014 12.89 million[1]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2010–11  2.073 million[2]
2011–12 3.644 million[2]
2012–13 4.450 million[2]
Key dates
1876 Opening of ELR station
1884 Opening of DR station
1902 Rebuilding of DR station
1995–1998 East London Line closed
2007–2010 East London Line closed
27 April 2010[3] East London Line reopens
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
  • Departures
  • Layout
  • Facilities
  • Buses
London Transport portal
UK Railways portal

Whitechapel is a London Underground and London Overground station on Whitechapel Road in the Whitechapel neighbourhood of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in the East End of London, England. The station is located on the east–west tracks shared by the District line and Hammersmith & City line and is on the north–south route of the East London Line. The station was opened in 1876 by the East London Railway on a line connecting Liverpool Street station in the City of London with destinations south of the River Thames. The station site was expanded in 1884, and again in 1902, to accommodate the services of the District Railway, a predecessor of the London Underground.

The London Overground section of the station was closed between 2007 and 27 April 2010 for rebuilding, initially reopening for a preview service on 27 April 2010[4] with the full service starting on 23 May 2010. In the near future, Whitechapel will become a station on the Crossrail route. The station is in Zone 2.

Nearby places of interest include the Royal London Hospital, the Blind Beggar public house, and the former Wickhams department store. There are also many tours in this area focusing on the Jack the Ripper murders.


  • History 1
  • Design 2
    • District and Hammersmith & City line 2.1
    • St Mary's Curve 2.2
    • East London Line 2.3
  • Services 3
    • London Underground 3.1
      • District line 3.1.1
      • Hammersmith & City line 3.1.2
      • Circle Line 3.1.3
    • London Overground 3.2
  • Connections 4
  • Line Improvement 5
  • Future developments 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The station in 1896, as "Whitechapel and Mile End".

Whitechapel station was originally opened in 1876 when the East London Railway (ELR, now the East London Line) was extended north from Wapping to Liverpool Street station. The ELR owned the tracks and stations but did not operate trains. From the beginning various railway companies provided services through Whitechapel including the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR), the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LC&DR) and the South Eastern Railway (SER). Later the Great Eastern Railway (GER) added services.

On 6 October 1884 the District Railway (DR, now the District line) opened a new station adjacent to the deeper ELR station as the terminus of an extension from Mansion House[5] (part of the extension also formed the final section of the Circle line[5][6]). The new station was given the name Whitechapel (Mile End). The ELR passenger service between Whitechapel and Liverpool Street was withdrawn in 1885. The station received its present name on 13 November 1901.

On 1 February 1902 the DR station was temporarily closed for rebuilding. It reopened on 2 June 1902 when the DR opened the Whitechapel & Bow Railway, a joint venture with the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LT&SR).[5] The new extension ran eastwards to Bromley-by-Bow where it joined the LT&SR's tracks.[5] DR services then operated regularly to Upminster and as far as Southend-on-Sea in the summer.[5]

The DR tracks were electrified in 1905 and electric trains replaced steam trains.[5] Services going eastwards were cut back to the limit of electrification at East Ham and later re-extended to Barking in 1908 and Upminster 1932.[5][7] On 3 December 1906 the Metropolitan Railway (MR, now part of the Hammersmith & City line) extended its service to Whitechapel as the eastern terminus of its service.[8]

The MR also ran trains over the southern section of ELR via a connection (the St Mary's curve) between the DR tracks west of Whitechapel and the ELR tracks north of Shadwell station. When, in 1913, the tracks of the ELR were electrified it ended services to the DR station and extended its ELR service through Whitechapel to Shoreditch (then the terminus of the line but now closed) The change of service took place on 31 March 1913.

On 30 March 1936 the Metropolitan line began operating again through the District line station as far as Barking.[8] The Metropolitan line service is now operated as the Hammersmith & City line.[8]

On 25 March 1995 the East London Line was closed to allow repair works on the Thames Tunnel. General renovations and new signalling works were undertaken at the same time. The line reopened south from Whitechapel on 25 March 1998 and north from Whitechapel on 27 September 1998.

Throughout its life Whitechapel has been used extensively as an eastern terminus, however from the timetable change in December 2009 trains reverse at Plaistow instead of Whitechapel. This is due to operational changes related to the construction work to build one large island platform.

In early 2015, due to no Hammersmith and City and Circle lines services between Edgware Road and Aldgate East/Tower Hill, a revised Liverpool Street. This was the first time a regular Circle line service had called at Whitechapel.


The canopies above the station entrances were designed by Weston Williamson.[9] Whitechapel has the odd situation where the District and Hammersmith & City line London Underground platforms are above the East London Line London Overground platforms.

District and Hammersmith & City line

Underground over Overground - an eastbound Underground train departs from Whitechapel in 2012 over the northbound London Overground train.

The station used to have six platforms in open cuttings north of Whitechapel Road. The Hammersmith & City and District lines had two eastbound and two westbound (although trains could have reversed back in the opposite direction from any platform during times of disruption or engineering work). There was a siding alongside the platform 4 track accessed from the east side of the station which could accept either 6 car C or D stock train. The East London line (now part of London Overground) has one northbound and one southbound platform. They are sited at the eastern end of the station and are in a deeper cutting.

In September 2011 the track was permanently removed from platforms 2, 3, and 4. Platform 4 has been extended over the trackbed and westbound trains use the route of the old siding which has been connected to the main line at the western end to provide a through route. This platform is renumbered platform 2. Trailing crossovers are provided at each end of the station. The two island platforms will be combined to form one large island platform with a central circulating area. Escalators will eventually lead down from here to the Crossrail platforms. A new double-ended centre reversing siding has been constructed beyond West Ham to compensate for the loss of reversing facilities from Whitechapel. Since December 2009 Hammersmith & City line trains have not been scheduled to reverse at Whitechapel. Outside peak hours they currently reverse alternately at Plaistow and Barking.

St Mary's Curve

The St Mary's curve connection between the District line track and the East London Line[10] was used for passenger traffic until 1941 but was subsequently only used to transfer empty trains to and from the other sub-surface lines. The curve was often lit and could easily be seen from the left-hand side of East London Line trains entering Whitechapel station from the south, prior to refurbishment of the East London line commencing late December 2007. The points on the District line, connecting it to the curve, were removed in summer 2008. Also just west of Whitechapel is the former St Mary's station, one of the many closed London Underground stations.[10]

East London Line

Vitreous enamel panels designed by Doug Patterson in 1997 have been installed on the East London line (now part of the London Overground) platforms.[11]


All times below are correct as of the December 2014 timetables.

London Underground

District line

This is the typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph). During peak times trains also operate to Wimbledon. During off-peak times, 3 tph from Wimbledon terminate at Barking (as of December 2014).

Hammersmith & City line

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is:

  • 6 tph eastbound to Barking[8][12]
  • 6 tph westbound to Hammersmith via King's Cross St. Pancras and Wood Lane[8][13]

Circle Line

There is no regular service however there are two trains per day that run from Barking to Edgware Road via Victoria before 6 am (as of February 2015).

London Overground

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is:


London Bus routes 25, 106, 205, 254 and D3, and night routes N205 and N253 serve the station.

Line Improvement

In preparation for the extension of the East London Line to Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington, the line north of Whitechapel to Shoreditch was closed on 9 June 2006. Services to Shoreditch had previously been run during peak hours and Sunday mornings only and services were replaced by a bus link.

Work on the extension of the East London Line commenced and the line closed on 22 December 2007 and reopened on 27 April 2010 when tracks on a new alignment were connected to a disused North London Line viaduct from Shoreditch to Dalston and is now part of the London Overground network. Temporary bus services operated during the closure, of which rail replacement route ELW remained in service until the ELL fully opened on 23 May 2010.

Future developments

Crossrail will call at Whitechapel in the near future. Eastbound services will be split into two branches after leaving the station.[15] Preliminary work has begun to create the interchange between Crossrail and the East London Line with subways being constructed. The Crossrail platforms will lie to the north of the existing station, with access being via escalators down from the District and Hammersmith & City line platforms.


  1. ^ a b c d "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data.  
  2. ^ a b c "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics.   Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ BBC London:The new East London Line opens to the public Accessed 27 April 2010
  4. ^ "The new East London Line opens to the public".  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Clive's Underground Line Guides - District line
  6. ^ Clive's Underground Line Guides - Circle line
  7. ^ Rose, Douglas, The London Underground: A diagrammatic history, (1999)
  8. ^ a b c d e Clive's Underground Line Guides - Hammersmith & City line
  9. ^ "London Underground Entrance Canopies". Weston Williamson. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Tube Professionals' Rumour Network - Track Diagram showing layout of station and St. Mary's curve
  11. ^ "Doug Patterson biography". Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Hammersmith & City line timetable: From Whitechapel Underground Station to Stepney Green Underground Station".  
  13. ^ "Hammersmith & City line timetable: From Whitechapel Underground Station to Aldgate East Underground Station".  
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction timetable" (PDF).  
  15. ^ Route Map - Crossrail

External links

  • London Transport Museum Photographic collection
    • Whitechapel station booking hall, 1927
    • East London Line platform, 1955
    • District line platforms, 1957
  • Tube Professionals' Rumour Network - Track Diagram showing layout of station and St. Mary's curve
  • Google Maps - Whitechapel station satellite view
  • London Overground - Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays
  • Whitechapel Station Images and Info
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
District line
towards Upminster
towards Hammersmith
Hammersmith & City line
towards Barking
Preceding station   London Overground   Following station
East London Line
  From 2018  
Preceding station   Crossrail   Following station
Line 1
towards Shenfield
Line 1
towards Abbey Wood
  Former services  
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
District line
towards Upminster
East London line
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