The Docklands Light Railway platforms at Limehouse, 2013
Location of Limehouse in Greater London
|Local authority||London Borough of Tower Hamlets|
Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway
|Number of platforms||4|
|DLR annual boardings and alightings|
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|Original company||Commercial Railway|
|Pre-grouping||Great Eastern Railway|
|Post-grouping||London and North Eastern Railway|
|1840||Opened as Stepney by LBR|
|1850||LBER platforms opened[note 1]|
|1923||Renamed Stepney East|
|1926||LBR platforms closed|
|11 May 1987||Renamed Limehouse|
|31 July 1987||DLR platforms opened|
|Lists of stations|
|London Transport portal
UK Railways portalCoordinates:
Limehouse is a National Rail and connected Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station in Limehouse, east London. It is served by mainline services operated by c2c to and from Fenchurch Street, and by the DLR to and from Tower Gateway and Bank. On the main line, Limehouse is located between Fenchurch Street and West Ham, and on the DLR it is between Shadwell and Westferry.
The station was opened by the Commercial Railway (later the London and Blackwall Railway) in 1840 with the name Stepney. At that time, the Commercial Railway had a separate station named Limehouse one stop along the line. Stepney was renamed Stepney East in 1923, and in 1926 the other Limehouse station was closed. Stepney East adopted the current Limehouse name in 1987, just before the DLR opened.
The station was opened on 6 July 1840 by the Commercial Railway, located in the parish of Stepney within the hamlet of Ratcliff. It was named Stepney, lying between Shadwell and a separate station called Limehouse, located within the Limehouse parish. The initial train service operated between a temporary terminus at Minories and Blackwall until 2 August 1841 when Fenchurch Street opened; the Commercial Railway was then renamed the London and Blackwall Railway (LBR). The service was a rope-powered operation and it was not until 15 February 1849 that steam operation commenced.
On 28 September 1850 an extension was opened from Stepney to Bow, to join the LBR with the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR), with a second set of platforms (the present-day platforms 1 and 2) constructed to serve that line. The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LTSR) was opened in 1854 and it eventually became the sole railway using the Bow platforms.
The station was renamed Stepney East on 1 July 1923. The LBR platforms were closed on 3 May 1926 as passenger services were withdrawn, leaving the LTSR as the only railway company regularly serving the station. The LBR platforms were demolished in circa 1936 and the line gradually fell into disuse.
There was also a rail link on a curved viaduct to the east of the station known as the Limehouse Curve. This had opened on 5 April 1880 and was generally used for goods trains heading towards London's docks. There was a short-lived passenger train service between Blackwall and Palace Gates (via Stratford, Tottenham South and Seven Sisters) which operated from 1 September 1880 until 1 March 1881. Some special excursion trains also used the curve about this time running from Blackwall to Southend and Southminster on summer Sundays in 1890 and 1891. Following nationalisation of Britain's railways in 1948, Stepney East transferred to the British Railways Midland Region, although on 20 February 1949 the station and line were transferred to the British Railways Eastern Region. (Despite these organisational changes, the old LTSR still was a distinctive system.)
The line was electrified in 1961-62 with full electric services commencing on 17 June 1962. The Limehouse Curve was last used on 5 November 1962 and on 10 May 1963 it was officially abandoned.
Between 1982 and 1992 the station was operated by Network South East, one of British Rail's three passenger business sectors, before being handed over to a business unit in preparation for privatisation.
On 31 July 1987 the Docklands Light Railway, which operated over the old LBR line, commenced operations, with new platforms (platforms 3 and 4) built on the site of the old LBR platforms; the station had been renamed Limehouse on 11 May that year. The DLR platforms were extended in 1991 to accommodate the DLR's new longer two-carriage trains.
In May 1996 the franchise for the London, Tilbury and Shoeburyness line was awarded to Prism Rail by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising for a 15-year period with an average annual subsidy of £18.4 million. It began operating as LTS Rail on 26 May 1996. Prism was bought out by National Express who named the franchise c2c in 2003 and continue to operate the station.
Since the opening of the DLR, Limehouse has become a well-used interchange for Essex and east London commuters who work in the Canary Wharf area, but the two viaducts remained separate, resulting in an awkward interchange between the DLR platforms and the National Rail platforms, as passengers had to pass down and then up flights of stairs. To remedy this, at least in part, a bridge was built to connect the westbound (London-bound) mainline platform with the adjacent eastbound (Canary Wharf-bound) DLR platform. It was originally due for completion by the end of 2008, but was finally opened in November 2009. At the same time as the bridge was being built, other improvements were made, including readying the station for three-carriage operations on the DLR and the construction of an additional eastern entrance, with lifts and stairways for platform access.
Limehouse station is elevated on a pair of diverging viaducts, each carrying a pair of platforms – one pair for National Rail trains and one for the Docklands Light Railway. The National Rail platforms have one entrance accessed via a stairwell at the western end, while the DLR platforms have entrances at both the western and eastern ends, each equipped with stairwells and lifts. The westbound mainline platform is connected to the eastbound DLR platform by a walkway bridge.
The station holds Secure Stations Scheme accreditation, and bicycle racks are provided underneath the DLR platforms by the western entrance. The ticket office is located within the station building under the mainline platforms, and is managed by c2c; tickets can be retailed for National Rail services, the DLR and on Oyster card. Additional automatic ticket machines for DLR and Oyster cards are located under the DLR platforms at the foot of the stairways. There are automatic ticket barriers to the National Rail platforms, but not the DLR, meaning the bridge between the two sets of platforms has its own set of barriers.
Limehouse is situated in London fare zone 2.
The typical off-peak frequency of National Rail services is:
- 6 trains per hour to Fenchurch Street.
- 2 tph to Shoeburyness via Basildon.
- 2 tph to Grays via Rainham
- 2 tph to Southend Central via Ockendon.
The typical off-peak service frequency for the DLR is:
- "Boarders and Alighters by station 2007 8 2008 9 (DLR)" (XLS). Docklands Light Railway annual passenger performance 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Transport for London. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "DLR Station Data for 1st April 2010 - 31st April 2011" (PDF). Docklands Light Railway annual passenger performance 2010-2011. Transport for London. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
- "Subterranea Britannica - Stepney East".
- Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's Own Railway. Colchester: Connor and Butler. pp. 19, 20. ISBN 0 947699 08 2.
- Borley, Harold Vernon (1993). The memoirs and writings of a London Railwayman. Mold: Railway & Canal Historical Society. p. 61. ISBN 0901461164.
- Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's Own Railway. Colchester: Connor and Butler. p. 117. ISBN 0 947699 08 2.
- "Docklands Light Railway". Clive's UndergrounD Line Guides.
- Grimond, Magnus (30 May 1996). "Soaring Prism renews rail sale attack". The Independent (London).
- "c2c history". National Express. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
- "Docklands Light Railway - Limehouse Station Improvements". Dockland Light Railway. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Limehouse station.|
- Limehouse on the DLR website
- Limehouse on the c2c website
- National Rail website - Limehouse on the National Rail website
- More photographs of the DLR station
|Preceding station||DLR||Following station|
|Docklands Light Railway|
|London Fenchurch Street||c2c
London, Tilbury & Southend Line