Limehouse station

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This article is about the current Limehouse station. For the former station of the same name, see Limehouse railway station (1840-1926).
Limehouse Docklands Light Railway National Rail
Limehouse station MMB 14 DLR 57.jpg
The Docklands Light Railway platforms at Limehouse, 2013
Limehouse is located in Greater London
Location of Limehouse in Greater London
Location Limehouse
Local authority London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Managed by c2c
Docklands Light Railway
Owner Network Rail
Docklands Light Railway
Station code LHS
Number of platforms 4
Accessible Yes
Fare zone 2
DLR annual boardings and alightings
2007–08 5.768 million[1]
2008–09 6.151 million[1]
2010–11 6.314 million[2]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2006–07 2.990 million[3]
2007–08 Decrease 2.480 million[3]
2008–09 Increase 2.695 million[3]
2009–10 Increase 2.571 million[3]
2010–11 Increase 3.139 million[3]
2011–12 Increase 3.358 million[3]
2012–13 Decrease 3.248 million[3]
Railway companies
Original company Commercial Railway
Pre-grouping Great Eastern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
Key dates
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
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
London Transport portal
UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°30′45″N 0°02′23″W / 51.5124°N 0.0397°W / 51.5124; -0.0397

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,[4] located in the parish of Stepney within the hamlet of Ratcliff. It was named Stepney, lying between Shadwell and a separate station called Limehouse,[4] 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.[5]

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.[4] The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LTSR) was opened in 1854 and it eventually became the sole railway using the Bow platforms.

Twenty people were injured in a minor collision at the station on 22 November 1861. A Board of Trade report found a signaller's error the primary cause of the incident.[6]

The LTSR became part of the Midland Railway in 1912. On 1 January 1923 the Midland Railway became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) which took over operation of Stepney station.[7]

The station was renamed Stepney East on 1 July 1923.[4] 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[4] 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.[7] 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.[8]

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;[4] the station had been renamed Limehouse on 11 May that year.[9] The DLR platforms were extended in 1991 to accommodate the DLR's new longer two-carriage trains.

A DLR train arrives at Limehouse, 2002

In April 1996 Railtrack became responsible for the maintenance of the infrastructure at Limehouse station. Railtrack was succeeded by Network Rail in 2002.

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.[10] Prism was bought out by National Express who named the franchise c2c in 2003 and continue to operate the station.[11]

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.[12]


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.

Inside Limehouse station

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:

The typical off-peak service frequency for the DLR is:


London Buses routes 15; 115; 135; D3 and night routes N15; N550 and N551 serve the station.



  1. ^ a b "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. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation.  Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Subterranea Britannica - Stepney East". 
  5. ^ Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's Own Railway. Colchester: Connor and Butler. pp. 19, 20. ISBN 0 947699 08 2. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Borley, Harold Vernon (1993). The memoirs and writings of a London Railwayman. Mold: Railway & Canal Historical Society. p. 61. ISBN 0901461164. 
  8. ^ Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's Own Railway. Colchester: Connor and Butler. p. 117. ISBN 0 947699 08 2. 
  9. ^ "Docklands Light Railway". Clive's UndergrounD Line Guides. 
  10. ^ Grimond, Magnus (30 May 1996). "Soaring Prism renews rail sale attack". The Independent (London). 
  11. ^ "c2c history". National Express. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Docklands Light Railway - Limehouse Station Improvements". Dockland Light Railway. Retrieved 24 June 2009. 

External links[edit]

Preceding station   DLR no-text roundel.svg DLR   Following station
towards Bank or Tower Gateway
Docklands Light Railway
National Rail National Rail
London Fenchurch Street   c2c
London, Tilbury & Southend Line
  West Ham