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London Paddington station

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Paddington London Underground National Rail
London Paddington
2012 at Paddington station - Olympic signing.jpg
Praed Street entrance and the Victorian trainshed
Paddington is located in Central London
Location of Paddington in Central London
Location Paddington
Local authority City of Westminster
Managed by Network Rail
Station code PAD
DfT category A
Number of platforms 14
Accessible Yes [1]
Fare zone 1
OSI Marylebone (National Rail) [2]
Lancaster Gate (Underground)
Cycle parking Yes - platforms 8 & 9
Toilet facilities Yes
National Rail annual entry and exit
2008–09 Increase 32.70 million[3]
2009–10 Decrease 29.10 million[3]
2010–11 Increase 32.20 million[3]
2011–12 Increase 33.74 million[3]
2012–13 Increase 34.14 million[3]
2013–14 Increase 35.094 million[3]
Key dates
4 June 1838 Temporary station opened
29 May 1854 Permanent station opened
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
London Transport portal
UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°31′02″N 0°10′39″W / 51.5173°N 0.1774°W / 51.5173; -0.1774

London Paddington station, often shortened to simply Paddington, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground station complex in fare zone 1. The site has been the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the 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 station is the London terminus for First Great Western, which provides the majority of commuter and regional services to west London, the Thames Valley region and long-distance intercity services to South West England and South Wales. Destinations served include Reading, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Oxford, Newbury, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance, Cheltenham, Worcester and Hereford. Paddington is also the London terminus for the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect train services to London Heathrow Airport.

Paddington is one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail.


The station complex is bounded at the front by Praed Street and at the rear by Bishop's Bridge Road, which crosses the station throat 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 station is 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.[4]

The surrounding area is partly residential, and includes the major St Mary's Hospital, restaurants and hotels.[4][5]

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 new office complexes nearby.[4][5]

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

National Rail station[edit]

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). It is one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail.[6]


The first station was a temporary terminus for the GWR on the west side of Bishop's Bridge Road, opened on 4 June 1838.[7] The first GWR service from London to Taplow, near Maidenhead, ran from Paddington in 1838. After the main station opened in 1854, this became the site of the goods depot.

Paddington Station in 1888
London Paddington station
Crossrail Crossrail under construction
Circle LineDistrict Line Circle and District lines
Bakerloo Line Bakerloo line
London Paddington stationNational Rail[8]
Ranelagh Bridge depot closed 1980
Royal Oak London Underground
Royal Oak Portal
Subway Tunnel
Westbourne Park London Underground
Circle LineHammersmith & City Line Circle and Hammersmith & City lines
National Rail Great Western Main Line
Station location map
Paddington Station in Victorian Times

The main station between Bishops Bridge Road and Praed Street was designed by Brunel, who was commemorated by a statue on the concourse (since 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. It opened on 29 May 1854.[7] 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.[5]

The four arches of the station roof, including Span 4 (far left) prior to restoration

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 has no transepts.[5][9]

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.[9][10]

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.[11]

A very early construction by Brunel was 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 brick cladding during the replacement of the adjacent bridge over the railway lines at the mouth of the station.[5]

The band Supertramp recorded the train sounds featured in the song "Rudy" in the 1974 album Crime of the Century in the station.[12]


Paddington has 14 terminal platforms, numbered 1 to 14 from south-west to north-east (left to right as seen from the concourse). Platforms 1 to 8 are below the original three spans of Brunel's train shed, platforms 9 to 12 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 through platforms 15 and 16, used by the London Underground's Hammersmith & City and Circle lines (see below).[13]

Platforms 6 and 7 are dedicated to the Heathrow Express, and platforms 13 and 14 can be used only by local services' Turbo trains up to seven cars long.[14] Platforms 1 to 5 and 8 to 12 can be used by any services, but long-distance trains generally use the south-western platforms, and local trains (including Heathrow Connect) the north-eastern ones.

The concourse at rush hour.

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

The area between the rear of the Great Western Hotel and the 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 concourse. The Lawn has recently been re-roofed and separated from the concourse by a glass screen wall. It is surrounded by shops and cafés on several levels.[5][9]

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 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 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 on Platform 1, open Monday to Friday 05:30 to 24:00 and Sunday 16:00 to 24:00. The lounge includes complimentary refreshments and Wi-Fi internet access. Screens show television news and a departure board.[18]

Heathrow Express provides flight information display screens and self-check-in facilities for airline passengers 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 replaced by retail units.[20]

The platforms inside the trainshed at London Paddington station. Three of the platforms are occupied by First Great Western High Speed Trains, while another two have Heathrow Express units
Trainshed at Paddington


Paddington is the London terminus for long-distance high-speed trains operated by First Great Western. The most common destinations are:[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 long-distance destinations are Taunton, Plymouth, Truro and Penzance in the West Country; Hereford and Worcester in the West Midlands; and Newport, Bridgend 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 [23] and a daily morning and evening service in both directions, changing at Newport, Cardiff or Swansea. This route has been in existence since 1906.

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

Other important short-distance services are Reading and Didcot Parkway. In 2010 Network Rail published a map showing the range and importance of destinations served, using 2006/07 data.[25]

Two services go to 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 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 National Rail Following station
Terminus   First Great Western
Greenford Branch Line
  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
or Ealing Broadway
Terminus   Heathrow Express
Paddington - Heathrow
  Heathrow Central
Terminus   Heathrow Connect
Paddington - Heathrow
  Ealing Broadway
Terminus   Chiltern Railways
London Paddington - West Ruislip
Monday-Friday Only
  South Ruislip

London Underground stations[edit]

Paddington subsurface station building.jpg
Entrance on Praed Street
Location Paddington
Local authority City of Westminster
Managed by London Underground
Number of platforms 6
Accessible Yes (Circle and H&C lines only and Circle and District lines westbound only)[28]
Fare zone 1
OSI Marylebone NR [2]
Lancaster Gate
London Underground annual entry and exit
2010 Increase 44.00 million[29]
2011 Increase 46.48 million[29]
2012 Decrease 46.33 million[29]
2013 Increase 49.71 million[29]
Key dates
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)
Listed status
Listed feature Circle and District line Station
Listing grade II
Entry number 1392020[30]
Added to list 11 August 2003
Other information
Lists of stations
London Transport portal

Paddington is served by four London Underground lines through two separate stations: the Bakerloo, Circle and District lines have a combined sub-surface and deep-level station to the south of the main line station, and the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines have a sub-surface station to the north. Circle line services go through both 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.


Circle and District line platforms

The first underground railway station was opened as Paddington (Bishop's Road) by the Metropolitan Railway (MR) on 10 January 1863 as the terminus of the line 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 on what became the Circle line in 1949 were originally shared by the MR and the District Railway. 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 was altered so that trains run in a spiral from Hammersmith via Ladbroke Grove to the 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 Praed Street platforms at Paddington.[33] This means that eastbound trains from the District and Circle line platforms all 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. All trains towards King's Cross now leave from the same platform, instead of being split between two platforms some distance apart.

The platforms of the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines (Bishop's Road) station are still separate from the other Underground platforms; they are numbered (15 and 16) in the same sequence as the mainline platforms. Interchange between the Bakerloo, District and Circle line platforms and the Hammersmith & City and Circle line platforms involves walking the length of the mainline station outside the 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 via Paddington (Suburban) platforms 15 and 16. 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[edit]

A Crossrail station is being built under Eastbourne Terrace, the road 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 about two years from 12 February 2012. A new taxi rank is 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 roundel.svg National Rail logo.svg Crossrail   Following station
Line 1
towards Abbey Wood or Shenfield

Paddington station in fiction[edit]

Statue of Paddington Bear

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 him by Marcus Cornish, based on the original drawings by Peggy Fortnum, is located under the clock on platform 1.

The mystery novel 4.50 From Paddington (1952) by Agatha Christie begins with a murder witnessed by a passenger on a train from Paddington.[36]

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 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 a fictional underground Paddington station on the North London System in the novel The Horn of Mortal Danger (1980).[37]

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


London Buses routes 7; 23; 27; 36; 46; 205; 332; 436 and night route N7 and N205 serve the station.



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  15. ^ "Paddington getting ticket gates". London Connections blog. 7 April 2008. 
  16. ^ "Let there be light". RailNews (Stevenage). Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
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  18. ^ "First Class". First Great Western. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
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  20. ^ Sharp, Andrew W. (5 November 2004). "Processing of airline passengers and their baggage at off-airport bus, water and rail terminals – successful intermodal terminals". International Air Rail Organisation. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
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  36. ^ Christie, Agatha (1957). 4.50 From Paddington. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-720854-8. 
  37. ^ Leonard, Lawrence (1980). The Horn of Mortal Danger. Cox and Wyman. ISBN 0-7445-0847-9. 

External links[edit]