Jump to content

Old Street station

Coordinates: 51°31′33″N 0°05′14″W / 51.52581°N 0.08709°W / 51.52581; -0.08709
This is a good article. Click here for more information.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Old Street National Rail London Underground
View of the station from the southeast
Old Street is located in Central London
Old Street
Old Street
Location of Old Street in Central London
LocationSt Luke's
Local authorityIslington
Managed byLondon Underground
Station codeOLD
DfT categoryE
Number of platforms4
Fare zone1
London Underground annual entry and exit
2018Decrease 24.65 million[1]
2019Increase 27.11 million[2]
2020Decrease 6.68 million[3]
2021Increase 9.64 million[4]
2022Increase 16.18 million[5]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2018–19Increase 7.120 million[6]
2019–20Decrease 6.768 million[6]
2020–21Decrease 2.231 million[6]
2021–22Increase 3.673 million[6]
2022–23Increase 5.437 million[6]
Key dates
17 November 1901Opened (C&SLR)
14 February 1904Started (GN&CR)
Other information
External links
Coordinates51°31′33″N 0°05′14″W / 51.52581°N 0.08709°W / 51.52581; -0.08709
London transport portal

Old Street is an interchange station at the junction of Old Street and City Road in Central London for London Underground and National Rail services.

The station is on the Bank branch of the Northern line between Angel and Moorgate stations and on the Northern City Line between Moorgate and Essex Road stations. The station is in the London Borough of Islington (straddling the Hackney border). It is in Travelcard Zone 1.

The station was built by the City and South London Railway and opened in 1901. It was rebuilt by Stanley Heaps in 1925 with a more uniform frontage, and again in 1968, replacing all surface buildings with a subsurface complex. In 2014, it was redeveloped to provide more retail space. Old Street station has become busier, attracting over 20 million visitors in 2014; a trend expected to continue following redevelopment of the local area as a centre for the British Information Technology industry.


Old Street station is in the London Borough of Islington, close to the boundary with the London Borough of Hackney to the north-east. It is in the centre of, and underneath the Old Street Roundabout, a major intersection on the London Inner Ring Road which is partly in Islington's Bunhill ward and partly in Hackney's Hoxton ward.[7][8]

There is no street-level station building. Access to the platform is provided by ramps and stairs to a modern entrance adjacent to a sub-surface shopping parade, known as St Agnes Well.[7] Expanding its catchment, on the Northern line between Old Street and Angel is a disused station named City Road.[9][n 1]

The station is on the National Rail network's Northern City Line, 45 chains (900 m) down-line from Moorgate served by Great Northern trains.[11] Although a through-station on this route, for ticketing purposes Old Street is considered a central London terminus.[12] On the Underground, it is on the Bank (eastern) branch of the Northern line, between Moorgate and Angel, in Travelcard Zone 1.[13]


City and South London Railway[edit]

Old Street station in the 1920s, before redevelopment and construction of the Old Street Roundabout

The station was opened on 17 November 1901 as an extension of the City and South London Railway (C&SLR), the first deep-level tube railway in London that connected the City of London with Southwark. It was part of an extension from Moorgate to Angel, along with the station at City Road.[14][15][n 2] The area around the station was originally a mix of light industry, commerce and warehouses.[18]

The Northern City Line platforms were opened on 14 February 1904 by the Great Northern & City Railway, which built its tunnels to a 16-foot (4.9 m) diameter capable of accommodating main-line trains as it was intended to carry such services from its northern terminus at the Great Northern Railway's Finsbury Park station to Moorgate.[19][n 3] Before Moorgate was expanded in 1938 to include in-station escalators between platforms, Old Street was used as the main interchange between the C&SLR and the Northern City lines.[21] The Finsbury Park connection eventually opened in November 1976, with the line becoming a British Rail route, with through services to Hertford and Welwyn Garden City.[22]

The C&SLR was built with smaller tunnels than the later tube lines and needed to be enlarged to enable them to accommodate standard stock trains. The section between Euston and Moorgate closed on 8 August 1922 and reopened on 20 April 1924.[23] The surface building was rebuilt in 1925 when escalators replaced the lift shaft to access the platform tunnels.[24] The station frontage was redesigned by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's architect Stanley Heaps with consultant architect Charles Holden. Holden had been recommended by managing director Frank Pick to make uniform facades for several station entrances. He designed the stations for the C&SLR's extension to Morden which was being built.[25]

Old Street was used as a bomb shelter during World War II; the nearby City Road station (which had closed in 1922) was temporarily re-opened to use as a shelter.[26]


A group of shops in the Old Street station complex

In 1968, the station was again modified; the surface building was replaced with a sub-surface structure in the centre of the roundabout and another escalator shaft was added.[7] During the 1990s corrosion caused by excessive soil acidity required a section of the cast iron running tunnel lining in the Northern line, south of Old Street, to be relined with stainless steel tunnel segments.[27][28]

In the early 1970s, Old Street was planned to be a stop on a new tube line from Wimbledon in the southwest to Leytonstone in the northeast, via Waterloo and Holborn. The route incorporated parts of existing lines at each end but was not built because of a lack of funding.[29]

In 2014 the station was redeveloped in a collaboration between Transport for London and letting agency Appear Here.[30] Pop-up retail spaces were constructed around the station entrance in a drive to increase revenue.[31]

Old Street station has had increased footfall in the 21st century. In 2014, around 23 million people passed through the station annually.[30] The station is considered strategically important, as the area around Old Street is being developed as a centre for Information Technology. In 2017, the London Borough of Islington announced plans to redevelop the area around the station with a new entrance and better facilities for cyclists.[32]


On 16 August 1921, a man fell onto the track and was killed. He was identified by a card containing personal details in his pocket.[33]

On 25 March 1970, an escalator at the station broke down during the morning rush hour. Six people were taken to hospital for minor injuries after they fell.[34]

In March 2015, a man was struck and killed by a train. An inquiry returned a verdict of accidental death.[35] Two significant incidents occurred in 2017. In May, the station was closed after a body was found in the station complex.[36] On 30 September, the station was evacuated after passengers heard a loud "bang". Around 20 ambulances and numerous police officers attended the scene, believing it to be a potential terrorist incident. A search around the station found nothing suspicious.[37]


The station has four platforms. Platforms 1–2 serve the Northern line on the London Underground network,[38] while platforms 3–4 serve the Northern City Line on the National Rail network. Both are deep-level tube lines. The station is part of the London station group and acts as a final destination for people travelling with National Rail tickets marked "London Terminals".[39]

Late evening and weekend services were introduced at the National Rail station, as part of the Great Northern Thameslink franchise in 2015.[40]

Services at the station are as follows.

National Rail[edit]

All National Rail services at Old Street are operated by Great Northern using Class 717 EMUs.

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[41]

During the peak hours, the station is served by an additional half-hourly service between Moorgate and Hertford North and the service between Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City is increased to 4 tph.

London Underground[edit]

The typical off-peak London Underground service on the Northern line in trains per hour is:[42]

During the peak hours, the service is increased up to 22 tph in each direction.

Preceding station London Underground Following station
Angel Northern line
Bank Branch
towards Morden via Bank
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Great Northern
Former service
Preceding station London Underground Following station
City Road
towards Euston
Northern line
Essex Road Metropolitan line
Northern City Branch[43]
Northern line
Northern City Branch
Essex Road
towards Drayton Park
Northern line
Northern City Branch
Abandoned plans
Preceding station London Underground Following station
Essex Road Northern line Moorgate


London Buses routes 21, 43, 55, 76, 135, 141, 205, 214, 243 and night routes N55, N205 and N271 serve the station.[44][45]

Cultural references[edit]

The graffiti artist Banksy painted a Pulp Fiction mural near Old Street station in 2002. It was based on Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield from the film of the same name, except the characters held bananas in place of guns. It was accidentally painted over in 2007.[46] A Transport for London representative said "Our graffiti removal teams are staffed by professional cleaners, not professional art critics".[47]



  1. ^ City Road station closed on 8 August 1922 when the C&SLR was closed for the tunnels to be reconstruction. It was not reopened and the final remaining part of the surface building was demolished in 2017.[9][10]
  2. ^ Having learnt that the original 10-foot-2-inch (3.10 m) diameter of its tunnels was too small, the C&SLR extension was constructed to a 11-foot-6-inch (3.51 m) diameter.[16][17]
  3. ^ The two companies fell out before the construction of the new line was completed and the connection at Finsbury Park was not constructed.[20]


  1. ^ "Station Usage Data" (CSV). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2018. Transport for London. 23 September 2020. Archived from the original on 14 January 2023. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  2. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2019. Transport for London. 23 September 2020. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2020. Transport for London. 16 April 2021. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2021. Transport for London. 12 July 2022. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2022. Transport for London. 4 October 2023. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Estimates of station usage". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  7. ^ a b c Islington 2017, p. 10.
  8. ^ "London Borough of Islington". Google Maps. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Here are all London's abandoned tube stations". City Metric. 24 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  10. ^ "A Ghost Station Vanishes". Londonist. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  11. ^ David, Padgett (October 2016) [1988]. Brailsford, Martyn (ed.). Railway Track Diagrams 2: Eastern (4th ed.). Frome: Trackmaps. Map 14A. ISBN 978-0-9549866-8-1.
  12. ^ "Travelling to, from and via London". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  13. ^ "Standard Tube Map" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  14. ^ Day 1979, p. 47.
  15. ^ "How The Northern Line Was Built". Londonist. October 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  16. ^ Horne 2009, p. 16.
  17. ^ Badsey-Ellis 2016, p. 169.
  18. ^ "Paul Dowling charts the history of Shoreditch's scene". UK Tech News. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  19. ^ Day 1979, p. 58.
  20. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 60.
  21. ^ "Moorgate Station Rebuilt". The Times. London. 2 March 1938. p. 11. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  22. ^ "The Railway Magazine". 149. 2003: 65. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ Rose 1999.
  24. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 61.
  25. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 96.
  26. ^ Connor, J.E. (1999). "City Road". London's Disused Underground Stations. Capital Transport. p. 20. ISBN 1-85414-250-X.
  27. ^ Rainey, T.P.; Rosenbaum, M.S. (1989). "The adverse influence of geology and groundwater on the behaviour of London Underground railway tunnels near Old Street station". Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 100 (100): 123–134. Bibcode:1989PrGA..100..123R. doi:10.1016/S0016-7878(89)80071-9. ISSN 0016-7878.
  28. ^ Burgess, N; Fagents, J; Paterson, J (1 February 2002). "Northern Line tunnel reconstruction at Old Street". Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Transport. 153 (1). Proceedings of the ICE - Transport: 1–11. doi:10.1680/tran.2002.153.1.1. ISSN 0965-092X.
  29. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 173.
  30. ^ a b "The magic Roundabout: Why Old Street Tube station has become a hotspot". Evening Standard. London. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  31. ^ "Pop-up shops arrive at Old Street Tube station" (Press release). London: Transport for London (TfL). 22 April 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  32. ^ Islington 2017, p. 12.
  33. ^ "News in Brief". The Times. London. 17 August 1921. p. 5. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  34. ^ "£70m scheme to improve the Underground". The Times. London. 26 March 1970. p. 3. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Old Street Tube rescuer Nick Mann's death ruled accidental". BBC News. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  36. ^ "Body found at Old Street Tube station". BBC News. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  37. ^ "Old Street Station: Armed police reopen Tube after reports of a 'bang' led to it being evacuated". The Daily Telegraph. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  38. ^ "Old Street". Transport for London. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  39. ^ "'London Terminal' stations". Network Rail. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  40. ^ "Seven-day-a-week service to the City better for late-returning commuters and weekend shoppers" (Press release). Govia Thameslink Railway. 5 November 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  41. ^ Table 24 National Rail timetable, May 2022
  42. ^ "Northern Line Timetable". Transport for London. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  43. ^ Autonomous orange-colored line “Great Northern” from 1904.
  44. ^ "Buses from Old Street and Moorfields Eye Hospital" (PDF). TfL. 4 February 2023. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
  45. ^ "Night buses from Old Street and Moorfields Eye Hospital" (PDF). TfL. 4 February 2023. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
  46. ^ "Iconic Banksy mural is pulped". The Times. London. 20 April 2007. p. 31. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  47. ^ "Iconic Banksy image painted over". BBC News. 20 April 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2018.


External links[edit]