Oxford Circus tube station
Bakerloo line surface building
Location of Oxford Circus in Central London
|Local authority||City of Westminster|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Owner||Transport for London|
|Number of platforms||6|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|1969||Victoria line opened|
|Listed feature||Original CLR and BS&WR buildings.|
|Entry number||1400976 (CLR)
|Added to list||20 July 2011|
|Lists of stations|
|London Transport portal|
Oxford Circus is a London Underground station serving Oxford Circus at the junction of Regent Street and Oxford Street, with entrances on all four corners of the intersection. The station is an interchange between the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines. It is the busiest station in the United Kingdom, with 98.51 million entries and exits in 2014. On the Central line it is between Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road, on the Bakerloo line it is between Regent's Park and Piccadilly Circus, and on the Victoria line it is between Green Park and Warren Street. The station is in Travelcard Zone 1.
The Central line station opened on 30 July 1900, and the Bakerloo line station on 10 March 1906. Both are Grade II listed. The station was rebuilt in 1912 to relieve congestion. Further congestion led to another reconstruction in 1923. Numerous improvements were made as part of the New Works Programme and as a flood protection measure. To accommodate additional passengers on the Victoria line, a new ticket hall was built. The Victoria line station opened on 7 March 1969, including cross-platform interchange with the Bakerloo line.
- 1 History
- 2 Station building
- 3 The station today
- 4 Services and connections
- 5 Nearby attractions
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 External links
In the 1890s, the Central London Railway (CLR) published a notice of a private bill that would be presented to Parliament for the 1890 parliamentary session. The bill planned an underground route between Shepherd's Bush and Cornhill (now Bank station).[note 1] These plans were accepted by both Houses of Parliament on 5 August 1891.[note 2]
The CLR employed the engineers James Henry Greathead, Sir John Fowler, and Sir Benjamin Baker to design the railway.[note 3] The official opening of the CLR (now the Central line) by the Prince of Wales took place on 27 June 1900; it was opened to the public on 30 July. Oxford Circus station opened as part of the first section of the line, between Shepherd's Bush and Bank.[note 4] As part of the 1935—40 New Works Programme, the misaligned tunnels of the central section on the Central line that slowed running speeds were corrected[note 5] and the platforms lengthened to accommodate longer trains.
In November 1891, notice was given of a private bill that would be presented to Parliament for the construction of the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (BS&WR, now the Bakerloo line). The railway was planned to run entirely underground from Marylebone to Elephant & Castle via Baker Street and Waterloo. The route was approved in 1900. Construction commenced in August 1898 under the direction of Sir Benjamin Baker, W.R. Galbraith and R.F. Church. The works were carried out by Perry & Company of Tregedar Works, Bow.[note 6] Oxford Circus was altered below ground following a Board of Trade inspection; at the end of 1905, the first test trains began running. The official opening of the BS&WR by Sir Edwin Cornwall took place on 10 March 1906. The first section of the BS&WR was between Baker Street and Lambeth North.
A proposal for a new underground railway running from Victoria to Walthamstow was first proposed by a Working Party set up by the British Transport Commission in 1948, though that largely followed a 1946 plan for an East Croydon to Finsbury Park line.[note 7] A route was approved in 1955 with future extensions to be decided later,[note 8] though funding for the construction was not approved by the government until 1962. Construction began in 1962 on the initial Walthamstow to Victoria section. The Victoria line platforms opened on 7 March 1969. The station opened as part of a second extension from Warren Street to Victoria. Cross-platform interchange between the Bakerloo and Victoria lines was provided by constructing the Victoria line platforms parallel to the Bakerloo ones.
Incidents and accidents
- On 23 November 1984, during renovation works, the station suffered a severe fire which burned out the northbound Victoria line platform. It is believed that the fire was caused by smoking materials being pushed through a ventilation grille into a storeroom where they set several materials on fire. This caused the Victoria line between Warren Street and Victoria to be suspended until 18 December the same year. This incident also led to a smoking ban being introduced on trains in July 1984.
- On 3 March 1997, a train derailment caused the northbound Bakerloo line service between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus to be suspended for 12 days.
Bakerloo and Central lines
The CLR and BSWR had separate surface buildings and lift shafts. The station buildings, which remain today as exits from the station, were built on very confined plots on either side of Argyll Street on the south side of Oxford Street, just east of the circus itself. The stations as originally built were entirely separate, but connecting passages were soon provided at platform level. The surviving Central London Railway building to the east of Argyll Street is the best surviving example of stations designed by Harry Bell Measures, and the Bakerloo line building to the west is a classic Leslie Green structure. Both are Grade II listed since 20 July 2011.
Almost from the outset, overcrowding has been a constant problem, and there have been numerous improvements to the facilities and below-ground arrangements to deal with this. After much discussion between the then two separate operators, a major reconstruction began in 1912. This entailed a new ticket hall, serving both lines, being built in the basement of the Bakerloo station, with the Bakerloo lifts removed and new deep-level escalators opened down to the Bakerloo line level. Access to the CLR was by way of existing deep-level subways. The new works came into use on 9 May 1914 with the CLR lifts still available for passengers. By 1923 even this rearrangement was unable to cope, so a second rebuilding began. This involved a second set of escalators being built directly down to the Central line and the CLR station building becoming exit-only. On 2 October 1928, a third escalator leading to the Bakerloo platforms was opened. Unusually, lifts came back into prominence at an Underground station when, in 1942, a set of high-speed lifts came into use, largely used as an exit route from the Central line platforms directly to the Argyll Street exit building.
The station was closed between 31 August and 20 November 1939 to facilitate flood protection works for the preparation of The Second World War. Although street access was closed, trains still called, and interchange between the Bakerloo and Central lines was still possible within the station.
Station reconstruction to accommodate the Victoria line was described as the most time-consuming for the Victoria line project.[note 9] To handle the additional Victoria line passenger loads, a new ticket hall was constructed directly under the road junction. Separate banks of escalators to each line were to be built, with the existing structure to be used as exits with The lifts to be removed. A new one-way interchange subways system was to be built between the Bakerloo/Victoria lines and the Central line. To excavate the new ticket hall below the roadway, traffic was diverted for 5.5 years (August 1963 to Easter 1968) onto a temporary bridge-like structure known as the "umbrella" covering the Regent Street/Oxford Street intersection. It consisted of 245 pieces of separate prefabricated steel work. The deck plates were placed on top of a system of steel girders which in turn rested on 25 cylindrical 3 ft diameter concrete foundations, sunk from 43 up to 73 ft deep at night. The cylindrical piles had to clear the sites of the main and secondary roof beams of the new ticket hall and various low-level obstructions. The piles had to be built with wide footings to avoid them from collapsing. Service tunnels were constructed to carry water mains and telecom cables past the new ticket hall. The umbrella deck was extended eastwards along Oxford Street to facilitate the construction of a connecting passageway between the old and new ticket halls during the weekend of the August Bank Holiday in 1966. Construction of the Victoria line station tunnels with their platforms, the new escalator shafts and the linking passages to the Central line platforms was carried out from access shafts sunk from nearby Cavendish Square, Upper Regent Street and Argyll Street.[note 10] For the construction of the southbound Victoria line platform tunnel, a special design of tunnel segment, fabricated with mild steel was adopted as there was limited space available for the construction of the platform tunnel. A pre-stressed concrete raft was constructed below the Peter Robinson's third basement level as an extra precaution against settlement before driving the platform tunnel.[note 11] The interchange passageway between the Central line and the Bakerloo line in the area of the former junction with the Bakerloo line lift landing was replaced by the southbound Victoria line platform tunnel.[note 12] From there, a pilot tunnel Ventilation systems were rearranged with a new ventilation plant installed in the former Bakerloo line lift shaft. A new substation for the Bakerloo line was built at the bottom of the shaft.[note 13] With the additional escalators in place, the one-way circulation scheme was introduced and the remaining lifts were removed.
The station today
In 2007 the station underwent a major modernisation, removing the murals installed on the Central and Bakerloo line platforms in the 1980s and replacing them with plain white tiles, in a style similar to those used when the station opened in 1900. One 1980s mural remains on one of the platforms. The Central line platform works were substantially complete and a new Station Operations Room at top level opened. This enabled the entire CCTV system to be switched over to new recordable digital technology. The original motifs designed by Hans Unger on the Victoria line platforms were restored.
Oxford Circus station has 14 escalators.[note 14] Major escalator refurbishment took place in 2010–11. Platform humps were also installed at the station to provide step-free access to trains.[note 15] The Victoria line humps resemble in form the Harrington Hump.
Services and connections
On this line, it is between Regent's Park and Piccadilly Circus stations. Trains generally run every 4–9 minutes between 06:17 and 00:15 in both directions, a little less frequently than the Central and Victoria lines.
On this line, the station is between Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations. The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is as follows:
- 9tph eastbound to Epping
- 6tph eastbound to Hainault
- 3tph eastbound to Loughton
- 3tph eastbound to Woodford via Hainault
- 3tph eastbound to Newbury Park
- 9tph westbound to West Ruislip
- 9tph westbound to Ealing Broadway
- 3tph westbound to Northolt
- 3tph westbound to White City
On this line, the station is located between Warren Street and Green Park. The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is:
- 12 tph northbound to Seven Sisters
- 9 tph northbound to Walthamstow Central
- 21 tph southbound to Brixton
London Bus routes 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 23, 25, 55, 73, 88, 94, 98, 137, 139, 159, 189, 390, 453 and C2, and night routes N3, N7, N8, N13, N18, N55, N73, N98, N109, N113, N136, N137 and N207 serve the station. Additionally, bus routes 6, 10, 12, 23, 25, 88, 94, 139, 159, 189, 390, 453 and C2 provide a 24-hour bus service.
- All Souls Church, Langham Place
- BBC Broadcasting House
- Carnaby Street
- Langham Hotel
- London College of Fashion, John Princes Street
- London Palladium, Argyll Street
- Oxford Street
- Regent Street
- St George's, Hanover Square
Notes and references
- The initial bill was approved by the House of Commons, but was rejected by the House of Lords, which recommended that any decision be suspended until after the City and South London Railway (C&SLR) had opened. The proposals faced strong objections from the Metropolitan and District Railways (MR and DR) whose routes on the Inner Circle, (now the Circle line, a sub-surface loop line operated jointly by the MR and the DR) to the north and the south respectively, the CLR route paralleled; and from which the new line was expected to take passengers.
- Intermediate stations were added at Lansdowne Road, Notting Hill Gate, Davies Street (which the CLR planned to extend northwards to meet Oxford Street) and at Chancery Lane.
- Work began with demolition of buildings at the Chancery Lane site in April 1896 and construction shafts were started at Chancery Lane, Shepherd's Bush, Stanhope Terrace and Bloomsbury in August and September 1896. Tunnelling was completed by the end of 1898.
- This included the opening of British Museum station which closed in 1933 (replaced by Holborn station).
- The original tubes had a nominal diameter of 3.56 metres (11 11⁄16 ft) because a planned concrete lining to the cast iron tunnel rings was not installed. However, the tubes were not well aligned, and trains had to be significantly smaller than expected (the initial CLR locomotive was not able to fit into the tube until the rails had been replaced by shallower ones). Because of the way the tunnel was enlarged, it is no longer that round, and for clearance reasons the outside positive rail has a special shape and placed 4 centimetres (1 1⁄2 in) higher than usual.
- By November 1899 the northbound tunnel reached Trafalgar Square and work on some of the station sites was started, but the collapse of the L&GFC in 1900 led to works gradually coming to a halt. When the UERL was constituted in April 1902, 50 per cent of the tunnelling and 25 per cent of the station work was completed. With funds in place, work restarted and proceeded at a rate of 73 feet (22.25 m) per week, so that by February 1904 virtually all of the tunnels and underground parts of the stations between Elephant & Castle and Marylebone were complete and works on the station buildings were under way. The additional stations were incorporated as work continued elsewhere.
- These plans include "Route 8 – South to North link from East Croydon to Finsbury Park", a main-line service running between Norbury and Hornsey in tunnel, a tube line running into north-east London between Coulsdon North or Sanderstead and Walthamstow (Hoe Street) or Waltham Cross. Several feasibility studies were carried out to form a combined route, "Route C" running between Walthamstow and Victoria via Oxford Circus.
- The route originally avoided Oxford Circus with alternatives via Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations. It was later noted that 'satisfactory cross-platform interchange' could be provided here, but only if the route is worked with a standard size tube stock, since there is restricted available space here.
- The works were complexed as work had to be carried out whilst keeping the station open without upsetting the traffic above the worksite. Due to this issue, lengthy access tunnels had to be built.
- To this day, traffic passing through the Oxford Circus intersection travels directly over the roof of the ticket office.
- This would further reduce the risks of settlement during the time the tunnel face was passing below and spreading the load from the isolated foundation piles more uniformly over the tunnel-in effect making the tunnel itself the base of the foundation.
- The southbound line runs along the former entrance passageway and was connected to the abandoned stair shaft through the original cross passage to relieve congestion.
- This was used as an example to fit in another at Holborn.
- Although there are many escalators, this does not provide escalator-only access.
- This project was in accordance with the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non Interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
- "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- Historic England. "Oxford Circus Underground Station at the north-east corner of Argyll Street and Oxford Street, including offices above (1400976)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- Historic England. "Oxford Circus Underground Station entrance on north-west corner of Argyll Street and Oxford Street (1401022)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "16 London Underground Stations Listed at Grade II". English Heritage. Archived from the original on 4 February 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Transport for London (January 2016). Standard Tube Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 January 2015.
- "London Underground Multi-year Station Entry-and-exit Figures". Transport for London. June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
|archive-url=is malformed: path (help)
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- Mike, Horne. "The Story of a Station — Oxford Circus" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
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- "London's new tube starts work". Modern Railways. Shepperton, Middlesex: Ian Allan Ltd. XXIV (241): 532. October 1968.
- "1984: London tube fire traps hundreds". BBC News. 23 November 1984. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Horne 2001, pp. 38–39.
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- "Oxford Circus Station". PastScape. Historic England. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
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- "Tube Stations with the most escalators". Tube Facts and Figures. Geofftech. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
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- "Victoria line timetable: From Oxford Circus Underground Station to Green Park Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oxford Circus tube station.|
- "The Victoria Line Story". 1960s documentary (1h 40m) including detailed footage of station construction works. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
- Plans of the station after the Victoria line works , , 
- More photographs of this station
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
towards Harrow & Wealdstone
towards Elephant & Castle
towards Walthamstow Central