Whitechapel station

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Whitechapel London Underground London Overground
Whitechapel station.jpg
Original entrance on Whitechapel Road (closed, December 2015)
Whitechapel is located in Greater London
Location of Whitechapel in Greater London
Local authorityLondon Borough of Tower Hamlets
Managed byLondon Underground
OwnerTransport for London
Station codeZLW
Number of platforms4
Fare zone2
London Underground annual entry and exit
2015Decrease 11.70 million[1]
2016Increase 14.37 million[1]
2017Decrease 13.80 million[1]
2018Decrease 12.82 million[2]
2019Increase 13.09 million[3]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2015–16Increase 13.997 million[4]
2016–17Increase 14.128 million[4]
2017–18Increase 14.443 million[4]
2018–19Decrease 14.413 million[4]
2019–20Decrease 13.312 million[4]
Key dates
10 April 1876Opening of ELR station
6 October 1884Opening of DR station
2 June 1902Rebuilding of DR station
1995–1998East London Line closed
2007–2010East London Line closed
27 April 2010[5]East London Line reopens
Other information
External links
WGS8451°31′08″N 0°03′40″W / 51.519°N 0.061°W / 51.519; -0.061Coordinates: 51°31′08″N 0°03′40″W / 51.519°N 0.061°W / 51.519; -0.061
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal

Whitechapel is a London Underground and London Overground station located on Whitechapel Road and Durward Street in the Whitechapel area of London, United Kingdom. The station is located behind a street market of the same name and opposite the Royal London Hospital. It lies between Aldgate East and Stepney Green stations on the District and Hammersmith & City lines, and between Shoreditch High Street and Shadwell stations on the East London Line. It is in Travelcard Zone 2.

The lower section of the station was closed between 2007 and 27 April 2010 for rebuilding while the former East London Line was converted and readied for the London Overground service; it initially reopened for a preview service on 27 April 2010[6] with the full service starting on 23 May 2010.


The station in 1896, as "Whitechapel and Mile End".

Whitechapel station was originally opened in 1876 when the East London Railway (ELR, now the East London Line) was extended north from Wapping to Liverpool Street station. The ELR owned the tracks and stations but did not operate trains. From the beginning, various railway companies provided services through Whitechapel including the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR), the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LC&DR) and the South Eastern Railway (SER). Later, the Great Eastern Railway (GER) added services.

On 6 October 1884, the District Railway (DR, now the District line) opened a new station adjacent to the deeper ELR station as the terminus of an extension from Mansion House[7] (part of the extension also formed the final section of the Circle line[7][8]). The new station was given the name "Whitechapel (Mile End)". The ELR passenger service between Whitechapel and Liverpool Street was withdrawn in 1885. The station received its present name on 13 November 1901.

On 1 February 1902, the DR station was temporarily closed for rebuilding. It reopened on 2 June 1902, when the DR opened the Whitechapel & Bow Railway, a joint venture with the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LT&SR).[7] The new extension ran eastwards to Bromley-by-Bow where it joined the LT&SR's tracks.[7] DR services then operated regularly to Upminster and as far as Southend-on-Sea in the summer.[7]

The DR tracks were electrified in 1905 and electric trains replaced steam trains.[7] Services going eastwards were cut back to the limit of electrification at East Ham; later they were re-extended to Barking in 1908, and to Upminster in 1932.[7][9] On 3 December 1906, the Metropolitan Railway (MR, which in 1933 became the Metropolitan line) extended its service to Whitechapel as the eastern terminus of its service.[10]

The MR also ran trains over the southern section of ELR via a connection (St Mary's Curve) between the DR tracks west of Whitechapel and the ELR tracks north of Shadwell station. When the tracks of the ELR were electrified in 1913, the MR ended services to the DR station and extended its ELR service through Whitechapel to Shoreditch (at that time the terminus of the line, but now closed). The change of service took place on 31 March 1913.

On 30 March 1936, the Metropolitan line began operating again through the District line station as far as Barking.[10]

The East London line after minor renovation works in 1995.

During the 1980s, the London Transport considered converting the East London line into a light railway similar to the Docklands Light Railway, or restoring the then-disused connection to Liverpool Street reconnecting Whitechapel to Liverpool Street via Shoreditch.[11][full citation needed][12]

The line had also become a line in its own right (though it was still grouped operationally with the Metropolitan line) and, from 1990, its colour on the map changed to orange. At the same time, the Hammersmith-Barking section of the Metropolitan line has also been operated separately as the Hammersmith & City line after it appeared as a completely separate line and it colour changed to pink on the tube map.[10][13]

On 25 March 1995, during the construction of the Jubilee Line Extension, the East London Line was closed to allow repair works on the Thames Tunnel. General renovations and new signalling works were undertaken at the same time. The line reopened south from Whitechapel on 25 March 1998 and north from Whitechapel on 27 September 1998.

Whitechapel station in 1979
Whitechapel station in 2010
The East London Line platforms and tracks were upgraded as part of the East London Line extension.

Throughout its life, Whitechapel has been used extensively as an eastern terminus; however, since the timetable change in December 2009, trains have reversed at Plaistow instead of Whitechapel. This is owing to operational changes related to the construction work to build one large island platform.

In preparation for the extension of the East London Line to Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington, the line north of Whitechapel to Shoreditch was closed on 9 June 2006. Services to Shoreditch had previously been run during peak hours and Sunday mornings only; these were replaced by a bus link.

Work on the extension of the East London line commenced and the line was closed on 22 December 2007. It reopened on 27 April 2010 when tracks on a new alignment were connected to a disused North London Line viaduct from Shoreditch to Dalston, making Whitechapel part of the London Overground network. Temporary bus services operated during the closure, of which rail replacement route ELW remained in service until the ELL fully opened on 23 May 2010.[14] The southern extension of phase 1 from New Cross Gate to Crystal Palace and West Croydon was completed simultaneously with that to Dalston in 2010 and a full service began in May 2010.[15]

In early 2015, because there were no services running on the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines between Edgware Road and Aldgate East/Tower Hill, a revised Circle line service operated between Edgware Road and Barking via Victoria. This occurred because of track, drainage replacement and station works at Euston Square, Moorgate and Liverpool Street. It was the first time a regular Circle line service had called at Whitechapel.[citation needed]

Due to Crossrail work that took place at Whitechapel station, Night Overground services did initially not stop at that station until works are complete.[16] From December 2019, Night Overground began to stop additionally at Whitechapel.[17][18]


The canopies above the station entrances were designed by Weston Williamson.[19] Whitechapel has the unusual situation where the District and Hammersmith & City line London Underground platforms are above the East London Line London Overground platforms.

District and Hammersmith & City line[edit]

Underground over Overground - an eastbound Underground train departs from Whitechapel in 2012 over the northbound London Overground train.

The station used to have six platforms in open cuttings north of Whitechapel Road. The Hammersmith & City and District lines had two eastbound and two westbound (although trains could have reversed direction from any platform during times of disruption or engineering work). There was a siding beside platform 4 track accessed from the east side of the station which can accept either 6 car C or D stock train. There was another siding from platform 1 eastbound. This was of sufficient length and signalled to hold only a six car C stock train and when it was holding a train the platform (one) could only be used as a terminal, to reverse trains east to west, not as a through platform. The East London line (now part of London Overground) has one northbound and one southbound platform. They are sited at the eastern end of the station and are in a deeper cutting.

In September 2011 the track was permanently removed from platforms 2, 3, and 4. Platform 4 has been extended over the trackbed and westbound trains use the route of the old siding which has been connected to the main line at the western end to provide a through route. This platform is renumbered platform 2. Trailing crossovers are provided at each end of the station. The two island platforms were combined to form one large island platform with a central circulating area. Escalators will eventually lead down from here to the Crossrail platforms. A new double-ended centre reversing siding has been constructed beyond West Ham to compensate for the loss of reversing facilities from Whitechapel. Since December 2009 Hammersmith & City line trains have not been scheduled to reverse at Whitechapel. Outside peak hours they currently reverse alternately at Plaistow and Barking.

St Mary's Curve[edit]

The St Mary's curve connection between the District line track and the East London Line[20] was used for passenger traffic until 1941, but was subsequently only used to transfer empty trains to and from the other sub-surface lines. The curve was often lit and could easily be seen from the left-hand side of East London line trains entering Whitechapel station from the south, prior to the refurbishment of the East London line that commenced in late December 2007. The points on the District line, connecting it to the curve, were removed in summer 2008. Just west of Whitechapel is the site of the former St Mary's station, one of the many closed London Underground stations.[20]

London Overground[edit]

Vitreous enamel panels designed by Doug Patterson in 1997 have been installed on the East London line (now part of the London Overground) platforms.[21]

Services and connections[edit]

The typical off-peak service of trains per hour (tph) is as follows:

Operator/line Frequency to destination
London Underground (District line) 12 tph eastbound to Upminster (On Sundays alternate trains run to Barking only)[7]
3 tph eastbound to Barking[7]
6 tph westbound to Ealing Broadway[7]
6 tph westbound to Richmond[7]
3 tph westbound to Wimbledon[7]
London Underground (Hammersmith & City line) 6 tph eastbound to Barking[10][22]
6 tph westbound to Hammersmith via King's Cross St. Pancras and Wood Lane[10][23]
London Overground (East London Line) 8 tph northbound to Highbury & Islington[24]
8 tph northbound to Dalston Junction[24]
4 tph southbound to West Croydon[24]
4 tph southbound to Crystal Palace[24]
4 tph southbound to New Cross[24]
4 tph southbound to Clapham Junction[24]

London Buses routes 25, 106, 205, 254, D3 and night routes N25, N205 and N253 serve the station.[25]

Future developments[edit]


The Elizabeth Line will call at Whitechapel when it is completed. Eastbound services will be split into two branches after leaving the station.[26] Work is under way to create the interchange between the Elizabeth, District and Hammersmith & City lines and the London Overground. The Elizabeth Line platforms will lie to the north of the existing station, with access being via escalators down from the District and Hammersmith & City line platforms.


  1. ^ a b c "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures (2007–2017)" (XLSX). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. January 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Station Usage Data" (CSV). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2018. Transport for London. 21 August 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Station Usage Data" (XLSX). Usage Statistics for London Stations, 2019. Transport for London. 23 September 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Estimates of station usage". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  5. ^ BBC London:The new East London Line opens to the public Accessed 27 April 2010
  6. ^ "The new East London Line opens to the public". BBC News. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "CULG - District Line". www.davros.org.
  8. ^ "CULG - Circle Line". www.davros.org.
  9. ^ Rose, Douglas, The London Underground: A diagrammatic history, (1999)
  10. ^ a b c d e "CULG - Hammersmith & City Line". www.davros.org.
  11. ^ Financial Times. London. 10 April 1987. A working party set up by London Regional Transport and British Rail to examine potential sites for light railway networks in London has revealed its findings Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Booming Tube lines may be extended". The Times. London. 10 April 1987.
  13. ^ "Hammersmith & City Line Underground Stations - Facts, Trivia And Impressions". 8 August 2013.
  14. ^ "London Overground: Highbury & Islington to West Croydon". Transport for London. n.d. Archived from the original on 5 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Ten thousand free tickets mark first full service on London Overground's East London route" (Press release). Transport for London. 18 May 2010.
  16. ^ "London Overground Night Service". Transport for London.
  17. ^ "Whitechapel Added To Night Overground". Londonist. 14 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Night Overground to call at Whitechapel from tonight". www.ianvisits.co.uk.
  19. ^ "London Underground Entrance Canopies". Weston Williamson. Archived from the original on 9 September 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Tube Professionals' Rumour Network - Track Diagram showing layout of station and St. Mary's curve".
  21. ^ "Doug Patterson biography". Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  22. ^ "Hammersmith & City line timetable: From Whitechapel Underground Station to Stepney Green Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  23. ^ "Hammersmith & City line timetable: From Whitechapel Underground Station to Aldgate East Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  24. ^ a b c d e f "Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction timetable" (PDF). Transport for London. December 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Buses from Whitechapel" (PDF). TfL. June 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Route map". Crossrail.

External links[edit]

Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
District line
towards Upminster
towards Hammersmith
Hammersmith & City line
towards Barking
Preceding station   Overground notextroundel.svg National Rail logo.svg London Overground   Following station
East London Line
  Future Development  
Preceding station   Crossrail roundel.svg National Rail logo.svg Crossrail   Following station
Elizabeth line
towards Shenfield
Elizabeth line
towards Abbey Wood
  Former services  
Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
towards Hammersmith
Metropolitan line
Hammersmith branch (1906-1913)
Metropolitan line
Hammersmith branch (1936-1938)
towards Barking
towards Hammersmith
Metropolitan line
Hammersmith branch (1938-1990)
District line
towards Upminster
East London line