Whitechapel tube station

London Overground East London Line

Highbury & Islington


Dalston Junction



Shoreditch High Street





Canada Water

Surrey Quays Extension opens in 2012

Queens Road Peckham

New Cross Peckham Rye

New Cross Gate Denmark Hill

Brockley Clapham High Street

Honor Oak Park Wandsworth Road

Forest Hill Clapham Junction


Crystal Palace

Penge West


Norwood Junction

Whitechapel is a London Underground and London Overground station on Whitechapel Road in the Whitechapel neighbourhood of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in east London, England. The station is located on the east”“west tracks shared by the District line and Hammersmith and City line and is on the north”“south route of the East London Line. The station was opened in 1876 by the East London Railway on a line connecting Liverpool Street station in the City of London with destinations south of the River Thames. The station site was expanded in 1884, and again in 1902, to accommodate the services of the Metropolitan District Railway, a predecessor of the London Underground. The London Overground section of the station was closed between 2007 and 27 April 2010 for rebuilding, initially reopening for a preview service on 27 April 2010 with the full service starting on 23 May 2010. Whitechapel will become a station on Crossrail. The station is in Zone 2. Nearby places of interest include the Royal London Hospital, the Blind Beggar public house, and the former Wickham's department store. There are also many tours in this area focusing on the Jack the Ripper murders.

Whitechapel station was originally opened in 1876 when the mainline 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 Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, now the District Line) opened a new station adjacent to the deeper ELR station as the terminus of an extension from Mansion House (part of the extension also formed the final section of the Circle Line). 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 MDR station was temporarily closed for rebuilding. It reopened on 2 June 1902 when the MDR opened the Whitechapel & Bow Railway, a joint venture with the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LT&SR). The new extension ran eastwards to Bromley-by-Bow where it joined the LT&SR's tracks. MDR services then operated regularly to Upminster and as far as Southend-on-Sea in the summer. The MDR tracks were electrified in 1905 and electric trains replaced steam trains. Services going eastwards were cut back to the limit of electrification at East Ham and later re-extended to Barking in 1908 and Upminster 1932. On 3 December 1906 the Metropolitan Railway (MR, now the Metropolitan Line / Hammersmith & City Line) extended its service to Whitechapel as the eastern terminus of its service. The MR also ran trains over the southern section of ELR via a connection (the St Mary's curve) between the MDR tracks west of Whitechapel and the ELR tracks north of Shadwell station. When, in 1913, the tracks of the ELR were electrified it ended services to the MDR station and extended its ELR service through Whitechapel to Shoreditch (then 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. The Metropolitan Line service is now operated as the Hammersmith & City Line. On 25 March 1995 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 acted as the eastern terminus for some Hammersmith & City Line trains, particularly at weekends and outside peak hours but from the December 2009 timetable, trains will reverse alternately at Plaistow and Barking.

St Mary's Curve
The St Mary's curve connection between the District Line track and the East London Line 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 refurbishment of the East London line commencing late December 2007. The points on the District Line, connecting it to the curve, were removed in summer 2008. Also just west of Whitechapel is the former St Mary's station, one of the many closed London Underground stations.

East London Line
In preparation for the future 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 and services were replaced by a bus link. Work on the extension of the East London Line commenced and the line closed on 22 December 2007 and reopened on 27 April 2010 when new tracks on a new alignment were connected to a disused North London Line viaduct from Shoreditch to Dalston. It is now part of the new 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 23rd May 2010. Whitechapel has the odd situation where the District and Hammersmith & City Line London Underground platforms are above the East London Line London Overground platforms.

The station did consist of six platforms in open cuttings north of Whitechapel Road. The Hammersmith & City and District Lines have two eastbound and two westbound (although trains can reverse back in the opposite direction from any platform during times of disruption or engineering work). The East London Line has one north and southbound (which closed at end of service on 22 December 2007). The East London Line tracks are at the eastern end of the station and are in a deeper cutting. There is 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 is another siding from platform 1 eastbound. This is of sufficient length and signalled to hold only a six car C stock train and should be noted that when it is holding a train the platform (one) may only be used as a terminal, to reverse trains east to west, not as a through platform. As of 29/30 January 2011 the reversing facilities on the District and Hammersmith & City lines have been taken out of use and platforms 1 and 4 temporarily boarded off. The track has been removed from platform 4. A new double ended centre reversing siding has been constructed beyond West Ham to compensate and 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. Eventually the current platforms 1 and 4 will be refurbished and reinstated and the lines serving platforms 2 and 3 will be abandoned. The two island platforms will then be combined to form one large island platform with a central circulating area. Escalators will lead down from here to the Crossrail platforms.

All times below are correct as of the December 2010 timetables.

London Overground
East London Line Mondays to Saturdays there is a service every 5-10 minutes throughout the day, while on Sundays before 13:00 there is a service every 5-9 minutes, changing to every 7-8 minutes until the end of service after that. Current off peak frequency is:
  • 8 Northbound to Highbury & Islington
  • 4 Northbound to Dalston Junction
  • 4 Southbound to West Croydon
  • 4 Southbound to Crystal Palace
  • 4 Southbound to New Cross
From 2012, 4 additional trains per hour will go to Clapham Junction via Peckham Rye on the new Clapham Junction Extension, due to open in May that year.

Transport Links
The station is served by London bus route 25, 106, 205, 254, D3 and night route N253.

Future Developments
Crossrail will call at Whitechapel. Eastbound services will be split into two branches after leaving the station. Preliminary work has begun to create the interchange between Crossrail and the East London Line with subways being constructed. The Crossrail platforms will lie to the north of the existing station, with access being via escalators down from the District and Hammersmith & City Line platforms.

London Underground

London Overground


West Croydon Preceding station London Underground Following station Aldgate East towards Wimbledon, Richmond or Ealing Broadway District line Stepney Green towards Upminster Aldgate East towards Hammersmith Hammersmith & City line Stepney Green towards Barking Preceding station London Overground Following station Shoreditch High Street towards Highbury & Islington or Dalston Junction East London Line Shadwell towards New Cross, Crystal Palace or West Croydon Future Development Preceding station Crossrail Following station Liverpool Street towards Maidenhead or Heathrow Airport Crossrail Line 1 Romford Branch Stratford towards Shenfield Crossrail Line 1 Abbey Wood Branch Canary Wharf towards Abbey Wood Disused Railways Preceding station London Underground Following station Shoreditch Terminus East London line Shadwell towards New Cross or New Cross Gate

Building Activity

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