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The Bakerloo line is a line of the London Underground, coloured brown on the Tube map. It runs partly on the surface and partly at deep level, from Elephant and Castle in the south-east to Harrow & Wealdstone in the north-west of London. The lines serves 25 stations, of which 15 are underground. It is the seventh busiest line on the network.


For a detailed history of the line, see Baker Street and Waterloo Railway.

The route had its origins in the failed projects of the pneumatic 1865 Waterloo and Whitehall Railway and the 1882 Charing Cross and Waterloo Electric Railway.[1]

Originally called the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway, the line was constructed by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) and opened between Baker Street and Lambeth North (then called Kennington Road) on 10 March 1906.[2] It was extended to Elephant & Castle five months later, on 5 August. The contraction of the name to "Bakerloo" rapidly caught on, and the official name was changed to match in July 1906.[2]

When work on the line started in June 1898, it had been financed by the mining entrepreneur and company promoter Whitaker Wright, who fell foul of the law over the financial proceedings involved and dramatically committed suicide at the Royal Courts of Justice, after being convicted in 1904. As a result, work on the line was stopped for a few months and did not resume until Charles Yerkes and UERL stepped in and took over the project.[2]

By 1913, the line had been extended from its original northern terminus at Baker Street to the west with interchange stations with the Great Central Railway at Marylebone and the Great Western Railway at Paddington, and a new station at Edgware Road.

Watford branch[]

In 1915 the line was extended further to Queen's Park, where it joined the DC lines of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) that ran alongside the LNWR's main line (now the West Coast Main Line) as far as Watford Junction. Bakerloo services to Watford were reduced in the 1960s and withdrawn in 1982, with Stonebridge Park the new terminus.

Services to Harrow & Wealdstone were gradually restored from 1984 and in 1989 the present all-day service was instituted. Bakerloo trains share the tracks with London Overground services from Euston between Queen's Park and Harrow & Wealdstone.

Stanmore branch[]

By the mid-1930s, the Metropolitan line was suffering from congestion caused by the limited capacity of its tracks between Baker Street and Finchley Road stations. To relieve this pressure, the network-wide New Works Programme, 1935-1940 included the construction of new sections of tunnel between the Bakerloo line's platforms at Baker Street and Finchley Road and the replacement of three Metropolitan line stations (Lord's, Marlborough Road and Swiss Cottage) between those points with two new Bakerloo stations (St. John's Wood and Swiss Cottage). The Bakerloo line took over the Metropolitan line's service to Stanmore on 20 November 1939. The branch remained part of the Bakerloo line until 1 May 1979, when similar congestion problems for the Bakerloo line caused by two branches converging at Baker Street led to the opening of the Jubilee line, initially created by connecting the Stanmore branch to new tunnels bored between Baker Street and Charing Cross.

Camberwell extension[]

An extension at the southern end of the line to Camberwell and Denmark Hill was proposed and approved in 1931 as part of the London Electric Metropolitan District and Central London Railway Companies (Works) Act, 1931. In April 1937, the estimated cost of the extension was £5,000,000 and the London Passenger Transport Board announced that, due to rising materials prices, the extension was postponed until the Board's finances improved. Apart from the extension of the sidings south of Elephant & Castle no work on the extension took place before the Second World War, but the powers were renewed by the government in 1947 under the Special Enactments (Extension of Time) Act, 1940. A projected extension as far as Camberwell was shown on a 1949 edition of the Underground map but no further work was done.[3] The train describers at Warwick Avenue station showed Camberwell as a destination until the 1990s.[4]

Electricity supply[]

One oddity is that almost from its opening until 1917, the Bakerloo operated with the polarity of the conductor rails reversed, the outside rail negative and the centre rail positive. This came about because the Bakerloo shared a power source with the District Railway. On the Bakerloo, the outside conductor rail tended to leak to the tunnel wall, whereas on the District Railway, the centre rail shared a similar problem. The solution was to reverse the polarity on the Bakerloo line, so that the negative rail leaked on both systems.[5] In 1917, the two lines were separated when the LNWR commenced its 'New Line' service between Euston and Watford Junction, which the Bakerloo would share north of Queens Park. As a result, normal operation was restored.


The line celebrated its centenary on 10 March 2006, when various events were organised on the line.

Future developments[]

Re-extension to Watford Junction[]

Over the next few years the northern section of the line may again see changes following the decision in February 2006 to transfer responsibility for Euston-Watford suburban services (the DC lines) from the Department for Transport (DfT) to Transport for London (TfL). This is in conjunction with the reorganisation of North London Railways under London Overground.[6][7]

It is projected that by 2026 the Bakerloo Line would be re-extended from Harrow & Wealdstone to Watford Junction, restoring the pre-1982 service. The railway line from Queens Park to Watford Junction, currently served by London Overground, would then be served only by the Bakerloo Line.[6] The restoration of Bakerloo Line service to Watford Junction would coincide with the Croxley Rail Link reopening, which would reroute Metropolitan line trains from Watford to Watford Junction.

Camberwell proposals[]

Main article: Bakerloo line extension to Camberwell

The 1949 extension to Camberwell proposal was resurrected in 2006 when the then London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, suggested that an extension was being considered within 20 years.[8] However, there are no firm commitments to this extension and it is only at the proposal stage. TfL's "Transport T2025 - Transport Vision for a growing world city" investment programme identifies the ambition to separate the present Northern line into two self-contained lines by 2025.[9] In this plan, trains on the Northern line's Charing Cross branch would terminate at Kennington, and it has been mooted that an extension of the line to the south east may be implemented, including to Camberwell. In this scenario, an extension to the Bakerloo line would therefore no longer be required. However, recent plans are instead to extend this Northern line branch towards Battersea via two new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station, meaning that the Bakerloo would once more be looked to provide any extension to Camberwell.

Extension to Lewisham and Hayes[]

In its draft Kent Route Utilisation Strategy,[10] Network Rail mentions the possibility of extending the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham station and then taking over the Hayes branch line.

Network Rail states that this would free up four paths per hour into central London and so increase capacity on the Tonbridge main line, which would also relieve the junctions around Lewisham station. However, it states that this would not be undertaken until after 2015.

Rolling stock[]

Former rolling stock[]

When opened in 1906, the Bakerloo line was operated by Gate Stock trains, built at Trafford Park, Manchester. To cope with the extension to Queen's Park, 12 extra motor cars of the London Underground 1914 Stock were ordered, ten from Brush of Loughborough and two from the Leeds Forge Company.

To operate services north of Queen's Park, 72 additional cars were built by the Metropolitan Carriage, Waggon and Finance Company of Birmingham. These trains, known as the Watford Joint Stock, were partly owned by the Underground and partly by the London and North Western Railway (later London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS)). They were initially painted in LNWR livery. They were not equipped with air-operated doors and proved slow and unreliable, so they were replaced by new trains of Standard Stock in 1930 (although a few were retained by the LMS). For some years in the 1930s Watford trains had a distinctive blue stripe at window level.

In 1932, some carriages that had been built for the Piccadilly line by Cammell Laird in Nottingham in 1919 were transferred to the Bakerloo line. When built, these had been the first Tube trains to be have air-operated doors. These (and other trains) were later replaced by more trains of Standard Stock, in turn being replaced by 1938 stock and 1949 stock.

Prior to the opening of the Jubilee line in 1979, the Bakerloo line was worked by both 1938 stock and 1972 stock. The 1972 stock was intended for the Jubilee line, so from 1979 the Bakerloo line (now minus the Stanmore branch) was again entirely operated by 1938 stock. From 1983 the 1938 stock began to be replaced by trains of 1959 stock, but this was a temporary measure until 1972 stock became available. The last 1938 stock train was withdrawn on 20 November 1985. From 1986, the 1959 stock was transferred to the Northern line.[11]

Current trains[]

The Bakerloo line is now operated entirely by Mark 2 1972 stock, displaced from the Jubilee line by 1983 stock. The stock is maintained at Stonebridge Park depot.

All Bakerloo line trains are painted in the distinctive London Underground livery of red, white and blue and are the smaller size of the two sizes used on the network, since the line goes deep underground in small tunnels.

In the early 2000s the interiors of these trains were 'deep-cleaned' and the upholstery replaced using a blue moquette. The seating layouts are both longitudinal and transverse, with some cars having longitudinal seating only.

Transport for London states that the line is to be fully upgraded, with completion in 2020, and this will include the introduction of new trains, new signalling and a new control centre. Journey times should be reduced by two minutes and overall line capacity increased by 57%.[12]


Geographically accurate map of the Victoria line


Note: For the former Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line, see the Jubilee line article.

Station Zone Local Authority Opened Interchange
Harrow & Wealdstone 5 Harrow 16 April 1917 London Overground, National Rail Services
Kenton 4 Brent 16 April 1917 London Overground
South Kenton 4 Brent 3 July 1933 London Overground
North Wembley 4 Brent 16 April 1917 London Overground
Wembley Central 4 Brent 16 April 1917 London Overground, National Rail Services
Stonebridge Park 3 Brent 1 August 1917 London Overground
Harlesden 3 Brent 16 April 1917 London Overground
Willesden Junction 2/3 Brent 10 May 1915 London Overground
Kensal Green 2 Brent 1 October 1916 London Overground
Queen's Park 2 Brent 11 February 1915 London Overground
Kilburn Park 2 Brent 31 January 1915
Maida Vale 2 Westminster 6 June 1915
Warwick Avenue 2 Westminster 31 January 1915
Paddington 1 Westminster 1 December 1913 Circle Line, District Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Elizabeth Line, National Rail Services
Edgware Road 1 Westminster 15 June 1907
Marylebone 1 Westminster 27 March 1907 National Rail Services
Baker Street 1 Westminster 10 March 1906 Circle Line, Jubilee Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Metropolitan Line
Regent's Park 1 Westminster 10 March 1906
Oxford Circus 1 Westminster 10 March 1906 Central Line, Victoria Line
Piccadilly Circus 1 Westminster 10 March 1906 Piccadilly Line
Charing Cross 1 Westminster 10 March 1906 Northern Line, National Rail Services
Embankment 1 Westminster 10 March 1906 Circle Line, District Line, Northern Line
Waterloo 1 Lambeth 10 March 1906 Jubilee Line, Northern Line, Waterloo & City Line, National Rail Services
Lambeth North 1 Lambeth 10 March 1906
Elephant & Castle 1 Southwark 5 August 1906 Northern Line, National Rail Services


The Bakerloo line is currently served by three depots; a main depot at Stonebridge Park, opened on 9 April 1978 on the site of a former British Rail power station which contains the fleet's maintenance facilities, the original depot at London Road (between the Elephant and Castle and Lambeth North), and a small depot immediately north of Queens Park, built in 1915. The Queens Park depot is unique on the London Underground network in that trains in passenger service run through it.

When Bakerloo line services ran to Watford, there was also an additional depot at Croxley Green; this depot closed in November 1985 following the withdrawal of services.


  1. An extended history of the Bakerloo line, TfL
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Day, J.R. and Reed, J. (2005). The Story of London's Underground. Capital Transport Publishing.
  3. History of the London Tube Map, 1949 tube map. London Transport (June 1949). Retrieved on 13 January 2008.
  4. Garland, Ken (1994). Mr Beck's Underground Map. Capital Transport, 41. ISBN 185414 168 6. 
  5. Bakerloo Line, Dates. Clive's Underground Lines Guide. Retrieved on 13 January 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Scenario Testing for the Further Alterations to the London Plan (PDF). Greater London Authority (March 2006). Retrieved on 19 June 2007.
  7. Information on Bakerloo line re-extension to Watford Junction, Transport for London.
  8. Bakerloo Line extension to Camberwell. AlwaysTouchOut. Retrieved on 2 November 2007.
  9. T2025: Transport vision for a growing world city
  10. Kent Route Utilisation Strategy: Draft for Consultation, Network Rail (April 2009), para. 10.8.2, p. 172.
  11. Horne, M.A.C. (2001). The Bakerloo Line. Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-248-8. 
  12. Transforming the Tube (PDF). Transport for London (July 2008). Retrieved on 28 May 2009.

See also[]

External links[]