The Bakerloo line runs for 14 miles/23 kilometres between Harrow & Wealdstone station in the north and Elephant & Castle station in the south. (A track layout diagram can be found here.) It is a deep-level line, diving underground just south of Queen's Park station, and remaining so all the way to the southern terminus at Elephant & Castle. The line first opened between Baker Street and Lambeth North in 1906 and was extended to Edgware Road to the north and Elephant & Castle to the south in the next 18 months. In 1913, the line reached Paddington, and was extended north to Queen's Park in 1917 to meet the overground line between Euston and Watford Junction, alongside of which extra tracks had been laid in 1912 to provide the so-called 'New Lines'. These had, at first, served as a route for local steam trains, but the tracks were electrified to allow Bakerloo line trains to use it.
However, in 1922 a new local mainline service from Euston began to use these extra tracks as well; this new stopping service was known as the Watford DC line1 and is now part of the London Overground network. During the 1980s, the Bakerloo was cut back to Harrow & Wealdstone2, leaving the section towards Watford Junction to the mainline trains. All stations between Harrow & Wealdstone and Queen's Park are also served by London Overground trains running on the line between Euston and Watford Junction. The route is also shared by mainline trains run by London Midland or Virgin, although these stop only at certain intermediate stations, if at all, between London and Watford.
Between 1939 and 1979, the Bakerloo line ran trains along a second branch towards Stanmore. The branch ran through tunnels from Baker Street to Finchley Road, where it surfaced between the Metropolitan tracks. The line then ran north to Wembley Park, where it took over the Metropolitan line to Stanmore. This branch was taken over by the Jubilee line when it opened between Stanmore and Charing Cross. It is possible that the Bakerloo line will extend up towards Watford Junction at some point in the future, depending on the demands of the London Overground.
Harrow & Wealdstone
Harrow & Wealdstone station first opened in 1837 on the London and Birmingham line, making it one of the first mainline railway stations to open in the UK. The Bakerloo line reached it in 1917, and the station now has six platforms, two of which act both as the termini for the tube line and a stop for London Overground trains, while the others are used by intercity rail services3. A footbridge over the platforms can be accessed via steps or disabled lifts, and exits at either end lead to the areas of Harrow (to the west) and Wealdstone (to the east), hence the station's name. The station has a car park and is next to the mainline station of the same name, and access to the platforms is step-free via the lifts.
Harrow & Wealdstone was the site of a major train crash back in 1952, when a Scottish intercity train ploughed into the back of a local train sitting at platform four, followed shortly by another train which rammed the wreckage and destroyed the footbridge and parts of the platforms. The incident killed 112 and wounded another 340, and a memorial plaque was unveiled in 2002 above the main entrance to commemorate the disaster.
Despite Harrow & Wealdstone being the terminus of the Bakerloo line, London Transport travelcards are not valid past Kenton. However, Oyster Cards are valid up to Harrow & Wealdstone on both the Underground and Overground services, and to Watford Junction on the Overground.
Opened in 1912, this station lies upon Kenton Road (A4006) and is also served by London Overground trains. The pair of platforms, each with a brick station building and overhang, are very similar to those at North Wembley station. Northwick Park station on the Metropolitan line lies 400m away and can be reached by turning west along Kenton Road and taking the second road on the right (Rushout Avenue), with the north entrance to Northwick Park station lying just to the right at the end of the road. Though the Metropolitan line stop is obviously nearer, Kenton station is only 750m away from the University of Westminster campus in Northwick Park. Meanwhile, Kenton Recreation Ground lies to the north, but otherwise Kenton station is generally surrounded by areas of housing. Access to the platforms is via stairs.
South Kenton station opened in 1933 on what is now the boundary between South Kenton and North Wembley, with the latter area also being served by the next station to the south. Situated on an embankment with roads either side, the majority of tracks running past the station have no platform; just a single island is present for tube and Overground services to stop at. For this reason, there is a step down from tube trains to the platforms. Access to the platforms is via stairs, and a tunnel runs underneath the embankment allowing access to the areas on either side of the line, having long since replaced the not-particularly-well-thought-through footbridge that used to sit above the embankment. The station is a short way from the southeast corner of Northwick Park, but this is more a reflection of the size of the park than an indication that the station is close to anything particularly useful.
Served by both Overground and Bakerloo line trains, North Wembley station looks to all intents and purposes like a clone of Kenton station, including a pair of platforms, each with a brick station building and overhang. Situated on East Lane (A4088), the station lies just southwest of the sprawling Wembley Commercial Centre, and is nowhere near the Wembley Stadium complex. Access to the platforms is via stairs.
Wembley Central station is just slightly less unimpressive than the stations adjacent to it on the line, as it serves Southern railway services running from Watford Junction towards Clapham Junction via the West London line on weekdays. However, the Overground and Bakerloo line services only take up four of the six platforms that sit underground directly beneath Wembley High Road (A404), with access down to the platforms being via steps. Trains passing straight through the station next to platforms 3-6 tend to set up dangerous air currents inside the station, and so these platforms are only open occasionally, usually to allow the boarding of trains between Watford and Clapham. Bakerloo and Overground trains call at platforms 1 and 2. The station sits within an old, run-down shopping arcade, and lies about 2/3 miles west of Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena, with Wembley Park on the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines and Wembley Stadium mainline station lying closer to the aforementioned attractions.
After Wembley Central station, the line passes underneath a number of mainline tracks and through the middle of a large depot, eventually stopping at Stonebridge Park on the northern side of the tracks, just next to the North Circular Road. The station thus provides a simple stop for the tube and Overground lines, and access to the platforms is via steps. The station once suffered complete destruction during a World War II bombing raid, and each of the buildings that replaced it was later damaged by a fire.
Yet another small stop for the Bakerloo and Overground lines, this station sits just off Acton Lane (B4492). To the southwest of the lines lies a huge industrial estate which surrounds the Central Middlesex Hospital; to the northeast lies a residential area. Access to the platforms is via stairs.
Situated on the imaginatively-named Station Approach, Willesden Junction station is stranded at a junction between several lines. It provides access to trains along the North London and West London lines, both of which are part of the London Overground, as well as the Watford branch of the Overground network and the Bakerloo line. Furthermore, mainline semi-fast trains along the line out of Euston also stop here. The Underground station has three platforms, with platform two being used by terminating services. Access to the tube platforms is step-free.
Situated off Harrow Road (A404), Kensal Green station lies just to the north of Kensal Green Cemetery, which itself runs along the north bank of the Grand Union Canal (Paddington Branch). The station is also served by Overground services. Access to the platforms is via steps. The station featured in 'The London Game' on a Hazard Card that read: 'You desire solitude. Go to Kensal Green and stay there for three turns'.
A short way south-east of the eponymous park, Queen's Park station provides the first (or last, depending on which way you look at things) interchange with the Overground line, as well as providing a stop for semi-fast services out of Euston. The station is also the nearest to Paddington Old Cemetery, which lies a short way to the north. Access to the platforms is via stairs, although some step-free interchanges with mainline services are possible.
After calling at Queen's Park, the Bakerloo line separates itself from the Euston to Watford Junction line, thus making Kilburn Park the first stop without a direct mainline interchange4. Access to the platforms is via stairs. The station should not be confused with Kilburn station on the Jubilee Line, which lies quite a way northwest along Kilburn High Road (A5).
Sitting comfortably between Paddington Recreation Ground and Maida Vale Road (A5), Maida Vale station lies just down the road from the BBC's studios where the Peel Sessions were once recorded. Access to the platforms is via escalators.
Situated on the road of the same name, Warwick Avenue is the nearest station to Regent's Canal and the Grand Union Canal (Paddington Branch) at Little Venice, and is surrounded by pleasant, verdant streets. The station's interior has recently been refurbished, restoring the original tile work. The station would seem like a time warp were it not for the modern-day posters that abound in every underground tube stop. Access to the platforms is via escalators.
The cause of much lost sleep for the map design department of the Underground, Paddington Underground station actually consists of three stations hidden in small hidey-holes around the mainline station. The first stop opened in 1863 at Paddington (Bishop's Road) on the Metropolitan Railway and now serves the Hammersmith & City through service towards Hammersmith. This stop was built to be integrated into the rest of Paddington mainline station so that the Metropolitan Railway could run through trains to Hammersmith, and the modern-day stop now has platforms 15 and 16 of the mainline station to itself.
The next stop to open was added in a cutting underneath Praed Street when the Metropolitan line was extended towards Kensington in 1868; this stop now serves the Circle and District lines. The Bakerloo line platform was opened when the Bakerloo line reached Paddington in 1913. The Circle and District line platform is connected to the mainline station and the Bakerloo line platforms by a subway underneath the Great Western Hotel, with the two sets of tube platforms effectively being part of the same tube stop. They can be found at the southern end of the station, away from the mainline platforms. Meanwhile, the Hammersmith & City line platforms can be found either by heading to the east end of the row of mainline platforms, walking along platform 14 and then heading up over the footbridge, or by taking the footbridge over the mainline platforms. In other words, access to the Hammersmith & City line involves quite a walk and many steps, and is probably only suitable for those heading towards Hammersmith. Although a change at Edgware Road (from the District line) or at Baker Street (from the Circle and Bakerloo lines) is recommended instead, changing to the Hammersmith & City line at Paddington is still counted as only one journey by the ticket barriers.
Nowhere near Edgware station, Edgware Road is in fact a name used by two separate stations. The Bakerloo section is separate to the Hammersmith & City, District and Circle line platforms, and is a ten-minute walk away via the dank subways underneath Marylebone Road. The other Edgware Road acts as the terminus of one of the branches of the District line as well as being the last station at which the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines run together, so trains are often held here for several minutes to allow passengers to change trains. Access to the platforms at both stations involves steps. Nearby landmarks include a London Hilton Metropole hotel.
Before 1917, both this and the mainline station above were known as Great Central station, a fact reflected by the words on the tiled walls of the Underground platforms. The station is connected to Marylebone main line station, and escalators lead up into the main station concourse. Unlike most other mainline termini, Marylebone station sits a short way out from the course of the Circle line. This reflects the fact that the Metropolitan Railway had already been built by the time Great Central station was finished in 1899, and that the company building the railway into Marylebone had previously fallen out with the MetR, leading to the two railways taking different paths into Central London after having run next to each other up until Harrow-on-the-Hill. The station lies close to Regent's Park, Madame Tussaud's and the Planetarium, though Baker Street station is generally preferable for all three.
Situated on Baker Street with subways either side of Marylebone Road, this station serves the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines. The station is close to 221b Baker Street, the fictional home of Arthur Conan Doyle's creation Sherlock Holmes, and this is reflected in the tiles bearing silhouettes5 of the deerstalker-wearing, pipe-smoking detective along the station's platforms and walkways. There are also panels on the Jubilee line platforms which feature illustrations of scenes from Sherlock's adventures. Despite the fact that King's Cross St. Pancras station serves the most lines, it is Baker Street station that holds the record for most Underground line platforms. The ten platforms are allocated as follows:
- Two for the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines.
- Two for the Jubilee line.
- Two for the Bakerloo line.
- Four for the Metropolitan line, which has just split off from the Circle line. The number of platforms is due to the fact that the line branches further to the west.
The Jubilee and Bakerloo line platforms for each direction lie next to each other, allowing easy interchange between either northbound or southbound platforms. The station is situated very close to Madame Tussaud's and the Planetarium, and is a short way south of Regent's Park. Access is via steps and escalators, and the station has toilets, photobooths, 36 phones, 25 vending machines and a couple of cash machines. Baker Street is also home to the LT Lost Property Office.
Named after Regent's Park to the north, Regent's Park station lies just west of Great Portland Street station on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. The station has no surface building, and consists of a not-terribly-obvious subway underneath the Euston Road with exits on both sides. The green area on either side of the Euston Road is Park Square Gardens, a private park that is not accessible from Regent's Park, and which has its own separate subway tunnel which links the two halves of the gardens.
See the Victoria Line section of this Guide.
See the Piccadilly Line: West of Leicester Square section of this Guide.
Charing Cross, Embankment and Waterloo stations
See the Northern Line: Edgware and Charing Cross Branches section of this Guide.
Situated on Westminster Bridge Road and opposite Kennington Road, this station was a fairly last minute addition to the plans for the line. There was a little confusion as to what to call the station when it first opened in 1906; in the plans it was called Westminster Bridge Road, however, just before the opening it was changed to Kennington Road. When the name of the line was officially changed to Bakerloo later that year, the station name also reverted to Westminster Bridge Road and remained as such until 1917, when it was renamed Lambeth North.
The platform is approximately 70 feet below the surface and is served by two lifts and a spiral staircase of 84 steps. The platform exits are at the rear of the train southbound and front of the train northbound. In November, 1940 the station was designated an air-raid shelter and filled with bunk beds. Lambeth North is ideally situated for the Imperial War Museum and Morley College, an adult education college dating back to the 1880s.
Elephant & Castle
See the Northern Line: High Barnet and Bank Branches section of this Guide.