Circle Line

Map Colour:
First Operated: 1884
Type: Sub-Surface
Length: 17 Miles/ 27 km
No. of Stations: 36
Night Service: No
Current Stock: S Stock      

The Circle Line runs from Hammersmith in west London to Edgware Road and carries on to make a loop around Central London via King’s Cross St Pancras, Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Tower Hill, Mansion House, Victoria and High Street Kensington terminating at Edgware Road and then return via the same route back road to Edgware Road and back onto Hammersmith.

1863 saw the opening of the Metropolitan Railway on the 10th January which was the world’s first underground railway service which ran between Paddington and Farringdon Street using steam locomotives and wooden carriages, in the same year a select committee report recommended an inner-circle of railway lines connecting built and under construction London termini. The following year the District Railway was formed to build and operate a line from South Kensington to Tower Hill. The Metropolitan Railway was later extended to the west in 1868 from a new station at Paddington to South Kensington.

Metropolitan Railway LogoThe District Railway had been opened between West Brompton and Blackfriars by May 1870, services were first operated by the Metropolitan Railway. The District Railway was extended to Mansion House in 1871 and to Aldgate on 18th November 1876 although due to conflict between the companies work on the inner-circle wasn’t completed, it took an act of parliament before further work was done. The Metropolitan Railway was extended from Aldgate to a temporary station at Tower Hill and the District Railway finished it’s extension to Whitechapel on 6th October 1884, the temporary station at Tower Hill was later replaced by joint station and the inner-circle was finally complete. Clockwise ‘Outer-Rail’ trains were provided by the Metropolitan Railway and the anti-clockwise ‘Inner-Rail’ trains were provided by the District Railway.

The line was absorbed into the London Passenger Transport Board on 1st July 1933 to along with other Underground Railways, tramways and bus operators in London and Metropolitan Railway EMUs were refurbished at Acton Works to become 5 car Circle Stock trains and were originally painted red and cream although were later changed to all over red to reduce costs and until 1940 these trains included first class accommodation. In 1947 F Stock trains transferred to the Uxbridge Line meaning that the 5 car O and P Stock Trains with remotely operated doors used on the line could be transferred to the Circle Line. The Circle Line wasn’t shown as a line separate from the Metropolitan and District Lines until 1949.

In 1959/60 the Circle Line trains were increased to 6 car trains which were the same length as the trains operating on the Hammersmith & City Line which meant that the trains of the two lines could be integrated and maintenance carried out at Hammersmith depot allowing Neasden Depot to concentrate on the new A Stock and in 1970 the trains on both lines were replaced by C Stock Trains with public address systems. One person train operated was proposed in 1972 but didn’t happen until 1984 due to conflict with Trade Unions and in 1998 the infrastructure of the Circle Line was partly privatised in a public-private partnership managed by Metronet. Metronet went into administration in 2007 and was taken over by Transport for London as part London Underground as Nominee SSL.

On 31st May 2008 one day before the new alcohol ban on Transport for London Services thousands of people took to the Circle Line to have a party where 17 were arrested and several stations closed due to disorderly behaviour.

Circle Line Route pre-2009.

In December 2009 the Circle Line was extended to it’s current route, prior to this the line ran a simple circle via Edgware Road, Kings Cross St Pancras, Aldgate, Tower Hill, Victoria and High Street Kensington. Rather than running a circle trains now run from Hammersmith to Edgware Road and then go around the circle before terminating at Edgware Road, the then return via the same route back round to Edgware Road and back to Hammersmith, the purpose of the extension was to improve reliability as trains now have a terminus and increase the service frequency on the Hammersmith Branch.

Rolling Stock

S Stock
The Circle line currently operates 7 car S Stock trains know as ‘S7 Stock’ trains, the trains are built by Bombardier in Derby as part of their Movia family. S7 Stock trains were ordered to replace the C69/ C77 Stock trains which had been in operation on the Circle Line since 1970. S7 Stock trains are longer than the 6 car C Stock trains and so some station platforms have been lengthened, it is planned to increase the traction voltage from 630v to 750v once the whole Sub-Surface network has S Stock trains for better performance and to get better performance from their regenerative brakes. S7 Stock trains entered passenger service on the Circle line on 2nd September 2013 and fully replaced all C Stock trains on 10th February 2014.


Hammersmith Depot is the lines main depot near Hammersmith Station, built by the Great Western Railway for the Metropolitan Railway when the joint railway to Hammersmith was electrified in 1906.

Other Depots and Sidings
Heavy maintenance is carried out at Neasden depot, S7 Stock deliveries are delivered to Neasden depot to be readied before transferring them to Hammersmith. The Circle Line also uses sidings at Barking, Farringdon and near High Street Kensington known as ‘Triangle Sidings’ for stabling trains overnight.


Current stations on the Hammersmith & City line:
Station Name Opened Additional Information
Hammersmith 13th June 1864 Moved to current position on 1st December 1868.
Goldhawk Road 1st April 1914
Shepherd’s Bush Market 13th June 1864 Moved to current position on 1st April 1914. Originally opened as ‘Shepherd’s Bush’, renamed on 12th October 2008.
Wood Lane 1st May 1908 (12th October 2008 as current station) Originally opened as ‘Wood Lane (Exhibition)’ from 1908 – 1914, reopened ‘as required’ from 1920 as ‘Wood Lane (White City)’. Renamed White City in 1947 and closed in 1959, reopened again on 12th October 2008 as Wood Lane.
Latimer Road 16th December 1868
Ladbroke Grove 13th June 1864 Originally opened as Notting Hill, renamed ‘Notting Hill & Ladbroke Grove’ in 1880, renamed again ‘Ladbroke Grove (North Kensington)’ in 1919 and again to ‘Ladbroke Grove’ in 1938.
Westbourne Park 1st February 1866 Moved to current position on 1st November 1871. Used as a Great Western Railway mainline station from 1871 to 1992.
Royal Oak 30th October 1871 Also used as a Great Western Railway mainline station after opening.
Paddington 10th January 1863 Originally opened as ‘Paddington (Bishop’s Road)’, renamed in 1948.
Edgware Road 10th January 1863
Baker Street 10th January 1863
Great Portland Street 10th January 1863 Oringally opened as ‘Portland Road’, renamed in 1917. Renamed again ‘Great Portland Street & Regents Park’ in 1923 but renamed back to ‘Great Portland Street’ in 1933.
Euston Square 10th January 1863 Originally opened as ‘Gower Street’, renamed in 1909.
King’s Cross St Pancras 10th January 1863 Originally opened as ‘King’s Cross’, renamed ‘King’s Cross & St Pancras’ in 1925 and again to ‘King’s Cross St Pancras’ in 1933. Moved to current position in 1941.
Farringdon 10th January 1863 Originally opened as ‘Farringdon Street’, renamed ‘Farringdon & High Holborn’ in 1922 and renamed again to ‘Farringdon’ in 1936. Moved to current position in 1865.
Barbican 23rd December 1865 Originally opened as ‘Aldersgate Street’, renamed ‘Aldersgate’ in 1910, renamed again ‘Aldersgate & Barbican’ in 1923 and renamed again ‘Barbican’ in 1968.
Moorgate 23rd December 1865 Originally opened as ‘Moorgate Street’, renamed in 1924.
Liverpool Street 11th July 1875 Trains used platforms in the mainline station from February to July 1875.
Aldgate 18th November 1876
Tower Hill 25th September 1882 Originally opened as ‘Tower of London’, closed in 1884 due to opening of nearby ‘Mark Lane Station’ on the District Railway. Mark Lane was renamed ‘Tower Hill’ in 1946 and then moved to the site of the old ‘Tower of London’ station in 1967.
Monument 6th October 1884 Originally opened as ‘Eastcheap’, renamed ‘The Monument’ in 1884. Escalator connection to Bank Station.
Cannon Street 6th October 1884
Mansion House 3rd July 1871
Blackfriars 30th May 1870
Temple 30th May 1870 Originally opened as ‘The Temple’.
Embankment 30th May 1870 Originally opened as ‘Charing Cross’, renamed ‘Charing Cross Embankment’ in 1974 and again to ‘Embankment’ in 1976.
Westminster 24th December 1868 Originally opened as ‘Westminster Bridge’, renamed in 1970.
St James’s Park 24th December 1868
Victoria 24th December 1868
Sloane Square 24th December 1868
South Kensington 24th December 1868
Gloucester Road 1st October 1868 Originally opened as ‘Brompton (Gloucester Road), renamed in 1907.
High Street Kensington 1st October 1868 Originally opened as ‘Kensington (High Street)’, gradually changed to become ‘High Street Kensington’ by 1880
Notting Hill Gate 1st October 1868
Bayswater 1st October 1868 Originally opened as ‘Bayswater’, renamed ‘Bayswater (Queen’s Road) & Westbourne Grove’ in 1923, renamed again ‘Bayswater (Queen’s Road)’ in 1933 and again to ‘Bayswater (Queensway)’ in 1946. The suffix was later dropped.
Paddington 1st October 1868 Originally opened as ‘Paddington (Praed Street)’, renamed in 1948.
Trains continue on to Edgware Road where they terminate and then reverse back via the same route.