Whitechapel station

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Template:Use dmy dates Template:Use British English Template:Infobox London station

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 Wickhams department store. There are also many tours in this area focusing on the Jack the Ripper murders.


File:Whitechapel tube station 1896.jpg
"Whitechapel and Mile End" tube station in 1896

Whitechapel station was originally opened in 1876 when the East London Railway (ELR, now the East London Line) was extended north from Template:Stnlnk 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 Template:LUL stations (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 The ELR passenger service between Whitechapel and Liverpool Street was withdrawn in 1885.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 Template:LUL stations 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 Template:LUL stations (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 Template:LUL stations. 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.

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


File:Whitechapel stn east.JPG
District and Hammersmith & City line platforms prior to recent platform changes

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 back in the opposite direction from any platform during times of disruption or engineering work). There was a siding alongside the Platform 4 track accessed from the east side of the station which could accept either 6 car C or D stock train. 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 will be 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 Template:LUL stations 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.

Vitreous enamel panels designed by Doug Patterson in 1997 have been installed on the East London line, now London Overground, platforms.

The canopies above the station entrances were designed by Weston Williamson.

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 Template:LUL stations station, one of the many closed London Underground stations.

East London Line

Template:London Overground East London Line

In preparation for the future extension of the East London Line to Template:Stnlnk and Template:LUL stations, 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 tracks on a new alignment were connected to a disused North London Line viaduct from Shoreditch to Dalston. It is now 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.
File:Whitechapel 1.JPG
Underground over Overground - eastbound Underground train departs from Whitechapel in 2012 over northbound Overground train
Whitechapel has the odd situation where the District and Hammersmith & City Line London Underground platforms are above the East London Line London Overground platforms.



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

London Overground

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:

London Underground

Hammersmith & City Line

This is the general off-peak frequency. It should be noted that some early morning services run via Tower Hill forming Circle Line services.

  • 6 tph eastbound to Barking
  • 6 tph westbound to Hammersmith via King's Cross and Wood Lane

District Line

This is the general off-peak frequency. During peak times trains also operate to Ealing Broadway. During off-peak times, trains from Ealing Broadway terminate short at Tower Hill.

Transport links

The station is served by London bus route 25, 106, 205, 254, D3 and night routes N205 and 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.


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London Underground

London Overground



External links

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