Cannon Street station

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Template:For Template:Use dmy dates Template:Use British English Template:Infobox London station Cannon Street station,<ref name=network_rail>Template:Cite web</ref> also known as London Cannon Street, is a central London railway terminus and connected London Underground station located on Cannon Street in the City of London. It was built on the site of the medieval Steelyard, the trading base in England of the Hanseatic League, and opened in 1866.

It is situated within fare zone 1 and is one of 17 railway stations in the United Kingdom directly managed by Network Rail. Mainline railway services out of Cannon Street are operated by Southeastern; the Underground station is on the Circle and District lines between Monument and Mansion House.


Cannon Street is a terminal station approached across the River Thames by the Cannon Street Railway Bridge and has entrances on Cannon Street itself and Dowgate Hill. Its approach by rail is by a triangular connection to both Template:LUL stations and Template:Stnlnk. There were originally eight platforms; a refurbishment in the late 1990s removed the original platform 1.

London Buses routes 15, 17, 344, 521, night routes N15 and N47, serve the station.


Original structure

File:Cannon Street Station.jpg
Front of original station building, c. 1910

Opened by the South Eastern Railway on 1 September 1866, the original station building was designed by Sir John Hawkshaw and J. W. Barry and was characterised by its two Wren-style towers, Template:Convert square and Template:Convert high, which faced on to the River Thames. The towers supported a Template:Convert long iron train shed crowned by a high single arch, almost semicircular, of glass and iron. To this was joined in 1867 an Italianate style hotel and forecourt designed by E. M. Barry which provided much of the station's passenger facilities as well as an impressive architectural frontispiece to the street. This arrangement was very similar to that put in place at Template:Stnlnk. The station is carried on a brick viaduct over Upper Thames Street. Below this viaduct there are remains of a number of Roman buildings, which form a scheduled ancient monument. Barry's five-storey City Terminus Hotel underwent two changes of name: first to Cannon Street Hotel, and later, as an office block, to Southern House.

War years

File:Cannon Street Station 2.jpg
Original station viewed from the railway bridge, c. 1910

From 5–28 June 1926 the Southern Railway carried out various works, including the rebuilding of the platforms, relaying of the tracks and installation of a new system of electrical signalling – the four-aspect colour light scheme. The station was also renovated and the glass roof cleaned. The number of platforms was reduced from nine to eight, with five set aside for the new electric trains. The signal box spanning the width of the railway bridge was removed.

The station, which had been subject to structural neglect prior to the Second World War, suffered extensive bomb damage and was hit by several incendiary devices which damaged the roof. A high explosive also hit platform 8. The original glass roof had been removed before the war in an attempt to save it; the factory in which the roof was stored was itself badly bombed, destroying the roof.


The station's prime location coupled with the property boom of the 1950s and the need for British Rail to seek alternative revenue streams made war-damaged Cannon Street a prime target for property developers.

Various plans were mooted for the reconstruction of the station, from the installation of a new ticket hall and concourse under Southern House in 1955 as part of British Rail's Modernisation Plan, to the construction of a car park and even a helipad. In 1962 the British Transport Commission entered into an agreement with Town & Country Properties for the construction of a multi-storey office building above the station with Template:Convert of floor space. The cost of the development was £2.35 million and it was scheduled for completion by June 1965.

File:Cannon Street Station 3.jpg
Poulson's office block in 2007 prior to redevelopment

In preparation for redevelopment the remains of the once magnificent train shed roof had been demolished in 1958, and Barry's hotel (which had been used as offices since 1931) soon followed in 1960. The architect selected to design the new building was John Poulson who was good friends with Graham Tunbridge, a British Rail surveyor whom he had met during the war. Poulson took advantage of this friendship to win contracts for the redevelopment of various British Rail termini. He paid Tunbridge a weekly income of £25 and received in return building contracts, including the rebuilding of Waterloo and East Croydon stations. At his trial in 1974 he admitted that shortly before receiving the Cannon Street building contract, he had given Tunbridge a cheque for £200 and a suit worth £80. Poulson was later found guilty of corruption charges and was given a seven-year concurrent sentence; Tunbridge received a 15-month suspended sentence and £4,000 fine for his role in the affair.

All that now remains of the original station architecture are the twin Template:Convert red-brick towers at the country-end and parts of the low flanking walls.

Modern era

In 1974 the station closed for five weeks from 2 August-9 September to enable alterations to be made to the track and the approaches to London Bridge to be resignalled. Traffic was diverted to London Bridge, Charing Cross and Template:LUL stations. On 4 March 1976 an IRA bomb of about 10 lb (4.5 kg) exploded on an empty commuter train leaving Cannon Street, injuring eight people on another train travelling alongside. Had the bomb exploded 13 minutes earlier it would have caused widespread carnage as the train had been carrying hundreds of commuters on a service from Sevenoaks.

On 15 February 1984 it was reported in The Times that Cannon Street would close. At the time, the station had been closed for weekends and evenings, and the publication of British Rail's new timetable for 1984-1985 revealed that it would lose all its direct off-peak services to the south-east. Services from Sevenoaks, Template:Stnlnk, Template:Stnlnk, Template:Stnlnk, Template:Stnlnk, Template:Stnlnk, Template:Stnlnk, Lewisham and Template:Stnlnk would instead terminate at Template:LUL stations except during peak hours. This was denied by British Rail which pointed out that it had invested £10 million in redecking the railway bridge, and that passengers travelling from the south-east during off-peak hours would most likely be visiting the West End and not the City.

In 1986 the station's twin towers, which had been Grade II listed in 1972, were restored in a £242,000 project. The works revealed that the east tower still contained a large water tank which was used during the days of steam to replenish locomotives and to power the station hydraulic systems. The brickwork was repaired, cleaned and repointed, and the weathervanes gilded to complement the dome of nearby St Paul's Cathedral. This work was one of the Railway Heritage Trust's first projects and coincided with an exhibition held in the station in August of the same year to mark its 150th anniversary.

The 1980s also saw another property boom and British Rail again began looking into further commercial uses of the Cannon Street landspace. The air rights over the platforms to the rear of Poulson's office were sold to Speyhawk which appointed Bovis Construction to build a free-standing structure comprising two office blocks on a 6,000 tonne steel deck constructed over the station's eight platforms and above Cannon Sports Centre, a sports club which opened beneath Cannon Street's arches in 1981. The works involved complex piling operations whereby 450 tripod piles were bored to depths of 30 metres below the station in order to support the steel deck.

The larger office block, the "Atrium building", provides Template:Convert of office space on six floors and is linked to the smaller building, the "River building", via a glazed link raised through a central glazed atrium. The River building, which has two storeys, is built on the steel deck and contained within the two station flank walls, which were rebuilt, providing Template:Convert of office space. This building would project slightly beyond the restored twin towers which form the riverside boundary to the development. The Atrium building was later let to Liffe. The River building has a roof garden which was designed, constructed and still maintained by CC Cousins Ltd a facilities solutions provider based in Rochester, Kent. Covering about an acre, the project cost about £500,000 and was laid in order to comply with planning restrictions which required the building to be low and flat in order to maintain the sight lines from St Pauls to Tower Bridge.

On 8 January 1991 two people were killed and hundreds were injured in the Cannon Street rail crash when a commuter train failed to stop on a dead-end platform and collided with the buffers.

Planning permission was granted in March 2007 to replace the Poulson building, with a new air rights building designed by Foggo Associates. Hines, the US developer, led a £360 million project involving the demolition of Poulson's office block, replacing it with a mixed-use development containing more than Template:Convert of office space alongside Template:Convert of station retail space. The redevelopment was part of a larger regeneration programme undertaken by Network Rail to modernise and "unlock the commercial potential" of the main London termini; both Template:Stnlnk and Template:LUL stations were also redeveloped. Network Rail's director of commercial property said that the finished station would be "less congested and more accessible for passengers." Cannon Street won the award for "Large Station of the Year" at the 2013 National Rail Awards.


Due to the Thameslink Programme removing the Spa Road Junction that enables access to Charing Cross from stations on the Greenwich Line and additionally New Cross and St Johns, these services will need to run to Cannon Street at all times. It has been proposed that Cannon Street will open later Monday to Saturday and all day on Sundays.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Mainline services

File:Cannon street station 2.jpg
Cannon Street station viewed from London Bridge.

The station connects the south side of the City to south and south-east London via Template:LUL stations station. Some services run directly into Cannon Street from Kent and East Sussex, but only during rush hours. Occasionally during the weekends when track maintenance is in progress, the station serves as an intermediate station between London Bridge and Template:Stnlnk. Either trains reverse at the station or rail passengers change trains here. The station is closed on Sundays, except when engineering works close Charing Cross station and services are diverted to Cannon Street instead.

The typical off-peak service from the station is:

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London Underground

Template:Infobox London station The London Underground station is a sub-surface station, situated immediately below the mainline station. It is served by the District and Circle lines. Entrances are located on Cannon Street, Dowgate Hill, and on the mainline concourse upstairs at the National Rail station, providing an interconnection for commuters. A station here was part of the unrealised phase two expansion of the Fleet line.

The Underground station is open Mondays to Saturdays only as it is used primarily by commuters who work in the financial services industries of the City. Alternatively, passengers can walk to Mansion House, the next stop along from Cannon Street, or to Bank for the Northern, Central or Waterloo & City lines, and the Docklands Light Railway.


By 1876, the Metropolitan Railway (MR) and Metropolitan District Railway (MDR) had constructed the majority of the Inner Circle (now the Circle line), reaching Template:LUL stations and Template:LUL stations respectively. The companies were in dispute over the completion of the route as the MDR was struggling financially and the MR was concerned that completion would affect its revenues through increased competition from the MDR in the City area. City financiers keen to see the line completed, established the Metropolitan Inner Circle Completion Railway in 1874 to link Mansion House to Aldgate. Forced into action, the MR bought-out the company and it and the MDR began construction of the final section of the Inner Circle in 1879.

On 6 October 1884, the final section of the Inner Circle was opened along with Cannon Street station. Initially the station was served by trains from both companies as part of circular Inner Circle service but various operational patterns have been used during the station's life. The Inner Circle service achieved a separate identity as the Circle line in 1949 although its trains were still provided by the District or Metropolitan lines.

The station was reconstructed at the same time as the main line station above.

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External links

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