Have you ever travelled through the London Underground and, between stops, peered through the window to see what looks like the remains of an old station ? Do you wonder what these stations were called, why they were closed, and when ?
On this page you can find information on closed stations and lines which now lie out of use. However, I have excluded from this list stations where another line has simply taken over them (e.g. at the Western end of the Piccadilly) or lines which no longer exist (e.g. the South Acton branch). I hope you find this short history interesting. I would also welcome any corrections, or to be notified of any omissions.
British Museum Situated just west of Holborn, this station was opened by the Central London Railway on its opening in 1908. The Piccadilly Line opened its own Holborn station close-by in 1906, but passengers wanting to change lines had to do so at street level. To resolve this problem, a new Holborn station was opened on the Central Line in 1933 and British Museum was closed on the same day. The station is still visible from passing trains and there is a turn back siding still in use at the station.
Wood Lane Situated between Shepherd's Bush and White City, Wood Lane was opened in 1908, originally to serve the Franco-British exhibition. It was built on a loop line which served the existing CLR depot there. When the Central Line was extended westwards after the war, a new White City station was constructed on the new line and Wood Lane was closed in November 1947. Traces of the station could still be seen until recently from Eastbound trains as they left White City station.
Others A number of other stations on the Central Line have changed their names over the years, most notably St Pauls which used to be called Post Office.
St Mary's St Mary's (Whitechapel Road) station was opened in 1884 as part of the District Railway's push eastwards into the East-End. On the tight curve just before the junction to the East London line, the station was always small and cramped and also very close to Whitechapel and Aldgate East stations (especially after the latter was moved further eastwards in 1938). Indeed, it was as a direct result of the completion of Aldgate East that St Mary's was closed on May Day 1938. Some traces of the old station can still be seen from passing trains.
Tower Hill The current Tower Hill station stands east of the original which opened as Mark Lane in October 1884 and closed with the opening of the new station in February 1967 (itself built on the site of the long disused Tower of London station). Some of the old stairways of the eastbound side are still visible from trains as they arrive/depart from the new station.
Walford East A ghost station in many ways as the tube station on Eastenders on BBC does not actually exist, except on the back lot of the studios where the programme is made!
King's Cross The original Kings Cross station was east of the current interchange station alongside the Thameslink station of the same name. Opened in 1863, it was closed with the opening of the new one in 1941, but the westbound platforms and staircases can all be seen from passing trains.
Lords, Marlborough Road and Swiss Cottage These three stations can be found on the section of the Metropolitan mainline between Baker Street and Finchley Road. All opened with that section of the railway in April 1868, but were closed when the Bakerloo Line's northward extension opened in November 1939 (Swiss Cottage in fact survived a bit longer until August 1940). The tube line's stations at Swiss Cottage and St. John's Wood making them redundant.
Bull & Bush Unique among the stations on this list, Bull & Bush was never opened although it was completed at track level as part of the Edgware Line in 1907. An alternate name was to have been North End, and the station can be clearly seen from passing trains between Hampstead and Golders Green.
City Road City Road station was opened in November 1901 on the City branch of the Northern, just north of Old Street. It was subsequently closed in August 1922.
South Kentish Town Between Kentish Town and Camden Town, this station opened in 1907 with the rest of the line but was closed in June 1924.
King William Street King William Street was the original Northern terminus of the City and South London Railway - the first tube railway and now the city branch of the Northern Line. However it had a short life, closing in 1900 when the line was diverted onto its present route through the City. However, the station still exists under the vaults of a London bank and the old tunnels leading to it can just be seen from Northern Line trains.
York Road This station was opened in December 1906 as part of the Northern expansion of the Piccadilly between King's Cross and Caledonian Road. However poor patronage saw its closure in September 1932.
Down Street This station between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park (then known as Dover Street) was opened in March 1907. However, following the rebuilding of both nearby stations it was closed in May 1932 and a reversing siding built into the station space. During the war, the sub-surface accommodation at the station was used by the Railway Executive Committee and by Churchill and the War Cabinet.
Brompton Road This station between Knightsbridge and South Kensington was opened with rest of the line in 1906. However, it was never heavily used and many trains in the 20s and early 30s non-stopped there. It came as no surprise to anybody when the station was finally closed in July 1934.
Osterley Park & Spring Grove This station was opened as part of the Metropolitan District Railway in 1883 but closed when the present Osterley station opened in March 1934. The last District Line train called there in October 1964 when that line's services were withdrawn over the Hounslow branch.
The Piccadilly Line also has three other closed stations on its open air sections. These are Park Royal & Twyford Abbey (between Park Royal and Alperton), South Harrow (just south of the current station of the same name) and Ickenham (again close by the new station of the same name)
Aldwych Branch this line was opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton railway on 30th November 1907. The line was a left-over from plans to build a railway from Wood Green to the Strand but that plan was amalgamated with those of the Brompton and Piccadilly Railway to form what is part of today's Piccadilly line. As originally built, the Piccadilly ran from Hammersmith to Finsbury Park and the branch to the Aldwych was always something of a back water, although its close proximity to many of the theatres in the West End led to the running of special late night theatre trains and it gaining the unofficial title of the Theatre Line. In fact Aldwych station itself was built on the site of an old London theatre - the Royal Strand.
A number of proposals were put forward during the life of the branch to extend the line to Temple on the Embankment (where it would have made an interchange to the District) and to Waterloo, but all failed for a number of reasons. For most of its life, services were operated by a shuttle train using only one of the two tunnels and only one of the platforms at Aldwych. During the Second World War the line was closed and the tunnels used as an air raid shelter and to store various national treasures from the British Museum, including the Elgin Marbles. Services were resumed after the war, but many attempts were made to close the line due to poor patronage. Eventually, on 30th September 1994 the line was closed because the cost of refurbishing the lifts at the station could not be justified. However, the line lives on and is used by TV and film companies as a working set of an underground station. At street level much of the original station can now be seen.
Charing Cross Branch This branch and station was originally opened as the southern terminus of the Jubilee line on the 1st May 1979. The Jubilee was originally to be called either the Fleet Line or the River Line and the original plans were for the line to continue eastwards from Charing Cross through the City and on into East London. However shortage of funds saw only the first stage built to Charing Cross, although the over-run tunnels carried on past the station under the Strand in an alignment which meant they could be used as running tunnels should the later stages be built.
However, things changed and a need to provide the office centre at Canary Wharf with a connection to the main tube network and to the main-line services to the South of London saw the plans revised with a new line diverging from the old railway just south of Green Park to pass forward to Westminster, Waterloo, London Bridge and beyond, ultimately to Stratford. The final section of line was thus isolated and, with the full opening of the Jubilee from Stratford to Stanmore in November 1999, Charing Cross has lost its Jubilee line services.
When the Victoria line was constructed, no suitable place for a depot could be found along the alignment of the running lines. Consequently, the depot was constructed at Northumberland Park and this is connected by twin tunnels which link to the main running lines at junctions just North of Seven Sisters station.
Like the Victoria Line, one of the Bakerloo's depots is connected by a spur off the main running lines. Accordingly the line's London Road depot is linked by a spur which joins the main running lines at a junction just to the north of Lambeth Road station.
When the Northern Line's West End branch was extended south to join the original City and South London railway's line at Kennington in 1926 a loop was constructed at Kennington to enable southbound trains to be turned northbound without the driver having to change ends. This loop is still in use today to reverse trains, diverging from the main line just south of the station and burrowing under the main line to Oval and rejoining the northbound Charing Cross line just before re-entering Kennington station's platform 1.
This new extension of the Charing Cross line resulted in the closure of the old Terminal Loop of the former Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway at Charing Cross which had been built in 1914 when the line was extended there from its former terminus at Strand (confusingly originally also called Charing Cross). This "new" Charing Cross station on the Terminal Loop still exists as the sharply curved northbound platform at what is now the Northern Line's Embankment station.