Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Bakerloo line

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Type  Deep Level
Stations  25
System  London Underground
Colour on map  Brown
Bakerloo line httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Ridership  111,136,000 (2011/12) passenger journeys

London underground old tube trains on the bakerloo line

The Bakerloo line /ˌbkərˈl/ is a line of the London Underground, coloured brown on the Tube map. It runs partly on the surface and partly at deep level, from Elephant and Castle in Central London, via the West End, to Harrow & Wealdstone in the north-western outer suburbs. The line serves 25 stations, of which 15 are below ground. It was so named because it serves Baker Street and Waterloo. North of Queen's Park (the section of the line above ground), the line shares tracks with London Overground's Watford DC Line and runs parallel to the West Coast Main Line.


Bakerloo line bakerloo line extension Now Here This Time Out London

Opened between 1906 and 1915, many of its stations retain elements of their design to a common standard, the stations below ground using Art Nouveau decorative tiling by Leslie Green and the above-ground stations built in red brick with stone detailing in an Arts & Crafts style. It is the ninth busiest line on the network, carrying over 111 million passengers annually.

Bakerloo line The crazy plan to divert the Bakerloo Line to Bank Station


For a detailed history of the line, see Baker Street and Waterloo Railway. Bakerloo line Bakerloo Line London Map Timetable Service Status

The route had its origins in the failed projects of the pneumatic 1865 Waterloo and Whitehall Railway and the 1882 Charing Cross and Waterloo Electric Railway.

Bakerloo line FileBakerloo line Topological mapsvg Wikipedia

Originally called the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway, the line was constructed by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) and opened between Baker Street and Lambeth North (then called Kennington Road) on 10 March 1906. It was extended to Elephant & Castle five months later, on 5 August. The contraction of the name to "Bakerloo" rapidly caught on, and the official name was changed to match in July 1906.

Bakerloo line FileBakerloo line Topological mapsvg Wikipedia

When work on the line started in June 1898, it had been financed by the mining entrepreneur and company promoter Whitaker Wright, who fell foul of the law over the financial proceedings involved and dramatically committed suicide at the Royal Courts of Justice, after being convicted in 1904. As a result, work on the line was stopped for a few months and did not resume until Charles Yerkes and UERL stepped in and took over the project.

Bakerloo line London Underground Bakerloo Line station list amp map

By 1913, the line had been extended from its original northern terminus at Baker Street to the west with interchange stations with the Great Central Railway at Marylebone and the Great Western Railway at Paddington, and a new station at Edgware Road.

Watford branch

In 1915 the line was extended to Queen's Park, where it joined the LNWR's Euston-Watford DC line (now part of London Overground) to Watford Junction. Bakerloo services to Watford Junction were reduced in the 1960s and cut back in 1982 to Stonebridge Park.

Services as far as Harrow & Wealdstone were gradually restored from 1984, and in 1989 the present all-day service was instituted.

Stanmore branch

By the mid-1930s, the Metropolitan line was suffering from congestion caused by the limited capacity of its tracks between Baker Street and Finchley Road stations. To relieve this pressure, the network-wide New Works Programme, 1935-1940 included the construction of new sections of tunnel between the Bakerloo line's platforms at Baker Street and Finchley Road and the replacement of three Metropolitan line stations (Lord's, Marlborough Road and Swiss Cottage) between those points with two new Bakerloo stations (St. John's Wood and Swiss Cottage). The Bakerloo line took over the Metropolitan line's service to Stanmore on 20 November 1939. The branch remained part of the Bakerloo line until 1 May 1979, when similar congestion problems for the Bakerloo line caused by two branches converging at Baker Street led to the opening of the Jubilee line, initially created by connecting the Stanmore branch to new tunnels bored between Baker Street and Charing Cross.

Camberwell extension

An extension at the southern end of the line to Camberwell and Denmark Hill was proposed and approved in 1931 as part of the London Electric Metropolitan District and Central London Railway Companies (Works) Act, 1931. In April 1937, the estimated cost of the proposed extension was £5,000,000 (approximately £320 million today) and the London Passenger Transport Board announced that, due to rising materials prices, the extension had been postponed until the Board's finances improved. Apart from the extension of the sidings south of Elephant & Castle, no work on the extension took place before the Second World War, but the powers were renewed by the government in 1947 under the Special Enactments (Extension of Time) Act, 1940. A projected extension as far as Camberwell was shown on a 1949 edition of the Underground map but no further work was done. The train describers at Warwick Avenue station showed Camberwell as a destination until the 1990s.

Electricity supply

One oddity is that, almost from its opening until 1917, the Bakerloo operated with the polarity of the conductor rails reversed, the outside rail negative and the centre rail positive. This came about because the Bakerloo shared a power source with the District Railway. On the Bakerloo, the outside conductor rail tended to leak to the tunnel wall, whereas on the District Railway, the centre rail shared a similar problem. The solution was to reverse the polarity on the Bakerloo line, so that the negative rail leaked on both systems. In 1917, the two lines were separated when the LNWR began its 'New Line' service between Euston and Watford Junction, which the Bakerloo would share north of Queens Park. As a result, normal operation was restored.


The line celebrated its centenary on 10 March 2006, when various events were organised on the line.

Re-extension to Watford Junction

Over the next few years the northern section of the line may again see changes following the decision in February 2006 to transfer responsibility for Euston-Watford suburban services (on the Watford DC Line) from the Department for Transport (DfT) to Transport for London (TfL). This was in conjunction with the reorganisation of a number of north London railways under London Overground.

Under a former London Plan it was projected that by 2026 the Bakerloo line would be re-extended from Harrow & Wealdstone to Watford Junction, restoring the pre-1982 service. The railway line from Queens Park to Watford Junction, currently shared with London Overground, would then be served only by the Bakerloo line. The Best And Final Bid documentation for the Croxley Rail Link project indicates that this Bakerloo line extension is now "unlikely" because "TfL's plans to extend the Bakerloo line to Watford Junction are on hold indefinitely due to funding and business case constraints".

Camberwell proposals

The 1949 extension to Camberwell proposal was resurrected in 2006 when the then London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, suggested that an extension was being considered within 20 years. However, there are no firm commitments to this extension and it remains at the proposal stage. TfL's "Transport T2025 - Transport Vision for a growing world city" investment programme identifies the ambition to separate the present Northern line into two self-contained lines by 2025. In this plan, trains on the Northern line's Charing Cross branch would terminate at Kennington, and it has been mooted that an extension of the line to the south-east may be built, including to Camberwell. In this scenario, an extension to the Bakerloo line would no longer be required. However, recent plans are instead to extend this Northern line branch towards Battersea via two new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station, so that it is once again the Bakerloo line that would provide any extension to Camberwell.

Possible extension to Lewisham and Hayes

In its July 2011 London & South East Route Utilisation Strategy, Network Rail recommended extending the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham and then taking over the Hayes Line. This would release capacity on National Rail lines into Charing Cross.

Lewisham Council in its August 2010 transport study recommended that the extension of the Bakerloo via Peckham to Lewisham and on to the Hayes branch be pursued as a long-term ambition.

A route along the Old Kent Road route has become favoured due to redevelopment along that corridor. A date of 2040 is given for the extension, with initial frequencies of 27tph to Catford Bridge with 15tph continuing to Hayes and 6tph continuing to Beckenham Junction (via the existing chord). It would cost between £2.2bn and £2.6bn. The Beckenham Junction branch is also proposed to be extended through to Grove Park via Bromley town centre.

In December 2015, Transport for London reported on its assessment of the various options, and said that a route to Lewisham via the Old Kent Road, rather than via Camberwell, had the strongest case, and that this extension could be open by 2030. Any further extension beyond Lewisham to Hayes and Bromley would be a decision for a later phase. Meanwhile, Camberwell could be served instead by a new Thameslink station on National Rail.

In February 2017, TfL published its preferred option of an initial four stop extension, with two stations intended for the Old Kent Road (initially designated as Old Kent Road 1 and Old Kent Road 2), and new underground stations at New Cross Gate and Lewisham. The tunnels would be extended beyond Lewisham to provide overrun facilities for the trains, as well as allowing for any potential extension of the route further south in the future.

Former rolling stock

When opened in 1906, the Bakerloo line was operated by Gate Stock trains, built at Trafford Park, Manchester. To cope with the extension to Queen's Park, 12 extra motor cars of the London Underground 1914 Stock were ordered, ten from Brush of Loughborough and two from the Leeds Forge Company.

To operate services north of Queen's Park, 72 additional cars were built by the Metropolitan Carriage, Waggon and Finance Company of Birmingham. These trains, known as the Watford Joint Stock, were partly owned by the Underground and partly by the London and North Western Railway (later London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS)). They were initially painted in LNWR livery. They were not equipped with air-operated doors and proved slow and unreliable, so they were replaced by new trains of Standard Stock in 1930 (although a few were retained by the LMS). For some years in the 1930s Watford trains had a distinctive blue stripe at window level.

In 1932, some carriages built for the Piccadilly line by Cammell Laird in Nottingham in 1919 were transferred to the Bakerloo line. When built, these had been the first Tube trains to have air-operated doors. These were later replaced by more trains of Standard Stock, in turn being replaced by 1938 stock and 1949 stock.

Until the opening of the Jubilee line in 1979, the Bakerloo line was worked by both 1938 stock and 1972 stock. The 1972 stock was intended for the Jubilee line, so from 1979 the Bakerloo line (now minus the Stanmore branch) was again entirely operated by 1938 stock. From 1983 the 1938 stock began to be replaced by trains of 1959 stock, but this was a temporary measure until 1972 stock became available. The last 1938 stock train was withdrawn on 20 November 1985. From 1986, the 1959 stock was transferred to the Northern line.

Current and future infrastructure

The Bakerloo line is operated entirely by Mark 2 1972 stock, displaced from the Jubilee line by 1983 stock. The trains are maintained at Stonebridge Park depot.

All Bakerloo line trains are painted in the London Underground livery of red, grey and blue, and are the smaller size of the two sizes used on the network, since the line goes deep underground in small tunnels.

In the early 2000s the interiors of the trains were 'deep-cleaned' and the upholstery replaced using a blue moquette. The seating layouts are both longitudinal and transverse; some cars have longitudinal seating only.

A TfL Finance and Policy Committee Paper dated 11 March 2015 revealed that the repair programme for the 1972 Stock would cost more than planned, due to the worse-than-expected condition of the fleet.

In early 2016, a four-year refurbishment programme began with the first of the new-look cars operating on the line in March. Each car's interior is being cleaned, the seating moquette replaced with a variation of the Barman type seen on other lines, and handrails and lighting renewed. Each car is being assessed and repair work carried out to ensure the stock can operate safely until its replacement with the New Tube for London stock by the early 2030s.

Transport for London proposes to upgrade the line eventually, but not until other deep-level lines have been dealt with. This will include new signalling and new trains, enabling a maximum frequency of 27 trains per hour. TfL currently expects these to be in place by 2033.

LUL has invited Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens to develop a new concept of lightweight, low-energy, semi-articulated train for the deep-level lines, provisionally called "Evo" (for 'evolution'). So far only Siemens has publicised an outline design, which would feature air-conditioning and would also have battery power enabling the train to run on to the next station if third and fourth rail power were lost. It would have a lower floor and 11% higher passenger capacity than the present tube stock. There would be a weight saving of 30 tonnes, and the trains would be 17% more energy-efficient with air-conditioning included, or 30% more energy-efficient without it. The intention is that these new trains would eventually operate on the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo & City lines.


Off-peak services on Bakerloo line are:

  • 6 tph (trains per hour) from Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle
  • 3 tph from Stonebridge Park to Elephant & Castle
  • 11 tph from Queen's Park to Elephant & Castle
  • Stations

    Note: For the former Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line, see the Jubilee line article.

    Watford branch

    Between 1917 and 1982, Bakerloo line trains continued along the DC line past Harrow & Wealdstone to Watford Junction. These stations continue to be served by London Overground. Proposals have surfaced to re-extend the Bakerloo line to Watford Junction and service the following stations:

    Stanmore branch

    The Stanmore branch was originally constructed by the Metropolitan Railway and was designated as the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line in 1939. It was transferred to the Jubilee line on 1 May 1979. It connected to the main Bakerloo line at Baker Street.


    The Bakerloo line is currently served by three depots; a main depot at Stonebridge Park,map 26 opened on 9 April 1978 on the site of a former British Rail power station which contains the fleet's maintenance facilities, the original depot at London Roadmap 27 (between Elephant and Castle and Lambeth North), and a small depot immediately north of Queens Park,map 28 built in 1915. The Queens Park depot is unique on the London Underground network in that trains in passenger service run through it.

    When Bakerloo line services ran to Watford, there was also an additional depot, Croxley Green Light Maintenance Depot at Croxley Green; this depot closed in November 1985 following the withdrawal of services.

    When the Bakerloo had two branches at its northern end, to Queens Park (as currently) and to Stanmore (now taken over by the Jubilee line), the depot at Neasden on the Stanmore branch was the principal one on the line. The Jubilee taking over this branch from 1979 was the reason behind building the new Stonebridge Park one.

    The London Road depot is unusual in that, although the depot is on the surface, the line passes nearby in tunnel, connected by a short and sharply graded branch tunnel.


    Bakerloo line Wikipedia