Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Barbican tube station

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Station code

Fare zone

London, United Kingdom

Managed by
London Underground

Number of platforms
4 (2 in use)

9.85 million

Local authority
City of London

Barbican tube station

London Underground, Farringdon station, Moorgate station, Great Portland Street tub, Barbican Estate

A steam train at the barbican tube station

Barbican is a London Underground station situated near the Barbican Estate, on the edge of the ward of Farringdon Within, in the City of London. It has been known by various names since its opening in 1865, mostly in reference to the neighbouring ward of Aldersgate.


The station is served by the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, and is situated between Farringdon and Moorgate stations, in Travelcard Zone 1. Until 2009, Barbican was additionally served by Thameslink services to and from Moorgate.


Barbican station lies in an east-west-aligned trench with cut-and-cover tunnels at either end. The modern entrance gives access from Aldersgate Street, through a 1990s building, to a much older footbridge leading to the eastern end of the platforms. To the north of the station are the rears of buildings that face onto Charterhouse Street, Charterhouse Square and Carthusian Street. To the south are the rears of buildings that face onto Long Lane, and to the west is Hayne Street. The station is close to the Barbican Estate, Barbican Centre, City of London School for Girls, St Bartholomew-the-Great, and Smithfield.


The station was opened with the name Aldersgate Street on 23 December 1865 on the Moorgate extension from Farringdon. The station's name was shortened to Aldersgate on 1 November 1910 and it was renamed again on 24 October 1924 as Aldersgate & Barbican. On 1 December 1968 the station's name was simplified to Barbican.

Train services were disrupted during the Second World War when the station suffered severe bomb damage in the Blitz, particularly in December 1940. This led to the removal of the upper floors, and in 1955 the remainder of the street-level building was also demolished.

Increasing traffic by other companies, including goods traffic, led to the track between King's Cross and Moorgate being widened to four tracks in 1868; the route was called the 'City Widened Lines'. Suburban services from the Midland Railway ran via Kentish Town and the Great Northern Railway ran via Kings Cross. British Rail services to Moorgate were initially steam operated before being converted to Cravens-built diesel multiple units and British Rail Class 31 locomotives class hauling non-corridor stock which remained in operation until the mid-1970s.

Passenger trains from the Great Northern line, via the York Road and Hotel curves at King's Cross to the Widened Lines, ran until the Great Northern's electrification on 1976. The City Widened Lines were renamed the Moorgate line when overhead electrification was installed in 1982, allowing the Midland City Line service to run from Bedford via the Midland Main Line to Moorgate on the Thameslink service. The Thameslink platforms at Barbican were closed again in March 2009 as part of the Thameslink Programme to allow Farringdon to have its main line platforms extended across Thameslink's Moorgate branch. As a result, Barbican is no longer a multimodal station.

Incidents and accidents

On 16 December 1866 three passengers were killed, a guard was seriously injured and one other person suffered shock when a girder collapsed onto a passenger train in the station. The accident was the first to include multiple passengers on the underground network. Four people died during the accident, and a fifth (a workman involved in the accident) died while awaiting trial. Service on the line was running again only 30 minutes after the accident.

Station building

The station replaced an earlier building at 134 Aldersgate Street, which for many years had a sign claiming "This was Shakespeare's House". Although the building was very close to the nearby Fortune Playhouse, there is no documentary evidence that Shakespeare lived there; a subsidy roll from 1598 shows a "William Shakespeare" as the owner of the property, but there is nothing to indicate that it is the playwright. The station has no surface building.

The station today

The station is mostly open to the elements, though there are some short canopies. The remains of the supporting structure for a glass canopy over all four platforms (removed in the 1950s ) may still clearly be seen. At the west end of the central island platform is a disused signal box. Also from this end of the platforms may be seen the beginnings of the complex of tunnels leading under Smithfield meat market. Livestock for the market was at one time delivered by rail and there was a substantial goods yard under the site of the market.

Platform 1 is the most northerly, serving eastbound London Underground services. Platforms 2 and 3 form an island platform, with platform 2 serving westbound services. Platforms 3 and 4 are out of use. A display on the history of the station, including text and photographs, is just inside the barriers, on the southern side of the main entrance corridor.

Circle line

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is:

  • 6tph clockwise to Edgware Road via Liverpool Street and Tower Hill
  • 6tph anti-clockwise to Hammersmith via King's Cross St. Pancras and Baker Street
  • Hammersmith & City line

    The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is:

  • 6tph eastbound to Barking
  • 6tph westbound to Hammersmith
  • Metropolitan line

    The typical off-peak services in trains per hour (tph) are:

  • 2tph northbound to Amersham
  • 2tph northbound to Chesham
  • 8tph northbound to Uxbridge
  • 12tph southbound to Aldgate
  • Connections

    London Buses routes 4, 56, 100, 153 and 243, and night routes N35 and N55 serve the station. Furthermore, bus route 243 provides a 24-hour bus service.

    Future development

    When Crossrail is completed, Farringdon's eastern ticket hall will be just to the west of Barbican station, and an interchange will be built here. This will involve significant changes at the western end of the station, including the demolition of the former signal box and the provision of a new footbridge spanning the tracks. Work is anticipated to be completed in 2018.


    Barbican tube station Wikipedia

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