Neha Patil (Editor)

Elephant and Castle tube station

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Fare zone
1 and 2

+44 343 222 1234

Number of platforms


Elephant & Castle tube station

Local authority
Yes (Northern line southbound only)

London Rd, London SE1 6LW, UK

Leslie Green, T. P. Figgis

Elephant and Castle, London Underground, Lambeth North tube station, London Bridge station, Kennington tube station

Elephant & Castle is a London Underground station in the London Borough of Southwark in central London. It is on the Bank branch of the Northern line between Kennington and Borough stations, and is the southern terminus of the Bakerloo line, the next station being Lambeth North. The station is in both Travelcard Zones 1 and 2. The Northern line station was opened in 1890 by the City and South London Railway (C&SLR) while the Bakerloo line station was opened sixteen years later by the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (BS&WR). There is out-of-station interchange with the nearby Elephant & Castle National Rail station.


A girl born at the station in 1924 was the first baby to be born on the Underground network. The Bakerloo line building remains much as originally constructed and is a typical Leslie Green structure. The Northern line building was designed by Thomas Phillips Figgis, and was rebuilt several times until the current structure opened in 2003. Transport for London (TfL) is currently planning a major upgrade to the station. A Bakerloo line extension south to Camberwell was planned and approved in 1931 but construction never started. Similar proposals have been revived on several occasions; in 2014 TfL ran a consultation on an extension to Hayes and Beckenham Junction, which is still under consideration.


Elephant & Castle is located in the Elephant and Castle area of Newington in the London Borough of Southwark in central London. The station is in both Travelcard Zones 1 and 2 and is on the Bank branch of the Northern line between Kennington and Borough stations, and is the southern terminus of the Bakerloo line, the next station being Lambeth North. The station has two surface buildings, separated by a large traffic intersection. The northern building provides the most direct access to the Bakerloo line, while the southern one is linked more directly to the Northern line.

Station building

Access to the more northerly (Bakerloo) part of the station is via the original building, while the exit is via a new extension next to Skipton House. Between the entrance and two shops is the entrance to South London House, an office block above the station. The BS&WR station building remains much as originally constructed and is a typical Leslie Green structure. The main alteration is a modern glass-sided and glass-topped flat-roofed extension abutting the original western elevation, giving access to three of the six arches. These arches, in a classic deep-red faience style, formed the original perimeter: two are infilled with street-facing shops. As the station also functions as a drivers' depot, London Underground uses the offices above the station for administration and drivers' accommodation.

The C&SLR station was designed by Thomas Phillips Figgis in a similar style to Kennington station. It was partially rebuilt in the 1920s when the C&SLR tunnels were modernised, and was rebuilt during the construction of the Elephant & Castle shopping centre and roundabout in the 1960s. It was rebuilt at the start of the 21st century, reopening on 12 December 2003. Neither building has escalators. To get from either ticket hall to the platforms it is necessary to use the lifts or spiral stairs. The southern building has lifts from street level down to the level of the southbound Northern line platform, the only step-free platform at the station. From inside the station, the northern exit is labelled "London South Bank University" and emerges at the southern tip of the triangular campus. The southern exit is labelled "Shopping Centre" and also leads to the National Rail station where there is an out-of-station interchange, allowing Oyster card and contactless payment card users to interchange while paying a single fare for their journey.

Heritage feature and refurbishment

The multi-coloured platform tiles on the Northern line were reconstructed in the 1920s in conjunction with an extension to Morden station. The tiles were carefully replicated in 2006 to replace the originals, which were in poor condition. The original C&SLR tiles dating from 1890 remain on the tunnel roofs of the Northern line platforms, albeit now covered over by the new cable-management system. The station was refurbished in 2007. The original maroon and cream tiling on the Bakerloo line platforms has been covered over. Because of the arrangement of the lighting, cabling and public address loudspeakers, it was not possible to arrange the new roundels at alternate ‘low’ and ‘high’ positions, all being at the lower level.

Bakerloo line

The station is the southern terminus of the Bakerloo line, with northbound trains terminating at either Queen's Park, Stonebridge Park or Harrow & Wealdstone.

The typical service pattern in trains per hour (tph) is:

  • 6tph to Harrow & Wealdstone via Queens Park and Stonebridge Park
  • 3tph to Stonebridge Park via Queens Park
  • 5tph to Queens Park
  • Northern line

    On this line, the station is on the Bank or City branch; the next stations are Borough to the north and Kennington to the south. The typical off-peak service (as of January 2015) in trains per hour (tph) is 10tph northbound to each of High Barnet and Edgware and 20tph southbound to Morden.


    The station is served by London Bus routes 1, 12, 35, 40, 45, 53, 63, 68, 100, 133, 136, 148, 155, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 196, 333, 343, 344, 360, 363, 415, 453, 468, C10 and P5, and also by night routes N1, N35, N63, N68, N89, N133, N155, N171 and N343. In addition, bus routes 12, 53, 148, 176, 188, 344 and 453 provide a 24-hour bus service.

    Northern line

    Between 1883–86, a route was planned by the City and South London Railway (C&SLR), then known as the City of London & Southwark Subway (CL&SS), from King William Street via Elephant & Castle to Stockwell and Clapham Common. The entire route was approved on 25 July 1890 and the station opened on 18 December 1890 as part of the first deep-level tube between King William Street and Stockwell.

    In November 1891, the C&SLR recognised the deficiencies of the section between Borough station and King William Street. A new route was chosen with a different pair of tunnels, avoiding this section. Near Borough, the new tunnels would branch off to London Bridge to form an interchange with the mainline station and then north through the City of London to Angel. The plan was approved on 24 August 1893 following a delay. The Act also incorporated another bill of 1893 to grant more time to build the southern extension to Clapham. The new route and the first section of the northern extension from Borough to Moorgate opened on 25 February 1900, and the King William Street diversion was closed. The southern extension to Clapham Common opened on 3 June 1900. Work continued on the rest of the northern extension and it opened on 17 November 1901.

    In 1912, the C&SLR submitted another bill to increase its capacity by enlarging its tunnels to the larger diameter used for the tunnels of the more recently built railways to allow larger, more modern rolling stock to be used. Together, the works proposed in these bills would enable the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR)'s trains to run over the C&SLR's route and vice versa, effectively combining the two separate railways. Tunnel enlargement works only restarted after World War I when an extension of time was granted in February 1919. The Moorgate to Clapham Common section reopened on 1 December 1924, approximately eight months after the rest of the line.

    Bakerloo line

    In November 1891, a private bill was presented to Parliament for the construction of the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (BS&WR). The railway was planned to run entirely underground from Marylebone to Elephant & Castle via Baker Street and Waterloo and was approved in 1900. Construction commenced in August 1898 under the direction of Sir Benjamin Baker, W.R. Galbraith and R.F. Church with building work by Perry & Company of Tredegar Works, Bow. Test trains began running in 1905. The first section of the BS&WR was between Baker Street and Lambeth North. The BS&WR station opened on 5 August 1906, almost five months after the rest of the line.


    On the morning of 27 November 1923, a slight misjudgement at the end of the tunnel enlargement work left the tunnel unstable near Borough. A collapse on the same day, caused when a train hit temporary shoring near Elephant & Castle, filled the tunnel with wet gravel. Later a gas main exploded, causing a water main to break and leaving a water-filled crater in the middle of the street. The line was briefly split in two, but was completely closed on 28 November 1923.

    A girl born at the station on 13 May 1924 was the first baby to be born on the Underground network. According to initial press reports, she had been named Thelma Ursula Beatrice Eleanor (so that her initials would be T.U.B.E.) but this later proved false: her actual name was Mary Ashfield Eleanor Hammond. Her second name Ashfield was from Lord Ashfield, chairman of the railway, who agreed to be the baby's godfather, but said that, "it would not do to encourage this sort of thing as I am a busy man."

    Station upgrade

    A major upgrade is being planned by Transport for London to bring improvements to the station; these include a new Northern line ticket hall, three new escalators and additional lifts to provide step-free access to the Northern line platforms. This will be done in conjunction with the major transformation in the Elephant & Castle area to create thousands of new homes and potential for new retail development to provide growth in the area.

    Bakerloo line extension to southeast London

    An extension to Camberwell from Elephant & Castle was planned and approved in 1931. Elephant & Castle was also to be reconstructed with a third platform to provide the additional reversing capacity, along with a new ticket hall and escalators. Due to the need to prioritise the extension from Baker Street to Finchley Road, to relieve congestion on the Metropolitan line, as well as financial constraints and the outbreak of the Second World War, no work was carried out on the extension. In the 1950s there was a brief revival of the plan, in which it was proposed that Elephant & Castle would not be altered and the additional turn-round capacity would be provided by making Camberwell a three-platform terminus. The project was ultimately unaffordable owing to post-war austerity, reduced demand, and the disproportionately high cost of the project with a three-platform deep-level terminus and the requirement for new trains and a depot.

    During 2005–06, a Bakerloo extension was proposed with three route options. The options were extensions to Hayes via Peckham Rye, Beckenham Junction via Camberwell, or Hayes via New Cross. In July 2011, Network Rail recommended an extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham, where it would take over the line to Hayes. In September 2014, Transport for London ran a consultation on the Bakerloo extension to Hayes and Beckenham Junction with options via Lewisham and Camberwell or Old Kent Road, taking over Network Rail's Hayes line. The cost of the extension is estimated at around £2–3 billion with construction expected to take place between the mid-2020s and early 2030s.


    Elephant & Castle tube station Wikipedia