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London Paddington station

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Location  Paddington
Managed by  Network Rail
DfT category  A
Address  Praed St, London W2, UK
Construction started  1854
Local authority  City of Westminster
Station code  PAD
Number of platforms  14
Opened  29 May 1854
Phone  +44 343 222 1234
London Paddington station

Architects  Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Matthew Digby Wyatt
Similar  London Underground, London Victoria station, Liverpool Street station, London Waterloo station, Euston railway station

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Paddington, also known as London Paddington, is a Central London railway terminus and London Underground station complex, located on Praed Street in the Paddington area. The site has been the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the main-line station dates from 1854 and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It was first served by London Underground trains in 1863, as the original western terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway. Today, Paddington tube station is served by the Bakerloo, Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City lines.


Paddington is the London terminus of the Great Western Main Line, operated today by Great Western Railway, which provides the majority of commuter and regional passenger services to west London and the Thames Valley region as well as long-distance intercity services to South West England and South Wales. It is also the terminus for the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services to and from London Heathrow Airport. It is one of 19 stations in the United Kingdom managed directly by Network Rail. It is situated in fare zone 1.

London paddington station heathrow express ticket office


The station complex is bounded at the front by Praed Street and at the rear by Bishop's Bridge Road, which crosses the station throat on the recently replaced Bishop's Bridge. On the west side of the station is Eastbourne Terrace, while the east side is bounded by the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal. The station is in a shallow cutting, a fact obscured at the front by a hotel building, but which can be clearly seen from the other three sides.

The surrounding area is partly residential, and includes the major St Mary's Hospital, restaurants and hotels. Until recently there was little office accommodation in the area, and most commuters interchanged between National Rail and the London Underground to reach workplaces in the West End or the City. However, recent redevelopment of derelict railway and canal land, marketed as Paddington Waterside, has resulted in new office complexes nearby.

In addition to the Underground stations at Paddington, Lancaster Gate tube station on the Central line is a short walk away to the south. A little further to the south lie the conjoined parks of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

National Rail station

The National Rail station is officially named London Paddington, a name commonly used outside London but rarely by Londoners, who call it just Paddington, as on the London Underground map. Parts of the station, including the main train shed, date from 1854, when it was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as the London terminus for the Great Western Railway (GWR). It is one of 19 stations managed by Network Rail.


The first station was a temporary terminus for the GWR on the west side of Bishop's Bridge Road, opened on 4 June 1838. The first GWR service from London to Taplow, near Maidenhead, ran from Paddington in 1838. After the main station opened in 1854, this became the site of the goods depot.

The main station between Bishops Bridge Road and Praed Street was designed by Brunel, who was commemorated by a statue on the concourse (since moved to Platform 1, by the exit to the former taxi rank), although much of the architectural detailing was by his associate Matthew Digby Wyatt. It opened on 29 May 1854. The glazed roof is supported by wrought iron arches in three spans, respectively spanning 68 feet (21 m), 102 feet (31 m) and 70 feet (21 m). The roof is 699 feet (210 m) long, and the original roof spans had two transepts connecting the three spans. It is commonly believed that these were provided by Brunel to accommodate traversers to carry coaches between the tracks within the station. However recent research, using early documents and photographs, does not seem to support this belief, and their actual purpose is unknown.

The Great Western Hotel was built on Praed Street in front of the station in 1851–1854 by architect Philip Charles Hardwick, son of Philip Hardwick (designer of the Euston Arch). The station was substantially enlarged in 1906–1915 and a fourth span of 109 feet (33 m) was added on the north side, parallel to the others. The new span was built in a similar style to the original three spans, but the detailing is different and it has no transepts.

On Armistice Day 1922, a memorial to the employees of the GWR who died during the First World War was unveiled by Viscount Churchill. The bronze memorial, depicting a soldier Reading a letter, was sculpted by Charles Sargeant Jagger and stands on platform 1.

A very early construction by Brunel was discovered immediately to the north of the station. A cast-iron bridge carrying the Bishop's Bridge Road over the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal was uncovered after removal of brick cladding during the replacement of the adjacent bridge over the railway lines at the mouth of the station.

The band Supertramp used the station to record the train sounds featured in the song "Rudy" on the 1974 album Crime of the Century.

Accidents and incidents

  • On 19 February 1840 a mail train was derailed near Paddington. There were no injuries.
  • On 15 November 1840, a rear end collision occurred between a passenger train and a light engine. Six passengers were injured.
  • On 21 July 1874, a passenger train was misrouted into a siding and collided with the buffer stop. Some passengers sustained slight injuries and shock.
  • On 9 August 1920, a passenger train collided with the buffers. Two people were injured.
  • On 12 September 1921, a passenger train was being shunted into a platform and collided with three luggage vans already occupying the line. A carriage was derailed and a luggage van was wrecked.
  • On 23 November 1983, a sleeper train hauled by Class 50 locomotive 50 041 Bulwark was derailed on the approach to Paddington due to excessive speed through a crossover. Three of the seventy passengers were injured.
  • On 25 May 2014, Class 360 electric multiple unit 360 205 derailed at it entered the station due to maintenance errors.
  • On 16 June 2016, Class 165 diesel multiple unit 165 124 was derailed near the station, causing significant disruption to services.
  • Today

    Paddington has 13 terminal platforms, numbered 1 to 14 from south-west to north-east (left to right as seen from the concourse). Platforms 1 to 8 are below the original three spans of Brunel's train shed, platforms 9 to 12 beneath the later fourth span. Platform 14 is within the Metropolitan Railway's old Bishop's Road (Suburban) station to the north-west. Platform 13 was removed. Immediately alongside are through platforms 15 and 16, used by the London Underground's Hammersmith & City and Circle lines (see below).

    Platforms 6 and 7 are dedicated to the Heathrow Express, and platforms 13 and 14 can be used only by local services' Turbo trains up to seven cars long. Platforms 1 to 5 and 8 to 12 can be used by any services, but long-distance trains generally use the south-western platforms, and local trains (including Heathrow Connect) the north-eastern ones.

    The concourse stretches across the heads of platforms 1 to 12, underneath the London end of the four train sheds. Platforms 13 and 14 can only be reached indirectly via the north-western end of platform 12, or from the footbridge which crosses the north-western end of the station and gives access to all platforms.

    The area between the rear of the Great Western Hotel and the concourse is traditionally called The Lawn. It was originally unroofed and occupied by sidings, but was later built up to form part of the station's first concourse. The Lawn has recently been re-roofed and separated from the concourse by a glass screen wall. It is surrounded by shops and cafés on several levels.

    There are ticket barriers to platforms 2–5 and 10–16.

    The fourth span has been renovated, involving repair and restoration of the original glazed roof, so that platforms 9 to 12 inclusive can once more enjoy daylight. A false ceiling or crash deck had been in place since 1996. Work was completed and the restored roof unveiled in July 2011. Network Rail originally planned to demolish Span 4 and build an office block over that part of the station; Save Britain's Heritage successfully campaigned against this.

    A first-class lounge on Platform 1 provides complimentary refreshments and Wi-Fi internet access. It also has screens showing television news as well as a departure board.

    Heathrow Express provides flight information display screens for airline passengers at the Heathrow Express ticket office near the dedicated Heathrow Express platforms 6 and 7. Baggage check-in facilities for airline passengers were provided in 1999 in the Lawn but progressively replaced by retail units.


    Paddington is the London terminus for long-distance high-speed trains operated by Great Western Railway. The most common destinations are:

    Other long-distance destinations are Taunton, Plymouth, Truro and Penzance in the West Country; Hereford and Worcester in the West Midlands; and Newport, Bridgend and Swansea in South Wales.

    The current operator, Great Western Railway, assigns numbers to the pocket timetables it publishes, and its services to Bath, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare and South Wales are in timetable number 1.

    An integrated timetable is offered between Paddington and Rosslare Europort in Ireland via the Stena Line ferry from Fishguard Harbour railway station with through ticketing to stations in Ireland and a daily morning and evening service in both directions, changing at Newport, Cardiff or Swansea. This route has been in existence since 1906.

    Paddington is the terminus for suburban trains to West London and the Thames Valley, also operated by Great Western Railway. The most important destinations are:

    Note: These figures exclude Heathrow Express and some TfL Travelcard data

    Other important short-distance services are Reading and Didcot Parkway. In 2010 Network Rail published a map showing the range and importance of destinations served, using 2006/07 data.

    Two services go to Heathrow Airport: the Heathrow Express travels non-stop at a premium fare, while Heathrow Connect takes the same route but calls at most intermediate stations.

    Paddington is an alternative London terminal for Chiltern Railways' service to Birmingham, used when London Marylebone is inaccessible for engineering or other reasons, and for one daily service (departs 11:36), towards West Ruislip, calling at South Ruislip. Virgin CrossCountry used to run services to Paddington from Glasgow Central and Blackpool North. These services were withdrawn in Summer 2003 as part of Virgin's Operation Princess.

    London Underground stations

    Paddington is served by four London Underground lines through two separate stations: the Bakerloo, Circle and District lines have a combined sub-surface and deep-level station on Praed Street to the south of the main-line station, and the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines have a sub-surface station with access from Paddington Basin to the north. Circle line services run through both of the sub-surface stations as part of a spiral route. Although shown on the London Underground map as a single station, the two stations are not directly linked.

    Lancaster Gate Underground station on the Central line and Marylebone mainline station are within walking distance and out of station interchanges to these stations are permitted at no extra cost if made within the permitted time.

    Crossrail station

    A Crossrail station for Paddington is being built under Eastbourne Terrace, the road alongside the south-west side of the main-line station, and also under the adjacent taxi rank in the Departures Road (so called, because it served what was originally the departures side of the station). Eastbourne Terrace was closed for about two years from 12 February 2012. A new taxi rank is on the other side of the station, above Platform 12. Crossrail services are due to start in 2018. The new station box will be 23 metres deep and 260 metres long.

    Future Development

    In fiction

    The mystery novel 4.50 From Paddington (1952) by Agatha Christie begins with a murder witnessed by a passenger on a train from Paddington.

    One of The Railway Series books, The Eight Famous Engines, contains a story about Gordon, Duck and a foreign engine debating which station London is. Duck says that he used to work at Paddington as a station pilot so he thinks Paddington is most important. However, Gordon later finds out that the station in London is St Pancras.

    The children's book character Paddington Bear was named after the station. In the books, by Michael Bond, he is found at the station, having come from "deepest, darkest Peru" and with a note attached to his coat Reading "please look after this bear, thank you". A statue of him by Marcus Cornish, based on the original drawings by Peggy Fortnum, is located under the clock on platform 1.

    There is a fictional underground Paddington station on the North London System in the novel The Horn of Mortal Danger (1980).

    In the Sherlock episode The Hounds of Baskerville, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go to Paddington to get to Dartmoor for a case. In the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, Watson and his companions Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry Baskerville leave for Dartmoor from Paddington.


    London Buses routes 7, 23, 27, 36, 46, 205, 332 and 436 and night route N7 and N205 serve the station.


    London Paddington station Wikipedia