Central Line

From Academic Kids

For the medical meaning of "central line", see central line.
Lines of the
London Underground
  East London
  Hammersmith & City
  Waterloo & City
  Docklands Light Railway

The Central Line is a line of the London Underground. It is a deep-level "tube" line, running East-West across London, and is the longest line on the Underground. Until the closure of the Epping-Ongar section, the far terminus at Ongar was the furthest point from London on the network.

The line is presently coloured red on the Tube map.



The beginnings

Although the Central London Railway was first incorporated in 1891 for a line between Shepherd's Bush and Bank (with an extension to Liverpool Street authorised in 1892) the time for completion had to be extended twice (1894, 1899); and it was not until 27 June 1900 that it was formally opened, a month before public traffic began to use the Railway on 30 July, to Bank station.

For many years from the outset a uniform fare of two pence was adopted: the railway was popularly known as the "Twopenny Tube". In July 1907 and graduated fare of two- and three pence was adopted: a one penny fare was added in 1909.


1908: In the west the line was extended by means of a loop to Wood Lane Exhibition Station in 1908 for the Franco-British Exhibition of that year; the extension was thereafter maintained. For details of this area see these comprehensive notes (http://www.starfury.demon.co.uk/uground/woodlane.html).

1912: The line was further extended eastwards to Liverpool Street in 1912. In the west, at the same time as the latter link was opened, a short connecting link was made to join the Great Western Railway (GWR)-operated line, the Ealing and Shepherd’s Bush Railway, allowing trains to run from Liverpool Street to Ealing.

1935: As part of the New Works Programme 1935-40, announced in June 1935, London Transport proposed works to extend the Central Line were announced as follows:

  • "to construct and electrify two additional GWR tracks from North Acton to Ruislip, allowing Central Line trains from Wood Lane to use the line;
  • to construct a tube railway in continuation of the Central London Line from Liverpool Street eastwards to points where it will connect with the Loughton and Grange Hill lines (probably near Leyton and Newbury Park so as to permit running through trains to stations in the West End of London and beyond without passing over the congested LNER (London and North Eastern Railway) lines at Stratford and Ilford]]"
    • Although the works of the latter were completed by the outbreak of war the opening was delayed, and the section, safer as it was from bombing, was used as a long, narrow, munitions factory. This branch eventually opened in 1947 and the link to Ilford terminated. This section of line forms a loop and there are some through services to Woodford via Hainault.
  • 1949 The Central Line was officially extended to Epping when London Transport took over the line from British Rail. This included the Epping-Ongar section.

Epping to Ongar branch

Electrification of this section had begun under the 1935/40 New Works Programme (see above); until 18 November 1957 the line remained steam-hauled. At that date two-and three-car tube stock were used on the branch. The power supply being limited, it was not possible to work through trains to and from London, and the line remained a branch only. Expected levels of passenger use never materialised, and the branch was closed on 30 September 1994 and sold to the Pilot Group. The direct connection to Epping was decimated soon after closure, but the remaining section of the branch stayed intact.

Other notes

The trains on the Central Line, introduced gradually from April 1993 to 17 February 1995, were the first in London to introduce regular audible interior announcements telling passengers the name of the next expected stop and what onward connections they should expect there. These announcements, in a female voice, are automated.

In 1996, the line was fitted with Automatic Train Operation, although this was brought into service in sections over the next few years.

A heritage passenger service started operation in October 2004. A train runs non-stop between North Weald and Ongar on Sundays around noon, with an additional connection bus service between North Weald and Epping. These services are expected to last for two months before being reviewed.

2003 derailment and closure

A Central Line train derailed at Chancery Lane on January 25, 2003, injuring 32 passengers, after a traction motor became detached from the train and fell onto the track. The entire line was closed whilst the cause of the failure was determined and appropriate modifications made to the trains. The line was then re-opened in stages. By late March 2003 a limited service was running on the eastern and western extremities of the line, with the central section still closed. Services resumed over that deeper central section on April 3 and to all stations (albeit at a reduced frequency) on April 12, with a full service by the end of the month. The initial closure also extended to the Waterloo & City Line which uses the same "1992 tube stock" trains, but this line, being far shorter - with only two stops and far fewer trains - reopened quickly.

A much more minor derailment occurred on a set of points at the London end of the westbound platform at White City on 11 May 2004. There were no reported injuries.


Geographically accurate map of the Central Line (Large)
Geographically accurate map of the Central Line (Large)


in order from west to east

West Ruislip branch

branch joins at North Acton:

Ealing Broadway branch

branch joins at North Acton using ex GWR tracks:

Splits into two branches.

Woodford branch

The Greater London boundary with Essex is at Grange Hill

Terminates at Woodford [see Ongar Branch](except for rush hours)

Ongar branch

The Greater London boundary with Essex is between Woodford and Buckhurst Hill

Note: Under London Underground the remaining stations to Ongar were only ever served by a shuttle service from Epping.

External links

  • Central Line (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tube/company/linefacts/?line=central) - London Underground page with line facts and brief history
  • Central Line history (http://www.thetube.com/content/faq/lines/central_history.asp) - London Underground detailed line history
  • Clive's Underground Line Guide (http://www.davros.org/rail/culg/central.html)
  • Epping Ongar Railway (http://www.eorailway.co.uk) - The company currently owning the Epping and Ongar branch and (in some scale) running trains on it.

Line closure 2003

fr:Central Line no:Central Line


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