Map Colour: Red Opened: 1900 Stations: 49 Length: 46 miles (74km)
Epping Theydon Bois Debden Loughton Buckhurst Hill Woodford South Woodford Snaresbrook Leytonstone
Leyton Stratford Mile End Bethnal Green Liverpool Street Bank St Pauls Chancery Lane Holborn
Tottenham Court Road Oxford Circus Bond Street Marble Arch Lancaster Gate Queensway Notting Hill Gate
Holland Park Shepherds Bush White City East Acton North Acton West Acton Ealing Broadway
West Ruislip Branch
Hangar Lane Perivale Greenford Northolt South Ruislip Ruislip Gardens West Ruislip
Hainault West Ruislip White City
In 1891, the Central London Railway was given permission to construct an underground line from Shepherd’s Bush to Cornhill, with an extension to Liverpool Street authorised the following year, replacing the station at Cornhill with one at Bank. Due to the financial constraints of the time, the line was built following the streets above it rather than the more expensive process of tunelling under the private properties above.
The line between Shepherd’s Bush and Bank was formally opened on 30 June 1900, with public services commencing on 30 July with a flat fare of 2d. In July 1907, the fare was increased to 3d for journeys of more than seven or eight stations. A reduced fare of 1d, for a journey of three or fewer stations, was introduced in 1909, and season tickets became available from 1911.
The coming of the Franco-British exhibition in the area now known as White City between May 14th and October 31st 1908 caused the Central London Railway to extended the line westward to a single platform halt at Wood Lane. The extension to Liverpool Street opened the following year, providing access to the Great Eastern station and the adjacent Broad Street station.
The Central London Railway was absorbed into the Underground Group on 1 January 1913.
In 1911, the Great Western Railway applied for, and gained permission to construct a new line from Ealing Broadway to a new station close to the CLR’s Shepherd’s Bush, that included a connection to the West London Railway. This agreement also allowed the GWR to connect their line to the Central London Railway and for the CLR to run trains to Ealing Broadway. Construction of the extension began in 1912 but the opening was delayed by World War I. The extension eventually opened in 1920.
On 1 July 1933, with the formation of the London Passenger Transport Board, the Central London Railway was absorbed along with several other companies of the time. The railway, at the time known as the Central London Line, was renamed the Central line in 1937. The New Works Programme 1934 – 1940 saw a major expansion of the Central Line and it’s services. To the west, new tracks were to be built parallel to the Great Western Railway’s New North Main Line as far as Denham. To the east new tunnels were bored to just beyond Stratford station, where the line took over the former London & North Eastern Railway suburban branch to Epping and Ongar, as well as a new line between Leytonstone and Newbury Park to serve the new suburbs of north Ilford and the Hainault Loop. Also at this time, platforms at central London stations were to be lengthened to allow 8-car trains.
Construction began but, it proved impossible to modify Wood Lane station to take 8-car trains and therefore a new station was authorised and built at White City in 1938. The line was converted to the London Underground four-rail electrification system in 1940.
Extension work restarted after the Second World War, and the western extension opened as far as Greenford in 1947 and West Ruislip in 1948. The extension eastward as far as Stratford opened in December 1946, with the line opened to Leytonstone, Woodford & Newbury Park in 1947. Stations on the Hainault Loop were served by tube trains from 1948 and the line to Epping & Ongar was transferred to London Underground management in 1949 and electrified in 1957. The section between Epping & Ongar was closed due to falling passenger numbers in 1994 and is now run as a preserved line, the Epping & Ongar Railway.