Map Colour: Yellow Opened: 1863 Stations: 36 Length: 17 miles (27km)
Hammersmith Goldhawk Road Shepherds Bush Market Wood Lane Latimer Road Ladbroke Grove Westbourne Park
Royal Oak Paddington Edgware Road Baker Street Great Portland Street Euston Square Kings Cross St Pancras
Farringdon Barbican Moorgate Liverpool Street Aldgate Tower Hill Monument Cannon Street Mansion House
Blackfriars Temple Embankment Westminster St James’ Park Victoria Sloane Square South Kensington
High Street Kensington Bayswater
The origins of the Circle Line can be found in 1863 with the opening of the Metropolitan Railway between Paddington & Farringdon. Following the opening of this line, a Government Select Committee report recommended that an ‘inner circle’ of railway lines be built, connecting the London termini that had already been built or were under construction.
In 1864, the newly formed Metropolitan District Railway began building a new railway line from South Kensington to Tower Hill. During this time, the Metropolitan Railway had been constructing a western extension to their line, from a new station at Paddington to South Kensington, which opened in 1868. The next component of the inner circle was the opening of the District Railway line from West Brompton to Blackfriars via Gloucester Road & South Kensington in May 1870, although the train services were operated initially by the Metropolitan Railway.
The line was further extended in 1871 with the opening of the District Railway terminus at Mansion House, before being added to again by the Metropolitan Railway extension to a new terminus station at Aldgate in November 1876. Progress of the inner circle was halted after a conflict developed between the Metropolitan & District companies which took an Act of Parliament to resolve. Further extension of the line was achieved in 1882 when the Metropolitan Railway extended their line past Aldgate to a new temporary station at Tower Hill, whilst the District Railway completed their line extension from Mansion House to Whitechapel in the same year.
In 1884, the inner circle was finally completed by the replacement of the Metropolitan Railway’s temporary terminus with a new, jointly managed station that allowed through running of services by both companies, indeed at opening, the service was provided by the Metropolitan Railway in the clockwise direction with the District Railway providing the anti-clockwise services. This service arrangement lasted until 1926, when the Metropolitan Railway assumed control of all inner circle workings.
July 1933 saw the Metropolitan, District and other Underground railways amalgamated with tramway companies and bus operators to form the London Passenger Transport Board. However, it was not until 1949 that the Circle Line was shown as a separate entity on the Tube map.
In 2003, the Circle Line was privatised via a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), with management undertaken by Metronet. This arrangement lasted until 2007 when Metronet entered administration and Transport for London took over management of the line.
During the July 2005 terrorist attacks in London, 2 Circle Line trains, one travelling between Liverpool Street & Edgware Road and the other at Edgware Road were the subject of bombs, killing 15 people including the bombers. The attacks caused the whole circle line to close until the 8 August.
As part of a plan to improve reliability and also increase the service level on the Hammersmith branch of the Hammersmith & City Line, in December 2009, Transport for London extended the Circle Line service from Edgware Road to Hammersmith. This change in service meant that, instead of Circle Line trains operating in a continuous circle, they now start their journeys at Edgware Road, travel via the Circle Line and then access the H&C branch before terminating at Hammersmith and vice versa.
In September 2013, S7 Stock trains were introduced on the Circle Line, but it was not until June 2014 that all Circle Line services were provided by S7 Stock, with the existing C Stock retired.