Map Colour: Dark Blue Opened: 1906 Stations: 53 Length: 44 miles (71km)
Cockfosters Oakwood Southgate Arnos Grove Bounds Green Wood Green Turnpike Lane Manor House Finsbury Park
Arsenal Holloway Road Caledonian Road Kings Cross St Pancras Russell Square Holborn Covent Garden Leicester Square
Piccadilly Circus Green Park Hyde Park Corner Knightsbridge South Kensington Gloucester Road Earls Court Barons Court
Hammersmith Turnham Green Acton Town
South Ealing Northfields Boston Manor Osterley Hounslow East Hounslow Central Hounslow West Hatton Cross
Heathrow Terminal 4 Heathrow T2-3 Heathrow Terminal 5
Ealing Common North Ealing Park Royal Alperton Sudbury Town Sudbury Hill South Harrow Rayners Lane Eastcote
Ruislip Manor Ruislip Ickenham Hillingdon Uxbridge
The origins of the Piccadilly Line come from the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) and it’s chief director, Charles Yerkes who operated several underground lines, one of which was the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway (GNP&BR).
The GNP&BR was the result of a merger between two railway companies that were yet to build any lines in 1901 and were taken over by Yerkes & his consortium, namely the Great Northern & Strand Railway (GN&SR) and the Brompton & Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR).
With Yerkes gaining sufficient capital, and royal assent to build his lines, construction of the line began in earnest in 1904. The route selected took the original plans for the GN&SR’s proposed line from the Great Northern Railway station at Wood Green (now Alexandra Palace) to Holborn via Finsbury Park & Kings Cross and the B&PCR’s line from Piccadilly Circus to South Kensington, joining them via an additional section of line. The route also included an extension from South Kensington to Earls Court proposed by the District Railway.
The Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway opened on 15 December 1906, running from Finsbury Park to the District Railway station at Hammersmith, with the short branch from Holborn to the Strand (later renamed Aldwych) opening on 30 November 1907. This branch was closed in 1994 due to poor ridership and the cost of replacing the lifts at Aldwych Station being cost prohibitive.
Following an act of Parliament in November 1909, the GNP&BR, alongside the other lines owned by the UERL, were merged to form the London Electric Railway Company on 1 July 1910.
In the early 1920s, the line’s northern terminus at Finsbury Park suffered from severe congestion, leading to Parliament being approached for permission to extend the line northwards, with terminals proposed at Tottenham, Edmonton, Wood Green or Palmers Green. With no capital being available at the time, plans were shelved until, in the early 1930s, an extension of the line was proposed from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters, which the government of the time agreed to finance as they hoped to alleviate the unemployment levels in the area. The line, costing £4million, was constructed and opened as far as Arnos Grove in September 1932 with the extensions to Oakwood and Cockfosters opening in March 1933 and July 1933 respectively.
Alongside the northern extension of the line, following the granting of powers in 1913, a set of extensions to the south was also constructed. From 4 July 1932, the Piccadilly Line was gradually extended from Hammersmith, over the District Line tracks to South Harrow, with the line to Uxbridge opening on 23 October 1933. The District Line from Acton Town was quadrupled as far as Northfields on 18 December 1932, with the Piccadilly Line extended there in January 1933 and being further extended as far as Hounslow West in March of that year.
The Piccadilly Line continued in this formation until, in 1975, a new tunnelled extension was opened as far as Hatton Cross, before the line was further extended to serve Heathrow Airport in 1977. A further extension of the Heathrow branch to serve Terminal 4 was opened in 1984 and to another to serve Terminal 5 was opened on 27 March 2008.