Waterloo & City Line

Lines of the
London Underground
  East London
  Hammersmith & City
  Waterloo & City
  Docklands Light Railway

The Waterloo & City Line is a short underground metro line in London, formally opened on 11 July 1898. It has only two stations, Waterloo and Bank (formerly called "City", hence the name of the line), between which it passes under the River Thames. It exists almost exclusively to serve commuters between Waterloo mainline station and the financial district of the City of London, and does not operate late in the evening or on Sundays. By far the shortest line on the London Underground, at only 1.5 miles (2.5 km) in length, it takes only four minutes to travel from end to end.



The line was designed by civil engineer W.R. Galbraith and James Henry Greathead. Originally part of the London and South Western Railway, it became part of the Southern Railway in 1923. It was subsequently nationalised with the mainline railways in 1948. The line served as an extension of the main line into Waterloo, which had originally been intended to run to the City but was prevented from doing so by the 1846 ban on surface railways running through the central area of London. Its ticketing was fully integrated with the national network and passengers could buy through tickets from mainline rail stations to Bank. It did not become part of London Underground until 1994, when it was sold for the nominal sum of one pound.

The Waterloo & City is colloquially known as The Drain. While the reason for this is not known for certain, there are two main theories: some believe it relates to the smell of the marshy ground on which Waterloo is built, while some others believe it relates to the drain-like round deep-level tunnels, which were nicknamed "tubes" on the other lines. Some people suggest that the depiction of the line on the Underground map brings to mind a drainage pipe leading out of the City.

One curiosity of the Waterloo & City is that it runs underground for its entire length (uniquely amongst Underground lines, though the Victoria Line's only non-underground section is to the depot). This presents considerable difficulties in transporting trains to and from the line. Before the construction of the Waterloo International terminal in 1990, the trains had to be vertically hoisted, one carriage at a time, using an Armstrong lift outside the north wall of Waterloo main line station. This is now done using a road mounted crane to hoist the carriage in a shaft adjacent to the depot and south of Waterloo station. In the past when the Waterloo & City had its own power station, coal was delivered from Waterloo main line station using a second, smaller lift, which explains the continued presence of a wagon turntable in Waterloo depot, and the remaining stub of the siding tunnel which once led to the Armstrong Lift can still be seen out the of left hand side of the train shortly after leaving Waterloo for Bank.

The line has had only three sets of rolling stock in its lifetime. The original wooden stock used from the line's opening in 1898 lasted until replacement in 1940 by new electric multiple units, which were eventually classified as Class 487 in the TOPS system. This new stock lasted over 50 years until it was replaced by Class 482 units, which are virtually identical to the 1992 tube stock used on the Central Line. Since its introduction, the stock on the Waterloo & City has diverged sufficiently from that used on the Central Line through various modifications that the two are not interchangeable. The Waterloo & City stock still carries the original British Rail Network SouthEast livery that it carried when introduced and there are still traces of BR branding around the two stations, despite the line having been part of London Underground for ten years.

In January 2003 the Waterloo & City was closed for over three weeks for safety checks due to a major derailment on the Central Line which required all 1992 stock trains to be modified. That same year, responsibility for the line's maintenance was given to the Metronet (http://www.metronetuk.com) consortium under the terms of a Public-Private Partnership arrangement.

Because of its Sunday closures, the Waterloo & City has become a well-established and convenient location for filming. It can be seen in the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow film Sliding Doors as well as in the BBC's 1984 adaptation of The Tripods, where it masquerades as Porte de la Chapelle station on the Paris Métro.


Geographical path of the Waterloo & City Line
Geographical path of the Waterloo & City Line


in order from north to south

External links

no:Waterloo & City-linjen


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