Barbican tube station
Barbican is a London Underground station situated near the Barbican Estate, on the edge of the ward of Farringdon Within, in the City of London in Central London. It has been known by various names since its opening in 1865, mostly in reference to the neighbouring ward of Aldersgate.
View of Barbican station platforms, with the Barbican Estate towers in the background, 2014
Location of Barbican in Central London
|Local authority||City of London|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||4 (2 in use)|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|23 December 1865||Opened as Aldersgate Street|
|1 November 1910||Renamed Aldersgate|
|24 October 1924||Renamed Aldersgate & Barbican|
|1 December 1968||Renamed Barbican|
|1976||Services from Great Northern line via Widened Lines ceased|
|1982||Electrified services from Bedford commenced|
|2009||Thameslink services ceased|
The station is served by the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, and is situated between Farringdon and Moorgate stations, in Travelcard Zone 1. Until 2009, Barbican was additionally served by Thameslink services to and from Moorgate.
Barbican station lies in an east-west-aligned cutting with cut-and-cover tunnels at either end. The modern entrance gives access from Aldersgate Street, through a 1990s building, to a much older footbridge leading to the eastern end of the platforms. To the north of the station are the rears of buildings that face onto Charterhouse Street, Charterhouse Square and Carthusian Street. To the south are the rears of buildings that face onto Long Lane, and to the west is Hayne Street. The station is close to the Barbican Estate, Barbican Centre, City of London School for Girls, St Bartholomew-the-Great, and Smithfield.
The station was opened with the name Aldersgate Street on 23 December 1865 on the Moorgate extension from Farringdon. The station's name was shortened to Aldersgate on 1 November 1910 and it was renamed again on 24 October 1924 as Aldersgate & Barbican. On 1 December 1968 the station's name was simplified to Barbican.
Train services were disrupted during the Second World War when the station suffered severe bomb damage in the Blitz, particularly in December 1940. This led to the removal of the upper floors, and in 1955 the remainder of the street-level building was also demolished and the glass roof was replaced with awnings. This urged John Betjeman to write his poem Monody on the Death of Aldersgate Station.
Increasing traffic by other companies, including goods traffic, led to the track between King's Cross and Moorgate being widened to four tracks in 1868; the route was called the 'City Widened Lines'. Suburban services from the Midland Railway ran via Kentish Town and the Great Northern Railway ran via Kings Cross. British Rail services to Moorgate were initially steam operated before being converted to Cravens-built diesel multiple units and British Rail Class 31 locomotives class hauling non-corridor stock which remained in operation until the mid-1970s.
Passenger trains from the Great Northern line, via the York Road and Hotel curves at King's Cross to the Widened Lines, ran until the Great Northern's electrification on 1976. The City Widened Lines were renamed the Moorgate line when overhead electrification was installed in 1982, allowing the Midland City Line service to run from Bedford via the Midland Main Line to Moorgate on the Thameslink service. The Thameslink platforms at Barbican were closed again in March 2009 as part of the Thameslink Programme to allow Farringdon to have its main line platforms extended across Thameslink's Moorgate branch. As a result, Barbican now serves Underground lines only.
Incidents and accidents
On 16 December 1866 three passengers were killed, a guard was seriously injured and one other person suffered shock when a girder collapsed onto a passenger train in the station. The accident was the first to include multiple passengers on the underground network. Four people died during the accident, and a fifth (a workman involved in the accident) died while awaiting trial. Service on the line was running again only 30 minutes after the accident.
The station replaced an earlier building at 134 Aldersgate Street, which for many years had a sign claiming "This was Shakespeare's House". Although the building was very close to the nearby Fortune Playhouse, there is no documentary evidence that Shakespeare lived there; a subsidy roll from 1598 shows a "William Shakespeare" as the owner of the property, but there is nothing to indicate that it is the playwright. The station has no surface building.
The station today
The station is mostly open to the elements, though there are some short canopies. The remains of the supporting structure for a glass canopy over all four platforms (removed in the 1950s) may still clearly be seen. At the west end of the platforms may be seen the beginnings of the complex of tunnels leading under Smithfield meat market. Livestock for the market was at one time delivered by rail and there was a substantial goods yard under the site of the market.
Platform 1 is the most northerly, serving eastbound London Underground services. Platforms 2 and 3 form an island platform, with platform 2 serving westbound services. Platforms 3 and 4 are out of use. A display on the history of the station, including text and photographs, is just inside the barriers, on the southern side of the main entrance corridor.
Services and Connections
The station is served by the Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines. All three lines share the same pair of tracks from Baker Street Junction to Aldgate Junction making this section of track one of the most intensely used on the London Underground network.
- 6 tph Clockwise via Liverpool Street and Tower Hill
- 6 tph Anti-Clockwise via Kings Cross St Pancras and Paddington
Hammersmith & City line
- 6 tph Eastbound to Barking
- 6 tph Westbound to Hammersmith via Paddington
The Metropolitan Line is the only line to operate express services, though currently this is only during peak times (Westbound 06:30-09:30 / Eastbound 16:00-19:00). Fast services run non-stop between Wembley Park, Harrow-On-The-Hill and Moor Park, Semi-fast services run non-stop between Wembley Park and Harrow-On-The-Hill.
- 12 tph Eastbound to Aldgate
- 2 tph Westbound to Amersham (all stations)
- 2 tph Westbound to Chesham (all stations)
- 8 tph Westbound to Uxbridge (all stations)
Off-peak services to/from Watford terminate at Baker Street
- 14 tph Eastbound to Aldgate
- 2 tph Westbound to Amersham (fast in the evening peak only)
- 2 tph Westbound to Chesham (fast in the evening peak only)
- 4 tph Westbound to Watford (semi-fast in the evening peak only)
- 6 tph Westbound to Uxbridge (all stations)
When Crossrail is completed, Farringdon's eastern ticket hall will be just to the west of Barbican station, and an interchange is being built here. This has involved significant changes at the western end of the station, including the demolition of the former signal box and the provision of a new footbridge spanning the tracks. Work is anticipated to be completed in 2018.
Notes and references
- "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLSX). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. January 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
- Butt (1995), page 14
- Hywel, Williams (2004). "Renamed Stations". Underground History. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Butt (1995), page 26
- Standard Tube Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. May 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 June 2019.
- "Barbican Tube Station". Google Maps. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- "Barbican". Metropolitan. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Feather, Clive. "Hammersmith & City line". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- "Air raid damage on Aldersgate Street". London Transport Museum. 1 January 1941. Archived from the original on 28 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- "The Underground at War". Nick Cooper. 2010. Archived from the original on 28 April 2015.
- Martin, Andrew (2013). Underground Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube. London: Profile Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-1846684784.
- Rhys (25 May 2008). "It all started with a ghost: A Monody". It all started with a ghost. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
- Network Rail (April 2001). South Zone Sectional Appendix. Module SO. p. SO280 1/119. SO/SA/001A. (Retrieved 2011-12-10)
- "Accident Returns: Extract for the Accident at Aldersgate Street on 19th December 1866". 11 January 1867. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- "Disaster At Barbican: The Tube's First Tragedy". Londonist. 12 November 2014.
- Winter, William (1910). Seeing Europe with Famous Authors: Literary Shrines of London. London: Moffat, Yard & Co. Archived from the original on 28 April 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2007.
- "Tube Stations that have no surface buildings". Tube Facts and Figures. Geofftech. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- diamond, geezer (8 June 2013). "Barbican". flickr. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015. "The disused signal box, the tunnels beneath Smithfield, and the future Crossrail entrance."
- Ian, Mansfield (25 May 2012). "Photos – The railway tunnels underneath Smithfield Meat Market". Subterranean Stuff, Transport Issues. IanVisits. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Lemmo (25 June 2012). "Fulsome Farringdon: Part 1". London Terminals. London Reconnections. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Feather, Clive. "Circle line". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Feather, Clive. "Metropolitan line". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- "Circle and Hammersmith & City line WTT" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 November 2016.
- "CULG - Metropolitan Line". www.davros.org. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- "Metropolitan line WTT" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 July 2016.
- "Buses from Barbican" (PDF). Transport for London. April 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
- "Crossrail - Farringdon (1)". Crossrail. February 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2009.
- "Crossrail Context Report: City of London" (PDF). Crossrail. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- "Stations — Farringdon". Crossrail Construction Programme. Crossrail. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
- Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barbican tube station.|
|Preceding station||Following station|
|Hammersmith & City line||
|Preceding station||Following station|
Hammersmith branch (1864-1990)
|Preceding station||Following station|
|Farringdon||First Capital Connect
City Widened Lines
Peak hours only
|Farringdon||Great Northern Railway