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East London Line

The East London Line is a line of the London Underground, coloured orange on the Tube map. It runs north to south in the Docklands area of London.

The section beneath the Thames was originally a foot tunnel built by Marc Isambard Brunel between 1825 and 1843, one of several Thames foot tunnels[?]. In 1865 it was bought by the East London Railway Company and adapted for trains. As the East London Railway, trains ran out of Liverpool Street railway station. Evidence of this can still be seen at the northernmost station on the East London Line, Shoreditch station, where the tracks connected to the mainline railway.

When ownership of the line was turned over to London Underground it was operated as a branch of the Metropolitan Line, and known as the East London Branch. Some trains ran from central London to the southern portion of the line via a connecting tunnel at Whitechapel. On tube maps it was the same purple colour as the Metropolitan, but distinguished by a white stripe. It was quietly renamed to be a line in its own right, and later in the early 1990s its colour was changed.

For many years the line had only a connection to the rest of the network at Whitechapel. When the Docklands Light Railway opened it connected at Shadwell, and in 1999 a new station, Canada Water[?] was opened to connect to the Jubilee Line Extension.

After many years of plans to expand the line from a small stub in the network to a major transport artery, the line is currently being extended in three separate ways:

Firstly, in a move that will bring the Underground to Hackney for the first time, the line is to be extended northwards from Whitechapel, with new stations created at Bishopsgate, Hoxton, Haggerston, and Dalston, and the line linking up with Highbury & Islington station, where it will connect with the Victoria Line. This will require only about 4km of new railway to be constructed, including the Broad Street viaduct, as existing but disused infrastructure will be used. It is possible that the line will be further extended from Highbury to Finsbury Park to the north, following the Network Rail Northern City Line tunnels, and Willesden Junction[?] to the east, by way of Camden Road[?], Primrose Hill[?] and Queens Park[?], following the over-ground Network Rail North London Line[?] tracks. Shoreditch station[?], which is currently only served in peak hours and on Sunday mornings, will be closed, and, along with the track that links it to Whitechapel station[?], become yet another disused London Underground structure. Statutory planning powers for this extension were granted in January 1997.

Secondly, a 2.5km link, which would include the construction of a single new station at Surrey Canal Road, would connect from Surrey Quays[?] into the over-ground Network Rail South London Line[?] to Wimbledon[?], by way of Queen's Road Peckham, Peckham Rye, East Dulwich, North Dulwich, Tulse Hill, Streatham, Tooting, and Haydons Road, and so linking up with the District Line.

Thirdly, the line will be extended with a flyover link from New Cross Gate station[?] into the Network Rail Croydon Line[?], joining Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill, Sydenham, Penge West, Crystal Palace by way of a branch, Anerley, Norwood Junction and terminating at West Croydon. Beyond the construction of a train servicing facility at New Cross Gate, little work will be needed to achieve this. Both of these plans were approved in October 2001.

The first phase of construction started in December 2001, though legal protests were sparked when it came to light that a Grade I listed 17th century arch in the former Bishopsgate Goods Yard was to be demolished as part of the project. It is anticipated that the northerly extension at Highbury should open in 2006, and that all work on the project should be finished by 2008. However, given past records on London Underground projects' timings, these figures might be regarded as optimistic.

This triple extension project is the first London Underground project to be funded through a PFI (Private Finance Initiative) scheme, though the recent Jubilee Line extension project was funded through a similar PPP[?] (Public Private Partnership) scheme.

Table of contents

Stations in order from north to south

the line divides into two branches beyond Surrey Quays:

New Cross Gate branch

New Cross branch

External links



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