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Coordinates: 51°30′32″N 0°08′28″W / 51.509°N 0.141°W / 51.509; -0.141

Entrance to the Canary Wharf station
Entrance to the Canary Wharf station

The Jubilee Line Extension (JLE) is the extension of the London Underground Jubilee line from Green Park to Stratford through south and east London. An eastward extension of the line was first proposed in the 1970s. As part of the development of London Docklands, the line was extended to serve Canary Wharf and other areas of south and east London. Construction began in 1993, and it opened in stages from May to December 1999.

Each station was designed by a different architect, and the overall design of the project was led by Roland Paoletti. The architecture has been highly praised, with the Royal Fine Art Commission naming the project the "Millennium Building of the Year" in 2000, and the The Times architecture critic called the stations "the biggest architectural sensation of their kind since the Moscow Metro". The project was the single largest addition to the Underground in 25 years.


The extension diverges just east of Green Park, eastward to:

Station London borough Infrastructure Architects[1]
Westminster Westminster new ticket hall and two additional deep-level platforms Hopkins Architects
Waterloo Lambeth new ticket hall and two additional deep-level platforms JLE Project Architects
Southwark Southwark new station with two deep-level platforms MacCormac, Jamieson, Prichard
London Bridge new ticket hall and two additional deep-level platforms Weston Williamson and JLE Project Architects
Bermondsey new station with two deep-level platforms Ian Ritchie
Canada Water new station with two deep-level platforms and two new sub-surface platforms on East London Line JLE Project Architects and Heron Associates
new bus station Eva Jiřičná
Canary Wharf Tower Hamlets new station with two deep-level platforms Foster + Partners
North Greenwich Greenwich new station with three deep-level platforms Alsop, Lyall and Störmer
new bus station Foster + Partners
Canning Town Newham New station with two surface platforms, two new elevated platforms for the DLR and two surface platforms for the North London line, new bus station Troughton McAslan
West Ham new station building with two additional surface platforms Van Heyningen and Haward Architects
Stratford New station building and plaza WilkinsonEyre
Three additional surface platforms and train crew building Troughton McAslan

Before the extension, the Jubilee line terminated at Charing Cross. The section between Charing Cross and Green Park, which diverges to the northwest, is now unused for passenger services but is maintained for emergency use. The abandoned platforms are occasionally rented out by TfL as a film set e.g. Skyfall, Thor: The Dark World and Woman in Black II.[2]


Original 1970s plans

The Jubilee line between Baker Street and Charing Cross was intended to be the first phase of the Fleet Line (as the Jubilee line was originally called).[3] In the first version of the Fleet Line Extension plan, the line ran from Charing Cross via Aldwych and Ludgate Circus to Fenchurch Street station, then via tunnel under the River Thames to connect to the East London line north of Surrey Docks (now Surrey Quays) from where it would take over Underground services to New Cross Gate and New Cross with tunnels continuing from the latter to Lewisham.[a] In anticipation of this, the tunnels of the first phase of the line continued eastward from Charing Cross under Strand almost as far as Aldwych.

This plan was modified shortly before the Jubilee line opened in 1979. Under the new plan (known for planning purposes as the River Line), it would run to Fenchurch Street as before and continue via the Isle of Dogs, Royal Docks and Woolwich Arsenal to the "new town" at Thamesmead. A branch from Silvertown to Beckton would have provided a link to a new depot.[b] This route is not dissimilar to the Crossrail route through the Docklands.

Jubilee Line Extension

Plans to extend the line were revived in the late 1980s, prompted by the proposed development of London Docklands and Canary Wharf, which substantially increased the predicted numbers of jobs in the Isle of Dogs and required a transport network with much greater capacity than provided by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Initially, Olympia and York, the developers of Canary Wharf, proposed building a dedicated 'Waterloo and Greenwich Railway' from Waterloo through London Bridge to Canary Wharf and then to Westcombe Park in Greenwich, costing £400 million. However, London Transport resisted this, preferring to wait for the results of studies into new railway construction. One of these, the East London Railway Study, recommended an extension of the Jubilee line from Green Park to Westminster, then following the route of the Waterloo and Greenwich Railway, continuing to Stratford via Canning Town alongside the North London Line. This option was adopted, with an estimated cost of £2.1 billion to which Olympia and York would make a £400 million contribution, the original cost estimate of the Waterloo and Greenwich Railway (Mitchell 2003). In the end it cost £3.5bn, partly because of huge cost overruns during construction. Where initially the developers were to pay for a large part of the extension, their final contribution was less than 5%.[6]

The extension was authorised in 1990. A station was originally planned at Blackwall, but this was replaced by diverting the line between Canary Wharf and Stratford underneath the Thames to serve the Greenwich peninsula at North Greenwich station. Plans for the Millennium Dome did not yet exist, and this diversion was made to provide for a planned housing development on the site of disused gasworks. British Gas plc contributed £25 million to the scheme.[7] The stations at Southwark and Bermondsey were not initially certain.[8] Main works were authorised by the London Underground Act 1992,[9] with additional works allowed by the London Underground (Jubilee) Act 1993.[10]

The project required the construction of a new depot to serve the extended line, given the increased number of trains could not be accommodated at the existing Neasden Depot - hence a site at Stratford Market was chosen.[11][12]


Structural columns at Westminster
Structural columns at Westminster

Construction officially started in December 1993 and was expected to take 53 months.[13] Tunnelling was delayed after a collapse during the Heathrow Express project in October 1994, which used the same New Austrian Tunnelling method.[14] Indeed, construction under Westminster caused the Elizabeth Tower to tilt slightly.[15] By November 1997, a September 1998 date was planned.[16] By June 1998, opening was planned in Spring 1999.[17] By November 1998, a phased opening throughout 1999 was being considered.[18][19] The new Stratford Market Depot (designed by Chris Wilkinson Architects) was completed in March 1998 - allowing for testing and commissioning of the new 1996 Stock trains, as well as the testing of the new extension itself.[20][21]

The first phase of the extension from Stratford to North Greenwich was opened by the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on 14 May 1999.[22] There was concern that the entire line would not be open in time for the Millennium Dome, which would open on 1 January 2000.[22] The second phase between North Greenwich and Bermondsey opened on 24 September 1999.[23] The extension was linked to the rest of the Jubilee line with the opening of the final phase the third on 20 November 1999.[24] Westminster, complicated by the interface with the subsurface platforms, which remained in operation, opened on 22 December 1999, shortly before the Millennium Dome deadline.[25] By February 1999, however, the cost of the extension had increased to a total of £3.3 billion.[26]

The extension was supposed to have moving block signalling, designed by Westinghouse, in order to reach 36 trains per hour at peak times. As design of this overran, causing delays into 1999, this was postponed in favour of more traditional signalling.[27] Twelve years later these features were completed, allowing for up to 33 trains per hour.[28] It was built with a wider tunnel diameter of 4.35 m allowing a passenger walkway used for emergency purposes, unfortunately wider trains are not possible due to the narrower tunnel dimension northwards of Green Park.[29]

The extension has proved extremely successful in relieving congestion on the DLR and in opening up access to parts of east London with formerly poor transport links.[30] As such it allowed (theoretically - barring peak/off-peak timetable restrictions i.e. to Chesham or Mill Hill East etc.) access to all other London Underground stations with only a single change.[29]

In 2005, a trial regarding corruption and insider information on the extension project collapsed, after 21 months and a cost of £60m.[31]


Platforms at Southwark, showing platform edge doors
Platforms at Southwark, showing platform edge doors

The design of the extension is radically different from anything else on the London Underground. Stations are characterised by cavernous, stark interiors lined with polished metal panels and moulded concrete walls and columns. Canary Wharf has been compared to a cathedral, with it being said that the neighbouring One Canada Square, if laid on its side, could fit in the station with room to spare. Westminster has a dramatic vertical void nearly 40 m (130 ft) deep.

The size of the stations was a response to safety concerns—overcrowding and a lack of exits had been significant factors in the 1987 King's Cross disaster—and an attempt to "future-proof" stations by designing from the start for a high use.[32] Most platforms and halls are full only in a busy rush hour,[30] all provide step-free access, dual exits at either platform ends, ventilation, as well as fireproof lifts.[28] To ease flow extra escalators (at least 3 per station)[28] were installed, totalling 115 over the entire extension, increasing the total number of escalators over the entire Underground network by almost half.[29]

A number of leading architects were employed to design the stations, overseen by Roland Paoletti and a small team of in-house JLE Architects.[33] It was decided from the outset that although each station would be designed as an individual entity, they would be linked by a common design philosophy and functional elements.[34] Spaciousness was the most noticeable, along with the shared theme of grey and silver polished metal and concrete interiors. More subtly, many stations were designed to admit as much natural light as possible. At Bermondsey and to a lesser extent at Canada Water and Southwark, rotundas and shafts allow daylight to reach, or nearly reach, the platforms.[30]

The platforms saw another innovation: full-height platform screen doors, to improve airflow, prevent people from jumping or falling onto the track,[30] prevent litter depositing upon the track and stop dirt circulating around the network, amongst other features.[29] These are the first doors to be installed on a commercial railway in Great Britain.[29]


Many of the new stations received individual awards and commendations for their architecture, including Westminster and Canary Wharf being jointly awarded the 2000 Civic Trust Building of the Year.[1] The Royal Fine Art Commission named the extension as a whole their Millennium Building of the Year, with the chair of the judging panel calling it "comparable to the achievement of Haussmann when he constructed the great boulevards of Paris".[35]

For his work on the project, Roland Paoletti received the RIBA/Arts Council Award for "Client of the Year" 1999 and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours for "services to Architecture".[36][37] The Architectural Review called him "the Medici of London Transport".[38]

In 2013, Canary Wharf was voted as the "most loved" tube station in London,[39] and in 2015, Westminster was one of 10 transport design icons selected by Londoners as their favourites.[40]

Notes and references


  1. ^ Stations were to be provided at Aldwych, Ludgate Circus, Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street, Surrey Docks, New Cross, New Cross Gate and Lewisham.[4]
  2. ^ Parliamentary approval was granted for stations at St Katharine Docks, Wapping, Surrey Docks North, Millwall, North Greenwich, Custom House, Silvertown, Woolwich Arsenal and Beckton. Further stations at Thamesmead West and Thamesmead Central were planned if the line was continued beyond Woolwich.[5]


  1. ^ a b Bennett, David (2004). Architecture of the Jubilee Line Extension. London: Thomas Telford. ISBN 0727730886. OCLC 51870430.
  2. ^ london75 (14 April 2015). "Filming on the London Underground". Insider London. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  3. ^ Wolmar, Christian (2005) [2004]. The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever. Atlantic Books. p. 308. ISBN 1-84354-023-1.
  4. ^ Horne, Mike (2000). The Jubilee Line. Capital Transport. p. 36. ISBN 1-85414-220-8.
  5. ^ Horne, Mike (2000). The Jubilee Line. Capital Transport. pp. 50–52. ISBN 1-85414-220-8.
  6. ^ "LRB · James Meek · Crocodile's Breath". Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  7. ^ "Jubilee Line Extension (Hansard, 18 May 1992)". Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  8. ^ "London Underground Bill (By Order)". Hansard. 12 July 1990.
  9. ^ "London Underground Act 1992 (c. iii) (c. 3)". Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  10. ^ "London Underground (Jubilee) Act 1993 (c. ix) (c. 9)". Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Bob, C. Eng. (2003). Jubilee Line extension : from concept to completion. London: Thomas Telford. ISBN 0-7277-3028-2. OCLC 51945284.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Bennett, David. (2004). Architecture of the Jubilee Line Extension. Institution of Civil Engineers. ISBN 978-0-7277-4577-4. OCLC 935052993.
  13. ^ "Jubilee Line Extension". Hansard. 28 June 1993.
  14. ^ "Record fine after tunnel collapse". BBC News. 15 February 1999.
  15. ^ "The Jubilee Line Is 40 Years Old... Here Are Some Awesome Vintage Photos". Londonist. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Jubilee Line Extension". Hansard. 10 November 1997.
  17. ^ "Jubilee Line Extension". Hansard. 9 June 1998.
  18. ^ "Jubilee Line Extension: Westminster Station". Hansard. 27 April 1998.
  19. ^ "Jubilee Line Extension". Hansard. 27 November 1998.
  20. ^ "LUL Stratford Market Depot" (PDF). Structural Steel Design Awards. 1998. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  21. ^ "Stratford Market Depot | AJ Buildings Library". Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Prescott launches Dome tube link". BBC News. 14 May 1999. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  23. ^ Horne, Mike (2000). The Jubilee Line. Capital Transport. p. 80. ISBN 1-85414-220-8.
  24. ^ "Jubilee Line finally opens". BBC News. 20 November 1999. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  25. ^ "Jubilee line facts". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008.
  26. ^ Harper, Keith (16 February 1999). "Jubilee line cost races towards record books at £330m a mile". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  27. ^ "Moving block signals finally go ahead on Jubilee Line". New Civil Engineer. 3 October 2003.
  28. ^ a b c Green, Oliver (2012). The Tube: Station to Station on the London Underground. Botley, Oxford: Shire Publications Ltd. pp. 55–59, 109–115. ISBN 978-0-74781-227-2.
  29. ^ a b c d e Glover, John (2010). London's Underground (11th ed.). Hersham: Ian Allan Publishing Ltd. pp. 127–131. ISBN 978-0-7110-3429-7.
  30. ^ a b c d "UK Jubilee Line Extension (JLE)" (PDF). Bartlett School of Planning. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  31. ^ "£60m fraud case collapse probed". BBC News. 23 March 2005. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  32. ^ Green, Oliver (2012). The Tube:Station to Station on the London Underground. Botley, Oxford: Shire Publications Ltd. pp. 57, 114. ISBN 978-0-74781-227-2.
  33. ^ Wu, Sui-Te. "Roland Paoletti (1931–2013)". RIBA. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  34. ^ Williamson, Chris. "Happy birthday, Jubilee Line Extension". RIBA. Retrieved 24 March 2023. He wanted each architect to choose or design their own components for cladding, seating, lighting and finishes
  35. ^ Davies, Hugh (13 June 2000). "'Brilliant' Jubilee Line wins Millennium award". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  36. ^ Mitchell, Bob (2003). Jubilee Line Extension: From Concept to Completion. London: Thomas Telford Publishing. pp. 355–356. ISBN 0727730282.
  37. ^ "New Years Honours List — United Kingdom". The London Gazette (55710 (Supplement No. 1) ed.). 31 December 1999. p. 10. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  38. ^ "Roland Paoletti – Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  39. ^ "Londoners say Bank Tube station is capital's worst". BBC News. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2023. Canary Wharf, designed by Lord Foster, was voted Londoners' favourite stop
  40. ^ "London's top design icons revealed". ITV News. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2023.

Further reading