|Local authority||London Borough of Tower Hamlets|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Owner||Transport for London|
|Number of platforms||6|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|10 April 1876||Opening of ELR station|
|6 October 1884||Opening of DR station|
|2 June 1902||Rebuilding of DR station|
|1995–1998||East London line closed|
|2007–2010||East London line closed|
|27 April 2010||East London line reopened|
|24 May 2022||Elizabeth line opened|
|WGS84||51°31′10″N 0°03′40″W / 51.5195°N 0.0612°WCoordinates: 51°31′10″N 0°03′40″W / 51.5195°N 0.0612°W|
|London transport portal|
Whitechapel is an interchange station in Whitechapel, East London for London Underground, London Overground and Elizabeth line services. The station is located behind a street market of the same name and opposite the Whitechapel Civic Centre. It lies between Aldgate East and Stepney Green stations on the District and Hammersmith & City lines, between Shoreditch High Street and Shadwell stations on the East London Line. To the West of Whitechapel on the Elizabeth Line is Liverpool Street, to the East the line splits with one branch going to Stratford and one to Canary Wharf. It is in Travelcard Zone 2.
The station was comprehensively rebuilt in the late 2010s and early 2020s as part of the Crossrail project.
Whitechapel station was originally opened in 1876 when the East London Railway (ELR, now the East London Line) was extended north from Wapping to Liverpool Street station. The ELR owned the tracks and stations but did not operate trains. From the beginning, various railway companies provided services through Whitechapel including the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR), the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LC&DR), Great Eastern Railway (GER) and the South Eastern Railway (SER).
On 6 October 1884, the District Railway (DR, now the District line) opened a new station adjacent to the deeper ELR station as the terminus of an extension from Mansion House (part of the extension also formed the final section of the Circle line). The new station was given the name "Whitechapel (Mile End)". The ELR passenger service between Whitechapel and Liverpool Street was withdrawn in 1885. The station received its present name on 13 November 1901.
On 1 February 1902, the DR station was temporarily closed for rebuilding. It reopened on 2 June 1902, when the DR opened the Whitechapel & Bow Railway, a joint venture with the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LT&SR). The new extension ran eastwards to Bromley-by-Bow where it joined the LT&SR's tracks. DR services then operated regularly to Upminster and as far as Southend-on-Sea in the summer.
The DR tracks were electrified in 1905 and electric trains replaced steam trains. Services going eastwards were cut back to the limit of electrification at East Ham; later they were re-extended to Barking in 1908, and to Upminster in 1932.
On 3 December 1906, the Metropolitan Railway (MR, which in 1933 became the Metropolitan line) extended its service to Whitechapel as the eastern terminus of its service. The MR also ran trains over the southern section of ELR via a connection (St Mary's Curve) between the DR tracks west of Whitechapel and the ELR tracks north of Shadwell station. When the tracks of the ELR were electrified in 1913, the MR ended services to the DR station and extended its ELR service through Whitechapel to Shoreditch (at that time the terminus of the line, but now closed). The change of service took place on 31 March 1913.
On 30 March 1936, the Metropolitan line began operating again through the District line station as far as Barking.
During the 1980s, the London Transport considered converting the East London line into a light railway similar to the Docklands Light Railway, or restoring the then-disused connection to Liverpool Street reconnecting Whitechapel to Liverpool Street via Shoreditch.[full citation needed]
The line had also become a line in its own right (though it was still grouped operationally with the Metropolitan line) and, from 1990, its colour on the map changed to orange. At the same time, the Hammersmith-Barking section of the Metropolitan line has also been operated separately as the Hammersmith & City line after it appeared as a completely separate line and it colour changed to pink on the tube map.
On 25 March 1995, during the construction of the Jubilee Line Extension, the East London Line was closed to allow repair works on the Thames Tunnel. General renovations and new signalling works were undertaken at the same time. The line reopened south from Whitechapel on 25 March 1998 and north from Whitechapel on 27 September 1998.
Throughout its life, Whitechapel has been used extensively as an eastern terminus; however, since the timetable change in December 2009, trains have reversed at Plaistow instead of Whitechapel. This is owing to operational changes related to the construction work to build one large island platform.
In preparation for the extension of the East London Line to Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington, the line north of Whitechapel to Shoreditch was closed on 9 June 2006. Services to Shoreditch had previously been run during peak hours and Sunday mornings only; these were replaced by a bus link.
Work on the extension of the East London line commenced and the line was closed on 22 December 2007. It reopened on 27 April 2010 when tracks on a new alignment were connected to a disused North London Line viaduct from Shoreditch to Dalston, making Whitechapel part of the London Overground network. Temporary bus services operated during the closure, of which rail replacement route ELW remained in service until the ELL fully opened on 23 May 2010. The southern extension of phase 1 from New Cross Gate to Crystal Palace and West Croydon was completed simultaneously with that to Dalston in 2010 and a full service began in May 2010.
In early 2015, because there were no services running on the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines between Edgware Road and Aldgate East/Tower Hill, a revised Circle line service operated between Edgware Road and Barking via Victoria. This occurred because of track drainage replacement and station works at Euston Square, Moorgate and Liverpool Street. It was the first time a regular Circle line service had called at Whitechapel.
Owing to Crossrail work that took place at Whitechapel station, Night Overground services initially did not stop at that station until works were complete. From December 2019, Night Overground began to stop additionally at Whitechapel.
In the 2010s and early 2020s, the station was comprehensively rebuilt as part of the Crossrail project. The work was undertaken by a joint venture of Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and Taylor Woodrow Construction.
The work involved restoring the historic station entrance, building a new station concourse and ticket hall above the Underground and Overground tracks, widening the sub-surface line platforms, and providing an intermediate concourse above the Overground tracks – as well as platforms and other infrastructure for Elizabeth line services. 10 lifts provide step free access to all platforms, with 3 escalators providing access down to the Elizabeth line platforms. A new north-south, free public access route through the station is also provided, shortening journeys for local residents.
Originally forecast in the early 2010s to cost £110m, the work at Whitechapel is estimated to have cost around £830m. Crossrail CEO Mark Wild stated that Whitechapel was “one of the most challenging Elizabeth Line stations to construct”, with challenges including building the new concourse above live railway lines, as well as ensuring continued use of the station by passengers. A temporary ticket hall off Court Street maintained access into the station during the 5 year period that the main entrance was closed.
The revamped original entrance reopened on 23 August 2021.
When opened on 24 May 2022, services initially ran between Paddington and Abbey Wood only. Since 6 November 2022, the line splits into two branches just east of the station: one towards Shenfield, joining the Great Eastern Main Line just south of Stratford, and the other continuing to Abbey Wood The Elizabeth Line platforms lie to the north of the station, with access via escalators down from the intermediate concourse above the Overground tracks.
Whitechapel station has bilingual station signage, owing to the large Bengali community in the local area. In March 2022, station signs on the platforms bear "Whitechapel" and also "হোয়াইটচ্যাপেল" in Bengali. It is one of the relatively few stations in England to have bilingual signage, others being Southall (Punjabi), Wallsend (Latin), Hereford (Welsh), Moreton-in-Marsh (Japanese) and St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International (all French). Mayor of London Sadiq Khan stated that he was "delighted" that the signage was installed ahead of Bangladesh Independence Day on 26 March. The installation was applauded by not only Bangladeshi diplomats, but also Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal.
Whitechapel has the unusual situation where the District and Hammersmith & City line London Underground platforms are located above the East London Line London Overground platforms.
The station used to have six platforms in open cuttings north of Whitechapel Road. The Hammersmith & City and District lines had two eastbound and two westbound (although trains could have reversed direction from any platform during times of disruption or engineering work). There was a siding beside platform 4 track accessed from the east side of the station which could accept a 6-car C or D stock train. There was another siding from platform 1 eastbound. This was of sufficient length and signalled to hold only a six car C stock train and when it was holding a train the platform (one) could only be used as a terminal, to reverse trains east to west, not as a through platform. The East London line (now part of London Overground) has one northbound and one southbound platform. They are sited at the eastern end of the station and are in a deeper cutting.
In September 2011 the track was permanently removed from platforms 2, 3, and 4. Platform 4 has been extended over the trackbed and westbound trains use the route of the old siding which has been connected to the main line at the western end to provide a through route. This platform is renumbered platform 2. Trailing crossovers are provided at each end of the station. The two island platforms were combined to form one large island platform with a central circulating area. A new double-ended centre reversing siding has been constructed beyond West Ham to compensate for the loss of reversing facilities from Whitechapel. Since December 2009 Hammersmith & City line trains have not been scheduled to reverse at Whitechapel. Outside peak hours they currently reverse alternately at Plaistow and Barking.
The St Mary's curve connection between the District line track and the East London Line was used for passenger traffic until 1941, but was subsequently only used to transfer empty trains to and from the other sub-surface lines. The curve was often lit and could easily be seen from the left-hand side of East London line trains entering Whitechapel station from the south, prior to the refurbishment of the East London line that commenced in late December 2007. The points on the District line, connecting it to the curve, were removed in summer 2008. Just west of Whitechapel is the site of the former St Mary's station, one of the many closed London Underground stations.
In 1997, Vitreous enamel panels designed by Doug Patterson were installed on the East London line (now part of the London Overground) platforms.
On the Elizabeth line platforms, colourful paper collages of local residents by Chantal Joffe have been recreated in aluminium. This work is titled "A Sunday afternoon in Whitechapel".
The typical off-peak service of trains per hour (tph) is as follows:
|Operator/line||Frequency to destination|
|London Underground (District line)||12 tph eastbound to Upminster (On Sundays alternate trains run to Barking only)|
3 tph eastbound to Barking
6 tph westbound to Ealing Broadway
6 tph westbound to Richmond
3 tph westbound to Wimbledon
|London Underground (Hammersmith & City line)||6 tph eastbound to Barking|
6 tph westbound to Hammersmith via King's Cross St. Pancras and Wood Lane
|London Overground (East London Line)||8 tph northbound to Highbury & Islington|
8 tph northbound to Dalston Junction
4 tph southbound to West Croydon
4 tph southbound to Crystal Palace
4 tph southbound to New Cross
4 tph southbound to Clapham Junction
|Elizabeth line||8 tph eastbound to Abbey Wood|
8 tph eastbound to Shenfield
2 tph westbound to Heathrow Terminal 4
2 tph westbound to Heathrow Terminal 5
2 tph westbound to Maidenhead
2 tph westbound to Reading
8 tph westbound to Paddington
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
towards Wimbledon, Richmond or Ealing Broadway
|District line||Stepney Green|
|Aldgate East||Hammersmith & City line||Stepney Green|
|Preceding station||Elizabeth line||Following station|
towards Reading or Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 or Terminal 5
towards Abbey Wood
|Preceding station||London Overground||Following station|
|Shoreditch High Street
towards Highbury & Islington or Dalston Junction
|East London line||Shadwell|
towards New Cross, Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace or West Croydon
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
|St Mary's (Whitechapel Road)||Metropolitan line
Hammersmith branch (1906–1913)
Hammersmith branch (1936–1938)
|Aldgate East||Metropolitan line
Hammersmith branch (1938–1990)
|St Mary's (Whitechapel Road)
towards Wimbledon, Richmond or Ealing Broadway
|East London line
towards New Cross or New Cross Gate
|Terminus||East London line
London Buses routes 25, 205, 254, D3 and night routes N25, N205 and N253 serve the station.
A working party set up by London Regional Transport and British Rail to examine potential sites for light railway networks in London has revealed its findings
((cite news)): Missing or empty