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Embankment tube station

Single-storey white stone building with Underground roundel on façade above station entrance. Many pedestrians circulate in front of the station and a railway bridge fills the upper right portion of the frame
Entrance to Villiers Street
Embankment is located in Central London
Location of Embankment in Central London
Location Victoria Embankment / Charing Cross
Local authority City of Westminster
Managed by London Underground
Number of platforms 6
Fare zone 1
OSI Charing Cross [1]
Waterloo East
Embankment Pier
London Underground annual entry and exit
2011 19.79 million[2]
2012 19.88 million[2]
2013 20.15 million[2]
2014 19.66 million[2]
Key dates
1870 Opened (DR)
1872 Started "Outer Circle" (NLR)
1872 Started "Middle Circle" (H&CR/DR)
1900 Ended "Middle Circle"
1906 Opened (BS&WR)
1908 Ended "Outer Circle"
1914 Opened (CCE&HR)
1926 Extended (Northern line)
1949 Started (Circle line)
Other information
Lists of stations
London Transport portal

Embankment is a London Underground station in the City of Westminster, known by various names during its history. It is served by the Circle, District, Northern and Bakerloo lines. On the Northern and Bakerloo lines, the station is between Waterloo and Charing Cross stations; on the Circle and District lines, it is between Westminster and Temple and is in Travelcard Zone 1. The station has two entrances, one on Victoria Embankment and the other on Villiers Street. The station is adjacent to Victoria Embankment Gardens and is close to Charing Cross station, Embankment Pier, Hungerford Bridge, Cleopatra's Needle, the Royal Air Force Memorial, the Savoy Chapel and Savoy Hotel and the Playhouse and New Players Theatres.

The station is in two parts: sub-surface platforms opened in 1870 by the District Railway (DR) as part of the company's extension of the Inner Circle eastwards from Westminster to Blackfriars and deep-level platforms opened in 1906 by the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (BS&WR) and 1914 by the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR). A variety of underground and main line services have operated over the sub-surface tracks and the CCE&HR part of the station was reconstructed in the 1920s.


  • History 1
    • Sub-surface station 1.1
    • Deep-level station 1.2
    • Fatal accident 1.3
  • Services 2
  • Connections 3
  • References 4
    • Notes 4.1
    • Bibliography 4.2
  • External links 5


Sub-surface station

The station was opened on 30 May 1870 by the DR (now the District line) when the railway extended its line from Westminster to Blackfriars.[3] The construction of the new section of the DR was planned in conjunction with the building of the Victoria Embankment and was achieved by the cut and cover method of roofing over a trench. Due to its proximity to the South Eastern Railway's Charing Cross station, the station was originally called Charing Cross.[4]

Illustrated section showing below ground structures of a riverside embankment including a covered railway line with steam train, riverside wall with sewer and pipes running behind. A large, glass roofed railway station sits in the left middle distance adjoining a railway bridge that crosses the river. Boats ply the water and tiny figures are engaged in construction work with a raised scaffold in the centre.
Section through Victoria Embankment at Charing Cross showing sub-surface railway

The DR connected to the MR (now the Metropolitan line) at South Kensington and, although the two companies were rivals, each company operated its trains over the other's tracks in a joint service known as the Inner Circle. On 1 February 1872, the DR opened a northbound branch from its station at Earl's Court to connect to the West London Extension Joint Railway (WLEJR, now the West London Line) at Addison Road (now Kensington (Olympia)).[3] From that date the Outer Circle service began running over the DR's tracks. The service was run by the North London Railway (NLR) from its terminus at Broad Street (now demolished) in the City of London via the North London Line to Willesden Junction, then the West London Line to Addison Road and the DR to Mansion House – at that time the eastern terminus of the DR.[5]

From 1 August 1872, the Hammersmith & City Railway (H&CR) track to Latimer Road, then, via a now demolished link, on the WLEJR to Addison Road and the DR to Mansion House. The service was operated jointly by the H&CR and the DR.[5]

On 30 June 1900, the Middle Circle service was shortened to terminate at Earl's Court,[6] and, on 31 December 1908, the Outer Circle service was withdrawn from the DR tracks.[7] In 1949, the Metropolitan line-operated Inner Circle route was given its own identity on the tube map as the Circle line.[3]

Deep-level station

In 1897 the DR obtained parliamentary permission to construct a deep-level tube railway running between Gloucester Road and Mansion House beneath the sub-surface line. The new line was to be an express route using electric trains to relieve congestion on the sub-surface tracks. Only one intermediate station was planned, at Charing Cross, 63 feet (19 m) below the sub-surface platforms.[8] No immediate work was carried out on the deep-level line, and the subsequent take over of the DR by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) and the resignalling and electrification of the DR's routes between 1903 and 1905 meant that congestion was relieved without needing to construct the deep-level line. The plan was dropped in 1908.[9]

On 10 March 1906, the BS&WR (now the Bakerloo line) opened with its deep-level platforms beneath and at ninety degrees to the platforms of the DR.[3] Although an interchange was provided between the two separate railways, the BS&WR named its station differently as Embankment.[4]

Section through station showing the layout in 1914

On 6 April 1914, the CCE&HR (now a part of the Northern line) opened a one stop extension south from its terminus at Charing Cross.[3] The extension was constructed to facilitate a better interchange between the BS&WR and CCE&HR.[10] Both lines were owned by the UERL which operated two separate and unconnected stations at the northern end of main line station - Trafalgar Square on the BS&WR and Charing Cross on the CCE&HR (both now part of a combined Charing Cross station). The CCE&HR extension was constructed as a single track tunnel running south from Charing Cross as a loop under the River Thames and back. A single platform was constructed on the northbound return section of the loop,[10] and escalators were installed between both sets of deep-level platforms and the sub-surface station. The interchange time was reduced from three minutes fifteen seconds to one minute and forty-five seconds.[11]

A new station building was constructed that [12] For the opening of the CCE&HR extension, the deep-level parts of the station were named Charing Cross (Embankment) although the sub-surface platforms remained as Charing Cross. In 1915, this was rectified by changing the name of the whole station to Charing Cross.[4] The CCE&HR station to the north was renamed Strand at the same time[13] (causing a nearby station of the GNP&BR to change its name from Strand to Aldwych).

In the 1920s, as part of the construction of what is now the Northern line, the CCE&HR was extended south to Waterloo and Kennington where it was connected to the City & South London Railway. The loop tunnel under the river was abandoned (although the present northbound Northern line platform follows its course) and two new tunnels were bored south.[14] To this day the southbound Northern line platform is the only one of the four deep level platforms that is not connected to any of the others by deep level walkways. The new extension was opened on 13 September 1926.[3]

three extracts of the London Underground tube map showing how station names have changed at Embankment and Charing Cross stations
How the Charing Cross area of the London Underground Map looked in 1972 and 1979 alongside the same area in 2006

The loop itself still exists, although it was penetrated by a bomb and flooded during the Blitz in the Second World War. Fortunately, the loop had been sealed off years before.[15] In September 1938, during the Sudeten Crisis, when war appeared imminent, the Bakerloo and Northern line tunnels at Embankment were temporarily sealed with concrete to protect against flooding through bombing. The blockage was removed after little more than a week once the crisis had passed.[16] At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the tunnels were blocked again until electrically powered emergency doors could be installed in the tunnel mouths. The tunnels reopened in December 1939.[17]

On 4 August 1974, the station was once again renamed Charing Cross Embankment.[4] Then, on 12 September 1976, it became Embankment,[4] so that the merged Strand and Trafalgar Square stations could be named Charing Cross.[13]

Fatal accident

At about 09:55 on 17 May 1938, an eastbound Inner Circle train collided with an eastbound Ealing BroadwayBarking District line train to the east of the station. The Barking train had been stopped at an automatic signal on its way to Temple station. Six passengers were killed and 43 injured. The cause of the accident was a faulty signal, which showed a green "proceed" aspect to the second train even though the line ahead was not clear. This was a result of a wrong connection made during the previous night when some minor alterations to wiring were made.[18]


The station is in London fare zone 1. On the District and Circle lines, the station is between Westminster and Temple, and, on the Northern and Bakerloo lines, it is between Charing Cross and Waterloo. Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but generally District line trains operate every 2–6 minutes from approximately 05:27 to 00:40 eastbound and 05:47 to 00:35 westbound; they are supplemented by Circle line trains every 8–12 minutes from approximately 05:39 to 00:18 clockwise and 05:51 to 00:23 anticlockwise. Northern line trains operate every 2–5 minutes from approximately 05:57 to 00:35 southbound and 05:42 to 00:37 northbound. Bakerloo line trains operate every 2–5 minutes from approximately 05:58 to 00:35 southbound and 05:42 to 00:28 northbound.[19]


London Buses night route N550 serve the station.[20]



  1. ^ "Out of Station Interchanges" (XLS).  
  2. ^ a b c d "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f Rose 1999.
  4. ^ a b c d e Harris 2006, p. 25.
  5. ^ a b Horne 2006, p. 15.
  6. ^ Horne 2006, p. 30.
  7. ^ Horne 2006, p. 44.
  8. ^ Badsey-Ellis 2005, pp. 70–71.
  9. ^ Badsey-Ellis 2005, p. 220.
  10. ^ a b Badsey-Ellis 2005, p. 271.
  11. ^ Wolmar 2005, p. 206.
  12. ^ Betjeman, John (1972). London's Historic Railway Stations.   – quoted in Wolmar 2005, pp. 206–207.
  13. ^ a b Harris 2006, p. 17.
  14. ^ Day & Reed 2008, p. 97.
  15. ^ "Northern Line, History". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  16. ^ Horne 2001, p. 52.
  17. ^ "Bakerloo Line, History". Clive's Underground Line Guides. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  18. ^ Woodhouse 1938.
  19. ^ "Timetables".  
  20. ^ "Night buses from Aldwych" (PDF).  


  • Badsey-Ellis, Antony (2005). London's Lost Tube Schemes. Capital Transport.  
  • Day, John R; Reed, John (2008) [1963]. The Story of London's Underground. Capital Transport.  
  • Harris, Cyril M. (2006) [1977]. What's in a name?. Capital Transport.  
  • Horne, Mike (2001). The Bakerloo Line. Capital Transport.  
  • Horne, Mike (2006). The District Line. Capital Transport.  
  • Rose, Douglas (1999) [1980]. The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History. Douglas Rose/Capital Transport.  
  • Woodhouse, Lt Col E (1938). Accident near Charing Cross (PDF). Ministry of Transport. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 

External links

  • The Charing Cross-Embankment-Strand conundrum explains the various names of the tube stations in this area.
  • London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
    • Victoria Embankment entrance, 1894
    • View of District platforms, 1894
    • View of District platforms, 1921
    • Entrance to station, 1927
    • Ticket hall, 1927
    • Ticket hall, 1929
    • Partially closed floodgate at the end of one of the Northern line platforms, 1943
    • View along District and Circle line platforms, 1988
    • Northern line platform showing decorative enamelled cladding panels, 1988
  • More photographs and Google Street View imagery
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
Bakerloo line
towards Edgware Road (via Victoria)
Circle line
towards Hammersmith (via Tower Hill)
District line
towards Upminster
Northern line
Charing Cross branch
towards Morden or Kennington
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