Charing Cross tube station

This article is about the London Underground station. For the National Rail station, see Charing Cross railway station. For the London Underground station formerly known as Charing Cross, see Embankment tube station.
Charing Cross London Underground

Entrance at Villiers Street/The Strand
Charing Cross
Location of Charing Cross in Central London
Location Charing Cross
Local authority City of Westminster
Managed by London Underground
Owner London Underground
Number of platforms 6 (4 in use)
Fare zone 1
OSI Charing Cross National Rail [1]
London Underground annual entry and exit
2012 Decrease 18.52 million[2]
2013 Increase 18.63 million[2]
2014 Increase 21.30 million[2]
2015 Decrease 20.69 million[2]
Railway companies
Original company Baker Street and Waterloo Railway
Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway
Key dates
10 March 1906 (1906-03-10) BS&WR station opened as Trafalgar Square
22 June 1907 (1907-06-22) CCE&HR station opened as Charing Cross
6 April 1914 CCE&HR station renamed Charing Cross (Strand)
9 May 1915 CCE&HR station renamed Strand
16 June 1973 Northern line service suspended
1 May 1979 Jubilee line service introduced, Northern line service resumed, interchange with Bakerloo line opened and whole station renamed Charing Cross
19 November 1999 Jubilee line service withdrawn
Other information
Lists of stations
WGS84 51°30′29″N 0°07′29″W / 51.508°N 0.12475°W / 51.508; -0.12475Coordinates: 51°30′29″N 0°07′29″W / 51.508°N 0.12475°W / 51.508; -0.12475
London Transport portal

Charing Cross (sometimes informally abbreviated as Charing X) is a London Underground station at Charing Cross in the City of Westminster with entrances located in Trafalgar Square and The Strand. The station is served by the Northern and Bakerloo lines and provides an interchange with the National Rail network at Charing Cross station. On the Northern line it is between Embankment and Leicester Square stations on the Charing Cross branch, and on the Bakerloo line it is between Embankment and Piccadilly Circus stations. The station is in Travelcard Zone 1. The station was served by the Jubilee line between 1979 and 1999, acting as the southern terminus of the line during that period.

For most of the history of the Underground the name Charing Cross was associated not with this station but with the station now known as Embankment.


Early history

Northern line southbound platform at Charing Cross, looking north

The Northern line and Bakerloo line parts of the station were originally opened as two separate stations and were combined when the now defunct Jubilee line platforms were opened. The constituent stations also underwent a number of name changes during their history.

The first part of the complex, the Bakerloo line platforms, was opened as Trafalgar Square by the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway (BS&WR) on 10 March 1906. The Northern line platforms were opened a year later, as Charing Cross, by the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR, now the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line) on 22 June 1907. At its opening this station was the southern terminus of the CCE&HR which ran to two northern termini at Golders Green and Highgate (now Archway) tube stations.

Although both lines were owned and operated by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL), there was no direct connection below ground and passengers interchanging between the lines had to do so via two sets of lifts and the surface. In an effort to improve interchange capabilities, the CCE&HR was extended the short distance south under Charing Cross main line station to connect with the BS&WR and the District Railway (another UERL line), opening as such on 6 April 1914.

Renaming and connection

The interchange station between the BS&WR and District had been known hitherto as Charing Cross (District) and Embankment (BS&WR). The original CCE&HR terminus to the north of Charing Cross main line station was renamed Charing Cross (Strand) and the new station and the BS&WR station to the south of the main line station was named Charing Cross (Embankment). These names lasted only a short time: on 9 May 1915, Charing Cross (Strand) was renamed Strand and for Charing Cross (Embankment) the tube lines adopted the District Railway name of Charing Cross. At the same time, the separate Strand station on the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway was also renamed Aldwych to avoid confusion.

The Northern line Strand station was closed on 4 June 1973 to enable the construction of the new Jubilee line platforms. These platforms were constructed between the Bakerloo line and Northern line platforms together with the long-missing below-ground interchange between those two lines. In anticipation of the new interchange station, from 4 August 1974 Charing Cross was renamed Charing Cross Embankment. The Jubilee line platforms and the refurbished Northern line platforms opened on 1 May 1979 from which date the combined station including Trafalgar Square was given its current name; simultaneously Charing Cross Embankment reverted to the original BS&WR name of Embankment, ending 109 years of association with the name Charing Cross. The West End branch of the Northern line has been known as the Charing Cross branch since before the 1979 renaming, and this name has continued despite the change of station to which it refers.

History of station names related to Charing Cross
  Main line District Northern Bakerloo Northern Jubilee
1870 Charing Cross Charing Cross          
1906   Embankment Trafalgar Square    
1907   Charing Cross  
1914 Charing Cross (Embankment) Charing Cross (Strand)  
1915 Charing Cross Strand  
1973 Strand (Closed)  
1974 Charing Cross Embankment  
1976 Embankment  
1979 Charing Cross
1999 Charing Cross  

Closed Jubilee line platforms

One of the entrances to Charing Cross tube station from Trafalgar Square.

Although Charing Cross was constructed as the southern terminus of the Jubilee line, plans already existed to continue the line to the east towards Lewisham in south-east London. The tunnels were therefore constructed beyond the station beneath the Strand as far as 143 Strand, almost as far as Aldwych which would have been the next stop on the line. The subsequent regeneration of the Docklands in London's East End during the 1980s and 1990s required additional transport infrastructure and the eventual route of the extension took the new tunnels south from Green Park to provide new interchanges at Westminster, Waterloo and London Bridge stations and then on to the Greenwich Peninsula and Stratford.

The new tunnels branch away from the original south of Green Park station and, on the opening of the final section of the line between Green Park and Waterloo stations on 20 November 1999, the Jubilee line platforms at Charing Cross were closed to the travelling public. For several years, the escalators continuing down to the closed platforms could still be seen through closed doors at the bottom of the escalators from the ticket hall; however, the windows have since been boarded up.

The Jubilee line platforms are still used by Jubilee line trains as a sidings to reverse trains from south to north; to do so southbound trains terminate and detrain at Green Park Station and are worked empty to one of the Charing Cross platforms. The tunnels also extend beyond the platforms into the "Overrun". Each overrun has the capacity to stable a further two trains each.

As the Jubilee line platforms and track are still maintained by TfL for operation reasons, they can can also be used by film and television makers requiring a modern Underground station location. While still open they were used in the 1987 film The Fourth Protocol, and after closure in numerous productions, including different episodes of the television series Spooks, the films Creep (2004), 28 Weeks Later (2007), The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007), Skyfall (2012)[3][4] and the video for Alex Parks's single "Cry".

In 2006, it was proposed that an extension to the Docklands Light Railway from Bank station would take over the platforms. Intermediate stations at Aldwych and City Thameslink would be opened, mirroring the planned route of the old Fleet line.

In 2010, the concourse serving the platforms was used for London Underground's licensed busking auditions.[5]


A 100-metre-long (330-foot) mural along the Northern line platforms was designed by David Gentleman. It shows scenes from the construction of the original Charing Cross, memorial of Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I.[6]

Night Tube Service

Night Tube services commenced on the Northern Line in November 2016 but Charing Cross is not called at and will not be until July 2017.[7][8]


Nearby places of interest


  1. "Out of Station Interchanges" (XLS). Transport for London. May 2011. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  3. "James Bond News :: MI6 :: 'Skyfall' night shoot at Charing Cross tube station (photos)". MI6-HQ.COM.
  4. "James Bond News :: MI6 :: More explosive 'Skyfall' filming to take place in London today". MI6-HQ.COM.
  5. Sound of the Underground, BBC News, accessed 28 May 2010
  6. Lomas, Elizabeth (2001). "96. David Gentleman". Guide to the Archive of Art and Design, Victoria & Albert Museum. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 106. ISBN 1-57958-315-6. OCLC 46348785. Retrieved 31 July 2016 via Google Books.

Further reading

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charing Cross tube station.
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
Bakerloo line
Northern line
Charing Cross Branch
towards Morden or Kennington
  Former services  
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
towards Stanmore
Jubilee lineTerminus
Jubilee line
Phase 2 (never constructed)
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