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Oxford Circus tube station

Oxford Circus
Bakerloo line surface building
Oxford Circus is located in Central London
Oxford Circus
Location of Oxford Circus in Central London
Location Oxford Circus
Local authority City of Westminster
Managed by London Underground
Owner London Underground
Number of platforms 6
Fare zone 1
London Underground annual entry and exit
2011 77.09 million[1]
2012 80.55 million[1]
2013 85.25 million[1]
2014 98.51 million[1]
Key dates
1900 CLR opened
1906 BS&WR opened
1969 Victoria line opened
Listed status
Listed feature Original CLR and BS&WR buildings.
Listing grade II[2][3]
Entry number 1400976 (CLR)[2][4]
1401022 (BS&WR)[3][4]
Added to list 20 July 2011
Other information
Lists of stations
London Transport portal

Oxford Circus is a London Underground station serving Oxford Circus at the junction of Regent Street and Oxford Street, with entrances on all four corners of the intersection. The station is an interchange between the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines.[5] It is the busiest station in the United Kingdom, with 98.51 million entries and exits in 2014.[6] On the Central line it is between Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road, on the Bakerloo line it is between Regent's Park and Piccadilly Circus, and on the Victoria line it is between Green Park and Warren Street. The station is in Travelcard Zone 1.[5]

The Central line station opened on 30 July 1900, and the Bakerloo line station on 10 March 1906. Both are Grade II listed. The station was rebuilt in 1912 to relieve congestion. Further congestion led to another reconstruction in 1923. Numerous improvements were made as part of the New Works Programme and as a flood protection measure. To accommodate passengers on the Victoria line, a new ticket hall was built. The Victoria line station opened on 7 March 1969, including cross-platform interchange with the Bakerloo line.


  • History 1
    • Central line 1.1
    • Bakerloo line 1.2
    • Victoria line 1.3
    • Incidents and Accidents 1.4
  • Station building 2
    • Bakerloo and Central lines 2.1
    • Victoria line 2.2
  • The station today 3
  • Services and connections 4
    • Services 4.1
      • Bakerloo line 4.1.1
      • Central line 4.1.2
      • Victoria line 4.1.3
    • Connections 4.2
  • Nearby attractions 5
  • Notes and references 6
    • Notes 6.1
    • References 6.2
    • Bibliography 6.3
  • External links 7


Central line

Route diagram showing the original route between Shepherd's Bush to Cornhill (Bank).

In November 1889, the CLR published a notice of a private bill that would be presented to Parliament for the 1890 parliamentary session.[7] The bill planned an underground route between Queen's Road (now Queensway) and King William Street.[8] The bill was approved by the House of Commons, but was rejected by the House of Lords, which recommended that any decision be suspended until after the City and South London Railway (C&SLR) had opened.[9][note 2] In November 1890, with the C&SLR about to start operating, the CLR planned an extension[11] to Shepherd's Bush from Queen's Road in the west.[12] In the east, the terminus was changed to Cornhill and intermediate stations were added at Lansdowne Road, Notting Hill Gate, Davies Street and Chancery Lane.[13] These plans were accepted by both Houses of Parliament on 5 August 1891.[14]

The CLR employed the engineers James Henry Greathead, Sir John Fowler, and Sir Benjamin Baker to design the railway.[13] Work began with demolition of buildings at the Chancery Lane site in April 1896 and construction shafts were started at Chancery Lane, Shepherd's Bush, Stanhope Terrace and Bloomsbury in August and September 1896.[15] Tunnelling was completed by the end of 1898.[16] The official opening of the Central London Railway (CLR, now the Central line) by the Prince of Wales took place on 27 June 1900;[17] it was opened to the public on 30 July.[18][19] Oxford Circus station opened as part of the first section of the line, between Shepherd's Bush and Bank.[18] The station was closed between 31 August and 20 November 1939 to facilitate flood protection works.[18][20] Although street access was closed, trains still called, and interchange with the Bakerloo line was still possible within the station.[18][20] As part of the 1935—40 New Works Programme, the misaligned tunnels of the central section on the Central line that slowed running speeds were corrected[21][note 3] and the platforms lengthened to accommodate longer trains.[18]

Bakerloo line

Route diagram which shows the original route running from Baker Street to Waterloo.

In November 1891, notice was given of a private bill that would be presented to Parliament for the construction of the BS&WR.[23] The railway was planned to run entirely underground from Marylebone[24] to Elephant & Castle[25] via Baker Street and Waterloo.[23] The route was approved in 1900.[26][27] Construction commenced in August 1898[28] under the direction of Sir Benjamin Baker, W.R. Galbraith and R.F. Church.[29] The works were carried out by Perry & Company of Tregedar Works, Bow.[29][note 4] Oxford Circus was altered below ground following a Board of Trade inspection; at the end of 1905, the first test trains began running.[33] The official opening of the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (BS&WR, now the Bakerloo line) by Sir Edwin Cornwall took place on 10 March 1906.[34] The initial section of the BS&WR was between Baker Street and Lambeth North.[20] The station was closed between 31 August and 20 November 1939 to facilitate flood protection works.[18][20] Although street access was closed, trains still called, and interchange with the Bakerloo line was still possible within the station.[18][20]

Victoria line

A proposal for a new underground railway running from Victoria to Walthamstow was first proposed by a Working Party set up by the British Transport Commission in 1948,[35] though that largely followed a 1946 plan for an East Croydon to Finsbury Park line.[36][note 5] A route was approved in 1955 with future extensions to be decided later,[39] though funding for the construction was not approved by the government until 1962.[40] Construction began in 1962 on the initial Walthamstow to Victoria section[41] and the Victoria line platforms opened on 7 March 1969.[37] The station opened as part of a second extension from Warren Street to Victoria.[37] Cross-platform interchange between the Bakerloo and Victoria lines was provided by constructing the Victoria line platforms parallel to the Bakerloo ones.[20][37]

Incidents and Accidents

  • On 23 November 1984, during renovation works, the station suffered a severe fire which burned out the northbound Victoria line platform.[42] It is believed that the fire was caused by smoking materials being pushed through a ventilation grille into a storeroom where they set several materials on fire.[42] This caused the Victoria line between Warren Street and Victoria to be suspended until 18 December the same year.[37] This incident also led to a smoking ban being introduced on trains in July 1984.[43]
  • On 3 March 1997, a train derailment caused the northbound Bakerloo line service between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus to be suspended for 12 days.[20]

Station building

Bakerloo and Central lines

The CLR and BSWR had separate surface buildings and lift shafts.[42] The station buildings, which remain today as exits from the station,[2] were built on very confined plots on either side of Argyll Street on the south side of Oxford Street, just east of the circus itself.[42] The stations as originally built were entirely separate, but connecting passages were soon provided at platform level.[42] The surviving Central London Railway building to the east of Argyll Street is the best surviving example of stations designed by Harry Bell Measures,[2][42] and the Bakerloo line building to the west is a classic Leslie Green structure.[3][42] Both are Grade II listed since 20 July 2011.[2][3][4]

The busy Central line platform, as seen in December 2004, showing its narrow width.

Almost from the outset, overcrowding has been a constant problem, and there have been numerous improvements to the facilities and below-ground arrangements to deal with this.[42][44] After much discussion between the then two separate operators, a major reconstruction began in 1912.[42] This entailed a new ticket hall, serving both lines, being built in the basement of the Bakerloo station, with the Bakerloo lifts removed and new deep-level escalators opened down to the Bakerloo line level.[42] Access to the CLR was by way of existing deep-level subways.[42] The new works came into use on 9 May 1914 with the CLR lifts still available for passengers.[42] By 1923 even this rearrangement was unable to cope, so a second rebuilding began.[42] This involved a second set of escalators being built directly down to the Central line[44] and the CLR station building becoming exit-only.[42] On 2 October 1928, a third escalator leading to the Bakerloo platforms was opened.[42][44] Unusually, lifts came back into prominence at an Underground station when, in 1942, a set of high-speed lifts came into use, largely used as an exit route from the Central line platforms directly to the Argyll Street exit building.[42]

Victoria line

To handle the additional Victoria line passenger loads, a new ticket hall was constructed directly under the road junction.[2] To excavate the new ticket hall below the roadway, traffic was diverted for five years (August 1963 to Easter 1968) onto a temporary bridge-like structure known as the "umbrella" covering the Regent Street/Oxford Street intersection.[42] Service tunnels were constructed to carry water mains and telecom cables past the new ticket hall.[42] Construction of the Victoria line station tunnels with their platforms, the new escalator shafts and the linking passages to the Central line platforms was carried out from access shafts sunk from nearby Cavendish Square, Upper Regent Street and Argyll Street.[42][note 6] With the additional escalators in place, a new one-way circulation scheme was introduced and the remaining lifts were removed.[42]

The station today

In 2007 the station underwent a major modernisation,[45] removing the murals installed on the Central and Bakerloo line platforms in the 1980s and replacing them with plain white tiles,[45] in a style similar to those used when the station opened in 1900.[42] One 1980s mural remains on one of the platforms.[46] The Central line platform works were substantially complete and a new Station Operations Room at top level opened.[45] This enabled the entire CCTV system to be switched over to new recordable digital technology.[45] The original motifs designed by Hans Unger on the Victoria line platforms were restored.[47]

Oxford Circus station has 14 escalators.[48][note 7] Major escalator refurbishment took place in 2010–11.[50] Platform humps were also installed at the station to provide step-free access to trains.[51][52][note 8] The Victoria line humps resemble in form the Harrington Hump.[53]

Services and connections


A Bakerloo line train arrives at the northbound platform, looking south.

Bakerloo line

On this line, it is between Regent's Park and Piccadilly Circus stations.[5] Trains generally run every 4–9 minutes between 06:17 and 00:15 in both directions, a little less frequently than the Central and Victoria lines.[54][55]

Central line

On this line, the station is between Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations.[5] The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is as follows:

Victoria line

On this line, the station is located between Warren Street and Green Park.[5] The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is:


London Bus routes 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 23, 25, 55, 73, 88, 94, 98, 137, 139, 159, 189, 390, 453 and C2,[58] and night routes N3, N7, N8, N13, N18, N55, N73, N98, N109, N113, N136, N137 and N207[58][59] serve the station. Additionally, bus routes 6, 10, 12, 23, 25, 88, 94, 139, 159, 189, 390, 453 and C2 provide a 24-hour bus service.[58][59]

Nearby attractions

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