Notes: A temporary station with two narrow island platforms
opened on 21st December 1864, this was replaced by a new, prmanent
station in a slightly different site on 1.6.1865; the new station
had a single, broad island platform and an overall room which
was later removed. The track level building was demolished in
the early 1960's and the platform was removed in 1974. The station
frontage survived, albeit hidden by other buildings, until 1990
when it was demolished during the construction of the St. Pauls
The 'City Line' was far more than the Chatham could cope with
financially, but the possibilities for through traffic were
vast. To the north the G N R and the Midland could be reached
and to the south were the L B S C R and L S W R at Clapham Junction
from where the G W R and L N W R could be reached via the West
London Line. All these companies were approached to partake
financially and all eventually profited from the scheme gaining
the right to work trains to their own goods and coal depots
in South London.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LCDR's
The Metropolitan Extensions Act of 1860 gave the London Chatham
& Dover Railway access to the City, authorizing a 4.5-mile
line from Herne Hill across the river to join the Metropolitan
Railway at Farringdon Street.
The line from Herne Hill to the Elephant and Castle was opened
on 6 October 1862 and on to Blackfriars Bridge on 1 June 1864.
Intermediate stations were initially provided at Camberwell,
Walworth Road and Borough Road and later at Loughborough Junction.
The Thames was eventually bridged and by 21 December 1864 a
temporary station at Ludgate Hill was in use, a permanent station
being opened on 1st June 1865. It had two narrow island platforms
but the station was rebuilt in 1910 with a single broader island
On 1st January 1866, L C D R passenger trains began running
into the Metropolitan's Farringdon Street station and the connection
was soon carrying a wide variety of passenger and freight services.
Then, by an Act of 13 July 1871, the Chatham became committed
to yet another project.
A nominally independent Holborn Viaduct Station Company (for
the bankrupt Chatham was not allowed to raise capital) was authorized
to build a 292 yard branch from the Ludgate - Farringdon line
to a new terminus, complete with hotel, fronting on the new
thoroughfare of Holborn Viaduct. It was opened on 2nd March
1874. On 1st August 1874 a low-level station, Snow Hill ('Holborn
Viaduct Low Level' from 1912), was opened at the foot of the
1 in 39 incline.
Finally, on 10th May 1886 a parallel bridge across the Thames
was opened with, at the northern end, yet another new station,
St Paul's, the original Blackfriars Bridge being closed. St
Paul's was renamed Blackfriars on 1st February 1937. The existing
layout was completed when the South Eastern Railway opened the
Union Street spur on 1st June 1878 creating a through route
into Charing Cross.
The difficulties of inter-terminal transfer through the congested
streets of mid-Victorian London assured considerable transfer
traffic. All L C D R mainline trains, including continental
ones, carried a City portion attached or detached at Herne Hill.
Eventually however the development of the underground network
led to the withdrawal of the through services and the demise
in the importance of Holborn and Blackfriars with a dramatic
reduction in off peak services. Holborn retained very heavy
parcels traffic, including continental and three of its six
platforms, too short for electric trains were utilised.
The first casualty on the line was Borough Road which closed
on 1st April 1907 due to competition from the Northern Line.
As an economy measure during WW1 through services from south
of the Thames to Moorgate via the Smithfield Curve (opened 1.9.1871)
were withdrawn on 1st April 1916 with Camberwell and Walworth
Road stations closing two days later. Holborn Viaduct Low Level
closed on 1st June 1916 and with it through passenger traffic
on the City Line ceased.
Less than 700 yards separated Holborn Viaduct from Blackfriars.
Ludgate Hill thus became increasingly redundant, especially
after the through trains stopped. The intensive Ludgate Hill
- Victoria services were withdrawn during the First World War.
The Wimbledon trains were the last to call and with their electrification
it was closed on 3 March 1929.
In 1902, 19.2 million passengers used Holborn, Ludgate and
St Paul's. Use declined with the loss of the cross London traffic
until electrification. The growth of L.C.C. estates in S E London
and Kent increased traffic but this was not maintained and in
1960 they were back to the 1902 level with 88% of the traffic
arriving or departing during the rush hour. The 'City Line'
was still a vital north-south freight link with some 90 trains
a day in 1962, but all regular freight and parcels services
were withdrawn in 1969. Although disused for many years the
Snow Hill tunnel was finally abandoned in 1971 and the track
The Snow Hill tunnel was reopened in 1988 as part of the new Thameslink network which came into service in May 1990, initially as part
of British Rail but private since March 1997. To coincide with
the opening of Thameslink,
Holborn Viaduct Station was closed on 22nd January 1990. The
line into Holborn Viaduct over Ludgate Hill was removed and
a new line built that drops down steeply from Blackfriars station
into a new station called City Thameslink (opened 29.5.1990)
beneath the former Holborn Viaduct Station. The station was
originally called St. Paul's Thameslink but was renamed in 1991
to avoid confusion from St. Paul's station on the Central line.
The northern part of the Thameslink
network replaced the 'Bedpan' service from Bedford to St Pancras
and uses the existing Midland Main Line. In the south there
are two branches. The main route runs through London Bridge
to East Croydon and Brighton while the second branch initially
ran into Guildford via West Croydon but has now been rerouted
through Mitcham to terminate at Sutton.
has become a significant commuter route serving the airports
at Gatwick and Luton and carries around 40 million passenger
journeys on the system annually.
regional history of the railways of Great Britain - Volume
3 Greater London by H P White. David & Charles 1963 &
1971 ISBN 0 7153 5337 3. Tickets from Michael Stewart
Other web sites: Abandoned
Tube Stations - includes a cab ride from Farringdon - Blackfriars
To see the other stations on
the L C D R's 'City Line' click on the station name: Loughborough
Snow Hill/Holborn Viaduct
Low Level & Farringdon