If I had to pick a London Underground line with the most ‘Londony’ name, it would be the Bakerloo line (a portmanteau of Baker Street and Waterloo Railway). Here are a few interesting facts and figures about this famous Tube line.
The Brown Line
Printed in brown on the Tube map, it serves 25 stations, 15 of which are underground, over 14.4 miles (23.2 km). It runs partly on the surface and partly in deep-level tube tunnels.
The Middle Child
This line opened well after the original tube lines, coming into service between 1906 and 1915. It was built following the plan for another railway line that was scrapped in the late 1800s.
Since the line was most built at the same time, it has a unified design look, with most of the stations being designed by Leslie Green. The stations below ground use Art Nouveau decorative tiling by Leslie Green, and the above-ground stations are built in red brick with stone detailing in an Arts & Crafts style.
Not So Busy
The Bakerloo line is the 9th busiest Tube line on the network and serves 111 million passengers annually.
This line has the oldest rolling stock on the London Underground currently, which came into service in 1972. Due to funding issues, they’re not likely to be replaced until the late 2030s or early 2040s – giving an incredibly long life to these trains!
Sherlock Holmes Connections
The line is named for Baker Street, but the station was already in existence when the line was built (it came into service in 1863). While Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, there are many nods to the famous connection in the station – including themed tiles throughout the station.
One oddity is that, almost from its opening until 1917, the Bakerloo operated with the polarity of the conductor rails reversed, the outside rail negative, and the center rail positive. This came about because the Bakerloo shared a power source with the District Railway. On the Bakerloo, the outside conductor rail tended to leak to the tunnel wall, whereas on the District Railway, the center rail shared a similar problem. The solution was to reverse the polarity on the Bakerloo line, so that the negative rail leaked on both systems. In 1917, the two lines were separated when the LNWR began its New Line’ service between Euston and Watford Junction, which the Bakerloo would share north of Queens Park. As a result, normal operation was restored.
As of May 2021, weekday off-peak and Sunday services on Bakerloo line are:
- 4 tph (trains per hour) from Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle
- 4 tph from Stonebridge Park to Elephant & Castle
- 8 tph from Queen’s Park to Elephant & Castle
- This forms a 16 tph service (or a train approximately every 4 minutes) between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle. A 20 tph service runs on this section of the line during the weekday peak and all day on Saturdays.
Over 100 Years
The line celebrated its centenary on 10 March 2006, when events were organized with actors and staff in Edwardian costumes to entertain travelers.
In 2017, a big fire at Oxford Circus station caused disruption on the Bakerloo line. A number of people were treated for smoke inhalation after the fire broke out.