Archive spotlight: Hammersmith & City line
Engineered by John Fowler and running on mixed gauge tracks, at the time of opening, the only intermediate stations on the two-mile long railway were Notting Hill (now Ladbroke Grove) and Shepherd's Bush, making the 150-year history of the Hammersmith and City one of the most interesting of all the lines.
The line was jointly operated by the Great Western Railway (GWR) and Metropolitan Railway (MR) companies for many years. From its opening until 1868/9, the line had three running rails, to allow the operation of MR standard gauge (4ft 8.5in) and GWR broad gauge (7ft 0.25in) trains.
In the event, the GWR provided a broad gauge service until 1 April 1865, with the MR taking over thereafter. The 30-minute service interval on the branch was infrequent by today's standards, and was formed by extending alternate trains from Farringdon Street from Paddington to Hammersmith.
Within a few years of its opening, a number of lines became joined to the Hammersmith branch. A half-mile long line opened from Latimer Road junction to Uxbridge Road junction (on the West London Railway) on 1 July 1864.
On 1 January 1869, a new London and South Western line opened between north of Addison Road and Richmond via Ravenscourt Park, with a new station at Hammersmith (Grove Road). This required the re-siting of the original terminus at Hammersmith.
This line was connected to the original Hammersmith branch just north of Hammersmith station at Grove Junction, and the GWR operated an hourly service between Richmond and Paddington from 1 June 1870. Although this was withdrawn after just five months, it was replaced in 1877 by an MR service from Richmond to Aldgate.
The changeover from steam to electric traction on the Hammersmith and City line was started and completed in November and December 1906.
From 6 October 1884, trains ran from Hammersmith via the north side of the Circle line to New Cross. This service was cut back to Whitechapel on electrification on 2 December 1906, but again operated from 31 March 1913 (when the East London line was electrified) until 20 November 1939.
Initially, 20 six-car trains were provided for the service to Whitechapel. First class accommodation was provided until 1936. In contrast to other lines in the central area, which had automatic signalling installed around 1905, signalling on the branch continued to be manual until the 1920s.
The mile owned by GWR between Westbourne Park and Paddington was the last to be modernised, in 1929 (this section was not formally vested in London Transport until December 1973).
The main changes in the 1960s and 70s were the removal of crossovers and sidings, the cessation of goods traffic, and cutting the connection between the London Transport and GWR lines in the Paddington area.
These decades also saw the introduction of C stock trains, which had four sets of double doors per carriage, to increase capacity and keep rush hour station stop times to a minimum.
Despite becoming termed the Hammersmith & City line once again in 1988, the line appeared on the tube maps as part of the Metropolitan line until 1990, when it received its distinctive salmon pink colouring.
Almost half of the stations on the Hammersmith and City line are cut-and-cover underground stations and since the Circle line began running trains on the 'loop' in 2009, the line has no unique stations - every single one of the 29 stations is shared with another tube line.
The Hammersmith & City line is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Paddington to Hammersmith branch next year. To mark the occasion TfL is asking customers and staff to share their experiences and anecdotes for a new book to commemorate the anniversary.
The entry deadline for contributions to the book is Tuesday 31 December 2013. The book, which will be written by Mike Horne, will be published in June 2014.