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In 1868 the original Metropolitan Railway line was extended via Notting Hill Gate to Gloucester Road and South Kensington.
Simultaneously the District Railway opened its new line from South Kensington to Westminster.
In the other direction, the original line was extended east from Farringdon Street to Moorgate in 1865, Liverpool Street in 1875, Aldgate the following year and finally in 1884 to Mark Lane (now Tower Hill), which the District reached at the same time, creating the full Circle.
When circular services first started, clockwise trains were run by the District Railway and anticlockwise by the Metropolitan Railway.
It was first shown as a distinct line on the Tube map, in yellow, in 1949. In December 2009 the route of the Circle line was extended to Hammersmith.
Improving the Circle line
Circle line facts
Number of passengers on the Circle line*
*Figures from before December 2009 route change.
The Circle line shares almost its entire 27km (17 mile) route with three other lines, the District, the Hammersmith and City and the Metropolitan.
Only the short sections between High Street Kensington and Gloucester Road and between Aldgate and Minories Junction (east of Tower Hill) are used solely by Circle line trains.
The Circle line serves 35 stations and requires 18 trains to operate the peak period service
The Circle line serves 35 stations and requires 18 trains to operate the peak period service.
It takes on average 75 minutes to complete a trip from Hammersmith to Edgware Road, via Edgware Road, at peak times. The line has the distinction of serving most of London's main line rail termini.
Circle line trains are known as C stock.
They were manufactured by Metro-Cammell of Birmingham in two batches in 1969 and 1977.
The six-car trains are made up of three units each consisting of two cars permanently coupled together. The trains were refurbished by RFS Industries, Doncaster, between 1991 and1994.
The principal depot for the Circle line is at Hammersmith, but there are several other sidings at Barking, Triangle Sidings (in Kensington) and Farringdon.
In July 1993 a new train crew depot opened at Edgware Road, providing better staff deployment control and improved staff facilities.
The line has the distinction of serving most of London's main line railway termini.
Circle line management
The Circle line's General Manager is Pete Allaway.
London Underground is responsible for the maintenance, upgrading and renewal of the Circle line's assets.
If you wish to comment on the Circle line services, or would like to know more about the line, please contact us.