Piccadilly line factsSkip to navigation
The Piccadilly line, now over 100 years old, is principally the legacy of one of the great pioneers of Tube railways, the American entrepreneur, Charles Tyson Yerkes. Yerkes initially acquired the District in 1901 and then in 1902 formed the Underground Electric Railways Company to fund construction of the Hampstead (now part of the Northern), Baker Street and Waterloo (the Bakerloo) and the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton (Piccadilly) railways, but tragically Yerkes died in 1905 before any of these new Tube lines opened.
The Piccadilly line first opened on 15 December 1906 between Finsbury Park and Hammersmith. The original line consisted of 15.3 km (9.5 mile) twin tunnels from Finsbury Park to Barons Court and a short section of surface track on to Hammersmith. A branch to Aldwych opened the following year.
The Piccadilly line is principally the legacy of one of the great pioneers of tube railways
No major developments took place on the Piccadilly line until the early 1930s, when it grew rapidly.
The extensions to South Harrow and Arnos Grove were opened in 1932, and those to Hounslow West, Uxbridge and Cockfosters were completed in 1933.
In more recent years, the Piccadilly line was extended west from Hounslow West to serve Hatton Cross (1975) and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 (1977). In 1986, the Heathrow service was developed into a loop, to serve the new Terminal 4.
In March 2008, Piccadilly line trains began servicing the new Heathrow Terminal 5, marking the official opening of the first stretch of new Underground railway since the Jubilee line extension in 1999.
Improving the Piccadilly line
Piccadilly line facts
Number of passengers on the Piccadilly line
The Piccadilly line covers 71km (44.3 miles) and serves 52 stations between Cockfosters and Heathrow or Uxbridge. 79 trains are required to operate the morning and evening peak period service.
Piccadilly line trains are formed of 1973 tube stock, manufactured by Metro-Cammell of Birmingham, with each train made up of six-cars. They were refurbished by Bombardier-Porail in the 1990s.
The trains have space by the doors to accommodate luggage for the many passengers travelling to and from Heathrow Airport.
The Piccadilly line was the first of the deep-level tube lines to be converted to one-person operation
The trains are serviced and cleaned in depots at Northfields and Cockfosters, and there are also sidings for stabling trains at Arnos Grove.
The Piccadilly line was the first of the deep-level tube lines to be converted to oneperson operation (August 1987), where the operator drives the train and controls the operation of the doors.
The Line's train service is monitored and controlled by the signalling control centre at Earl's Court.
The line holds one notable record for the London Underground system - the shortest distance between adjacent stations by rail - is the 0.26 km (0.16 miles) between Leicester Square and Covent Garden.
There are four tracks between Northfields and Acton Town, and one of the two eastbound tracks is fitted with water sprays for train braking and wheel adhesion trials.
Piccadilly line trains normally run non-stop from Acton Town to Hammersmith.
Between Hammersmith and Barons Court there is a double-ended siding which can be used to reverse eastbound or westbound trains. The Piccadilly twin-tube tunnels commence just east of Barons Court and the line remains in tunnel until Arnos Grove.
There are reversing sidings underground at Hyde Park Corner and at Wood Green.
Southgate station is in a short separate tunnel section, as is the line beyond Hounslow West serving Hatton Cross, Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 and Heathrow Terminal 4 stations (except for a short section on the surface between Hounslow west and Hatton Cross where the line crosses the River Crane).
Piccadilly line stations show a variety of architectural styles reflecting the line's history. Of particular note are the 1930s stations of Charles Holden.
Many of these designs, such as Arnos Grove, Southgate and Sudbury Town, are now highly regarded as examples of the best public architecture of the period and are listed buildings as are another 17 stations served by the line.
There are four disused stations on the line, some parts of which can be glimpsed as trains pass through.
- York Road (closed 1932) (between King's Cross St Pancras and Caledonian Road)
- Down Street (closed 1932) (between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park)
- Brompton Road (closed 1934) (between South Kensington and Knightsbridge)
- Osterley & Spring Grove (closed 1934) (between Boston Manor and Osterley)
Piccadilly line management
The Piccadilly line's General Manager is Tony Matthews.
Tube Lines is responsible for the maintenance, upgrading and renewal of the Piccadilly line's assets.
If you wish to comment on the Piccadilly line services, or would like to know more about the line, please contact us.