“ The Circle Line of the London Underground became known as such in 1949, when it was designated separately from its parent lines, the Metropolitan Line and the District Line, although it had been shown on Underground maps since 1947. It can be thought of as a "virtual line", as the Circle Line does not have any stations for its sole use. This is because the Circle Line was created from two previously-existing lines (see history below). The only two sections of track over which the Circle Line operates exclusively are the chords between High Street Kensington and Gloucester Road, and between Tower Hill and Aldgate. The line has interchanges with most of the major London terminals (all but Marylebone, Euston, London Bridge and Waterloo). „
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One reason the circle line is so unreliable is that it does not really exist. It shares track with the district line and will oftain 'dissapear' when the system is under stress for this reason. I work in Farringdon area and come in to London via Fenchurch st. It is very hard to time my journey because I oftain find that there are no Circle line trains running, only District. There is a PPP scheme that is floated from time to time to alow national rail trains to come directly into the tube network. In theory this should be wonderful as it would reduce crowding at commuter stations, but not on the trains. It should also make travel more reliable and predictable as the comuter would know that he was not to be stranded on some underground station. Unfortunately I cannot see how a Circle line could continue to operate in this situation. In my opinion the only answer would be to build a 'real' Circle line that operates its own track. This would then facilitate 24 hour running. Waht do you think?
I had the misfortune of living in south east London in the days when it was uncool and had terrible transport links to the rest of London. After having to endure a bus trip to Aldgate as the East London Line was closed, you had to brave the American tourists going to see the Tower and wait and wait and wait for the Circle Line train to arrive. The Circle Line is just the most irritating tube journey to take in terms of slowness. A journey that should take about 15 minutes takes up to 40 minutes or more if you include the interminable waiting time. I'm sure they leave the older trains on the District line to make you feel a tiny bit happier about having to travel on the Circle line. After all at least the trains are nicer. The only interesting thing about the Circle line is that some brave souls do a pub crawl around the entire line. Saying that I have never tried it myself as I think it takes about 10 hours and tube travel and alcohol never mix well in my opinion (and experience).
Until I went on maternity leave last June I had the misfortune of having to endure the circle line between Victoria and Notting Hill Gate every morning and evening. The circle line has got to be one of the worst lines London Underground has, unless of course it has changed drastically for the better in the last 8 months. Trains only run every 6 - 8 minutes even in rush hour and that usually seems more like 10 - 15 minutes, and that's only when it isn't suspended altogether. During the summer of 1998 the circle line was shut. This was for engineering work between South Kensington and Gloucester Rd. I'm sure I read somewhere that as a result of this, that particular stretch of the journey would be smoother and slightly quicker. Yeah right. As a daily circle line user before and after this work had been completed I noticed no discernable difference in journey times. I used to have to catch an overground train from Victoria BR to my home in SE London, there only used to be one train every half hour. Due to being stuck on the circle line train which used to sit for ages in South Kensington station every night I used to miss my train by about a minute all the time. As my entire journey from work to home used to take about 1.5 - 2 hours it was very easy to start being paranoid and take these small delays very personally! I used to try different routes to avoid the circle line e.g central and victoria lines, or the bus but it never seemed to go my way! Incidently my journey time used to be 1.5 hours, yet the time I spent actually moving on trains or buses actually only amounted to about 35 minutes! The rest was spent hanging around for connections. The only good thing I have to say about the circle line is about the friendly commuters who use it. It was the only tube line (and believe me, I used them a lot) where someone would always offer me a seat when I was obviously fairly heavily pregnant. I would say if you can possibly avoid the circle line and use a bus or other lines, your journey time will probably be quicker.