“ The Hammersmith and City Line is a line of the London Underground, coloured salmon pink on the Tube map, running between Hammersmith and Barking. Formerly part of the Metropolitan Line, it is the oldest underground railway in the world, as it includes the first part of the London Underground, the section between Paddington and Farringdon, which opened on January 10, 1863. It ranks 10th out of the 12 lines in passenger numbers. „
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The pink line goes from Hammersmith in West London to Barking in the East. So does the District Line. The difference is that the Hammersmith & City goes around the north of London serving mainline stations such as Paddington, Marylebone, Euston, Kings Cross & St Pancras & Liverpool Street. The District line takes a more direct route via Victoria. I spent most of 1998 on the H & C line due to working in the Ladbroke Grove area but being based in an office in Clerkenwell. I can't comment on the stretch of line between Aldgate East & Barking as I have never ventured out that far. The H & C line isn't really a tube. It is a very old line, parts of it are among the oldest sections of the underground system. Mch of it was built in the old "cut & cover" style, where a trench was dug, this was before the machinery to tunnel underground was available. Hence much of this line, at least between Hammersmith & Edgeware Road is actually above ground. This is an advantage if you are claustrophobic and/or don't like lifts/escalators as there are none of these and fewer steps at these stations. The disadvantage being that in winter many of these stations are windswept, freezing places to stand awaiting one of the (infrequent) trains. It strikes me that this line is not much of a priority for London Underground. Perhaps this is because many of the celebs and more wealthy people who reside in places like Ladbroke Grove have little use for public transport. More likely it is because many of its destinations are served more adequately by other lines. For example, you'd have to be mad, Barking in fact (sorry, had to get that in) to use this line from Hammersmith to Barking when it would be much more direct via the District Line. The H & C line also shares many of its stations between Paddington and Liverpool Street with at least 2 other lines, this is also presumably why the H & C trains are fairly infrequent. Many a ti
me I have waited at least 15 - 20 minutes for one, a nuisance if you are going to/returning from one of the stations between Paddington & Hammersmith which are only served by this line. It would be useful if the number of trains to and from Hammersmith and Edgeware Road could be increased, like a shuttle service. You really notice the flaws in this line when it comes to travelling to those destinations that are only served by this route i.e: stations beween but excluding Hammersmith & Paddington, with the exception of Shepherds Bush which also has a Central Line station. Beware if you are thinking of a quick change onto this line from one of the others at either Hammersmith, Paddington or Baker St. At Hammersmith, it is a totally separate station, to change from the District or Picadilly Line involves crossing a busy main road, usually with a five minute wait for the traffic lights to change. Likewise at Paddington, it involves a long walk through the mainline station to get to the platforms for the H & C line. The trains themselves, though not the most modern in use on the system are no worse than any other line in terms of how crowded they are. The cleanliness is also up to London Underground's er...high standards. This line is definitely not as hi-tech as some of the others. In fact many of the stations do not even have the electronic displays to tell commuters when the next train is due. This is left to good old fashioned announcers. At Ladbroke Grove they always find it necessary to announce: "The Eastbound train has just left Latimer Road and will be at Ladbroke Grove in 1 minute, Westbourne Grove in 2 minutes, Royal Oak in 4 minutes and Paddington in 5 minutes". Who cares??? Surely a simple: "The train will be here in one minute" would suffice. Are we supposed to time them or something - every regular underground user knows 1 minute underground time lasts at least 3 minutes GMT. My most hated s
tation is Edgeware Road. This is the place where a branch of the District line starts and ends and also the Circle line passes through. The Bakerloo line goes through a separate Edgeware Road station so don't even think about changing. Whatever train you happen to be on (Circle or H & C)you are almost always guaranteed a wait here. And it's usually a long one. More often than not you are told that the train on the other platform will be the first one to leave and are requested to move onto that train, only to do this and then watch in disbelief as the train you were originally sat on pulls away first!! I seem to remember reading somewhere that staff at Edgeware Rd tell passengers to change train on purpose just so they can watch them scurrying back and forth across the bridge. Oh the power! Or perhaps that's just my suspicious mind working overtime, though I'm sure it would liven up an otherwise fairly dull job. Finally a sad commuter tip. If you are travelling Eastbound and need to change at Kings Cross, get in the front carriage as it's nearer the ticket barriers. My overall opinion on this line: certainly not the worst line on the London Underground system, but definitely room for improvement. Increasing the frequency of trains between Hammersmith & Paddington and building a proper interchange with the Central Line at Shepherds Bush would make this service much better. But then it all comes back down to money, and that seems to be what the system lacks the most.