City Road – An Abandoned London Underground Station

City Road

City Road was a station on the underground railway network located in Islington, Central London, England. It had one of the shortest life spans of any underground station in London, remaining open for just 21 years.

City Road underground station was opened in November 1901 as part of the City & South London Railway (C&SLR), the world’s first deep-level underground tube railway. Originally intended using cable-hauled trains, issues with suppliers meant electric locomotives were used instead, making it the first electric railway in the world too. The line initially had six stations and was 3.2 miles (5.1 km) long, running underneath the River Thames from the City of London to Stockwell.

City Road Underground

City Road just after it closed in the 1920s.

The C&SLR was extended southwards in 1900 to Clapham Common and northwards first in 1900 to Moorgate Street and then again in 1901 to Angel. City Road was one of the stations on the extension to Angel. Another extension in 1907 brought the line northwards again to Euston. In 1913, the City & South London Railway was bought by the London Electric Railway and they began to operate the line alongside the three lines it already owned. Today, it is part of the Northern Line on the London Underground network.

London Underground map from 1908

The City and Southern Railway is the black line on this map. It still retains this colour in its modern guise as the Northern Line.

The City Road underground station was underused and its closure was first discussed in 1908. Despite this, the station remained operational until 8th August 1922 when the Northern Section of the City & London Railway was closed to increase the size of the tunnels to the standard underground diameter of 3.56 metres from the existing 3.2 metres. Because the passenger numbers were so few, the extension of platform tunnels was deemed unnecessary on financial grounds. The station remained closed when the rest of the line reopened in 1924. The lift shaft was turned into a ventilation shaft and the platforms were removed. It was subsequently used as an air-raid shelter in World War II.

City Road Underground station

The structure surrounding the lift shaft was all the remained from the 1960s until it was demolished in 2017.

The surface building remained abandoned for a considerable period of time and was eventually demolished in the 1960s. The structure around the lift shaft remained at the junction of City Road, Central Street and Moreland Street but was also demolished in 2017 to make way for the Bunhill 2 Energy Centre, re-purposing heat captured from the Northern Line tunnels for the King Square council estate and a nearby school.

Like other disused stations on the London Underground network, such as York Road and Aldgate East, the platforms have been removed but the remains of the station can be seen by passing trains.

Location: London, England

Abandoned: 1922

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