We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Question about reading tube maps

United States
Level Contributor
62 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Question about reading tube maps

Looking at a tube map is there any way to determine from the graphics / icon whether two lines use the same platform or are on two sides of an island platform? My guess is when the two colors don't have a gap between them (e.g. the District and Central lines) they use the SAME platform. Correct? However if there's a gap (e.g. the Piccadilly line and the D & C lines at Gloucester Rd) is there any way to determine if they share a platform? I know that the District line and Piccadilly share a platform at Barron's Court and the depiction of the lines on the map at Barron's Court is no different than at Gloucester Rd. Why the question you may ask. Important if you're switching lines and have luggage with you. Also at Barron's Court and Hammersmith do they share a platform in both directions or only when travelling eastward (into the city)?

Missouri USA
Level Contributor
400 posts
45 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Question about reading tube maps

Over all, you can expect that different lines use different platforms and there is no way to know by looking at the tube maps. There are places where more than one tube line uses a platform, and I believe you have listed some, but I am not familiar with those stops. What you can tell from the map is which lines share the same station and you don't have to go out of one station and walk to another. But the different lines are probably on different levels and require some steps/elevators.

Guildford, United...
Level Contributor
2,584 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Question about reading tube maps

Not really - the district/circle lines are joined together because for most of the journey they actually use the same tracks and platforms - it is only at some junctions that they are at different platforms.

Barons Court and Hammersmith give cross platform changes between District and Piccadilly in both directions - it is a 4 track line with the District line using the outer tracks.

Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
21,707 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Question about reading tube maps

My guess is when the two colors don't have a gap between them (e.g. the District and Central lines) they use the SAME platform.


To quote Frasier, if only it were that complicated! No, the only significance is where there is more than one tube line through the station. The Piccadilly line is mainly a deep level line so does not share platforms with other lines very much if at all for example.

Just remember the tube was constructed at different times over a period of 160 years or so, so there are anomalies and peculiarities. It's a wonder it fits together (in a labyrinth designed by a particularly mischievous gnome way) at all.

Should add, there may be a pattern to lines which share platforms or stations where cross platform is opposite directions but it isn't consistent. No doubt the info resides somewhere in TFL Towers but isn't one that exercises (or helps) most passengers.

Edited: 08 March 2012, 17:45
London, UK
Level Contributor
1,794 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Question about reading tube maps

The District and Circle lines (not Central) often do use the same platform, but as Clemrick says this is unusual and normally you have to walk between platforms to change lines. Knowing this forum, there's always somebody who can answer the question for a specific station.

This map shows step-free access tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/step-free-tube-g…

although it's aimed more at wheelchair users.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
29,543 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Question about reading tube maps

I think we covered this one before, and it changes from time to time when they release an updated map. Looking at the current map IMO it isn't very clear and so you can't tell.

If you are specifically asking about the Piccadilly and District lines, the lines run adjacent to each other between Ealing Common and Barons Court. There are shared island platforms at Acton Town, Hammersmith and Barons Court. And yes you can make cross platform changes going westbound as well as eastbound. Immediately east of Barons Court, the Piccadilly line goes deep underground and so the stations east do not share platforms.

There are some other notable stations with cross platform interchanges - Oxford Circus (Victoria/Bakerloo), Baker Street (Jubilee/Bakerloo), Mile End (District-H&C/Central), Stockwell (Northern/Victoria), Finchley Road and Wembley Park (both Jubilee/Metropolitan). I'm sure there are others too.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
3,701 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Question about reading tube maps


London, United...
Level Contributor
11,395 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Question about reading tube maps

Apart from the obvious District/Circle and H&C/Circle co-running, I know of only 11 stations where the interchanges are at the same level:

Acton Town: District - Piccadilly

Baron's Court: District - Piccadilly

Baker Street: Bakerloo- Jubilee (short tunnels on same level)

Ealing Common: District - Piccadilly

Finchley Road: Jubilee - Metropolitan

Finsbury Park: Piccadilly - Victoria

Hammersmith: District - Piccadilly

Mile End: Central - District

Oxford Circus: Bakerloo - Victoria

Stockwell: Northern - Victoria

Wembley Park: Jubilee - Metropolitan


London, United...
Level Contributor
11,395 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Question about reading tube maps

Oh - and at Euston I think there are no steps between the Victoria line and the Bank branch of Northern line.

Ipswich, United...
Destination Expert
for Ipswich
Level Contributor
7,474 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Question about reading tube maps

There are also stations where national rail trains and tube trains share a platform. An example of this is Stratford, where one can transfer from National rail trains to the Central Line just by crossing the platform. This is extremely handy for people coming from places like Ilford and other stations on that line (which may be why so many budget hotels have opened in Ilford since PAYG oystercards could be used there). Some longer distance trains also stop on that platform and those wanting to catch the Tube will change there rather than go on to Liverpool Street, where it would be a walk to the Tube. There are touch pads on the platform for PAYG oystercard users. Unfortunately, when some people see that a Central Line train is waiting or just coming in, they rush across the platform and forget to touch-in their oystercards.

Edited: 08 March 2012, 19:06
London & Paris
Level Contributor
3,053 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Question about reading tube maps

"My guess is when the two colors don't have a gap between them (e.g. the District and Central lines) they use the SAME platform. Correct?"

You mean the District and Circle lines, I guess. The answer is yes in most cases, but there are exceptions. For example, at Gloucester Road, the westbound Circle trains have their own platform, separate from westbound District trains. And an eastbound District train that terminates at Tower Hill will not stop at the same platform there as a through Circle or District train.

Do you have any specific examples that you want to know about?