How the deepest London Underground station might not be the one you think it is

One of the most obvious questions about the London Underground people want to know is ‘how deep are the tunnels?’ and ‘which is the deepest line or station?’.

These questions on the surface of it seem to be very very easy to answer.

Most people know that the deepest station is Hampstead which lies a huge 58.5 metres down under Hampstead Heath and has 320 stairs going down to it.

It’s a very long way down and passengers are often rightly worried about the lifts breaking down and getting stranded in the lift shafts.

The deepest line of course is the Northern line where it runs to that station.

But it’s not quite that simple.

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The above only applies if you take the starting point as the measurement below the surface of the ground. Hampstead is only so deep because it’s underneath a massive hill. This gives it an unfair advantage you might say.

If you look at it differently and take the deepest station in terms of the deepest below sea level you get a completely different answer.

One of Daniel Silva's diagrams illustrating the depth of each station (Daniel Silva)

One of Daniel Silva’s diagrams illustrating the depth of each station (Daniel Silva)

If you take for example the average depth below sea level of all the platforms in each Tube station, London Bridge comes out on top. Its platforms are, on average are a huge 22 metres below sea level.

On average, Southwark follows at 21 metres, Elephant & Castle at 18 metres, followed by Pimlico at 16 metres below sea level on average.

But if you’re after the deepest individual platforms it’s different again.

Waterloo’s Jubilee line platforms are in fact the deepest platforms below sea level at 26 metres, closely followed by Westminster’s Jubilee platforms at 25 metres and London Bridge’s Jubilee platforms at 23 metres.

So taking a level starting point so to speak, Waterlooo outstrips Hampstead any day.

Daniel Silva has created a series of diagrams which help you to see how this actually looks.

You can find them right here.

If you have an interesting story or piece of trivia about the London Underground please email [email protected]

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