Essential Architecture-  London

Canary Wharf Tube Station


Norman Foster


Canary Wharf station on the Jubilee Line, between Canada Water and North Greenwich


Opened 1999


High-Tech Modern


concrete, steel, glass


Managed by London Underground
Platforms in use 2
Annual entry/exit 29.888 million

Canary Wharf tube station is a London Underground station on the Jubilee Line, between Canada Water and North Greenwich. It is in Travelcard Zone 2 and was opened by the London mayor, Ken Livingstone by setting an escalator in motion on 17 September 1999 as part of the Jubilee Line Extension. It is maintained by Tube Lines

It has increasingly become one of the busiest stations on the network, serving the ever-expanding Canary Wharf business district. Although it shares a name with the Docklands Light Railway station at Canary Wharf, the two are not directly integrated (in fact, Heron Quays DLR station is nearer at street level). All three stations are connected underground via shopping malls.

Before the arrival of the Jubilee Line, London's Docklands had suffered from relatively poor public transport. Although the Docklands Light Railway station at Canary Wharf had been operating since 1987, by 1990 it was already obvious that the DLR's capacity would soon be reached. The Jubilee Line's routing through Canary Wharf was intended to relieve some of this pressure.

The tube station was intended from the start to be the showpiece of the Jubilee Line Extension, and its design was awarded in 1990 to the renowned architect Sir Norman Foster. It was constructed in a drained arm of the former dock, using a simple "cut and cover" method to excavate an enormous pit 24 metres (78 feet) deep and 265 metres (869 feet) long. The resulting large volume of the interior has led to it being compared to a cathedral, and it has even been used to celebrate a wedding. However, the main reason for the station's enormous proportions is the great number of passengers predicted — as many as 50,000 daily. As with the other below-ground stations on the Jubilee Line extension, both platforms are equipped with platform edge doors.

Above ground, there is little sign of the vast interior: two curved glass canopies at the east and west ends of the station cover the entrances and refract daylight into the ticket hall below. A public park is located between the two canopies, above the station concourse. It had originally been intended that the infilled section of the dock would be reinstated above the station. However, this proved impractical because of technical difficulties and the park was created instead.

Canary Wharf station and the Jubilee Line Extension itself were partly funded by the owners of the Canary Wharf complex, with the intention of making it more accessible to commuters. Only five years after the construction of the extension, capacity issues are already becoming apparent. It is envisaged that they will be resolved by adopting a new signalling system to allow trains to run more closely together, and thus more frequently. Trains have also been recently increased from six to seven carriages. In the longer term, the building of Crossrail line 1 will bring another rail connection to Canary Wharf and will also relieve pressure on the Jubilee line.