Confused by tube arrivals at Paddington

I’m looking at the arrivals for the two Paddington stations. I’m trying to work out how to interpret them. It seems to be a special case.

Results are:

  • Circle inner rail and outer rail
  • District inner rail and outer rail
  • Hammersmith and City inner rail (but not outer?)

For 940GZZLUPAH (in the stops api this is the H&C line station)
Results are:

  • Bakerloo southbound and northbound
  • Circle eastbound
  • Hammersmith & City westbound and eastbound

So questions are:

  1. For 940GZZLUPAC why are the platform names inner/outer instead of directional names. Maybe I can understand this for circle line but for the other lines its inconsistent
  2. Why does 940GZZLUPAC have arrivals for H&C
  3. Why does 940GZZLUPAH have arrivals for Bakerloo, Circle
  4. The two lots of results H&C and circle from both stations don’t match

This is a bit confusing, I’m wondering how best to detangle this. For point 1 I can map inner/outer to directional names (although I’d like to avoid that if it’s a bug in the data). For Bakerloo and District I can keep those results. For H&C and circle, I’m not sure whether to combine the results, or keep one set over the other. Or I could just use the 940GZZLUPAH results and add district from 940GZZLUPAH.


It’s because there are two stations at Paddington, one is part of the main-line station (PAH) and the other is an underground station (PAC).

Screenshot 2020-08-07 at 16.19.42

By convention the Circle is always “inner-outer” and the H&C is always “east-west”. The (outer rail, trains drive on the left like cars) Circle lines trains start at Hammersmith, go to Paddington mainline platform 16, round to Aldate and then back to Paddington Underground platform 2 on their way to ending at Edware Road.

Thanks for the reply.

Yep I can understand there are two stations. The map you posted does explain the circle results. I don’t think it explains why H&C arrivals are present in both stations. The station names seem unreliable, as the bakerloo arrivals are at ‘Paddington (H&C Line)-Underground’ even though that’s wrong. So I need to correct the station names depending on the line.

I guess also the district line is ‘inner-outer’ here as it’s shared with the circle line. But that suggests I also need to change the platform names to make them friendlier. Having said that, I see at,district that this keeps the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ presentation instead of mapping it to directional names, which doesn’t seem very friendly to me.


The District Line, at this point, is actually a “hidden” service know as Wimbleware. The trains run from Wimbledon to Edgware Road, with passengers having to use Earl’s Court to get to other destinations. You can see that on this diagram.

For many years the sub-stations were called “Paddington (Circle Line)” and “Paddington (Met)”, which was clear … as mud. When the Hammersmith to Barking Metropolitan line service was split off into the pink line, the in-station service was renamed to “Paddington (Hammermith & City)”.

But when the Circle was changed to no longer be a continuous loop, this means that the Circle Line now calls at both stations, but the name stuck as “Paddington (Circle)” for the one that has the Wimbleware Line, the Circle and is physically attached to the Bakerloo Line platforms.

I think this is the third most confusing station, after Euston (with it’s two Northern Lines) and Charing Cross/Embankment!

Two of the lines are only present in one direction - H&C inner rail and Circle Line eastbound. I’m just wondering whether trains are being allocated to line according to what they end up doing.

Thus a Circle Line train on the inner rail is going to end up being indistinguishable from a H&C train - hence it is shown as H&C inner rail at the District/Circle station and H&C westbound at the H&C station.

A Circle Line starting from Hammersmith would be shown as Circle eastbound and Circle outer rail.

Under this twisted logic there would be no need for H&C outer rail at the District/Circle station or Circls westbound at the H&S station.

The question then would be why Circle inner rail is needed at the District/Circle station if all trains run in H&C style to Hammersmith. Maybe the answer to that is that sometimes the Circle Line has to operate in a different fashion (as a circle, even) because of engineering work or some other disruption but it does all seem a bit rum.

My imperfect understanding is that trains on the H&C, Circle and District can “switch flag” when it is operationally necessary. There may also be scheduled oddities; someone told me that some H&C trains continue to Upminster last thing at night, for example.


Very true, @mjcarchive

And you also get Acton Town to Edgware Road (Circle) trains showing up in the first/last District Line services too.


I would think these are trains getting to the start of the Circle Line service from the depot at Acton.


It actually works out well at Paddington since the changes to the Circle Line. Before, if you wanted to head to King’s Cross or Liverpool Street, you had to take a chance on platform 16 or Underground platform 2 would get you a train first. Now, you don’t have to worry, there are no trains at Underground Platform 2.

And the only station you could go to that would have more than one platform option is Edgware Road (D&C) and it’s only a 600m walk to there.

Of course, there’s that big lie on the tube map, which fails to point out that Lancaster Gate is also a very short 500m walk to Paddington.

See also


Just to add to the confusion, some Hammersmith and City line trains stable at Ealing Common and access their H&C line by running, in service, through Paddington’s Circle line platform.

So some trains flagged as H&C will stop at the Circle line platform.

Edit — Apologies. I see Briantist already said that.

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Of course, I mis-wrote Acton rather than Ealing Common


Did all of this help?

Did all of this help?

It’s useful understanding the context, however I’ve still got to decide how much bespoke code I should write for Paddington for my use case. I’d prefer not to write any. The bespoke code I refer to would be, in this case, to replace ‘inner/outer’ with the directions depending on the line, to combine the results for the 3 circle platforms and 3 H&C platforms into 2 each, and to ignore the substation names.

I’ve noticed a few other stations have the ‘inner/outer’ rail concept, so it’s not just Paddington in that case.



OK… In practice, the Circle line is best described in relation to the four big mainline stations on it, which are Paddington, Victoria, Liverpool Street and Kings Cross.

I think, in the final analysis you will need to deploy filters as follows:

Platform Underground 1
served by more than one line
Either “District line train to Wimbledon via Earl’s Court” (perhaps Southbound)
or “Circle line train via Victoria
Way-finding colour: green

Platform Underground 2
served by more than one line
BUT trains all go to the same place
so “train to Edgware Road
Way-finding colour: green

Platform Underground 3
…single line service
so “Bakerloo line to Harrow & Wealdstone” (perhaps Northbound)
Way-finding colour: brown

Platform Underground 4
…single line service
so “Bakerloo line to Elephant and Castle” (perhaps Southbound)
Way-finding colour: brown

Platform 15
served by more than one line
BUT trains all go to the same place
so “train to Hammersmith” (perhaps Westbound)
Way-finding colour: pink

Platform 16
served by more than one line
so either “Circle Line train via King’s Cross and Liverpool Street
or “Hammersmith & City Line train to Barking” (perhaps Eastbound)
Way-finding colour: pink

Platform XX
will be served by Single line
so “Elizabeth Line train to Heathrow/Reading” (perhaps Westbound)
Way-finding colour: purple

Platform YY
will be served by Single line
so “Elizabeth Line train to Abbey Wood/Shenfield (via Liverpool Street)” (perhaps Eastbound)
Way-finding colour: purple

Thanks, that’s useful.

How about… if I pivot that so it’s focused on the lines first, then directions, then platforms. Is this correct:

  • Southbound (platform 1)
  • Northbound (platform 2). Maybe eastbound?


  • Anticlockwise, or southbound (platform 1). How is this indicated at the station? Or is it just ‘via Victoria’
  • Clockwise, or eastbound (platform 2 or platform 16)
  • Westbound (platform 15)


  • Northbound (platform 3)
  • Southbound (platform 4)

Hammersmith & City

  • Westbound (platform 15)
  • Eastbound (platform 16)
  • The platform 1 train? Not sure where that’s going (current results say ‘check front of train’)


Here’s an example H&C train on platform 2, marked as ‘Out Of Service’. Is it safe to say all H&C trains on platform 1/2 are out of service?

    "$type": "Tfl.Api.Presentation.Entities.Prediction, Tfl.Api.Presentation.Entities",
    "id": "-223097099",
    "operationType": 1,
    "vehicleId": "211",
    "naptanId": "940GZZLUPAC",
    "stationName": "Paddington Underground Station",
    "lineId": "hammersmith-city",
    "lineName": "Hammersmith & City",
    "platformName": "Outer Rail - Platform 2",
    "direction": "outbound",
    "bearing": "",
    "destinationNaptanId": "940GZZLUERC",
    "destinationName": "Edgware Road (Circle Line) Underground Station",
    "timestamp": "2020-08-13T13:55:40.5827412Z",
    "timeToStation": 93,
    "currentLocation": "Between Bayswater and Paddington",
    "towards": "Out Of Service",
    "expectedArrival": "2020-08-13T13:57:13Z",
    "timeToLive": "2020-08-13T13:57:13Z",
    "modeName": "tube",
    "timing": {
      "$type": "Tfl.Api.Presentation.Entities.PredictionTiming, Tfl.Api.Presentation.Entities",
      "countdownServerAdjustment": "00:00:00",
      "source": "0001-01-01T00:00:00",
      "insert": "0001-01-01T00:00:00",
      "read": "2020-08-13T13:56:26.572Z",
      "sent": "2020-08-13T13:55:40Z",
      "received": "0001-01-01T00:00:00"


OK, there is a convention that TfL use for their services which is that they run in the compass directions that the Working Timetables say

So, for example the District Line always runs Westbound to Eastbound even when it’s the Wimbleware service. This makes the Bakerloo always Southbound-Northbound and the H&C is Eastbound-Westbound.

As far as I know the Inner Rail and Outer Rail is never shown to the travelling public, it’s always shown as via the next big national rail interchange station. I’m sure that clockwise/anticlockwise is also not used.

There was a time when you often saw “check front of train”! It’s probably a Edgware Road to Wimbledon train, but it could be a train making it’s way back to the depot via Earl Court.

I would think that a Circle Line train at Hammersmith is “via Paddington” then “via King’s Cross” as the ultimate destination is one only the driver is likely to ever go to.

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At the risk of adding to the confusion:

211 is a Circle line train - not a Hammersmith and City. It’s timetabled to leave Aldgate at 14:28 and arrive at Edgware Road at 15:03, passing through Paddington platform 2 at 15:01. It then leaves Edgware Road at 15:10 and runs back round the circle to Aldgate again.

Here it is at the time of your query today, between Bayswater and Paddington.

So it was pretty much running to time.

I don’t see any evidence that it was ‘Out of Service’. Certainly it is timetabled to be in service.

So the response to your query was correct about:

Vehicle ID - 211
Station Name - Paddington
Platform Name - Outer Rail Platform 2
Destination Name Edgware Road (Circle)
Timestamp - 13:55:40Z (14:55:40 BST)

but wrong about:
LineId and LineName (unless by Hammersmith and City they mean Hammersmith and City and Circle)
Direction (I suspect outbound is a typing error and they meant to say ‘Outer’.
Towards: “Out of Service” I don’t know what this means.

I feel I may not really have helped but perhaps you can see something here to grab hold of?

Good Luck


Hah, this is a lot more complex than anticipated! If the H&C train is in fact a circle line train, and is in service and not out of service, it makes using the data rather tricky. To a certain extent I think I need to use the data at face value even though it seems incorrect, for the 211 train at least.

I’m starting to think that the ‘Circle’ line and the ‘Hammersmith and City’ lines are inextricably linked and need to be treated as one, maybe with separate branches where a train would be expected to stay on its timetabled branch but may run on the other one as necessary.

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What would give you that idea? :grinning: