Whitechapel station was originally opened in 1876 when the East London Railway (ELR, now the East London Line) was extended north from Wapping to Liverpool Street station. The ELR owned the tracks and stations but did not operate trains. From the beginning various railway companies provided services through Whitechapel including the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR), the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LC&DR) and the South Eastern Railway (SER). Later the Great Eastern Railway (GER) added services. On 6 October 1884 the District Railway (DR, now the District line) opened a new station adjacent to the deeper ELR station as the terminus of an extension from Mansion House (part of the extension also formed the final section of the Circle line). The new station was given the name Whitechapel (Mile End). The ELR passenger service between Whitechapel and Liverpool Street was withdrawn in 1885. The station received its present name on 13 November 1901. On 25 March 1995 the East London Line was closed to allow repair works on the Thames Tunnel. General renovations and new signalling works were undertaken at the same time. The line reopened south from Whitechapel on 25 March 1998 and north from Whitechapel on 27 September 1998.
The St Mary's curve connection between the District line track and the East London Line was used for passenger traffic until 1941 but was subsequently only used to transfer empty trains to and from the other sub-surface lines. The curve was often lit and could easily be seen from the left-hand side of East London Line trains entering Whitechapel station from the south, prior to refurbishment of the East London line commencing late December 2007. The points on the District line, connecting it to the curve, were removed in summer 2008. Also just west of Whitechapel is the former St Mary's station, one of the many closed London Underground stations. Vitreous enamel panels designed by Doug Patterson in 1997 have been installed on the East London line (now part of the London Overground) platforms. Crossrail will call at Whitechapel in the near future. Eastbound services will be split into two branches after leaving the station. Preliminary work has begun to create the interchange between Crossrail and the East London Line with subways being constructed. The Crossrail platforms will lie to the north of the existing station, with access being via escalators down from the District and Hammersmith & City line platforms. Nearby places of interest include the Royal London Hospital, the Blind Beggar public house, and the former Wickhams department store. The station is in Travelcard Zone 2 and has payphones and a bridge but no toilets.
Connections: District Line. Hammersmith + City Line (currently Circle Line due to works) London Bus routes 25, 106, 205, 254 and D3, and night routes N205 and N253 serve the station.