The station originally opened in 1888 and was called West End Lane until its name was changed in 1975. Rail services were operated by the North London Railway until British Rail took control of operations. The station later became part of the Network SouthEast system. Following the privatisation of British Rail, the station was operated by the Silverlink train franchise from 1997 until 2007, when operations passed to Transport for London's London Overground system. Anglia Railways used to run a regional rail service that called here, between Norwich and Basingstoke. This service known as London Crosslink, was discontinued in Autumn 2002 due to congestion on the North London Line and the financial return being less than that forecast. On 23 February 1937, an express freight train was derailed near the station.
The arrangement of three separate stations (Thameslink, Overground and Jubilee Line) means that passengers wishing to change lines must walk along or cross West End Lane, a busy main road. A West Hampstead interchange proposal was put forward in 2004 by Chiltern Railways which would link the three West Hampstead stations with subterranean walkways. New platforms would be built for the Chiltern Main Line, and possibly also for the Metropolitan line, and the Thameslink and London Overground (formerly Silverlink) stations would be relocated on the east side of West End Lane. The plans were put on hold in 2007 due to uncertainty over the North London Line rail franchise. This has now been shelved with Network Rail instead redeveloping the Thameslink station by installing a second footbridge with lift access leading to a new station building on Iverson Road. The station is in Travelcard Zone 2 and has wi-fi, help points and a waiting room, but no toilets.
Connections: Jubilee Line (Seperate station). Thameslink (Seperate station). London Buses routes 16, 32, 189, 316, 332 and 632 and night route N16 serve the station.