Maps/Kings Cross

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King's Cross has a large underground network of tubes and tunnels, see this article from some years ago Cambridge to King's Cross and taking the tube. About six months ago, I noticed that the underground network wasn't particularly well represented on OSM, so I added a few items. Basically, the tube platforms were there, as were the tube entrances, but many of the underground tunnels weren't.

For thoughts on mapping stations in general, see Maps/Mapping London Underground stations on OSM

1 King's Cross overview[edit]

The relation in question is 5873189 (name: "King's Cross Tube Entrances and Platform Access"), which is probably best looked at on the transport layer or the cycling layer.

Here are some maps created with Let's start with this map [1] which shows the tube lines, with labels. This map [2] does not have labels, which makes it a little clearer. This map [3] doesn't have the tube lines either, which shows the connections most clearly.

Also see images below, showing the same solution. In JOSM, you can conveniently look at this relation by selecting "File > Download object", then selecting "relation" with value "5873189".

2 Kings Cross tags[edit]

You can have a look at the overpass query here.

In the maps above, and in the images below, the following symbols are used:

  • Nodes (points)
    • Green circles: Tube entrances
    • Red circles: ticket barriers
    • Orange circles: access elevators (only one - more need mapping)
  • Ways
    • Blue ways: underground footpaths (no steps)
    • Orange ways: Escalators
    • Green ways: steps / stairs
    • Brown ways (thick): Platforms

This is how these were mapped.

2.1 Image from overpass[edit]


Overpass query: Attribution: OSM data is OBdl, and OSM Tiles and Contributions are CC BY-SA. Sites/applications used: overpass-turbo, openlevelup, JOSM, leaflet..

2.2 Ways[edit]

2.2.1 General tags[edit]

For underground ways, I've added either:


see, or


if the way was inside an indoor=area (such as a ticket hall). However, I've not used both together. E.g. OSMAND renders those ways similar to tunnel=yes, so the OSMAND user still sees these as underground.

As well as

layer=-1, -2, etc.

see Discussion on the mailing list, is the right one to use, see I have now used level

2.2.2 A note on level[edit]

For indoor/underground features, I've used level, see,

level=-1, -2, etc.

For elevators and steps,

level=-2;-1 etc.

Above ground features relating to underground features (such as footways inside ticket halls, or subway entrances) were tagged with


Note that the levels are tagged according to the Transport for London designation (c.f., which leads to the following issue: Maps/Kings Cross/Level-3.

2.2.3 Underground footpaths (blue ways): highway=footway[edit]




when inside indoor=area.


2.2.4 Stairs / steps (green ways): highway=steps[edit]

incline=up The way should move in an upwards direction (same as the architectural convention), and incline=up should be added to confirm this.

Note that Tag:highway=steps suggests that were steps and an escalator run in parallel, two ways should be present, one as steps, one as escalator. However, this is under discussion.

Similarly the layer tag may or may not be applicable. See

2.2.5 Escalators (orange ways)[edit]


See, Similarly to 'steps', the way should run upwards, and incline=up should be specified. The direction of the conveyor should be specified as well (needs to be amended in the example above).

Note that Key:conveying says "The conveying key is used together with highway=steps (for escalators) or highway=footway (for moving walkways)."

Note: Layer may or may not be applicable, under discussion.

2.2.6 foot=?[edit]

By default highway=footway implies


is implied, which means "A preferred or designated route for a specific vehicle type or types, often marked by a traffic sign.". Many similar tracks have


c.f., with permissive="Open to general traffic until such time as the owner revokes the permission which they are legally allowed to do at any time in the future.", which seems correct, because the access rights might be revoked by TFL. Other tracks have


which means "The public has an official, legally-enshrined right of access; i.e., it's a right of way." which is less fitting.

2.2.7 Tube platforms[edit]

Tube platforms are tagged as


2.2.8 ticket halls[edit]


2.3 Nodes[edit]

2.3.1 Tube entrances (green nodes)[edit]

Tagged as



More complete tag would be

name= ... (Exit 1|2|3|...)

The ref can be any official designation, not just numbers, but for the London underground, the exits are numbered. See

2.3.2 Ticket barriers (red nodes)[edit]

For ticket barriers, I have used



2.3.3 Entrances to ticket halls[edit]


2.4 Elevators[edit]

wheelchair=yes (assuming that it's ok for wheelchairs)
level=-2;-1;0 (e.g. for an elevator that runs from levels -2 to -1 to 0)


2.5 Tags that weren't used[edit]


This seems to apply to objects under ground,


These are deprecated in favour of "conveying=yes + incline=up".

2.6 New tags that would be interesting[edit]


(see above)

2.6.1 On railway=subway_entrance: accessibility[edit]

In my view, it would be good to add the facilities available to the respective node. E.g. the station itself should be labeled with wheelchair=yes if wheelchair access is available in principle.

For specific entrances, it would be good to say whether that entrance has an elevator, escalator and/or steps. We're conflating elevator with wheelchair=yes, which (at least for London) should be correct. So while the wheelchair=yes|no tag can be used to indicate whether an elevator is near that entrance, there's no way to indicate whether there's steps an/or an escalator.

For steps


This is used a few times across London, and a small number of times in conjunction with railway=subway_entrance, so it could be a possibility. (A new tag, such as steps_fixed might be better, see next paragraph, but on the whole it's better to stick with existing tags.)

For an escalator, it's more tricky. "highways=steps + conveying=yes" indicates an escalator on it's own (not steps parallel with escalator). A possibility could be


So that a full accessibility-enhanced railway=subway_entrance node would look like



name= ... (Exit 1|2|3|...)

On bicycle=yes|no, this just provides a permission, see, One could consider use of some of the other values as well:


For stations, "permissive" may be more correct than "yes", c.f. "foot=permissive vs. yes". "designated" could be used if there are features that support bicycle access, like a small ramp or kerb that the bicycle can be pushed up/down.

2.7 Relation: King's Cross[edit]

name=King's Cross Tube Entrances and Platform Access	
network=London Underground
operator=Transport for London

3 Visualising the levels and some images[edit]

You can visualise the different levels here:, or see images below. (Older images here: Maps/Kings_Cross/Images_01; Images below also available here Maps/Kings_Cross/Images_02.)

Attribution: OSM data is OBdl, and OSM Tiles and Contributions are CC BY-SA. Sites/applications used: overpass-turbo, openlevelup, JOSM, leaflet.

You can explore this interactively here:

3.1 Levels[edit]

3.1.1 Level 0: Tube entrances[edit]

I believe the data below (added to OSM) may now be one the most complete/detailed access map for King's Cross St. Pancras underground station.

OSM-KingsCross-V1-Level 0.jpg

3.1.2 Level -1: Ticket halls[edit]

OSM-KingsCross-V1-Level -1.jpg

3.1.3 Level -2: Lower ticket hall and interchange subway; Circle (etc) lines[edit]

OSM-KingsCross-V1-Level -2.jpg

3.1.4 Level -3; Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria lines[edit]

OSM-KingsCross-V1-Level -3.jpg

3.2 Access route[edit]

Openlevelup can also display accessible routing. Here's a route using access lifts, suitable for wheelchair users.

3.2.1 Accessibility route: Part A[edit]

Start in top right of image (green marker), Northern line platform. Go to access lift.

OSM-KingsCross-V1-Accessibiliy A.jpg

3.2.2 Accessibility route: Part B[edit]

Take access lift to level -2, cross ticket hall, take access lift to level -1.

OSM-KingsCross-V1-Accessibiliy B.jpg

3.2.3 Accessibility route: Part C[edit]

Go from main ticket hall to St. Pancras ticket hall (all at level -1). Go through barrier, and use access lift.

OSM-KingsCross-V1-Accessibiliy C.jpg

3.2.4 Accessibility route: Part D[edit]

Bottom left of image. Go to level -2, and enter Circle (etc.) line platform. (same as B)

OSM-KingsCross-V1-Accessibiliy B.jpg

3.3 Object in JOSM[edit]


4 Information elsewhere[edit]

(Off topic, but also interesting: )