Turnham Green station was opened on 1 January 1869 by the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) on a new branch line to Richmond built from the West London Joint Railway starting north of Addison Road station (now Kensington (Olympia)). The line ran through Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith via a now closed curve and initially the next station towards central London was Grove Road station in Hammersmith (also now closed).
Between 1 June 1870 and 31 October 1870 the Great Western Railway (GWR) briefly ran services from Paddington to Richmond via Hammersmith & City Railway (now the Hammersmith & City Line) tracks to Grove Road then on the L&SWR tracks through Turnham Green.
On 1 June 1877, the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, now the District Line) opened a short extension from its terminus at Hammersmith to connect to the L&SWR tracks east of Ravenscourt Park station (which had opened in 1873). The MDR then began running trains over the L&SWR tracks to Richmond. On 1 October 1877, the Metropolitan Railway (MR, now the Metropolitan Line) restarted the GWR's former service to Richmond via Grove Road station.
On 5 May 1878 The Midland Railway began running a circuitous service known as the Super Outer Circle from St Pancras to Earl's Court via Cricklewood and South Acton. It operated over a now disused connection between the North London Railway and the L&SWR Richmond branch. The service was not a success and was ended on 30 September 1880.
The MDR's service between Richmond, Hammersmith and central London was more direct than either the L&SWR's or the MR's routes via Grove Road station or the L&SWR's other route from Richmond via Clapham Junction. The success of the MDR's operations lead it, on 1 July 1879, to open a branch from Turnham Green to Ealing Broadway.
Following the electrification of the MDR's own tracks north of Acton Town in 1903, the MDR funded the electrification of the tracks through Turnham Green. The tracks between Acton Town and central London were electrified on 1 July 1905 and those on the Richmond branch on 1 August 1905. Whilst MDR services were operated with electric trains, the L&SWR, GWR and MR services continued to be steam hauled.
MR services were withdrawn on 31 December 1906 and GWR services were withdrawn on 31 December 1910 leaving operations at Turnham Green to the MDR (by then known as the District Railway) and L&SWR. The L&SWR constructed an additional pair of non-electrified tracks between Turnham Green and its junction with the District at Hammersmith and opened these on 3 December 1911 although their use was short-lived as the District's trains out-competed the L&SWR's to the extent that the L&SWR withdrew its service between Richmond and Addison Road on 3 June 1916, leaving the District as the sole operator.
In the early 1930s, the London Electric Railway, precursor of the London Underground and owner of the District and Piccadilly Lines, began the reconstruction of the tracks between Hammersmith and Acton Town to enable the Piccadilly Line to be extended from Hammersmith to Uxbridge and Hounslow West (then the terminus of what is now the Heathrow branch). Express non-stop tracks were provided for the Piccadilly Line between the stopping lines of the District Line. Services on the Piccadilly Line began running through Turnham Green on 4 July 1932.
To provide a better interchange with the Richmond branch of the District Line, Piccadilly Line trains began stopping at Turnham Green station in the early morning and late evening only from 23 June 1963. During the rest of the day they run non-stop through the station as before. In the mid 1960s, Turnham Green was one of the stations used for the testing of experimental automatic ticket barriers later adopted throughout the network.