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West London Line Traffic


bob liddle

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I am building a 4mm EM gauge layout based on the West London Line at Chelsea/Fulham. Using some historic licence as some of us do I am assuming that the station was extended beyond the the bridges either end, as proposed in 1930 but not implemenetd, to cater for the football specials to Chelsea.

I have a good knowledge of the passenger and excursions traffic but not on the freight flows. I have a GWR working timetable for 1939 but it does not provide the origins and destinations of non GWR freight services.

 

I am modelling the 1960's era but also intend to operate 1930's, 1980's and current eras at some point in the future.

 

So can anyone help in identifying sources of freight traffic information basically anytme since the war, as I do not seem to able to source anything specific to this line.

 

Many thanks in anticipation.

 

Bob

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So can anyone help in identifying sources of freight traffic information basically anytme since the war, as I do not seem to able to source anything specific to this line.

London freight was on two levels - local and Cross-London. So the WLL would have seen regular flows from Temple Mills and Willesden yards to Hither Green and Norwood. Other services would include, from the mid-60s, 13.01 Brighton to Temple Mills, 15.35 Norwood to Willesden (these two services had exchanged traffic at Streatham Common yard). There was also a 9.49 from 3 Bridges, but I can't recall the destination! 10.32 Redhill - Temple Mills (sand traffic in hoppers from British Industrial Sand at Holmethorpe). The WLL itself had Cadby Hall traffic - Cadbury's cakes! There must have been trip working to Clapham Yard, because there was a regular 20.00 Clapham to Bricklayers Arms van trip, always known as 'The Cakes'. 01.06 Channelsea (think Stratford, ER) - Bricklayers Arms vans, and 05.00 return.

 

Well - it's a start!

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London freight was on two levels - local and Cross-London. So the WLL would have seen regular flows from Temple Mills and Willesden yards to Hither Green and Norwood. Other services would include, from the mid-60s, 13.01 Brighton to Temple Mills, 15.35 Norwood to Willesden (these two services had exchanged traffic at Streatham Common yard). There was also a 9.49 from 3 Bridges, but I can't recall the destination! 10.32 Redhill - Temple Mills (sand traffic in hoppers from British Industrial Sand at Holmethorpe). The WLL itself had Cadby Hall traffic - Cadbury's cakes! There must have been trip working to Clapham Yard, because there was a regular 20.00 Clapham to Bricklayers Arms van trip, always known as 'The Cakes'. 01.06 Channelsea (think Stratford, ER) - Bricklayers Arms vans, and 05.00 return.

 

Well - it's a start!

 

 

Many thanks and you are right its a good start - hopefully this was the varied sort of information I need that will come to light.

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If you are able to get there the National Archives in Kew hold a large collection of working timetables. I have certainly seen times for this line in Great Western timetables- they called their WTT 'service timetables'. You might want to look also at LNWR/LMS WTT too in case they have any relevant to the line. I'm not sure if the Southern WTT covered the line at any period so if anybody does know please advise. They have an almost complete collection for the GWR at Kew as well as a complete (or virtually so) collection of BR WTT. All of these are for viewing in the reading rooms at Kew and you are permitted to photocopy them but this can be a little expensive or even better you can photograph them with a digital camera for free- no restriction on amount of document you photograph.

 

If you chose to go down this route and need some assistance such as how to view the online catalogue and order documents etc then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me- wither on here or by PM and I'll be glad to assist.

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You might want to check out British Railways Illustrated for March this year which had an article "Confessions of an amateur railwayman II - learning the ropes at Kensington Olympia" based around the mid-late 50s.

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If you are able to get there the National Archives in Kew hold a large collection of working timetables. I have certainly seen times for this line in Great Western timetables- they called their WTT 'service timetables'. You might want to look also at LNWR/LMS WTT too in case they have any relevant to the line. I'm not sure if the Southern WTT covered the line at any period so if anybody does know please advise. They have an almost complete collection for the GWR at Kew as well as a complete (or virtually so) collection of BR WTT. All of these are for viewing in the reading rooms at Kew and you are permitted to photocopy them but this can be a little expensive or even better you can photograph them with a digital camera for free- no restriction on amount of document you photograph.

 

If you chose to go down this route and need some assistance such as how to view the online catalogue and order documents etc then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me- wither on here or by PM and I'll be glad to assist.

 

 

Many thanks Natalie, had forgotten about Kew. I will investigate online catalogue and may take you up on your offer of assistance if I have a problem. Failing that looks like a visit to Kew - have not been there for many, many years!

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You might want to check out British Railways Illustrated for March this year which had an article "Confessions of an amateur railwayman II - learning the ropes at Kensington Olympia" based around the mid-late 50s.

 

 

Many thnaks for pointing that out. I have a copy but it is one of many I have not got around to reading, so is now top of the pile!!!

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Check out 'Diesels & Electrics on 35mm Vol 1' by Video 125. There's a cracking sequence on there showing the West London Line passenger trains, still steam hauled by SR 2-6-2 tanks, plus a class 16, class 22 and early headcode box (no roof horns) class 25 on cross London freight.;)

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I work 7 days in 28 at West Brompton and the National Rail side is not as interesting as it was a couple of years ago.

 

Now it is London Overground (class 378) running Clapham Junction to Willesden Juction (extended during rush hours to Stratford) and Southern (class ???) services between East Croydon and Milton Keynes. On the freight side both EWS and Freightliner Class 66's are seen. There are also the odd Steam special or light engine workings on the line. I have seen Flying Scotsman and Tangmere in the last five years and probably a few other have made the trip.

 

In the past the Eurostars used to run through ECS from North Pole to Waterloo before the Eurostar operation moved to St Pancras and Virgin Cross Country also had a two trains a day that did not stop between Kensington Olympia and East Croydon using their Voyager sets.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Chris

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A far cry from the days when exLNER B1's used to run into Olympia (Addison Road) with inter-regional trains off the old GCR via the long gone line past Acton East to Acton North station.

Those were the days when you could see locos from all 4 post-grouping railways from the old 'pill-box' on the 'island' at Old Oak Junction.

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Check out 'Diesels & Electrics on 35mm Vol 1' by Video 125. There's a cracking sequence on there showing the West London Line passenger trains, still steam hauled by SR 2-6-2 tanks, plus a class 16, class 22 and early headcode box (no roof horns) class 25 on cross London freight.wink.gif

 

 

Good to know a video with WLL on it as you can never tell without viewing it first in most cases. Many thanks for the info.

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I work 7 days in 28 at West Brompton and the National Rail side is not as interesting as it was a couple of years ago.

 

Now it is London Overground (class 378) running Clapham Junction to Willesden Juction (extended during rush hours to Stratford) and Southern (class ???) services between East Croydon and Milton Keynes. On the freight side both EWS and Freightliner Class 66's are seen. There are also the odd Steam special or light engine workings on the line. I have seen Flying Scotsman and Tangmere in the last five years and probably a few other have made the trip.

 

In the past the Eurostars used to run through ECS from North Pole to Waterloo before the Eurostar operation moved to St Pancras and Virgin Cross Country also had a two trains a day that did not stop between Kensington Olympia and East Croydon using their Voyager sets.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Chris

 

Yes it does help - the more specific information over the time spans the better - many thanks

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Altho nothing on earliers years the current day Kensington does still see regular classic power in 37's on the Dungeness-Crewe flask which saw 20's regulary until more recently. I commute via the line and it still gives the odd suprise like a network rail ED light engine or on test or steam tour ECS moves. These are sometimes held middle road at Kensington early morning and you have the unlikely sight of non boilered (these days) 47245 or even an EH machine with steam heat ouzing around everywhere !!, the steam heat coming from the steam engine at the tail end of the stock.

 

The late 70's Kenny Belle commuter got 33/73 and even the odd 09, prototype for anything here!

 

Good luck,the WLL a fascinating line whatever time period

 

NR

 

www.leightonlogs.org

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Altho nothing on earliers years the current day Kensington does still see regular classic power in 37's on the Dungeness-Crewe flask which saw 20's regulary until more recently. I commute via the line and it still gives the odd suprise like a network rail ED light engine or on test or steam tour ECS moves. These are sometimes held middle road at Kensington early morning and you have the unlikely sight of non boilered (these days) 47245 or even an EH machine with steam heat ouzing around everywhere !!, the steam heat coming from the steam engine at the tail end of the stock.

 

The late 70's Kenny Belle commuter got 33/73 and even the odd 09, prototype for anything here!

 

Good luck,the WLL a fascinating line whatever time period

 

NR

 

www.leightonlogs.org

 

 

Many thanks - every bit of operating information in different eras is more pieces in the jigsaw!

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Current might be an issue in terms of different infrastructure between your era's, the line was electrified (the bit past Fulham/Chelsea on 3rd rail) several years back for Eurostar ECS moves between North Pole and Waterloo.

 

I used that bit of line in the late 80s as a (long) way home from school, it only had rushour local service between Clapham and Kensington (no intermediate stations open) - the draw at the time was that it could produce either a DEMU (205 or 207) or a TC set with 33/1, I even had a TC set with top & tail 73/1s on one day!

 

Intercity ran three trains a day which from memory were two Brightons and a Kentish "loop", all 47's and Mk2 aircons at the time.

 

So in the 80s the line was pretty quiet in passenger terms, but a vital cross London freight link.

 

Towards the end of NSE I believe the local service became all-day, was extended to Willesden Jcn high level, and operated with class 117 power-twin sets.

 

The 117s were replaced by dual voltage 313 units (the line changes from DC to AC electrification at White City) under Silverlink which have just been replaced by London Overground's new 378s.

 

After privatisation South Central started a working between Milton Keynes (although I think in some timetables it has terminated at Watford or Rugby from memory?) and Brighton, although since cut back to Croydon or Clapham at the south end, this used 319s to start with, more recently Southern has been the franchise holder and their 377 Electrostars (the 377/2 are dual voltage) work this route. In rush hour there is an interesting short working to Shepherds Bush that uses a DC-only 377 though!

 

The Intercity services went to Virgin Cross country complete with their 47s, for a while in the late 90s they used a Deltic regularly on the Kent run! Virgin replaced them with Voyagers in the early 00s. Virgin lost cross country to Arriva more recently, and the services via Kensington were culled in a major timetable simplification.

 

So it's gone from being a bit of a backwater passenger wise in the 80s to being a very busy line these days. There are now intermediate stations at Chelsea Harbour, West Brompton and Shepherds Bush as well.

 

Freight-wise, Kensington olympia is a Freightmaster hotspot, so finding an old book to look up some specific flows for specific years would be do-able if you wanted, but it's been one of the major cross London freight routes for many many years, you can access the Southern via Kew as well, but there's still a lot of freight via Kensington today including Freightliners, steel, china clay, scrap, tunnel intermodals, engineers flows, aggregate trains and the aformentioned nuclear flasks.

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Don't forget the milk traffic from West Wales and the West Country (up until the late 1970s), or the Motorail traffic either running to/from Kenny O, or passing through. In more recent times, most freight to and from the Channel Tunnel (and before that, the train-ferry at Dover) passed this way, giving a wide variety of internationally-registered stock.

There was also, in the early part of the 1990s, a regular working from South-East Kent to the North-West- generally, it ran from Liverpool to Dover Western Docks (worked by a 47/4), but on at least one occasion it worked from Margate or Ramsgate and was hauled by a Deltic. F-i-L was not impressed by the people sticking their heads out of open windows....

The postal traffic from Dover, Tonbridge and Redhill also passed this way until it finished- both loco-hauled TPOs and Class 325 EMUs.

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So it's gone from being a bit of a backwater passenger wise in the 80s to being a very busy line these days. There are now intermediate stations at Chelsea Harbour, West Brompton and Shepherds Bush as well.

 

All of your points are correct as far as I can see but Chelsea Harbour is in fact called Imperial Wharf and the Shepheards Bush station is across the road from the Central Line station of the same name on the site of the old Uxbridge Road station!

 

Chris

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Don't forget the milk traffic from West Wales and the West Country (up until the late 1970s), or the Motorail traffic either running to/from Kenny O, or passing through. In more recent times, most freight to and from the Channel Tunnel (and before that, the train-ferry at Dover) passed this way, giving a wide variety of internationally-registered stock.

There was also, in the early part of the 1990s, a regular working from South-East Kent to the North-West- generally, it ran from Liverpool to Dover Western Docks (worked by a 47/4), but on at least one occasion it worked from Margate or Ramsgate and was hauled by a Deltic. F-i-L was not impressed by the people sticking their heads out of open windows....

The postal traffic from Dover, Tonbridge and Redhill also passed this way until it finished- both loco-hauled TPOs and Class 325 EMUs.

 

Thanks for that information. Do you know if the milk traffic from South Wales and West Country just went to Wood Lane and therefore not south of Kensington through Chelsea to Clapham Junction?

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Current might be an issue in terms of different infrastructure between your era's, the line was electrified (the bit past Fulham/Chelsea on 3rd rail) several years back for Eurostar ECS moves between North Pole and Waterloo.

 

I used that bit of line in the late 80s as a (long) way home from school, it only had rushour local service between Clapham and Kensington (no intermediate stations open) - the draw at the time was that it could produce either a DEMU (205 or 207) or a TC set with 33/1, I even had a TC set with top & tail 73/1s on one day!

 

Intercity ran three trains a day which from memory were two Brightons and a Kentish "loop", all 47's and Mk2 aircons at the time.

 

So in the 80s the line was pretty quiet in passenger terms, but a vital cross London freight link.

 

Towards the end of NSE I believe the local service became all-day, was extended to Willesden Jcn high level, and operated with class 117 power-twin sets.

 

The 117s were replaced by dual voltage 313 units (the line changes from DC to AC electrification at White City) under Silverlink which have just been replaced by London Overground's new 378s.

 

After privatisation South Central started a working between Milton Keynes (although I think in some timetables it has terminated at Watford or Rugby from memory?) and Brighton, although since cut back to Croydon or Clapham at the south end, this used 319s to start with, more recently Southern has been the franchise holder and their 377 Electrostars (the 377/2 are dual voltage) work this route. In rush hour there is an interesting short working to Shepherds Bush that uses a DC-only 377 though!

 

The Intercity services went to Virgin Cross country complete with their 47s, for a while in the late 90s they used a Deltic regularly on the Kent run! Virgin replaced them with Voyagers in the early 00s. Virgin lost cross country to Arriva more recently, and the services via Kensington were culled in a major timetable simplification.

 

So it's gone from being a bit of a backwater passenger wise in the 80s to being a very busy line these days. There are now intermediate stations at Chelsea Harbour, West Brompton and Shepherds Bush as well.

 

Freight-wise, Kensington olympia is a Freightmaster hotspot, so finding an old book to look up some specific flows for specific years would be do-able if you wanted, but it's been one of the major cross London freight routes for many many years, you can access the Southern via Kew as well, but there's still a lot of freight via Kensington today including Freightliners, steel, china clay, scrap, tunnel intermodals, engineers flows, aggregate trains and the aformentioned nuclear flasks.

 

Never knew a Deltic ran through WLL - there seems to be no limit to the variety of locomotives and stock over the years. I am going to need some deep pockets for all the stock but vindicates my choice of location. Many thanks.

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All of your points are correct as far as I can see but Chelsea Harbour is in fact called Imperial Wharf and the Shepheards Bush station is across the road from the Central Line station of the same name on the site of the old Uxbridge Road station!

 

You're quite right, but in my defence Imperial Wharf is a silly name for the station when everybody local knows where Chelsea Harbour is. biggrin.gif

 

 

 

 

 

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Well there's plenty of scope for all kinds of traffic on that line...

Not sure of the exact dates, but there were also links to what is the present Hammersmith and City line - part of the brick arch can still be seen in Freston Road, W10 just South-West of Latimer Road station....Freston Road

It also had a junction at Addison Road, W12 where it ran North-West and linked with the District Railway near Hammersmith..Addison Junction- The route can be seen curving round where K-West hotel now stands...

 

More recently I have seen brand new DMU's being hauled, presumably all the way from their continental manufacturer, through the tunnel...double headed freight trains ( Diesel pulling class 92 )..the Eurostars when they were based at North Pole Junction, a myriad of Steam-hauled Specials ( with diesels at the rear ! ) - Bear in mind that this is the main Thames crossing, essentially linking Europe with the rest of the UK, so pretty much anything is possible...great choice of subject for a model !

 

EDIT...acually, a great little map and history here ! Disused Stations

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Well there's plenty of scope for all kinds of traffic on that line...

Not sure of the exact dates, but there were also links to what is the present Hammersmith and City line - part of the brick arch can still be seen in Freston Road, W10 just South-West of Latimer Road station....Freston Road

It also had a junction at Addison Road, W12 where it ran North-West and linked with the District Railway near Hammersmith..Addison Junction- The route can be seen curving round where K-West hotel now stands...

 

More recently I have seen brand new DMU's being hauled, presumably all the way from their continental manufacturer, through the tunnel...double headed freight trains ( Diesel pulling class 92 )..the Eurostars when they were based at North Pole Junction, a myriad of Steam-hauled Specials ( with diesels at the rear ! ) - Bear in mind that this is the main Thames crossing, essentially linking Europe with the rest of the UK, so pretty much anything is possible...great choice of subject for a model !

 

EDIT...acually, a great little map and history here ! Disused Stations

 

 

The more information I gather the more I think you could run almost anything and nobody could say it did not happen - even without re-arranging the history a bit more than I have done by saying Chelsea was extended and not closed after the war! The saying 'there is a prototype for everything' springs to mind. Unfortunately could not connct to the website links you left so do not know what the problem is there - but many thnaks. You are right about Disused Stations - one of my early web visitations with good history and photographs of past and present for the whole linan

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You're quite right, but in my defence Imperial Wharf is a silly name for the station when everybody local knows where Chelsea Harbour is. biggrin.gif

Not a problem, I agree the name is probably not the best to have used but the latest block of flats or whatever are called Imperial Wharf (I think there used to be a wharf on the river with that name) and the developer, I think, helped pay for the station which explains the name!

 

Chris

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Not a problem, I agree the name is probably not the best to have used but the latest block of flats or whatever are called Imperial Wharf (I think there used to be a wharf on the river with that name) and the developer, I think, helped pay for the station which explains the name!

 

Chris

There was certainly a lot of industry along that riverside, even when I moved near there in the early 70's...

North side was the Fulham power station - coal came upriver for that as I remember, but potentially could have coal trains. There is an old gas works, originally the 'Imperial' towngas plant I believe ( There are some pretty little terrace houses around 'Imperial Square' , once gas company's, then council, but now at SW6 prices... I digress ! ). On the Southside of the river was Booth's Gin Works, and Price's Candle factory and 'Wandgas' Gas works ( Apparently the ground was so toxic, when they redeveloped the site it would eat through the worker's boots in days !) - I don't remember any private sidings, but modellers' licence and all that !

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There was certainly a lot of industry along that riverside, even when I moved near there in the early 70's...

North side was the Fulham power station - coal came upriver for that as I remember, but potentially could have coal trains. There is an old gas works, originally the 'Imperial' towngas plant I believe ( There are some pretty little terrace houses around 'Imperial Square' , once gas company's, then council, but now at SW6 prices... I digress ! ). On the Southside of the river was Booth's Gin Works, and Price's Candle factory and 'Wandgas' Gas works ( Apparently the ground was so toxic, when they redeveloped the site it would eat through the worker's boots in days !) - I don't remember any private sidings, but modellers' licence and all that !

 

 

I have since learnt that there were between 60 and 70 timetabled freight train loads in each direction in the 1960's, many of which were still eminating or terminating at Chelsea Basin - mostly coal for industrial customers up and down the river.

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