Search

History of the Central Line’s Hainault loop revealed on the 150th anniversary of the London Underground

10:01 09 January 2013

Plessey - in wartime 1940 - working in central line underground near Gants Hill

Plessey - in wartime 1940 - working in central line underground near Gants Hill

Archant

It is exactly 150 years since the first journey on the London Underground took place.

Gants Hill, Central Line stationGants Hill, Central Line station

The Metropolitan Railway ran its first steam train for just four miles between Paddington and Farringdon on January 9 1863.

The next day, 40,000 passengers used the first underground railway in the world.

Seeing the success of the Metropolitan used Line, other developers quickly followed with the Waterloo and City Line and in 1900, the Central Line.

The Central London Railway, as it was then known, was one of the first deep-level “tubes” and ran from Shepherd’s Bush to Bank.

It is now the busiest line in London, with around 260million passengers a year.

But it took more than 50 years to grow into the line we now know, running for 47 miles between West Ruislip, on the edge of north-west London, and Epping, in Essex.

By 1946, the route had extended as far as Stratford and stations from Snaresbrook to Woodford and Newbury Park opened in December 1947.

Barkingside, Fairlop and Hainault completed the loop in May 1948.

The tunnels were essentially completed in 1939 but the outbreak of war put public transport on hold and the five-mile stretch from Leytonstone to Gants Hill was used as a munitions factory.

Plessey opened in1942, complete with escalators, air conditioning, a miniature railway and canteens to produce an array of components for military and defence equipment.

The factory moved back above ground at the end of the war and in 1945, work on the tube continued.

Instead of building more costly and time-consuming tunnels from Newbury Park, the new line went above ground and took over an older train line.

The “Fairlop loop” had been opened by the Great Eastern Railway in 1903 between Ilford and Woodford via Newbury Park but the Central Line quickly overtook the former route.

The connection between Ilford and Newbury Park was closed in 1947 but the line to Seven Kings lasted until 1956.

Road bridges at in Vicarage Lane, Benton Road remain but the track is long gone and much of the cutting used by the former railway has been filled in.

The Hainault to Woodford section of the line went on to become a guinea pig for experimental systems and trialled the line’s first Automatic Train Operation years before the system was introduced in 1996

0 comments

Latest Ilford News Stories

Yesterday, 15:13
New grounds at St Andrew's Ilford,
Rev Marie Segal, with the Church committee.

For many young children, believing in Father Christmas is an essential part of the magic.

Yesterday, 12:00
Landmark locations across Redbridge. The old Wanstead Hospital building

A look back at the biggest stories of this week from 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

Saturday, December 3, 2016
Ayisha Davies-Reaz has gained a Young Citizen award nomination

A student who promotes sport and outdoor activities at Redbridge College has been nominated for the Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award.

Saturday, December 3, 2016
Festival goers at the One Love festival

Good vibes and relaxed times are coming back to the borough next year.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now