The 10th anniversary of the East London Line is with us! Thirteen years ago the original East London Line line shut. In 2010 it re-emerged a new route as part of London Overground. In many ways the new East London Line performs the intents of the earlier line which was to provide a through rail route between North and South London even though that was only for freight and the occasional railtour. What has happened is part of the old Broad Street to Richmond route has been reused. This formation lay derelict for twenty years or so before being used for an extension of the East London Line to Dalston and Highbury – and new connections to the national rail network.
A Stock crossing over Surrey Canal Road during August 2002. The bridge once crossed the course of the former Grand Surrey Canal! Pic by author.
The old order at Surrey Quays station in 2001. The signal’s double aspect is because it was captured changing from the red to the green! Pic by the author.
East London Line refurbishment 1995 – 98
Between 1995 and 1998 the East London Line was closed for major refurbishment. Part of this work included the construction of a new station at Canada Water which would afford excellent interchange with the new Jubilee Line route being built.
Model of Canada Water station, late 1990s. The middle escalator landing would serve the new East London Line platforms whilst the bottom level would of course be the Jubilee Line. Source: Twitter
Another job done during that closure period was the £21 million refurbishment of the Thames Tunnel. It was controversial as the work essentially made it a brand new tunnel. Without this work it is said the tunnel would deteriorate considerably and it was absolutely essential this was done – even though the structure itself was of immense historical value and grade listed. A small compromise was made and part of the tunnel at the Rotherhithe end was fully restored as it once looked.
The old brickwork showing not too good a condition. Source: Dr. Sauer & Partners
Work underway to revert the brickwork, build a new invert and reline the tunnel with concrete. Source: Dr. Sauer & Partners
These (and other excellent pictures) showing the progress of the refurbishment can be seen at Dr. Sauer & Partners website.
The modernised Thames Tunnel. Just four arches at the Rotherhithe end were left as original. Source: Twitter
Shoreditch station in 1927 with its vertical UndergrounD sign. These were popular between the 1900s and 1930s. Source: Twitter
Shoreditch station was always an oddity being right next to a very busy main line railway but seemingly inaccessible from it. If one didn’t know where the station was it could be quite difficult to find. In the early days of the East London Line it was a very different situation because this was a through station with services extending to Liverpool Street and even beyond there along the Metropolitan towards Baker Street and Paddington. Eventually that was all progressively reduced with the only through services being goods trains. Even those had stopped by 1966 and the connections to the main Great Eastern line were taken out soon after.
Q stock at Shoreditch in 1971. Source: Pinterest
After the connections to the Great Eastern Main line had been taken up the station soon became a single track terminus – that latter state of affairs being the most well known image any of us has of the erstwhile location! Shoreditch as a single track terminus existed for a good few more decades. It was however closed for three years from 1995-98 during the ELL’s renovation discussed earlier. In the last couple of decades or so services were peak hours only – coupled with a Sundays only service that was for the huge markets which existed in the area.
Leaflet giving notice of the old Shoreditch’s closure – to give you a new Shoreditch station! Source: Internet Archive
The end finally came in 2006 when in June of that year, the station was closed for good. The site no longer exists in large, apart from part of the brick lined cutting which has been built over with a flat roof and is used for exhibitions and venues, whilst the old station buildings constitute the entrance and foyer area to this new exhibition area.
The old order at Shoreditch. Diamond shaped station sign denoting the days the District ran the East London Line. Source: Twitter
Shoreditch 1982. Source: Twitter
One of the last full East London Line maps with Shoreditch on it (plus times between stations) from 2003. Source: Internet Archive
Shoreditch in its last month. Source: Twitter.
The final train to enter Shoreditch station. 2006. Source: Twitter.
Grassy road where there once was a through route to Liverpool Street, King’s Cross, and points west! Source: Twitter
TfL tube map January 2006 with the notice of closure for Shoreditch station.
Gone! Shoreditch rail service now replaced by buses! TfL map late June 2006.
Even though Shoreditch was detailed as completely shut on the June 2006 map (this must have been released just after the actual closure had happened) the pre-closure detail still existed on that map!
It wasn’t until the July 2006 tube map release the detail became more consistent in terms of the station being closed.
Shoreditch after the track was lifted. Probably late 2006. Source: Twitter
January 2008 tube map explaining the East London Line is to become part of London Overground.
The East London Line closes
Six months after Shoreditch had shut for good, the rest of the line followed. But first – there was a special train and it was worked by 1938 tube stock! This special railtour ran from Ealing Broadway to the East London Line on 16 December 2007.
The 1938 tube stock at Whitechapel. Source: Leon Daniels Blog.
Just one week later the ELL would be no more. The final date services ran was 22 December 2007.
End of the old East London Line. Back in 2010 in a completely new format! Source: Flickr
Continued in part three – about the work to create the new London Overground railway.