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From the Wikipedia page [1]

The Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway in east London connected the Royal Docks with the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR). Authorised in 1844, it opened in 1846, and was absorbed by the ECR in 1847. The ECR in turn amalgamated with other railways to form the Great Eastern Railway in 1862.


The EC&TJR opened in 1846, from Stratford to Canning Town, to transport coal to the mouth of Bow Creek. A year later it was extended to North Woolwich via West Silvertown, allowing connections with the Woolwich Ferry; the same year it was taken over by the Eastern Counties Railway.

The original line went south, but when the Royal Victoria Dock opened in 1855 the line between Canning Town and North Woolwich had to be equipped with a swingbridge over the entrance to the dock, which slowed down journey times. In response, the line was rerouted north of the dock through two new stations, at Custom House and Tidal Basin. The south loop remained in service for local factories and was renamed the Silvertown Tramway.

After the construction of the Albert Dock, with the same problem envisaged on the route to Silvertown, in 1878 the railway built the new cut and cover Connaught tunnel (aka Silvertown tunnel or Albert Dock tunnel), at the new docks entrance; it emerges on the eastern side just short of the old Tate & Lyle factory. In 1935, after it was discovered that larger ships entering the docks were scraping the roof of the tunnel, an iron casing was placed along the section which passed under the dock.

Several branches were opened in due course; in 1872 the Gas Light and Coke Company opened a branch running north-east to Beckton (not the current site of Beckton Station) to serve its gasworks there; in 1880, as the Royal Albert Dock opened, an extension to Gallions opened, running due east along the north edge of the dock, all the way to the shore of the River Thames on the far side of the dock. Both of these branches left the main line at Custom House. At the same time, the line was connected to the Palace Gates Line to Palace Gates (Wood Green) in North London, and regular services between North Woolwich and Palace Gates operated. The line was quadrupled between Stratford Market and Tidal Basin in stages by 1892, though the western pair of tracks gradually became less used over the years.


The lines to Beckton and Gallions closed after bomb damage during the Blitz, as did Tidal Basin station. The line to Beckton reopened only for goods (by-products from the gasworks), finally closing in 1972.[1] The Palace Gates-North Woolwich line continued until 1963, when services were rerouted to Tottenham Hale, later terminating at Stratford.

In pre-empting the closure of the Broad Street line, in 1979 the diesel service was extended to run on the old North London Railway via Dalston Kingsland to Camden Road. Broad Street Station to that point provided the eastern terminus for what was then called the CrossTown LinkLine, today known as the North London Line.

The start of the renaissance of the line came in 1985, when third rail electrification was extended from Dalston Junction via Stratford to North Woolwich, and electric trains started to run from Richmond through to North Woolwich. The service was however never as popular south of Stratford as on the rest of this route, and as services were enhanced from the original frequency the extra trains were terminated at Stratford. Part of the reason for this was that only one track beyond Custom House station, through the Connaught Tunnel, was electrified, which restricted the service that could be provided on the easternmost section.

In 2006, all North London line services were withdrawn south of Stratford, and the line was closed.


London Underground Jubilee Line[]

The Jubilee Line of the Underground was built along the alignment of the former western tracks from Canning Town to Stratford, and opened in 1999. This took much of the remaining traffic from the line south of Stratford.

Docklands Light Railway[]

Part of the line between Custom House and Gallions was later redeveloped as the Beckton branch of the Docklands Light Railway, as was a short section of the Beckton line between Woolwich Manor Way and the new Royal Docks Road.

With opening of the King George V branch of the DLR, the North London Line between Stratford and North Woolwich closed in December 2006. The stretch between Canning Town and Stratford was converted to become the Stratford International branch of the DLR, which opened in September 2011.


The Custom House to North Woolwich section, including a £50M investment to renovate and reuse the Connaught tunnel,[2] is presently being redeveloped to be used by Crossrail.[3]


Main line (opened 1846):

Branch from Custom House to Beckton (opened 1872, closed 1972):

Branch from Custom House to Gallions (opened 1874, closed 1940):

External links[]

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named jackson
  2. Tom Edwards (27 April 2011). Crossrail brings old tunnel back to life. BBC London. Retrieved on 30 August 2011.
  3. Giles Broadbant (May 5, 2011). Exploring Crossrail's Connaught tunnel. Retrieved on 30 August 2011.