Can Anyone Identify This Line — London, East Acton Area

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Dr_Paul

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Looking at the Rail Map On-Line site, I noticed a line branching off the West London Line at the junction with the GWR line to Acton, then running westwards to the north of Du Cane Road, then swinging south-east to end roughly where the Queen's Park Rangers football ground is today. I have attached a screen-grab of the relevant area. Can anyone identify this line?London -- White City 1.jpg
 
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Using the NLS maps site the OS map for 1920 only shows it as a short spur. However the line seems to have gone round the White City complex which was built on (then) farmland for the 1908 Olympics and various exhibitions. I would surmise that this is a contractors railway or some other temporary railway for these events.
 

steamybrian

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I have checked my maps which do not show it.
It is not the Central Line as it runs adjacent to Wood Lane (Met) station.
My only suggestion is that it was a temporary contractors line for construction of the housing development. There were several such lines around London and two large systems I am aware of were in the Mitcham/St.Helier area (South London) and Becontree in East London.
 

Gloster

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Presuming you are referring to the blue line, there doesn’t appear to be anything marked in the London Rail Atlas (4th edition).
 

Dr_Paul

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I think the scenic railway is the network in the White City exhibition grounds on this and this 1915 edition 25" maps. But this network doesn't match up with the blue lines on the Rail Map extract. There's nothing on the 25" maps from the 1890s. I don't think the LCC estates there were built until the 1930s, and by then Hammersmith Hospital (previously the Workhouse) on Du Cane Road would have got in the way of this line, were it a contractor's line à la Becontree or Rose Hill.
 

etr221

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Looking at the various maps linked, of the 'Great White City' 1910 exhibition (is this what was, or what was intended?), and of NLS OS scans, I am of the opinion that what is on RMO is intended to be the 'scenic railway' (? - looks more like a line bringing things in and out to me) marked on the GWC 1910 map, but is mis shown, going to far north and west: the northern boundary of the site was Du Cane Road, and the western boundary, south of point 170 on the map, Bloemfontein Road; and the railway was within the site.
I think - looking at the 1915 OS maps - by then the GWC site had shrunk, and the railway (and some, but not all, of the tramway) been closed and removed.
 

Gloster

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There was a GWR line from Viaduct Junction on the West London Line to North Acton Junction on the Northolt line, but this only opened in 1917. It was originally double track, but after Underground Electric Railways of London extended from White City, it became four (in two stages); two tracks are now the Central Line. Could it be that the line on the map is marked just a little to the north and it actually followed the route later followed by the GWR line?
 

Irascible

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Actually clicking on the line on the map says it's for the Japan-British Exhibition - perhaps have a look on an old OS map of the period if you can find one? you can load a map from the National Library of Scotland in the back but I don't know how to change which year it loads.
 

Diplodicus

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I went to St Clement Danes Grammar School in Ducane Road between 1958 and 1963. There were four tracks running parallel to and on the south side of Ducane Road. Two were the Central Line beteen White City and East Acton. The other two were used by GW 4-6-0s for freight working. Castles, Halls and Granges. There seemed to be more traffic travelling westbound than east.

Guess who grabbed the best window seat in room eight??

Seems like yesterday.
 

etr221

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The 'Great Western' line was the Ealing and Shepherds Bush Railway, authorised 1905, and opened (for GW freight services) in 1917. Original plan - apart from a connection to the West London Railway at Viaduct Junction - was for a GW terminus at Shepherds Bush (for interchange to the CLR - now LU Central Line), this was superceded by a CLR extension to Wood Lane Junction (with the E&SB) with electrification and running powers for CLR trains thence to Ealing Broadway (service commenced 1920). Subsequently an additional pair of tracks was built from N Acton (junction with the GW Old Oak Common - Northolt (for GW&GC Jt) line, to permit segregation of GW and CLR/LT services, and closed/removed in the 1960s.

Considering all this, and what is marked on the 1915 (publication date - revision was 1912-14) OS 25inch maps linked above I am wondering how far the GWC site extended north, and so to what extent the map for Japanese-British exhibition of 1910 (also linked), which has a 1909 date, reflects what actually was - and so whether the railway in question was ever built, or had any existence beyond an ephemeral existance as a contractors' line. If it was, it was either south of the (later, but not by much) E&SB line, or its track bed was reused by the E&SB
 

Dr_Paul

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Looking at the various maps linked, of the 'Great White City' 1910 exhibition (is this what was, or what was intended?), and of NLS OS scans, I am of the opinion that what is on RMO is intended to be the 'scenic railway' (? - looks more like a line bringing things in and out to me) marked on the GWC 1910 map, but is mis shown, going to far north and west: the northern boundary of the site was Du Cane Road, and the western boundary, south of point 170 on the map, Bloemfontein Road; and the railway was within the site.
I think - looking at the 1915 OS maps - by then the GWC site had shrunk, and the railway (and some, but not all, of the tramway) been closed and removed.

Yes -- I think you're right here, it was probably an access line from the WLL. Most heavy things and lot more besides were transported by rail in those days.

I've had a look at the map of the Japan exhibition in message 6 (I hadn't seen the link before), and the blue line on my screen-grab does align, if a bit roughly, with the line to the exhibition from the WLL. I think the exhibition came and went in between Ordnance Survey surveying.

I think that the mystery is thereby solved. Thanks for all the interesting ideas, and my apologies to Sir Felix for missing his vital link.
 

rogercov

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A fascinating thread. Thanks for the analysis. The nearest OS map I can find is the 6 inch (revised 1912-1914). As has been pointed out, the line in question had been demolished by that time. Also, it seems that it passed along the southern edge of Du Cane Road, so the alignment shown on the Rail Map online site is slightly inaccurate.
I took the line from the exhibition map and overlayed it on the OS (1912-14) and present-day OSM. Sorry about the rather shaky appearance of the line, but you get the idea.
white city 1912.jpgwhite city 2021.jpg
 

Diplodicus

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The GWR line was nearest Ducane Road and at ground level. The Central Lines were southwards and in cuttings with, I seem to recall the eastbound lower than the westbound.
 

Gloster

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A fascinating thread. Thanks for the analysis. The nearest OS map I can find is the 6 inch (revised 1912-1914). As has been pointed out, the line in question had been demolished by that time. Also, it seems that it passed along the southern edge of Du Cane Road, so the alignment shown on the Rail Map online site is slightly inaccurate.
I took the line from the exhibition map and overlayed it on the OS (1912-14) and present-day OSM. Sorry about the rather shaky appearance of the line, but you get the idea.
View attachment 90128View attachment 90129
It definitely looks as though it was a line built in connection with the exhibition area. As it goes around the edge of the park, rather than spreads around it, I would suggest it was intended for bringing stuff in, either construction equipment or exhibits.
 
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