Central Line Hainault Loop

Discussion in 'London Underground' started by 7522, 15 Feb 2019.

  1. 7522

    7522 Member

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    Tomorrow (Saturday 16th Feb) I am travelling to London and want to ride the full Hainault loop on the Central Line. Having looked on the TFL journey planner I have been left with some questions.

    My Journey on the Central line will be starting and ending at Stratford although I will also be visiting Gants Hill station on the loop. What I would like to know is what is the best way to do the loop? Is it quicker to go clockwise (Woodford First) or anticlockwise (finish at Woddford)? Is the train frequency the same anticlockwise and clockwise and roughly what will the train frequency be? Finally if I want to travel the full loop would I need to change trains at Hainault? I am prepared to do the loop in any way as long as I cover all of the stations and visit Gants Hill.

    Apologies if these are basic questions but I am not from London and have never been on this part of the Central line before. As my trip is tomorrow I don't think I would have time to email TFL to find out about this.
     
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  3. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    From what I remember, there is no such thing as "loop trains" in normal service at all.

    I believe the frequency is every 10 minutes to Hainault via Newbury Park, with every second train i.e. every 20 minutes extending from Hainault to Woodford. Furthermore, I believe that this section through Roding Valley is the least used part of London Underground, as that part of Essex (if it is still part of Essex today) is open countryside.

    I have done the loop myself by going Stratford - Hainault - Woodford then straight to Liverpool Street a couple of years ago.
     
  4. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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  5. cjp

    cjp Established Member

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    If it helps I was once dropped off at either Grange Hill or Chigwell and the next anticlockwise train was indicated for 25 minutes - I had never seen anything so long before! I saw one train leave clockwise and another signaled before I gave up and swapped platforms to the clockwise one to go back into town.
     
  6. Dstock7080

    Dstock7080 Established Member

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    on Saturday afternoons trains operate every 18mins from White City via Stratford to Hainault pfm.2 then continue to Woodford pfm.2 and onto 21Rd.
    Upon departing Woodford 21Rd trains operate every 18mins to Hainault pfm.1 then continue to Ealing Broadway.
     
  7. 7522

    7522 Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I think I am going to go from Stratford to Gants Hill and then around the loop to Woodford before going back direct to Stratford. It's good to know that trains carry on all the way to Woodford without having to change at Hainault. As I am not sure exactly what time I will be there I will just have to hope it won't be too long for a train but I'm sure I will enjoy it anyway as I have always wanted to see some of these stations and ride this part of the line.
     
  8. simple simon

    simple simon Member

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    If you are going to visit Gants Hill first then you want a train going to Newbury Park, Hainault via Newbury Park or Woodford via Hainault. All of these travel via Wanstead. As previously stated, only a train going to Woodford via Hainault will mean that you can stay on the train at Hainault.

    [​IMG]

    Avoid Epping, Loughton, Debden, Grange Hill via Woodford and also Hainault via Woodford as they all travel via Snaresbrook. (Some of these destinations are rarely seen but if there is disruption to the service they might be used).

    At Stratford platform 6 the train describer is approximately half way along the platform. If you have never been to Stratford before then 'good luck'. The platform numbering system is logical - but only if you know the history! There are actually 21 platforms here, including some numbered a or b (ie: 3a, 4a, 4b, 10a) one disused (4) and one never used (7).

    Also avoid trains going to Leytonstone, as they usually arrive in a westbound platform and you will have to use an underpass to reach the correct platform. But what might make it worthwhile leaving the station here are the Alfred Hitchcock mosaic murals along the station entrance passageways.

    [​IMG]

    I assume that at Gants Hill you want to see the Moscow style arched ceiling area between the platforms. This is nearer the front half of the train but, if you travel near the back then as you walk along the platform at Gants Hill you will pass one of the iconic station clocks with LT Roundel symbols instead of numbers. (sorry, no photos from here)

    btw, Redbridge is unusual for the London's deep level tube lines because it was built as a 'cut and cover' station so its walls and roof are flat - instead of arched / curved.

    [​IMG]

    The line surfaces just before Newbury Park, there is a gap between the tracks where the connection to the Great Eastern Main Line used to be.

    Newbury Park recently got some 'special needs' lifts. At surface level it has the award-winning iconic 1951 bus shelter. You will need to leave the fares paid area to see properly. On the platforms it also has some original Great Eastern Railway logo metal scrollwork at the top of the canopy support poles plus original GER platform seats (along the platform back walls).

    [​IMG]

    When travelling between Newbury Park and Barkingside you might see horses grazing in a field to the right of the train.

    Barkingside dates from 1903 and still retains many historic features, including an ornate cupola on the station building roof (platform heading towards Fairlop) and some waiting room glass windows etched with "General Waiting Room".

    [​IMG]

    ------------------------------------------------

    Beware of the ticketing system. If you are using Oyster or contactless it might throw a wobbly if you travel direct from Stratford to Stratford. The solution is to leave the station somewhere. Yes you will be charged a second fare (should be £1.50) but it might save you from a maximum fare which is something like £8 (or maybe even more).

    If you have a paper Travelcard ticket then you will be OK; even more so if you have a railcard as you will probably be entitled to a discounted fare.

    Enjoy your Journey!


    (photos from here: http://citytransport.info/Central.htm - my website)
     
  9. 7522

    7522 Member

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    Thank you so much for the information Simon! It's great to know that there are trains to both Hainault and Newbury Park which should help me get to Gants Hill quicker than waiting for a Woodford train.

    Gants Hill has been on the list of stations I have wanted to visit for a while because of the Moscow inspired architecture. I will probably leave the station here to avoid paying the full oyster fare (this is something I have been caught out by twice before).

    Those photos are certainly very interesting and give me a lot of information I never knew before. If I have time I will probably try and visit a few other stations as well.
     
  10. bluegoblin7

    bluegoblin7 Member

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    Last I looked, it isn't 1950. Lifts is fine. Mobility Impaired Person (MIP) lifts is the official name. Step-free access is perfect.
     
  11. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Gants Hill is indeed based on the concepts commonly used in Moscow, and later other Soviet cities, although a little smaller than those in all dimensions. It was actually designed well after Frank Pick, 1930s Underground general manager and design supremo, had been to Moscow and given detailed advice on the new Metro being started there, for which he received the Soviet Union's Merit Medal, though (quite possibly because he received this) he never got anything equivalent from the British government. The station was actually completed after his death, post-war. There are often (including when I was last there) people taking photographs inside at weekends, the lighting is adequate not to need flash. When walking around, go out of the gateline and sample the extensive passage network connected to all the points of the large traffic roundabout directly above.

    The line from Hainault to Woodford may be infrequent but seems hardly used, and it's common to have the car to yourself. It used to be a 4-car shuttle, 8-car trains nowadays seem a complete overkill. It joins the Epping line quite some way before Woodford, and just shunts in a siding beyond the platforms once the few passengers are tipped out. If you are going for the architecture the bus station at Newbury Park station is equally striking - if you have explored all within Gants Hill and come outside, a bus along Eastern Avenue takes just a few minutes. Apart from the modern works, many of the station buildings look not much altered from Great Eastern Railway days.

    As the Hainault Loop crosses the M11 motorway there is a sudden and unexpoected vista right back to London, Canary Wharf high rises prominent and the City of London beyond. If you haven't seen the old 1960 Tube stock for many years, there are several such cars visible, rather ramshackle, in the middle distance in a siding at the north end of Hainault depot. A preservation project apparently.
     
  12. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    There's also a twin track tunnel between Grange Hill and Chigwell. Also, the line from Woodford north to Buckhurst Hill is only a short distance from Roding Valley and trains passing north and south can clearly be seen from the platforms. The loop passes under the River Roding at Redbridge Station, and over it east of Roding Valley Station.
     
  13. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Just not “mobility impaired lifts”, which is what many of them seem to be for large amounts of time.

    I seem to remember Tim O’Toole foresaw this, with a quite along the lines of “we will spend hundreds of millions of pounds to drop lifts into our stations, yet I will find myself attending scores and scores of meetings analysing why they don’t work”. This was followed by some examples of issues expected, including a rather sarcastic “the problem with this lift is that someone tried to use it”.
     
  14. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    The tunnels on the south side of the Hainult loop are concrete rather than cast iron, I think. Very cutting edge engineering for the 1930's
    (Cant find a reference for that - correct me if I am wrong.)
    These tunnels were not ready for trains by 1939 so were used as an armaments factory by Plessey during the war.

    The Hainault-Woodford section was also used as a testbed for the Victoria line ATO. Converted 1960 stock ran under ATO, then Victoria Line 1967 stock ran there to bed the trains in. The 1960 trains were new driving motor cars but had 2 'standard' stock (painted silver to match the unpainted aluminium 1960 cars) trailers to make them 4 car units.

    The original tunnels in central london were originally built with gradients up to stations and down away from stations to assist with braking and acceleration. This caused a problem when the platforms were extended and they had to adjust the gradients to allow this.

    The central section tunnels are also very tight, being built years before the Yerkes tubes. It was the plan to line the cast iron tunnels with brickwork but only parts were done.

    original central London railway loco here
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3f/55/30/3f55302822711ba564051058034d0271.jpg

    Enjoy your day on the twopenny tube!
     
    Last edited: 16 Feb 2019
  15. simple simon

    simple simon Member

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    I hope you enjoyed your day.

    I started using Gants Hill in 1971, as a schoolboy. I still live within walking distance, all these years later.

    If you explored the passageways under the traffic roundabout then you may have noticed that some have steps at the entrances whilst others have ramps. At one time all entrances had steps, but over the years this was changed for the benefit of mothers with children in perambulators (prambs - these were much larger than the pushchairs / buggies / strollers used in the present-day era).

    You may have also noticed that several street entrances no longer exist - this is easier to see from within the passageways as the tiles around the former entrance curve inwards (a little) and then there is a flat wall of tiles. It helps to compare with entrances that still exist.

    For buses to Newbury Park station you need to use the exit for 'buses to Romford'. All three bus routes (66*, 296, 396) will take you to Newbury Park station. But beware, especially in the afternoon rush hour the road is congested and this might mean that it is quicker to walk! Also, there is a £1.50 bus fare, unless you have some sort of bus pass - my thoughts turn to the possibility of a local govt. bus pass from elsewhere in England (not Scotland / Wales / NI) also being accepted here in London. I have no idea if this is so.

    *The 66 comes from one of the two bus stations on either side of Leytonstone railway station. I sometimes use this as it means that I avoid zone 4 fares and benefit from a shorter walk to where I live.
     
  16. simple simon

    simple simon Member

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    My grandfather worked at the armaments factory.

    re: the Hainault-Woodford section, I sometimes visited it and travelled on the trains, both when they had the two Standard Stock trailers and after they had been fitted with 1938 trailers. I also travelled on the 1967 Stock Victoria line trains. Apparently every one of these trains was tested here first, to ensure that they all worked correctly.

    When the automation trials first began some BR passenger and freight trains were still using this line. BR passenger to Epping and BR goods to several goods yards. In addition it is possible that the summer (etc) excursion trains were still running from Loughton to places such as the South Coast via the East London Line.

    What this means is that depending on how the timetables worked it is entirely possible that some BR trains passed an automatically driven 1960 tube stock Central line train. Certainly they all travelled on the same rails, especially between the junction near Roding Valley station and Woodford station. Alas, by then the BR trains had probably been deselised (I think this happened in the late 1950's) which somewhat spoils what would have been so delightful in 'transport enthusiast' terms.... steam locomotive hauled trains and automatically driven trains passing each other! The new and the old in technology....

    Edit to add: I have read about a possibility that the Hainauilt - Woodford line will revert back to four car shuttle trains. Perhaps temporarily. This is whilst the Central line trains are refurbished and have some seats removed to make spaces for wheelchairs.
     
  17. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    My own involvement was a good lady friend living close to Wanstead ... and this story dates from the previous 1962 stock and traditional signalling.

    Early one morning I had to leave there to get to Heathrow, changing at Holborn. Now early morning intervals in those times were wide, but there was a manoeuvre at Leytonstone where the two branches merge on either side of an island platform. Look out to see which one has got the green signal first if, as very often, there were two trains in together, and run across if necessary.

    Already late, I'd waited about 10 minutes at Wanstead, train finally came. At Leytonstone there was indeed a train in the westbound Epping platform as well, looked out, we were red but the platform buildings were in the way of the other signal. Ran the few steps across, just to hear the hiss of the doors (no peep-peep then), great, lunged straight in without looking, braced on the grabrail as you do, and the train started - the wrong way :( . It was just entering service from that platform going over the crossover and up to Epping. Oh, how crestfallen. Up to Snaresbrook and back, even more time wasted.

    In those days the Hainault shuttle was done by 4-car units, I think there were three in circuit, two were always the old 1960 prototype units, but the third was a Victoria Line 4-car set, there was always one seemingly on loan. I used to go the long way round from Wanstead occasionally (if on my own, of course), I saw the Victoria unit but never got a ride in it.
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2019
  18. 7522

    7522 Member

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    Thanks again to anyone who has provided history on this line. I have found it all very interesting and it gives me ideas of some stations to visit in future.

    As for my journey yesterday everything did go to plan. I only had 2 minutes to wait at Stratford for a train To Hainault which I took as far as Gants Hill. I had a look around both Platforms of this station and the passageways underneath the roundabout outside the ticket barrier. When I went back down to the Platform there was a 13 minute wait for a direct Woodford train. I sat on one of the benches in the middle and took some more photos during this time. Just before the train was due I walked near to the back and got on the second last carriage. At the time there was 6 other people in the carriage but by Hainault I was the only one left. This allowed me to film the journey from Hainault to Woodford as the carriage remained empty after Hainault. On arrival at Woodford I did not need to change platforms as the service to West Ruislip came about 2 minutes after I arrived. I took this back to Stratford.

    Very enjoyable journey overall, next time I will certainly try to vist more stations in this area.
     
  19. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    I’m doing this route on Saturday so travelling from North Acton, which service is it that goes around the Loop without needing a change of train if possible?
     
  20. bluegoblin7

    bluegoblin7 Member

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    Anything described as Woodford via Hainault, but you will have to get off at Woodford to resume back to Central London or Hainault.

    There are no booked direct via South Woodford and round the loop on Saturdays.
     
  21. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Some of the trains destined for the Hainault loop start short from White City so you may have a longer wait. I would get onto the first train and get off maybe at Stratford where there is plenty to see. Similarly, if at Gants Hill, a through train to Woodford isn't the first, it might be worth getting the first to Hainault and waiting there. There may be some interesting movements in and oput of the depot there, which you can see from the west side of the island platform (no. 3).
    I hadn't noticed this thread and as I was born and grew up within the area bounded by the loop, I would also have added much of that which Simple Simon and Ken H have said. The Cravens units were bare aluminium and the trailers were silver painted pre-war 'standard stock' types. The cab ends also had aerials around the front above the windows.
    One trivia point, Chigwell Station was used as the outside shot of the local station in 'Birds of a Feather' comedy series, although library clips of trains were showing Southern Region types. We could see the trains as they went over the Roding Bridge from my school, (West Hatch High School), especially when the silver 1962 types became common. That's not possible now as the screening tress beside the M11 obscure the view.
     
  22. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    Well the idea I’ve got is to get to Woodford via Hainault then get to Epping before heading back to Central London, that ought be possible right?

    I was thinking of getting the Central Line from Liverpool Street, is it fairly easy to change between that line and the sub surfaces lines?
     
  23. Ethano92

    Ethano92 Member

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    Depending which direction you come from on the sub surface lines, you may have a few steps up and over the tracks but nothing an able bodied person can't handle assuming you are. It's a pretty quick interchange with the central line platforms directly at the bottom of the escalator down.

    Everything you've mentioned is possible and should be fairly easy, yes. Enjoy your day!
     
  24. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    Thanks, never actually been that far on the line itself so will be interesting.
     

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