Chingford / Enfield Town before electric services

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Paul Jones 88

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I have been using these services since I was a kid, 305s then and I have always wondered what these lines were like before electric services started, also Liverpool Street to Bishop Stortford, I'd really appreciate anyone who can remember that tell us about it, thanks in advance.
 
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Ediswan

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I have been using these services since I was a kid, 305s then and I have always wondered what these lines were like before electric services started, also Liverpool Street to Bishop Stortford, I'd really appreciate anyone who can remember that tell us about it, thanks in advance.
Look up the 'Jazz' trains.
 

30907

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I have been using these services since I was a kid, 305s then and I have always wondered what these lines were like before electric services started, also Liverpool Street to Bishop Stortford, I'd really appreciate anyone who can remember that tell us about it, thanks in advance.
You can find timetables (1958 is there) on www.timetableworld.com

I'm too young (and from the wrong side of the river) to have experienced them, but I was taken on North Woolwich to Palace Gates before it closed, which used N7 062Ts, L1 264Ts and J15 060s.
They mostly hauled ex LNER "outer suburban" stock which would typically have worked the Stortford line stoppers. The Jazz trains were often pairs of high-capacity "Quint-Art" (5-coach articulated) sets - I've travelled in the 4-car version out of King's Cross and they were very uncomfortable with no legroom.
N7s were the normal motive power - ISTR there wasn't room at Liverpool Street platforms 1-4 for bigger locos. One beautifully polished N7 was "West Side Pilot" there and could cover for a failure - I regret being too shy to go in the cab when Dad took me to LST once :(

BTW the Lea Valley route wasn't electrified in 1960 (they reopened the Southbury route instead), but worked by diesel hydraulic 3 car suburban dmus to and from Stratford.
 
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And worth remembering that in pre-Victoria line days rail access to the densely packed Walthamstow area had to be via Liverpool St (I don’t think there was much of a passenger service via the Hall Farm curve, and in any case Stratford was much less important hen than it is now.
 

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Also worth remembering that in pre Victoria line days, there was little traffic to Bishops Stortford and beyond (compared to today) and no Stansted Express. The West Anglia side of Liverpool St was very much dominated by inner suburban services.
 
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brstd4260

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I lived in Bush Hill Park and remember travelling from there to Enfield and Lower Edmonton (as it was' Edmonton Green now) in my pushchair in the late 50's. N7 0-6-2T on the front, but "ordinary" not Quad Art coaches. In the early days we had to travel in the Guards compartment as it was easier than trying to get a pushchair through the compartment doors. The trains were grubby but not filthy as I remember. I also have a vague recollection of the Guards compartment being at the end of the train and seeing the boiler of the loco through a small window under the roof, but I don't know if that's true. I also remember the occasional goods train, normally headed up by a filthy 0-6-0 (possibly a J17),even after the first generation electrics came in.. There was also a last steam train from Enfield on the last day of steam on Eastern Region, but although I saw it, I don't recall what was on the front.
 

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I believe that although N7s became the principal type on the Jazz trains from the 1920s-30s, their predecessors J69 0-6-0Ts also had a hand in the service pretty much to the end. There was a loco shed on the Chingford line at Wood Street, just beyond the station on the Down side, a subshed of Stratford with about 12 locos normally allocated there, which did the bulk of the Chingford work, and with carriage sidings adjacent.

You may find this article about the lines of interest :

Liverpool Street, and all that "jazz" (jaggers-heritage.com)
 
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O L Leigh

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Also worth remembering that in pre Victoria line days, there was little traffic to Bishops Stortford and beyond (compared to today) and no Stansted Express. The West Anglia side of Liverpool St was very much dominated by inner suburban services.
Traffic beyond Bishops Stortford would have included the Liv St - Kings Lynn service which would have been limited stops. This was the primary route into London from that part of the world right up until electrification out to Kings Lynn, at which point the service was switched to Kings Cross. Services from Liv St to Bishops Stortford and from Bishops Stortford to Cambridge would have been considered "local" services.
 

Bald Rick

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Traffic beyond Bishops Stortford would have included the Liv St - Kings Lynn service which would have been limited stops. This was the primary route into London from that part of the world right up until electrification out to Kings Lynn, at which point the service was switched to Kings Cross. Services from Liv St to Bishops Stortford and from Bishops Stortford to Cambridge would have been considered "local" services.

yes I agree - my point was that this service was, what, hourly at best until electrification ? Perhaps an extra service or two in the peak. Compares to 4tph from Cambridge and 4tph from Stansted in the ‘normal’ WA timetable now. Hence a lot more room for suburban services closer in.
 

etr221

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yes I agree - my point was that this service was, what, hourly at best until electrification ? Perhaps an extra service or two in the peak. Compares to 4tph from Cambridge and 4tph from Stansted in the ‘normal’ WA timetable now. Hence a lot more room for suburban services closer in.
My memory (mid 70s) was hourly from Cambridge to London - alternately to Kings Cross and Liverpool St. Also a two-houly dmu stopping service to Bishops Stortford.

While there wern't the long distance services to get in the way of the suburbans, what there was - at least up to the early 1960s was a lot more freight traffic.
 

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Of the three pairs of tracks out of Liverpool Street, one was dedicated to Enfield/Chingford, and fully occupied, so everything for further out, which all ran up the Lea Valley, had to leave on the Main line and diverge from it at Bethnal Green. Furthermore, with four tracks north of there, the alternating local services split, the Enfields on the Local track serving the close-spaced stations, the Chingfords on the Fast track to Hackney Downs. The main line trains thus had to leave Liverpool Street at a time to interleave with these, and also to miss the incoming Chingfords crossing their path. Must have been a challenge.
 

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Richard Hardy wrote about the post WWII intensive steam hauled suburban traffic in his biographical book Steam in the Blood which gives a flavour of both the haulage and the management of the motive power on these services.
 

Taunton

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Richard Hardy wrote about the post WWII intensive steam hauled suburban traffic in his biographical book Steam in the Blood which gives a flavour of both the haulage and the management of the motive power on these services.
If I recall correctly Hardy writes of actually having to assist on the footplate the crew on a poorly steaming peak hour Chingford service, which in about 1948, when he wrote about, was in the hands of a J69 0-6-0T. A service every 5 minutes, and poorly-steaming locos, are somewhat incompatible of course. The electrification of the Shenfield suburban services in 1949 will have released a good number of N7s to supplement the ones still in use elsewhere.
 

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I remember the line from a trip up to Chingford and back (must have been the late '50s). For me that line was the only steam hauled GE service that I went on. Everything else was 1500VDC EMUs in those days.
The services I saw were hauled by N7s and the coaching stock was full compartments although I can't remember wheter the were articulated of converntional. I'd never seen the quad/quin-arts so I assumed retrospectively that they were std MKI BR 57ft suburban coaches.
 

30909

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If I recall correctly Hardy writes of actually having to assist on the footplate the crew on a poorly steaming peak hour Chingford service, which in about 1948, when he wrote about, was in the hands of a J69 0-6-0T. A service every 5 minutes, and poorly-steaming locos, are somewhat incompatible of course. The electrification of the Shenfield suburban services in 1949 will have released a good number of N7s to supplement the ones still in use elsewhere.
He did indeed and a fascinating read it is as are his other experiences in locomotive handling and maintenance. I recommend this for those of the post steam era for an insight and flavour of the railway in the mid twentieth century.
 

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I spent my early trainspotting years at Cheshunt, so just outside the OP's target area but well within the range of N7s, which I remember very well with their shiny smoke box rings. Taking the train into Liverpool Street via the fast lines from Hackney Downs, we felt slightly superior to the Enfield Town services which had to stop at London Fields and Cambridge Heath. One thing I remember is the very strong smell of lavender soap from the Yardley factory which was somewhere along that section. And then into the strange and complicated world inbound from Bethnal Green, with the Shenfield electric services over on the far side, the Bishopsgate goods depot over our heads and a glimpse of the East London connection to Shoreditch - not that I recall seeing a train on it.
 

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... and a glimpse of the East London connection to Shoreditch - not that I recall seeing a train on it.
In the '70s I remember quite a few times seeing a Met Line train (F class I believe) waiting at the Shoreditch platform.
 

Bald Rick

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In the '70s I remember quite a few times seeing a Met Line train (F class I believe) waiting at the Shoreditch platform.

I used to see A Stock there regularly until 2006, from passing trains on the GE.

And conversely, see passing GE trains from the platform at Shoreditch (just).
 

30907

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In the '70s I remember quite a few times seeing a Met Line train (F class I believe) waiting at the Shoreditch platform.
Shoreditch was peak hours only for many years, which might explain why DerekC never saw one (I can't find a date for when this started). The F stock went by 1963 so you would have seen the antique-looking clerestory Q stock perhaps (mixed with other series, including the flared-sided Rs, as I remember them on the District back then)
 

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Shoreditch was peak hours only for many years, which might explain why DerekC never saw one (I can't find a date for when this started). The F stock went by 1963 so you would have seen the antique-looking clerestory Q stock perhaps (mixed with other series, including the flared-sided Rs, as I remember them on the District back then)

And of course , Sunday mornings for the street market at Petticoat Lane !
 

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The first time ever I travelled from Liverpool Street to Ilford, probably 1979, was in a Jazz 3-car AC emu, part of a full length formation with units with first class, likely for Southend. The Jazz units had a different, more open interior layout and different window arrangement. I assumed it was just normal for the AC stock to run mixed like this. Only more recently did I read it was decidedly unusual for them to run on the GE Main.

Few years later when I first came to London I lived near Wood Street, but apart from The City, whenever travelling into Central London, and particularly catching main line services there, it was far better to walk to Walthamstow Central and get the Victoria Line.

At that time the Jazz services were still run wholly by the 1960s 3-car AC units, 9-car formations in the peak, while the Shenfield service was run with 315s a few years old, which didn't do anything else. I never quite got how the Shenfield service was then so reduced that the Chingford/Enfield lines could be wholly changed over to "spare" units of this type, and subsequently they even ran out to Hertford etc.
 
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beardedbrit

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I believe that although N7s became the principal type on the Jazz trains from the 1920s-30s, their predecessors J69 0-6-0Ts also had a hand in the service pretty much to the end. There was a loco shed on the Chingford line at Wood Street, just beyond the station on the Down side, a subshed of Stratford with about 12 locos normally allocated there, which did the bulk of the Chingford work, and with carriage sidings adjacent.

You may find this article about the lines of interest :

Liverpool Street, and all that "jazz" (jaggers-heritage.com)
The jaggers-heritage article is part of a trove of railway reminiscences on a larger family history web site. Well worth a browse.
 

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The first time ever I travelled from Liverpool Street to Ilford, probably 1979, was in a Jazz 3-car AC emu, part of a full length formation with units with first class, likely for Southend. The Jazz units had a different, more open interior layout and different window arrangement. I assumed it was just normal for the AC stock to run mixed like this. Only more recently did I read it was decidedly unusual for them to run on the GE Main.

Few years later when I first came to London I lived near Wood Street, but apart from The City, whenever travelling into Central London, and particularly catching main line services there, it was far better to walk to Walthamstow Central and get the Victoria Line.

At that time the Jazz services were still run wholly by the 1960s 3-car AC units, 9-car formations in the peak, while the Shenfield service was run with 315s a few years old, which didn't do anything else. I never quite got how the Shenfield service was then so reduced that the Chingford/Enfield lines could be wholly changed over to "spare" units of this type, and subsequently they even ran out to Hertford etc.
In all my years I have never heard of the BR services post electrification called 'jazz trains'. The GE jazz trains were so named by the press because they had colour stripes to indicate the different classes of coaches and also the service that the train was running. The term officially went away in the '20s in early LNER days, but was unofficially used through the N7 hauled quint-arts days until the full electric service was introduced in 1960. The trains were standard MKI suburban EMUs with a low-back open 2+3 seating layout. This allowed large one-piece windows that went from one door frame to the next. There was a similar arrangement on parts of the LMR class 304s. The low back seating meant that short luggage shelves were mounted on the side walls, instead of the more conventional 'V' shaped transverse racks fitted over the seat backs. In my BR days memory, they were never referred to as 'jazz trains' though, and the 3-car class 305/1s didn't even have first class so there wasn't even a yellow stripe to suggest anything jazzy. The 4-car units which included first class were designated class 305/2.
When commuting on the GE, (1970-76), the non-corridor trains to Southend Victoria and to Colchester/Clacton were usually comprising two or three four-car units, (305/307/308) but occasionally - particularly in the peaks, a three-car set was diagrammed resulting in a 7 or 11-car set.
 

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So it was just a last gasp of pre-NSE promotion rather than what they were generally referred to as.

Part funded by the GLC before Margaret T binned them ! , there were aspirations to boost some of the admittedly lackluster BR services , but the BRB was put under pressure from HMG not to develop it too much as it would therefore result in a reduced PSR grant ! (there were ideas for service enhancements on the Dartford service groups.)

Probably the low ebb of London suburban services before NSE came in.

The "Jazz" term was not lost in the interim - the very basic and orange plasticked buffet at Liverpool St was named so , as well as "The East End Bar" and a much more upmarket and excellent Bistro. The station was a miserable and dark place in those days and the tube access was pretty poor.
 

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Were the 127's ever used on the Chingford services, never seen any pictures so makes wonder. Have seen pictures of them on the Southbury loop.
 

AM9

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Part funded by the GLC before Margaret T binned them ! , there were aspirations to boost some of the admittedly lackluster BR services , but the BRB was put under pressure from HMG not to develop it too much as it would therefore result in a reduced PSR grant ! (there were ideas for service enhancements on the Dartford service groups.)

Probably the low ebb of London suburban services before NSE came in.

The "Jazz" term was not lost in the interim - the very basic and orange plasticked buffet at Liverpool St was named so , as well as "The East End Bar" and a much more upmarket and excellent Bistro. The station was a miserable and dark place in those days and the tube access was pretty poor.
Yes, I remember LST well from the'60s through to the '80s, a depressing hole, even if it was interesting from enthusiasts' pov. The Central Line entrance looked like an entrance to a cellar. The perfect location for a scene in a drama like Cathy Come Home. Waterloo was too posh even then!
 

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Yes, I remember LST well from the'60s through to the '80s, a depressing hole, even if it was interesting from enthusiasts' pov. The Central Line entrance looked like an entrance to a cellar. The perfect location for a scene in a drama like Cathy Come Home. Waterloo was too posh even then!

Especially on a Winter Sunday evening - when nothing much open in the area - there is a huge improvement these days.

Whilst tediously waiting for the hourly diesel Norwich service , observation of the passenger loadings on those NE London electrics indicated very low patronage. A different London.

One consolation of waiting on the W bound Central line platform was to observe the signalbox in action - (the door was generally open and the operator was often happy to talk to relive the boredom of just passing on train descriptions manually)
 
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