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The Train Comes & Goes


 Video by the Londonist

The Acton to Hammersmith & Chiswick branch of the North & Southwestern Junction (NSWJ)

From the 1850s to the First World War, Bedford Park was the centre of a railway boom with various companies competing to offer the quickest route into the City to local residents. The London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) had already connected Ealing to the City with lines that crossed Acton Green (later to become the District Line, but initially built without a stop at Stamford Brook). One of the eventual losers in this battle was our own ‘lost’ railway through Bedford Park - the Acton to Hammersmith & Chiswick branch of the North & Southwestern Junction (NSWJ).



Started in 1857, the line was designed to pick up passengers at a now dissappeared 'Hammersmith & Chiswick Station' at the Stamford Brook end of Chiswick High Road (where the modern flats now stand next to Chiswick Auctions).  The line ran north from there and crossed Bath Road where there was a level crossing with a footbridge (next to where the Seventh Day Adventist Church now stands). This footbridge was painted by Camille Pissarro during his stay in the area and was there until about 1930. The level crossing gates were in use, stopping traffic in the Bath Road, until 1965.  The line continued north on the land now covered by allotments behind Abinger Road and Emlyn Road. 

The line then curved left behind what are now Hatfield and Greenend Roads. The original line of the railway marked on the line on which these houses were later built.  The pumping station at Warple Way now sits on the railway site. It curved further round to link up to the main part of the line, the NSWJ’s Kew to Fenchurch Street line (now the London Overground line to Richmond) at the Acton Gatehouse Junction.   This rather awkwardly left the carriages facing the wrong way for journeys onto the City and the passengers had to change.


WoodstockhaltmapAfter Stamford Brook Station was opened in 1912 on what became the District Line, passengers drifted away from the Acton to Hammersmigh branch line, as the District offered a simpler journey into the City.  In response, the NSWJ opened three extra 'halts' to try and pick up more passengers on the line.  These were at Bath Road, Woodstock  Road and Rugby Road.  However the branch line was never able to compete against the quicker and more convenient route into London, which brought a drop in passengers to a line that was already running at a loss.

The passenger service was withdrawn in 1917.  During World War II, the line carried a mobile anti-aircraft gun, up and down behind the houses on Abinger, and the daily freight train continued to operate into the 1960s.  All services were withdrawn on 3 May 1965 and the track was lifted shortly afterwards. The only memory of it is in Camille Pissaro's paintings and some rare photos shown here.