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OverviewEdit

Originally called the Commercial Railway, the London and Blackwall Railway (L&BR) in east London, England ran from Minories to Blackwall via Stepney, with a branch line to the Isle of Dogs, connecting central London to many of London's docks. It was located a major urban location in the hart of London's East East End.

It was operational from 1840 until 1926 (for passengers) and 1968 (for goods), closing after the decline of inner London's docks. Much of its infrastructure was reused as part of the Docklands Light Railway. The L&BR was leased by the Great Eastern Railway in 1866, but remained independent until absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway at the 1923 Grouping.

It's post WW2 decline and eventual replacement with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) can be used as a good analogy to the rise and fall of the East End of London.

Poplar railway stationEdit

Poplar railway station 1974037 907ff1fc

Site of Poplar Station. View eastward, towards site of Blackwall terminus (now Brunswick Wharf Power Station); ex-Great Eastern, Fenchurch St. - Stepney - Millwall Junction - Blackwall line. This was the original rope-worked line of 1840 (steam locomotives from 1846): it lost its passenger service (Millwall Jct. - Blackwall) from 3/5/26 (goods at Blackwall end from 14/11/27, although freight continued to East India Dock until about 1976); the line curving right served the Midland Railway Dock. The Docklands Light Railway (Beckton and Woolwich branches) has been built since 1987 over part of this formation and this is now the site of Blackwall DLR station. Attribution: Ben Brooksbank.

Poplar was a railway station in Poplar, London, that was opened in 1840 by the Commercial Railway (later the London and Blackwall Railway (LBR)) and was situated between Millwall Junction and Blackwall, 3 miles 16 chains (5.1 km) down-line from Fenchurch Street. It was closed in 1926, at which time it was owned by the London and North Eastern Railway.

The station was opened on 6 July 1840 on the west side of Brunswick Street, to the north of the Blackwall Yard shipyard, but was re-sited five years later across the road to the east side. It remained open until 4 May 1926, when all passenger services on the line east of Stepney ceased. The station buildings were demolished in the 1930s but the platforms remained as the railway fell into disuse in the 1960s before finally being demolished in the early 1980s to make way for the Docklands Light Railway.

During its life there was another station named Poplar on the North London Railway (NLR), which was situated by the East India Dock Road, to the north-west of the LBR station. The NLR station was referred to as Poplar (East India Road) to avoid confusion with the LBR station. Poplar (East India Road) closed in 1944 and its site is now occupied by All Saints DLR station.

No trace of the LBR's Poplar station remains today and the site is occupied by Aspen Way and is adjacent to Blackwall DLR station. The only remaining building of Poplar station's era is a former accumulator tower for the adjacent Poplar Dock. The station's current namesake, Poplar DLR station, lies to the west of the original LBR station site.

Millwall Junction railway stationEdit

Millwall Junction was a railway station in Poplar, east London, on the London and Blackwall Railway (LBR). Despite the name, it was not actually in Millwall, but rather it marked where the LBR southern branch to Millwall and North Greenwich, which served the West India Docks, branched off the main line. It was between West India Docks station and Poplar station, 2 miles 64 chains (4.5 km) down-line from Fenchurch Street, with South Dock the next stop on the Millwall branch.

Millwall Junction was opened on 12 December 1871, the same time as the LBR's southern branch down to Millwall Docks opened, with three platforms – two on the line to Blackwall and a single one serving the branch line towards North Greenwich. The station was rebuilt in 1888 and remained open until 3 May 1926 when all passenger services on the LBR east of Stepney station (now Limehouse) were withdrawn, and Millwall Junction was closed. Goods services ran through until the 1960s. The station buildings were demolished in 1965 and the platforms removed in 1985 to make way for the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). The DLR's junction east of Poplar now occupies the station site.

Millwall Docks railway stationEdit

Millwall Docks was a railway station located in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in east London. It was between South Dock and North Greenwich stations on the Millwall Extension Railway (MER) branch of the London and Blackwall Railway (LBR). It opened in December 1871 and was situated on the corner of Glengall Road (now Pepper Street) and East Ferry Road, serving the Millwall Docks (which were later merged into a single dock, rendering the name slightly anachronistic).

Passenger usage of the station was always light, and it closed to services in May 1926, along with the rest of the MER extension, though local workers had a year's more servace and goods services continued until the demise of the docks in the 1970s. The Docklands area was heavily redeveloped in the 1980s, and most of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) between Island Gardens and South Quay reused the old MER route through the docks. The present-day Crossharbour DLR station is located on the site of Millwall Docks station.

South Dock railway stationEdit

South Dock was a railway station on the Isle of Dogs in east London. It was between Millwall Junction and Millwall Docks on the Millwall Extension Railway (MER) branch of the London and Blackwall Railway (LBR) which opened to goods traffic on 18 December 1871 and to passenger services on 29 July 1872. The station was on the northern side of the South Dock of the West India Docks, near the eastern end. It had an island platform as it was the only passing loop on the branch. The station buildings were of timber with a slate roof. Platform was brick faced. Station was staffed entirely by dock employees, company issued its own tickets. 

The station was renamed South West India Dock in July 1881 but reverted to its original name of South Dock in May 1895. It stood in a relatively isolated location in the docks area, some distance from the nearest road. Passenger usage of the station was always light and services to it, and the rest of the MER extension, ceased in May 1926, though goods services continued until the demise of the docks in the 1970s. Extensive rebuilding in the 1980s Docklands redevelopment has left no trace of the station or the line. Today the site is occupied by a BT telecommunications building.

North Greenwich was a railway stationEdit

North Greenwich was a railway station named after the North Greenwich area of the Isle of Dogs in London. It was located on the north side of the River Thames near Island Gardens in the east of the city, and is not to be confused with the present-day North Greenwich station on the London Underground's Jubilee line, which is located on the south side of the river, one mile downstream on the Greenwich Peninsula.

North Greenwich was the terminus of the Millwall Extension Railway (MER) branch of the London and Blackwall Railway, 4 miles 39 chains (7.2 km) down-line from the western terminus at Fenchurch Street, although services did not operate through to Fenchurch Street but instead connected to the Fenchurch Street-Blackwall service at Millwall Junction. Millwall Docks was the preceding station along the line.

Opened in July 1872 (slightly later than the other stations on the branch) with the official name North Greenwich & Cubitt Town, it connected with the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, linking it to the Greenwich area south of the river.

Traffic at the station was always light and, as with the rest of the MER, it closed to passengers in May 1926, though goods transport continued until the demise of the docks in the 1970s. The area was heavily redeveloped following the Docklands developments of the 1980s, and most of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) between Island Gardens and South Quay utilises the old MER route. The original Island Gardens DLR station (at that time the DLR's southern terminus) was built on the north end of the original North Greenwich station site when the DLR opened in 1987. When the DLR was extended to Lewisham in the 1990s, a new Island Gardens DLR station was built 100 metres away and the former site was demolished and replaced by a block of flats.

Blackwall railway stationEdit

Secrets of the DLR05:00

Secrets of the DLR

Continuing our 'Secrets' series, we've done all the tube lines now but there's still the Docklands Light Railway! So Geoff Marshall gives us a whistle-stop tour of the curiosities to be found on London's DLR.

Blackwall was a railway station in Blackwall, London, that served as the eastern terminus of the Commercial Railway (later the London and Blackwall Railway). It was located on the south side of the East India Docks, near the shore of the River Thames, 3 miles 43 chains (5.7 km) down-line from the western terminus at Fenchurch Street.

The station was designed by architect William Tite in an ornate Italinaite style. It opened on 6 July 1840 with services connecting with a ferry service to Gravesend, Kent. In March 1926 the London and North Eastern Railway and Port of London Authority announced passenger services would be withdrawn on 30 June 1926. However, with the start of the national general strike services were suspended early on 3 May 1926, and never resumed.

John Betjeman (1906-1984) in his book First and Last Loves, wrote of a journey on the L&BR "Those frequent and quite empty trains of the Blackwall Railway ran from a special platform at Fenchurch Street. I remember them. Like stagecoaches they rumbled past East End chimney pots, wharves and shipping stopping at empty black stations till they came to a final halt at Blackwall station...When one emerged there, there was nothing to see beyond it but a cobbled quay and a vast stretch of wind whipped water..."

The station was demolished in 1946 to make way for Blackwall power station, although the branch continued to carry goods traffic until the demise of the docks in the late 1960s.

Today no trace of the two-storey station remains, and the docks have been filled in (although a small basin remains). Its approximate location is now occupied by houses on Jamestown Way. The station site is some distance from the present-day Blackwall DLR station; the closest existing station is actually East India DLR station, which is slightly to the north-west of the original Blackwall station site.

Also seeEdit

  1. UK railways- 1945 to 1985
  2. London's political 'Loony Left'
  3. "London's Burning" (the political epithet, not the UK TV show)
  4. The 1950 United Kingdom general election

SourcesEdit

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millwall_Docks_railway_station
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millwall_Junction_railway_station
  3. http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/m/millwall_docks/
  4. http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/p/poplar/index.shtml
  5. Brennand, Dave (2013). London's East End Railways. Nottingham, UK: Book Law Publications. p. 28. ISBN 978 1 907094 25 5.
  6. http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/s/south_dock/
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docklands_Light_Railway
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Greenwich_railway_station
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_End_of_London
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poplar_railway_station
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_End_of_London
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_and_Blackwall_Railway
  13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millwall_Dock
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwall_railway_station

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