LogoClive's UndergrounD Line Guides

"And we trundled and jogged - the train and I
Through cuttings that cut through - who knows?
Till we stopped at a single platform
And sat there in repose."

- Shoreditch
Alan Gibley

LogoEast London Line

A Subsurface Line

[Last modified: 2017-11-16]

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History
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Dates
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Features
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Services
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Topology
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Layout
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Depots
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Connections
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Rolling stock

History

The East London Line is the only LU line that was planned and built as a main-line railway, but its history goes much further back than that. It is also the only complete line (in the sense used in these pages) to be converted back to a main line.

The first tunnel under the Thames was proposed in 1798, but nothing came of it. However, four years later the Thames Archway Company was formed to build a tunnel from Rotherhithe to Limehouse in the docklands area of London, and construction started in 1805. After initial problems, Richard Trevithick was appointed as engineer, and by the start of 1808 the initial drift - 1.5 m (5') high and 0.9 m (3') wide - reached from the southern shaft all the way to the low tide mark on the northern shore, only 60 m (200') or so short of its target. However, on 1808-01-26, a breach in the tunnel roof flooded the workings, and the project was abandoned.

Ten years later, in 1818, Marc Brunel - father of the more famous Isambard Kingdom Brunel - patented the first version of the tunnelling shield. Five years later one of the Archway company's promoters learned of this, and backers were found for a new tunnel, about a kilometre west of the previous site, joining Rotherhithe to Wapping; construction started on 1825-03-02 with Marc in charge. The tunnel was intended to be used by road traffic, with 12m (40') wide spiral ramps coming down from the surface, but the first stage of the project was to dig the southern vertical access shaft and drive under the river, using a shield, to eventually meet the northern shaft (which was dug somewhat later).

Test bores in the riverbed seemed to show a good solid layer of clay a little below it, so Brunel decided to stay in the clay by placing the tunnel roof only 4.3 m (14') below the river bed. In fact, the clay was riddled with faults allowing water to leak into the tunnel, and several times breakthroughs of the Thames flooded the workings; the first such turned out to be at a point where dredging of the riverbed for gravel had brought it even closer to the tunnel.

Due to these and other problems, the project ran through a succession of engineers in charge, including Isambard Brunel at the age of 20. The company's capital was exhausted, and work had to stop completely several times - during one of these hiatuses, the tunnel gained the nickname of "the Great Bore". During the final stages of the work, a driftway was dug from the northern shaft to the almost-complete tunnel, and when they met, Isambard's 3-year-old son Isambard Kingdom Brunel III was handed through to become the first person ever to make the complete crossing under the Thames and, probably, through any tunnel under water. Meanwhile Marc Brunel was knighted in 1841 for his work on the tunnel.

The tunnel finally opened on 1843-03-25. Funding for the road access ramps was never found, so it was only accessible by walking down spiral stairways in the construction shafts. The final tunnel was 11.6m (38') wide and 6.9m (22'6") high, with a dividing wall - complete with ornamental arches - down the centre. Large enough for a good-sized road, and more than enough for a double-track railway, it was instead just carrying a trickle of pedestrians (who could easily hear ships' propellers in the river above, because of the closeness of the river bed); market stalls were also set up.

The tunnel survived as a curiosity for over 20 years. Finally, in 1865, various people involved with the tunnel formed the East London Railway, which purchased it to form part of an underground rail link between the GER at Liverpool Street (where through trains via the ELR would reverse) and the SER and LBSCR, at New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate respectively; a third connection ran to the LBSCR at Old Kent Road. The first part of the link, from the southern lines through the tunnel to Wapping, opened in December 1869 (the tunnel had remained in use as a footpath until July) while the remainder was opened 7 years later. Between Wapping and Shadwell the line ran through a second tunnel, this time along the bottom of a dock (which has since been filled in).

At Spitalfields a branch turned off into extensive sidings underneath the corresponding GER coal depot (and with a vertical hoist linking them); there were plans to tunnel to meet the GER line at Cambridge Heath, but these never came to fruition and the tunnel dead-ended only 350m from the junction.

For many years trains ran to a range of destinations south of the river, such as Croydon, Addiscombe Road, and even Brighton, as well as to a separate terminus at New Cross (2). The ELR never owned or operated its own trains, always relying on others. In 1884 the line was leased to a consortium of the five (six from 1885) companies using it, and on 1925-01-01 it was transferred to the Southern Railway (which had absorbed three of the six lessors), who immediately leased it back to the consortium.

As part of the completion of the Circle Line, a link was built from the Circle at Aldgate to the ELR, and both the Metropolitan and the Metropolitan District Railways ran trains on to the line from their respective Hammersmith termini, initially seeing it as a way to expand southeastwards (for the first 5 days trains ran in service as far east as Liverpool Street or Mansion House, then empty to St. Mary's, and then in service again on the ELR). The latter company abandoned the services in 1905 and the former in 1906, leaving the line to the main-line companies, who saw it mostly as a goods rather than passenger route. In 1913 the Metropolitan Railway came back to the line, providing passenger services throughout. Initially trains ran from both southern termini to Shoreditch and to South Kensington via Edgware Road and High Street Kensington; the former service remained essentially unchanged until 2007, but the latter was diverted to Hammersmith (1) on 1914-02-09, reduced to peak hours only on 1936-05-04, and ceased in 1941.

In 1939 there was concern that bomb damage could flood the under-river tunnel, after which the water would rise through the shaft at Rotherhithe station and flood the surrounding low-level ground. Therefore a double floodgate was installed at the north end of the station.

Photograph
Photo [382kb] and info

The line eventually fell into LU ownership at nationalization. It remained a branch of the Metropolitan (becoming the "Metropolitan Line - East London Section" in March 1970) until the 1980s, when the separate identity was restored. The Underground companies, and later LU, never served Liverpool Street from the East London Line, as the through service had ended at electrification, but regular goods traffic came from there until 1962 and occasional passenger services were to run until 1966 when the link was severed.

The line was closed in 1995 to carry out various repair work and to construct Canada Water station. The most significant part of the work was to seal the Thames Tunnel against leaks by "shotcreting" it. A legal conflict with architectural interests wishing to preserve the tunnel's appearance (and disputing the need for the treatment anyway) extended the closure, which was originally planned to last only 6 months or so. Following an agreement to leave a short section at one end of the tunnel untreated, and more sympathetic treatment of the rest of the tunnel, the work went ahead and the route reopened in 1998. This extended closing was partly due to deterioration of other parts of the infrastructure, which in turn was partly because of the lack of regular maintenance during the extended closing and the inability to predict when such maintenance could restart - a vicious circle! Reopening of Shoreditch station was delayed several months because, at the last minute, the Railway Inspectorate required "Moorgate control" to be installed there.

Photograph
Photo [402kb] and info

The line closed as an Underground line in late 2007 and was integrated into the London Overground network as "route 4". It remains owned by London Underground, though the signalling is maintained and operated by NR.

At the north end, a new alignment starting north of Whitechapel bypasses Shoreditch and takes it up to the former North London Railway (NLR) trackbed from Broad Street to Dalston Junction, from where it continues to Highbury & Islington (there are three new stations and one reopened one on this part). At the other end, the line retained New Cross as one terminus, but was extended in two directions: via New Cross Gate to West Croydon (with a branch to Crystal Palace), and via the reinstated link from from Silwood Junction to Old Kent Road Junction and thence over existing lines to Clapham Junction (with an unpublicised branch to Battersea Park). Passive provision has been left on the latter for a new station, at Surrey Canal Road, and work is expected to start on it soon. There are also proposals to rebuild and reopen East Brixton station.

There is a suggestion that the Crystal Palace service could be extended via Balham to Clapham Junction.

Dates

key to symbols

1839-06-05 % New Cross Gate [London & Croydon Railway, later LBSCR]
1847-09-30 - New Cross Gate
1849-05-01 % New Cross Gate [LBSCR]
1850-09-26 [0] Highbury & Islington to [Dalston Western Junction] opened [NLR]
1850-10- % New Cross (1) [SER]
1858-09-01 + Canonbury
1865-11-01 [2] [Dalston Western Junction] to Broad Street opened [NLR]
X Hoxton
1867-09-02 + Haggerston
1866-08-13 % Old Kent Road [LBSCR]
1869-12-07 [1] Wapping to Surrey Quays opened [LBSCR]
+ Rotherhithe
0 Surrey Quays to New Cross (2) opened [LBSCR]
1870-12-01 = Canonbury
1871-03-13 0 Surrey Quays to Old Kent Road opened [LBSCR]
1872-11-04 % Bishopsgate [GER]
1874-02-02 0 Liverpool Street to Bishopsgate opened [GER]
1876-04-10 Liverpool Street to Bishopsgate started [LBSCR]
1 Bishopsgate to Whitechapel opened [LBSCR]
1 Whitechapel to Wapping opened [LBSCR]
1876-07-01 0 Surrey Quays to New Cross Gate opened [LBSCR]
1876-10-31 Surrey Quays to New Cross (2) closed
1880-04-01 0 Surrey Quays to New Cross (1) opened [SER service to Liverpool Street]
1880-10-01 + Mildmay Park
1884-03-02 Liverpool Street to Shadwell (1) withdrawn [SER]
1884-03-03 0 St. Mary's to Shadwell (1) opened [SER]
1884-09-30 St. Mary's to New Cross (1) withdrawn [SER]
1884-10-01 ELR leased to a consortium of Metropolitan, District, LBSCR, LCDR, and SER
St. Mary's to Surrey Quays started [Metropolitan and District]
Surrey Quays to New Cross (1) started [Metropolitan]
0 Surrey Quays to New Cross (2) reopened [District]
1885- GER joined the consortium leasing the ELR
1885-12-31 Liverpool Street to Shoreditch withdrawn [LBSCR]
1886-01-01 Liverpool Street to New Cross Gate started [GER]
1886-08-31 Surrey Quays to New Cross (2) closed
1886-09-01 Surrey Quays to New Cross Gate started [District]
1905-07-31 St. Mary's to New Cross Gate withdrawn [District]
1905-08-01 Whitechapel to New Cross (1) started [SE&CR]
1906-12-02 St. Mary's to Shadwell (1) closed
Shadwell (1) to New Cross (1) withdrawn [Metropolitan]
1911-06-30 Surrey Quays to Old Kent Road closed
Services to south of New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate withdrawn
1913-03-30 All existing services withdrawn
Liverpool Street to Bishopsgate withdrawn
Bishopsgate to Shoreditch closed to passenger trains
1913-03-31 Shoreditch to Shadwell (1) started *
St. Mary's to New Cross (1) restored *
Surrey Quays to New Cross Gate started *
1916-05-21 - Bishopsgate
1916-12-31 - Old Kent Road
1934-09-30 - Mildmay Park
1938-04-30 - St. Mary's
1940-05-05 - Haggerston
1940-09-10 Shoreditch to New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate closed (bombs near Canada Water)
1940-10-03 - Shoreditch NLR
1940-10-30 [5] Shoreditch to New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate reopened
X Canada Water
1941-05-10 Shoreditch to New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate closed (bomb damage)
1941- [5] Shoreditch to New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate reopened
X Canada Water
1941-10-05 St. Mary's to Shadwell (1) closed
1948-01-01 Transferred to LU ownership
1966-04-17 Liverpool Street to Shoreditch closed to goods traffic
1986-06-27 [Dalston Western Junction] to Broad Street closed
1995-03-25 Shoreditch to New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate closed
1998-03-25 [4] Whitechapel to New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate reopened
X Canada Water
1998-09-27 0 Shoreditch to Whitechapel reopened
1999-08-19 + Canada Water
2002-11-22 - Wapping (firefighters' strike)
2002-11-30 + Wapping
2006-06-09 Shoreditch to Whitechapel closed
2007-12-22 Whitechapel to New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate closed
2008-01-22 Line officially changed from "closed" to "under construction"
2010-01-18 Line officially changed from "under construction" to "closed"
2010-02-19 Highbury & Islington to [Dalston Western Junction] closed (major engineering)
2010-04-27 [3] Dalston Junction to Whitechapel (re)opened
X Shoreditch (NLR)
5 Whitechapel to New Cross (1) and New Cross Gate reopened
2010-05-23 New Cross Gate to West Croydon and Crystal Palace started
2010-06-01 [1] Highbury & Islington to [Dalston Western Junction] reopened (London Overground route 1 services)
+ Canonbury
2010-12-17 Highbury & Islington to [Dalston Western Junction] closed (resignalling)
2011-01-04 [1] Highbury & Islington to [Dalston Western Junction] reopened (London Overground route 1 services)
2011-02-28 Highbury & Islington to [Dalston Western Junction] started
0 [Dalston Western Junction] to Dalston Junction reopened
2012-12-09 [0] Surrey Quays to Old Kent Road reopened
Old Kent Road to Clapham Junction started
Wandsworth Road to Battersea Park started
2016-02-12 Highbury & Islington to Shadwell closed (Crossrail works)
Surrey Quays to New Cross (1) closed (Crossrail works)
2016-02-22 [6] Highbury & Islington to Shadwell reopened
Surrey Quays to New Cross (1) reopened
2016-03-24 Highbury & Islington to Shadwell closed (Crossrail works)
2016-04-02 [6] Highbury & Islington to Shadwell reopened
2016-07-29 Highbury & Islington to Shadwell closed (Crossrail works) [1]
2016-08-08 [6] Highbury & Islington to Shadwell reopened

[1] Surrey Quays to New Cross (1) was closed for at least part of this period as well, but sources disagree on the exact dates.

Features

The original line is basically double track. The extensions, including the route into New Cross Gate, will be double track on their own alignment, though the sections from Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington, from New Cross Gate to West Croydon, and from Peckham Rye to Wandsworth Road mostly use two of the tracks of a four-track line; the first of these parallels "route 1" (Richmond and Clapham Junction to Stratford) of the London Overground.

At New Cross (1) the line originally connected to both sides of the main-line station, using a diveunder to reach the east (southbound) side; from 1884 all trains terminating there used that side. The connection to the west side was disused from 1940 and removed in 1968. At New Cross Gate the double track ran into a single platform which then connected to the down (southbound) main line beyond the station; again, this was used for all terminating trains. Northbound through trains would use a separate track that met the Old Kent Road to Surrey Quays link at about location 355779. This was closed in 1964 and removed sometime later that decade. A new flyover was built to carry northbound trains across the main line.

The line is in tunnel from just north of Surrey Quays to Whitechapel, though some stations are in open cuttings. North of Whitechapel it rises on to viaduct for the section to Dalston Junction; this viaduct used to carry four tracks. The rest of the route is mostly at surface level. The Shoreditch branch was also in cutting and the National Rail lines into Liverpool Street still run past the end of Shoreditch station, though there has not been any connection since the late 1960s. From about 1928 all trains terminating at Shoreditch used the northbound platform, and after the link to the main line was severed the track was removed from the southbound platform.

The line was initially electrified on the standard LU system, which it retained until closing in 2007, while the extended route (and the existing lines it connects to) is electrified throughout on the NR third-rail system. Some reports of the 1998 reopening stated that the electrical systems could be operated in "third rail" or "fourth rail" mode, but other sources disagree.

Although Shadwell (1) on this line and Shadwell (2) on the Docklands Light Railway are completely separate stations, interchange between the two on a single ticket is permitted.

Services

Before the 2007 closure

Trains ran alternately to the two southern termini. Shoreditch was open in the peaks and on Sunday mornings, with all trains terminating alternately in the two platforms at Whitechapel at other times.

Minimum running time was 11 minutes to either southern terminus from Whitechapel.

2010 onwards

The service consists of four separate components, one for each of the four southern termini. On Mondays to Saturdays each component operates at 4tph throughout the day, giving 16tph through the core section. The northern terminus for each component has varied:

Until Dec 2012 Dec 2012 to Dec 2015 Current
Clapham Junctionnot open Highbury & IslingtonDalston Junction
Crystal Palace Highbury & IslingtonHighbury & IslingtonHighbury & Islington
New Cross Dalston Junction Dalston Junction Dalston Junction
West Croydon Highbury & IslingtonDalston Junction Highbury & Islington

On Sundays the service tends to be more complicated and has varied more in the past. At present it is:

before 09:0009:00-12:0012:00-22:30after 22:30
Clapham JunctionHighbury & Islington2tph 4tph 4tph 2tph
Clapham JunctionDalston Junction 2tph [P] 2tph [P]
Crystal Palace Highbury & Islington2tph 2tph 4tph [2] 2tph
New Cross Dalston Junction none 4tph 4tph 2tph
West Croydon Dalston Junction 4tph 4tph [3]
West Croydon Highbury & Islington2tph [1] 2tph [2] 2tph [4]
[1] Southbound trains start at Dalston Junction before 08:00.
[2] During the transition around 12:00 a few services run to or from Dalston Junction.
[3] Northbound only.
[4] Southbound only.
[P] Planned from 2017-12-10.

There is a suggestion in a recent TfL document that an additional 2tph should be added between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace in the peaks to reduce congestion.

Battersea Park is served by one train each way Mondays to Fridays.

Minimum running time is 22 minutes from Dalston Junction to New Cross and New Cross Gate, 37 minutes to Crystal Palace, 45 to Clapham Junction, and 50 minutes to West Croydon. It takes 5 minutes from Highbury & Islington to Dalston Junction.

Night Tube services are expected to start in December 2017 between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate, though not stopping at Whitechapel because of Crossrail works until summer 2018. Extension to Highbury & Islington is also planned for 2018.

Topology

                <= North  South =>
         2         P                /------N
        /           \              /
   2-H-*-D---------*-*-J-------Z--C     /--L
              V-S-/   /         \  \   /
                     1         3-K  \-*----G-----*-----R-3
                                  \       /       \
                                   \     3         X
                                    \
                                     *---M
                                      \
                                       B

B = Battersea Park
C = Canal Junction
D = Dalston Junction
G = New Cross Gate
H = Highbury & Islington
J = Whitechapel Junction
K = Old Kent Road Junction
L = New Cross (2)
M = Clapham Junction
N = New Cross (1)
P = Spitalfields Goods Yard
R = West Croydon
S = Shoreditch
V = Liverpool Street
X = Crystal Palace
Z = Silwood Junction
1 = link to St. Mary's Junction
2 = North London Line
3 = selected other NR lines (not all connections are shown)

Layout

The East London Line previously used Ongar-based distances and these have been retained on this page, though the line itself now uses miles and chains.

Like National Rail lines and unlike LU, the two directions are called "up" (towards Highbury & Islington) and "down".

key to notation

Locations are listed down the page in the "down" direction.

315847 41=54 [=1TB2=7ud8] ![Z2] Highbury & Islington
319848 41=06 [-] [Canonbury West Junction]
323850 40=62 [=NS=ud=] ![Z2] Canonbury
328850 39=93 [-] (Mildmay Park)
332850 39=65 [-] [Dalston Western Junction, NR/LU boundary]
335847 39.05 [N=TT=S] ![Z2] Dalston Junction[2]
335838 38.40 [OP] ![Z2] Haggerston[3]
335830 37.58 [OP] ![Z1/2] Hoxton[3]
333826 37.16 [NS] (Shoreditch NLR)[3]
334823 36.71 [-] [end of NLR flyover from Broad Street, start of new flyover]
335822 36.41 [OP] ![Z1] Shoreditch High Street
345820 35.35 [-] [Spitalfields Junction]
343821 35.65 [-] [Vallance Road portal]
347818 35.23 [OP4] [Z2] Whitechapel
347816 34.99 [-] [Whitechapel Junction]
349809 34.25 [OP] ![Z2] Shadwell (1)
350801 33.47 [OP] ![Z2] Wapping
352798 32.95 [OP] %[Z2] Rotherhithe
354794 32.63 [OPX2] [Z2] Canada Water
355791 32.25 [-] [Surrey Quays portal]
356789 32.08 [OP] [Z2] Surrey Quays
357786 31.73 [-] [Silwood Junction, down line]
357785 31.63 [-] [Silwood Junction, up line]
359779 30.98 [-] [Canal Junction]
359778 30.82 [-] [depot entrance]
30.32 [-] [NR/LU boundary on up line]
30.30 [-] [New Cross Gate North Junction]
360772 30.22 [-] [New Cross Gate Up Junction]
361770 30.06 [=Nn=ss=S X] [Z2] New Cross Gate
29.93 [-] [NR/LU boundary on down line]
362766 29.63 [-] [New Cross Gate Down Junction]
364757 28=73 [=NnsS=] [Z2] Brockley
358741 27=06 [=NnsS=] [Z3] Honor Oak Park
353729 25=64 [=NnsS=] [Z3] Forest Hill
353715 24=39 [=NnsS=] [Z3] Sydenham
353714 24=21 [-] [Sydenham down Junction]
352713 24=01 [-] [Sydenham up Junction]
349704 23=13 [=NnsS=] [Z4] Penge West
346699 22=48 [=NnsS=] [Z4] Anerley
340682 20=71 [=N2=ns=SS=] [Z4] Norwood Junction
335672 19=55 [-] [Norwood Fork Junction]
331669 19=23 [-] [Gloucester Road Junction]
321661 17=86 [V= ^=ns=] [Z5] West Croydon

332817 37=14 [18 bays] [Z1] {Liverpool Street}
335822 36=46 [=NS= wewe] (Bishopsgate)
338822 36=16 [-] [East London Junction]
339821 36.03 [=1T =] [Z2] (Shoreditch)
341822 35.8 [-] [convergence with current route]
343821 35.6 [-] [new and old track levels meet]

342816 35.49 [OP] (St. Mary's)
344817 35!45 [-] [St. Mary's Junction]
347817 34.99 [-] [Whitechapel Junction]

359779 30.98 [-] [Canal Junction]
363777 30.51 [-] [Rolt Street Junction]
366771 29.78 [wew'A'='B'be'C'='D'V] [Z2] New Cross (1)

360774 30.37 [-] [approximate point of divergence from current route]
362771 30.1 [VV] (New Cross (2))

353714 24=21 [-] [Sydenham down Junction]
352713 24=01 [-] [Sydenham up Junction]
341705 22=38 [=#u=Vd=V X+2] [Z3/4] Crystal Palace

356789 32.08 [OP] [Z2] Surrey Quays
357786 31.73 [-] [Silwood Junction, down line]
357785 31.63 [-] [Silwood Junction, up line]
356782 31.07 [-] [northbound and southbound converge]
355779 30.90 [-] [Z2] {{Surrey Canal Road}}
352773 30.14 [-] [Old Kent Road Junction]
352773 30=0 [-] (Old Kent Road)
350768 29=51 [IP] [Z2] Queens Road Peckham
341762 28=34 [=ew= N=S X] [Z2] Peckham Rye
339762 28=12 [-] [Peckham Rye Junction]
331762 27=28 [-] [Grove Tunnel east portal]
329761 27=17 [-] [Grove Tunnel west portal]
328761 26=99 [=ew=NS= X] [Z2] Denmark Hill
327760 26=87 [-] [Denmark Hill Tunnel east portal]
326760 26=81 [-] [Denmark Hill Tunnel west portal]
315755 25=66 [=ew=NS= X] (East Brixton)
305755 24=48 [-] [Shepherds Lane Junction]
298757 23=82 [ew =NS= X] [Z2] Clapham High Street
294762 23=19 [ew =NS= X] [Z2] Wandsworth Road
293763 23=07 [-] [Factory Junction east]
292764 22=89 [-] [Factory Junction west]
287766 22=25 [-] [Longhedge Junction A]
286765 22=15 [-] [Longhedge Junction B]
285764 22=07 [-] [Longhedge Junction C]
273757 20=64 [-] [Ludgate GW Junction]
271756 20=29 [=bBw=ew=ew...] [Z2] Clapham Junction[4]
268754 19=93 [-] [end of sidings]

293763 23=07 [-] [Factory Junction east]
287770 22=08 [=NS=du=du] [Z2] Battersea Park

[2] The old Dalston Junction station was arranged in a V shape with four tracks on this branch and a further two on the branch towards Stratford.

[3] The line from Dalston Junction to Broad Street used to be four tracks, and these stations had outside platforms on the eastern pair only (equivalent to the ALT code "NS =NS=").

[4] Platforms 1 and 2 use the same side of the same island platform, with the platform 1 track ending half way along and the western half of the platform extending out to meet the platform 2 track (used by the East London Line).

Depots

Trains are maintained at New Cross Gate Depot. Until 2008 the line was served by New Cross Depot, a small depot on the west side of the New Cross branch, with major work done by running trains to Neasden Depot on the Metropolitan Line.

Connections

The line is connected to National Rail at New Cross Gate and at Old Kent Road. Technically it runs over National Rail north of Dalston Western Junction, but on dedicated tracks. There is a single-track connection from Highbury & Islington to the North London Line westwards at Westbourne Road Junction; this connection is not signalled and can only be used under engineering possession. Passive provision is being left in place to allow a single-track connection from Dalston Junction to Dalston East Junction (on the North London Line towards Stratford) at a later date.

Until early 2008 a double track link connected the line to the District Line just east of St. Mary's station (now closed). Eastbound District trains could run over the link to become southbound East London Line trains south of Whitechapel; similarly northbound ELL trains could become westbound District trains. This link was cut as part of the rebuilding work. Links to the main lines at Shoreditch, New Cross, and New Cross Gate were removed around 1970.

Rolling Stock

The line is operated by DC-only class 378 Electrostar EMUs (other class 378s operated by LO are dual-voltage).

For the last years of its life under LU the line was operated by 4-car A stock trains (using units with both cabs equipped[5]); these were part of the Metropolitan Line fleet and exchanged with that line on a regular basis.

The only trains that were permitted to carry passengers were 4-car A stock (where both cabs were equipped), 4-car C stock, and 3-car double-ended units of 1973 Tube Stock (passengers were not allowed to board or alight from 1973 Tube Stock at Canada Water due to the higher platforms). Longer trains, including 1959, 1967, and 1972 Tube Stock, could carry passengers non-stop from Aldgate East or Whitechapel to New Cross Gate, or could run directly into New Cross Depot (though limited to certain sidings there). 4-car trains of those stocks could operate empty anywhere on the line. The erstwhile link to the District Line, though double track, could not be used in both directions simultaneously due to insufficient clearance.

[5] Some A stock units had had most of the equipment removed from one cab. These units could only be used - except in the depot - when that end was coupled to another unit.


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