The North London Line as it exists today is the amalgamation of several previously separate railways.
Its origins though lie with the North London Railway which curiously had more of its track in East London.





Opened 26.9.1850 Victoria Park - Bow Jn; 1.1.1852 Bow - Poplar.
Closed to passengers 23.4.1945 Victoria Park - Poplar Docks; 7.11.1949 Bow Jn - Gas Works Jn.
Closed to goods 3.10.1983 Victoria Park Jn - Poplar Docks

- Victoria Park (opened 1856)
- Old Ford
- Bow.

Motive Power Depots Bow NLR six-track shed (closed 1880); Devons Road NLR No 1 shed ten tracks (opened 1882 closed 1935), No 2 shed ten tracks reduced in 1946 to nine, closed to steam 1958 and became the first shed to only house diesel locos - totally closed in 1964.
Loco Works Bow NLR (opened 1853) covered an area of 31 acres on both side of the main line. Overhaul of steam locos carried on into the 1950s whilst work on carriages and wagons did not cease until the mid-1960s.

Incorporated in 1846 the nominally independent East & West India Docks & Birmingham Junction Railway was heavily backed by the LNWR. It opened between Islington and Bow Junction (on the L&BR) in 1850 and through to Poplar in 1852. In 1853 it changed its name to the North London Railway (NLR) and although managed by the LNWR from 1909 remained independent until the grouping. On weekdays in 1910 the LNWR provided four trains an hour throughout the day between Broad Street and Poplar with a frequent service on Sundays. By 1930 the LMS had reduced it to every half hour off-peak with 25mins allowed to cover the 6_ miles. The passenger service was withdrawn in 1945 and the line closed to all traffic in 1983. After closure the Docklands Light Railway bought the route for possible extension from Bow to Hackney.

Route - when open
From Victoria Park station (GR367846), in the 'V' of the ECR link to Stratford, the NLR line headed south on embankment soon bridging the Hertford Union Canal and passing under Old Ford Road to reach Old Ford station. Approaching Bow it passed under the GER main line to Ipswich and the L&BR's Bow extension to reach Bow station (GR373830) where there was a three-way junction. The main line continued south to Poplar whilst a spur to the west gave access to the L&BR line to Fenchurch Street and that to the east connected to the LT&SR line at Bromley station.

Route - today
Most of the trackbed has been sold off/redeveloped. The A102(M) now East Cross Route (A12) runs alongside the alignment from the site of Victoria station for a mile.

Victoria Park station demolished - site built over by A12
- Old Ford station demolished. Built over by housing.
-Bow station. The large impressive station building, built in distinctive North London style, was damaged during World War ll, it closed in 1944 and was subsequently demolished.

Bridges Victoria Park - Bow
viaduct over East Cross Route (A12) removed late 1990s;
bridge over Cadogan Close abutments only;
bridge over Hertford Union Canal;
bridge carrying Old Ford Road at Old Ford station demolished, replaced by footbridge over A12.;
bridge carrying Tredegar Road in place;
bridge carrying GER main line in place;
bridge carrying L&BR Bow extension in place.
Bridges Bow Jn - Gas Factory Jn
bridge carrying Cambell Road in place;
bridge carrying Whitechapel & Bow Railway in place;
bridge carrying GER line in place.
Bridges Bow Jn - Bromley Jn
long footbridge over Bow Works demolished
bridge over Devons Road in place.

Loco sheds - Bow (GR374828) in the fork of the Bromley and Poplar lines at Bow Junction, after closure it was incorporated into the loco works; Devons Road (GR378820) on east side of Poplar line north of South Bromley station, backing onto Limehouse Cut, demolished 1983 - site now an industrial estate.
Loco Works Bow NLR (GR374828) in the fork of the Bromley and Poplar lines at Bow Junction, demolished by 1970 - site now occupied by housing.





(1850 - 1945)

The line running from top left to top right is that of the North London Line of today.

Victoria Park station is gone, as is the southern route down to Old Ford station and Bow.

The second road from the right of Victoria Park station is Wallis Road. Hackney Wick station (opened in 1980) is located to the right of this road.



Easterly view of a fragment of the original line, on the north side of the Hertford Union canal.

(photo: Jul 2018)



North-westerly view of the above.

(photo: Jul 2018)



1) Old Ford Station now obliterated.

2) Bow Road station.

3) Bow station, now replaced by Bow Church DLR station on the south side of Bow Road.




Old Ford Road has been reduced to this pedestrian/cycle bridge over the A12.

(June 2006)




View from the above bridge of a small section of old track bed still in existence just north of the Old Ford station site.

(June 2006)




Southern view from the bridge of the area once taken by the station building and platforms of Old Ford station.

(June 2006)




Further south is this hump on Tredegar Road. This is looking north at a new housing development on the old track bed.

(June 2006)




Southern view of the hump on Tredegar Road. The track bed south of this point has been built over all the way to the point where the DLR takes over the line.

(June 2006)


(1850 - 1944)


1) Coborn Road GER station between Liverpool St and Stratford.

2) Bow (North London Railway) station.

3) Bow Road GER station

4) The District line's still existent Bow Road station.




This is affixed to the wall seen in the photo below , even if they have got the opening date wrong.

(June 2006)




Sad remnant of the splendour of the station building. This is located at the rear of the forecourt of a car firm, which covers the area where the station building was.

(June 2006)




Southward view from Avenue Road that at sometime since the map above was printed has had the unlikely renaming of Kitcat Terrace (sic).

Some lower level parts of the station building still exist. The roof of the new Bow Church station on the Docklands Light Railway can be seen at the top right.

(June 2006)




Southward view toward the DLR's Bow Church station, built on the south side of Bow Road. North from here, the DLR veers off from its North London Railway route and joins the GER route to Stratford.

(June 2006)



Southward view of the old station site but this time from the eastern side. There is no evidence of the station on this side but the bridge carrying Bow Road over the line is still easily visible. The arrow indicates the roof of the new DLR station.

The GER station here had two side platforms and a large central island platform. For a fuller explanation of the station, see Disused Stations.

(photo: Feb 2010)



Reference: London Railways by Edwin Course. B T Batsford Ltd, London, 1962.



North London Railway: Broad Street - Dalston Junction