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Contents of chapter

Tottenham and Forest Gate Railway
Whitechapel and Bow Railway
Adsorption by the Midland Railway
Locomotives used

The Tottenham and Forest Gate Railway

The Act for this line was passed on 9 July 1894. It was a joint project between the Midland Railway and the LTSR, the Midland contributing by far the bulk of the capital. The line left the Midland and Great Eastern joint line at South Tottenham and ran via Walthamstow and Leyton to Barking. It joined the Forest Gate - Barking line at Woodgrange Park.  It opened on 9 July 1894, together with a north to west loop from Barking to East Ham and enabled through services, both Midland and those of the LTSR, to run between St. Pancras and Southend and Midland goods trains to reach Tilbury Docks.

Whitechapel and Bow Railway

The LTSR was hampered by the fact that it did not have its own terminus in London, rather it shared Fenchurch Street station with the Great Eastern Railway where it was allowed to use one platform only. One of the objectives of this line was to relieve the LTSR of some of the local traffic into and out of Fenchurch Street. The line was promoted jointly by the Metropolitan District railway and the LTSR.

The Act for this line was passed in August 1897 and although it was only some 2 miles in length, the construction was complicated because of the need to build most of it underneath the Mile End Road by the ‘cut and cover’ method. The public opening came on 2 June 1902. The line ran from the Metropolitan District Railway’s then terminus at Whitechapel to a junction at Campbell Road, between Gas Factory Junction and Bromley. The line was jointly owned by the Met. District and the LTSR. The line was electrified in 1905 and the electrification reached Barking in 1908.

The trains were all worked by the Metropolitan District railway.

Absorbtion by the Midland Railway

The LTSR was a small railway and although it was run very efficiently and made good profits, it was ripe for take over by a larger concern. Electrification and other improvements were necessary to cope with the rush-hour Southend traffic and, since 1892, the LTSR was in competition with the Great Eastern for traffic to and from Southend. The LTSR lacked resources to expand and re-equip. In particular it had insufficient funds to expand at Fenchurch Street or develop an alternative passenger terminus in London. It would have seemed natural that the line would be absorbed by the Great Eastern, but a combination of management inaction on the part of the GER and the latter’s inability to match the take-over offer made by the Midland (the GER was NOT a wealthy railway !), lead to the Midland absorbing the LTSR in 1912.

It is worth noting that the LTSR’s policy had been to expand via co-operation with others. The Whitechapel and Bow project, although a joint concern with the Met. District ran Met. District trains only. The Tottenham and Forest Gate was to all intents and purposes a Midland line as the Midland contributed 5 times the capital that the LTSR did and the line was built and operated to Midland standards. There were obviously limits with the LTSR as to how far co-operation with others could go.

The Midland was also aware that from 1910 massive development of Tilbury Docks was planned by the Port of London Authority and no doubt saw the take-over as an opportunity to tap the traffic from these docks.

Little change was made by the Midland between 1912 and 1923, when the Midland became part of the LMS. The Midland re-painted the LTSR locomotives in Midland livery and removed the names, but little else changed. Electrification was proposed by both the Midland and the LMS, but due to the effects of two world wars and the 1930’s trade depression, this did not come about until 1962. The ex- Great Eastern lines from Liverpool Street were, in fact, electrified before those of the LTSR.

It has always seemed that the LTSR was very much a ‘poor relation’ and that post World War I, it never got the investment that other lines received.


Until 1880, the LTSR had no locomotives of its own, the trains being worked by Great Eastern engines and stock.  As befitted a railway running mainly short distance, high frequency passenger traffic, all but two locomotives owned by the company were tank engines.  Most classes were variants of the 4-4-2 wheel arrangement with driving wheel diameters of either 6’ 1" or 6’ 6".  As the level of goods traffic increased, it was felt necessary to provide locomotives specifically for this. Locomotive with driving wheels of 6’ plus are not usually very good at hauling heavy goods trains, especially with only 4 wheels coupled.