Notes: Beckton Gasworks commenced production on 25th November
1870. A single track branch railway to the North Woolwich line
was authorised by the Gas Light & Coke Company Act of 1871.
The 2 mile branch left the North Woolwich line east of Custom
House Station running to a terminus just outside the gasworks.
From there the line continued into the works joining a vast
internal railway network on the 269 acre site in 1871 with a
total of 41 miles of standard gauge track, 32 miles at ground
level and 9 miles on a steel viaduct.
Freight traffic into the gasworks started on 14th October 1873
and from 17th March 1873 a non-timetabled workmen's service
was provided to a station at Beckton close to the entrance to
the works on the south side of Winsor Terrace which had been
built for gas works employees. From 18th March 1874 it became
a public passenger station with the line being leased to the
Great Eastern Railway. Although a public station it was intended
primarily for the workforce with trains timed to coincide with
shift changes. A separate private station named Beckon Gas Works
was sited within the works. This is listed in the Railway Clearing
House handbook for 1895 but it had gone by 1904. A goods service
operated to Beckton but this was withdrawn during March 1930.
The station had a single platform on the north side of the
line with a signal box, waiting shelter and booking office.
For much of the time the station was unstaffed. A number of
sidings were provided on the south side of the station for marshaling
During the early 20th century, passenger numbers began to suffer
with competition from trams. The opening of the Barking bypass
in 1927 led to the introduction of a direct bus service from
Stratford which brought a further reduction in ticket sales.
The nearby Gallions branch was damaged by German bombing during
the early afternoon of 7th September 1940 and Beckton suffered
at the same time but the line was repaired and the December
1940 timetable showed one train each way per day. This passenger service
was finally withdrawn from the station on 29th December 1940.
Freight traffic continued to run and new sidings were built
to accommodate coal trains as enemy bombing made it difficult
to deliver coal by sea. Although the gasworks remained in production
post war it was in decline by the mid 1960's. The last coal
train arrived at Beckton on 16th April 1969 and production ceased
on 16th June 1969 with the final train running into the gas
works on 1st June 1970. The line was officially closed in February
1971 and all the track was lifted within two years; the gas
works has now been demolished and the area redeveloped.
Today, most of the line to Beckton has been taken up and is now a public footpath, known as the 'Beckton Corridor'. A short stretch of the line east of Woolwich Manor Way has been reused as the final part of the Beckton branch of the Docklands Light Railway. Beckton DLR station is located several hundred yards west of Beckton railway station; "eastbound" trains from Gallions Reach loop back round over the old line in the reverse direction, entering the station from the east.
Tickets from Michael Stewart. Bradshaw from Nick Catford.
See also North
Woolwich & Gallions