Station Name: DUDDING HILL

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 3.8.1875
Location: East of Dudden Hill Lane, opposite the end of Aberdeen Road
Company on opening: Midland Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.10.1902
Date closed completely: 6.7.1964
Company on closing: Midland Railway
Present state: Demolished, no trace of the station remains.. A new housing development (part of Conmorow Drive) now occupies the site of the station building and goods yard.
County: London
OS Grid Ref: TQ219855
Date of visit: June 1968, July 1975, February 1982 & 8.8.2010

Notes: The Dudding Hill loop line was initially opened for freight traffic only and a small goods yard opined at Dudding Hill on 1st January 1872.

Dudding Hill station opened on the 3rd August 1875 and consisted of two side platforms with a substantial brick single story building on the down side at the end of a short approach road and a simple wooden shelter on the up side. There was also access to the up platform from a flight of steps from Dudden Hill Lane.

According to the Railway Clearing House the station was called Willesden & Dudden Hill when it opened being renamed Dudding Hill in late 1875 but the company timetables show the station as Dudding Hill (for Church End Willesden) from 1st February 1876 until 1st May 1878. It then reverted to plain Dudding Hill, although the bracketed suffix ‘for Willesden and Neasden’ was added from 1st June 1880.

With the withdrawal of the passenger service in 1888 the station remained open for goods traffic. Dudding Hill station reopened with the line on 1st March 1893 and there was a gradual improvement in ticket sales towards the turn of the century but this wasn't sufficient to keep the station open. When Dudding Hill closed in 1902 it had taken just £1,996 in fares during its entire
existence. This was, in part, due to its rural surroundings. Once the station had closed the area began to develop and the Metropolitan Railway opened a station nearby at Dollis Hill in 1909.

After closure to passengers the station remained open for goods traffic and in 1920 part of the station building was converted into a house for railway staff. The goods yard continued to handle a fair amount of local goods and coal into the 1950s finally closing on 6th July 1964. A signal box had served the station since its earliest days, but closed on 10th May 1887 when it was replaced by a ground frame. This was deemed sufficient for a number of years, but a new box was subsequently constructed and brought into use on 23rd March 1923.

The main building survived and part of it was used as a goods office until the yard closed. It was latterly used as a workshop but remained in a derelict state for many years. The platforms were demolished in the early 1970s and the station building and was eventually demolished in 1989.

The Midland and South Western Junction Railway was authorised on 14 July 1864 and although it was an independent company it was worked by the Midland Railway from the outset with running powers also being given to the London & South Western Railway to Brent. (Confusingly, the similar name Midland and South Western Junction Railway was later used for a completely different railway in Gloucestershire, which was eventually taken over by the Great Western Railway.)

The line which is often referred to as the Dudding Hill loop line, ran through open countryside and was opened to goods traffic on 1 October 1868 from a north facing junction at Brent, south of Hendon to Acton Wells where it joined the North & South Western Junction Railway. This meant through running into St Pancras was initially not possible but as the line was intended as a goods and mineral link between the Midlands and the south of England this was not thought to be a disadvantage. Within a short while however, it was felt that a south-facing connection would be useful, so in 1871 powers were obtained to build the south facing Cricklewood Curve to a junction with the Midland north of Childs Hill station. The line was absorbed by the Midland Railway on 30 July 1874.

With the opening of the Cricklewood curve it was now possible to run a passenger service from central London and stations were provided at Dudding Hill and Harrow Road opening on 3rd August 1875 with a circuitous service between Moorgate Street and Richmond. This service didn't prove popular and on 1st February 1876 it was replaced by a shuttle service between Childs Hill & Cricklewood (now Cricklewood) and Harrow Road.

Ticket sales remained low with only 6,145 tickets issued at Dudding Hill in 1876 while at Harrow Road tickets sales were little better.

From 1st May 1878 a new through service was introduced from St Pancras to Earl’s Court on the Metropolitan District Railway; this immediately brought an increase in ticket sales. This new service formed the basis of the Midland Railway's Outer Circle, which ran from St Pancras to Earl's Court via Cricklewood, Acton and the District Line.

The popularity of the new service was, however, short lived as the fortunes of the passenger service once again went into decline. Through services were again withdrawn and the shuttle reinstated from 30th September 1880. There was a brief resurgence but then ticket sales plummeted to an all time low. In 1887 the total receipts for Dudding Hill stood at just £7. Although Harrow Road (now renamed Stonebridge Park) was doing better the line would clearly never make a profit and the passenger service was withdrawn completely from 1st July 1888 although he line remained open as an import freight route.

Five years later, the Midland Railway decided to have another attempt at running a passenger service and the two stations reopened on 1st March 1893. At first, the trains only ran between Child’s Hill and Stonebridge Park, but from 1st January 1894 they were extended southwards to Gunnersbury.

Although passenger numbers gradually began to improve towards the turn of the century the line was still considered to be uneconomic and the passenger service was withdrawn completely from 1st October 1902.

War-time traffic was particularly heavy. The Dudding Loop became an important freight route and southwest-to-northwest chords were later added to the West Coast Main Line at Harlesden and what is now called the Chiltern Main Line (originally the Great Central Railway) at Neasden.

At present the line has not been electrified and has a 30 mph speed limit with semaphore signalling. It is lightly used for freight with a dozen trains a day in each direction. The main traffic is aggregates (including to a cement depot at Neasden) and compacted household waste from depots at Brent Cross and Dagenham to the land-fill site at Calvert in Buckinghamshire. The line is still authorised for passenger services and very occasionally, it is used for chartered passenger trains, including Pullman heritage coaches.

Sources:London's Disused Stations Volume 7 The Midland Railway by J E Connor. Published 2009 by Connor & Butler. ISBN 978 0 947699 42 2

Ticket from Michael Stewart, timetable from Glynn Waite, route map drawn by Alan Young

For other Midland Railway London suburban stations click on the station name: Hendon Factory Platform, Welsh Harp, Finchley Road, Haverstock Hill,
Camden Road & Harlesden
for West Willesden & Stonebridge Park

Dudding Hill station looking west from Dudding Hill Lane c.1902. The steps that provided access to the up platform can be seen on the left.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Dudding Hill station looking west c.1937, although the station has been closed for over 30 years little has changed from the 1902 view above.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

Dudding Hill station forecourt viewed from the former approach off Lancaster Road in 1967. The red brick building was latterly used as a workshop.
Photo by J E Connor

Preserved BR Class 9F 2-10-0 92203 passes Dudding Hill station on 7th April 1968 en route from Crewe to Longmoor, following an overnight stay and Cricklewood depot.
Photo by J E Connor

Dudding Hill station building in February 1982. Although the platforms had been largely demolished by this date the building itself survived until 1989.
Photo by Nick Catford

Looking east towards the site of Dudding Hill station in August 2010, no trace
of the station now remains.
hoto by Nick Catford

Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Nick Catford]

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