Notes: Although the station didn't appear in the company timetable
until November 1880 an inspection report of 30th October showed
one train each way per day was already running. It referred to
the station as Gallions Reach. There has been some early confusion
over the name with the station also being referred to as Royal
Albert Dock Galleons, Royal Albert Dock Galleons Reach, Galleons
The Station was immediately adjacent to the Gallions Hotel with
the front door of the hotel opening onto the platform. The hotel
was built for the use of passengers leaving or joining their ship
in the nearby basin.
In order to facilitate alterations to the dock, the line was
resited a short distance to the north with a new Gallions Station
opening on 12.12.1886, 275 yards to the east.
After closure, part of the platform was retained as a raised
area in front of the hotel. The hotel remained in use as a public
house until 1972 and after laying derelict for many years the
Grade II listed building is now being refurbished as part of a
general redevelopment of the area.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GALLIONS
When the Royal Albert Dock was built, the dock company obtained
powers under the 1882 London & St. Katharine Dock Act 1882
to build a railway for both passengers and parcels from the North
Woolwich line to Gallions Reach, passing alongside the northern
side of the dock. Under the Act, the company had to provide trains
every weekday morning for the convenience of "artisans, mechanics
and daily labourers".
The length of the branch once open to passenger traffic was 1
mile, 61 chains, from a point 34 chains east of Custom House Station.
The first part of the line from Albert Dock Junction to Central
was opened on the 3rd August 1880. The line between Connaught
Road and Central was single but was doubled on 14th November 1881.
Initially the service between Custom House and Central was worked
entirely by the London & St. Katharine Docks Company with
half-hourly trains from 8.30 a.m. till 6 p.m. but this was later
increased to three per hour in 1881. To operate this service the
company bought three second hand locomotives and passenger stock.
No mention of a service east of Central Station is found in the
Great Eastern timetables until July 1881, when that company advertised
through trains hourly to and from Fenchurch Street. The local
Custom House - Gallions service comprised twenty-four down and
twenty-six up trains, all worked by the dock company, who hired
the bay platform at Custom House for the purpose. The line between
Central and Gallions was single until 1st April 1882 when a second
track was added.
The Gallions Hotel was part of Gallions Station with the front
door of the hotel opening on to a part of the platform. It was
built for the convenience of passengers leaving or joining their
ship. From the 12th December 1886, the old station at Gallions
was closed when the line had to be diverted to allow dock alterations.
A larger station with an island platform was opened 275 yards
further east with Great Eastern trains occupying the north side
(platform 1), and the dock company's trains, on the local service,
kept to the south side (platform 2). A few weeks later a new station
replaced the old one at Manor Way. The line continued beyond the
station at Gallions to a coal wharf and jetty at Gallions Reach.
On 31st March 1909 the London & St. Katharine Docks Company
was absorbed into the Port of London Authority.
During the First World War, from the beginning of 1918, a special
train service to Gallions was provided for munitions workers,
who were brought by ferry from Woolwich Arsenal on the opposite
side of the river.
The stations at Manor Way and Gallions were rebuilt between 1924
and 1926, the latter being reduced in size moved a little to the
east. Central Station was converted into a halt from the 1st November
From 1st July 1896 the Great Eastern Railway took over the local
Customs House - Gallions service running until 6th June 1932,
when the shuttle service was suspended. The Sunday service ceased
after 27th June 1915.
The prosperity of the line reached its climax at the turn of
the century; in October 1900, fifty four up and fifty-three down
trains were advertised on ordinary weekdays. Of these, thirteen
were through trains from Fenchurch Street to Gallions via Bromley,
two trains worked through from Liverpool Street, two from Fenchurch
Street via Stratford and two came from Stratford Market. The local
service of seventy trains in both directions made up the remainder,
bringing the total to 107 journeys. In general, trains called
at all three intermediate stations but there were some exceptions.
Passenger numbers dropped during WW1 and didn't improve post
war and the service was cut back with seventy six fewer journeys
in 1938 than in 1900. By October 1939, the total in both directions
had dropped to twenty eight daily trains.
On the 7th September 1940 the line was severely damaged during
a German air raid. The line was repaired for the storage of wagons
but the passenger service was never reinstated. The line was abandoned
under Section 29 of the Port of London Act 1950. It was used for
wagon storage at least until the mid 1960's. By the late 1960's
the track had been lifted except at Gallions where it was still
in situ until at least 1974. With the lifting of the track to
the east, Gallions was later reached via a connection from freight
lines to the south.
To see the other stations on the
Gallions branch line click on the station name: Connaught
Road, Central, Manor
Way (1st site), Manor
Way (2nd site)
& Gallions (2nd site)
See also North
Woolwich & Beckton