Station Name: SOUTH ACTON
|Date opened:||1st January 1880|
|Location:||On the south side of the footpath linking Rugby Road with Stanley Gardens|
|Company on opening:||North & South Western Junction Railway|
|Date closed to passengers:||1.1.1917 (Bay platform only)|
|Date closed completely:||Still open|
|Company on closing:||Still open|
|Present state:||Demolished no evidence of the halt remains. The site of the halt is now part of a linear car park running between the sites of Rugby Road Halt and Woodstock Road Halt.|
|OS Grid Ref:||TQ211797|
|Date of visit:||Not visited|
Notes: After the withdrawal of the passenger service the bay platform at South Acton was converted into a milk dock.
The junction at Acton faced away from London and this presented a problem for North London Railway trains running between their City terminus at Fenchurch Street and Kew. To overcome this, the NLR attached a brake coach to the rear of their Kew bound trains, this was detached at the junction allowing the N & SWJR's locomotive to back onto the line and take the coach on to Hammersmith. This procedure wasn't ideal and there were several derailments as the coach was sometimes released without the train coming to a stop; this was an illegal practice. On its return from Hammersmith, the coach would then be recoupled to the returning Fenchurch Street train. The journey time from Hammersmith into central London took an hour and did not prove popular with commuters.
With the opening of the Hammersmith & City Line in 1864 there was a quicker and more convenient route into London which brought a drop in passengers to a line that was already running at a loss. The 'through working' stopped in 1865 when an hourly shuttle was introduced between Acton (Acton Central from 1925) and Hammersmith. The H&C brought growth to Hammersmith and to cater for this the London & South Western railway opened a line from Kensington to Richmond in 1869 with a station at Grove Road adjacent to the H&C's Hammersmith Station. Both these stations were more conveniently sited than the N & SWJR's Hammersmith Station which was a mile from the town centre. In 1874 the Metropolitan District Railway extended their line into a new terminus at Hammersmith as well.
In 1875 further housing development began to take place around the N & SWJR's remote terminus with the building of quality housing in the new district of Bedford Park but with the L&SWR catering for this new traffic from their Turnham Green station there was little improvement to passenger numbers on the branch where the shuttle service was still the least convenient route into London.
In 1880, a new station was opened at South Acton, close to the junction with the Hammersmith branch. This was provided with a bay platform for branch trains and a new line was laid from the junction into South Acton to allow branch trains to use the station without running onto the main line; this allowed the service to be increased to half hourly; there was however no increase in passenger numbers. The terminus was renamed Hammersmith & Chiswick on 1st July 1880 in a further attempt to improve the lines fortunes but to no avail.
By the turn of the century the lines future looked bleak. In a final attempt to attract passengers steam railmotors were introduced on the 4th January 1909 and on the 8th April 1909 three new timber halts were opened at Bath Road, Woodstock Road and Rugby Road to attract the residents of Bedford Park but there was little improvement and the line continued to lose money. In March 1913 the steam railmotors were replaced by more economical petro-electic railmotors but they came too late to save the line. In 1912 the Metropolitan District Railway opened a new station at Stamford Brook, close to the Hammersmith & City terminus and any remaining passengers quickly deserted the branch. The passenger service was withdrawn on 1st January 1917 as a war time economy measure and it came as no surprise when it wasn't reinstated after the war.
The branch remained open for goods with a daily freight train which continued to operate into the 1960's. The Acton Coal Depot and an asphalt plant close to the junction also continued to be served. There were occasional passenger excursions like an RCTS railtour on 10th November 1956. The Acton coal depot closed on 4th January 1965 and freight service to Hammersmith & Chiswick was withdrawn on 3rd May 1965. The track was lifted shortly afterwards.
|Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 09:59:33 BST||
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