[Source: Nick Catford]
Date opened: 8.9.1856
Location: The station site has been cleared away and now lies under Hillingdon Road (A4020) at its junction with Vine Street
Company on opening: Great Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 10.9.1962
Date closed completely: 24.2.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (Western Region)
Present state: Demolished
County: Middlesex
OS Grid Ref: TQ056839
Date of visit: February 1968, March 1969, July 1974, March 1975 & 16.7.2005

Notes: The single track broad gauge branch from West Drayton to Uxbridge was authorised in 1853. Work on the line which was just over two miles in length, started in 1854 and following a Board of Trade inspection the first passengers were carried on 8 September 1856. Initially there were thirteen weekday departures from Uxbridge and fifteen arrivals, with fewer trains on Sundays. Passengers changed at West Drayton for onward trains. There was no specific goods service with goods wagons being joined to passenger trains when required.

The new line was an immediate success but in 1871 the track was re-laid as standard gauge with the line opening on 9th October 1871.

The terminus at Uxbridge faced onto a small forecourt on the south side of Vine Street and consisted of a single storey 'L' shaped building constructed of yellow stock bricks, with red bricks used for segmental arches and other detailing. There was a canopy above the entrance to the booking office to provide weather protection for passengers arriving by cab or cart. The parcels office was on the west side of the booking office with the first class waiting room and then the ladies waiting room on the east side of the booking office. Other rooms were in the south facing wing of the building and these comprised second class waiting room, gents' toilet, guards’ room, porters’ room, a store and a lamp room. The room layout is clearly shown on the maps below.

The station was served by two tracks running either side of a central island platform. This was flanked on either side by two shorter narrow platforms. These were not used by passengers other for access to the rooms in the south facing wing. The station was also provided with an overall 'A' shaped trainshed roof built of wood and glass and designed in the Brunel style by T.H. Bertram. The station didn't have a run round loop and trains had to be backed out to a crossover to the south of the station to allow locomotives to change ends.

A single road brick engine shed butted on to the south facing wing of the station with a turntable road alongside. There was a water tank alongside the shed road was sited on the east side of the station while the goods yard with a brick built goods shed was sited on the west side. The goods yard was on the west side of the station and this included a large brick goods shed with two sidings passing through. The shed was provided with a pair of internal loading docks with a 2 1/2 ton hand crane. There was also a 3-ton capacity crane in the yard.

From the 1870s there were some through trains to and from Paddington. Both passenger and freight traffic continued to increase and in 1881 it was necessary to double the line after which a new service was introduced between Uxbridge and Aldgate on the Metropolitan Line. A signal box was provided on the up side of the line on the approach to the station, it had fourteen levers, of which two were spare.

The engine shed was closed in 1897, although it remained standing for a few years, after demolition it was replaced by a pair loading bays. The turntable remained in use for a number of years after closure of the shed but it was eventually removed leaving a siding.  With good facilities now on both side of the station the yard crane was, at some time, moved to the east side of the line and upgraded to 6-ton capacity.

The branch had one intermediate station at Cowley which was added in 1904.The early 20th Century the station itself was threatened with closure to passengers following a proposal to extend the line northwards to join the GWR at Denham. This would have rendered 'Vine Street' redundant with a new station being provided to the west of the town. At the same time the Metropolitan Railway was also extending into Uxbridge with their station at Belmont Road opening in 1904. Although the line running south from Denham was built and opened in 1907; it terminated at a new station called Uxbridge High Street and did not join up with the West Drayton line. Uxbridge now had three stations so the terminus of the West Drayton line was renamed Uxbridge Vine Street on 1 May 1907. The First World War brought a reduction in passenger numbers but these picked up again after the war.

Various signalling alterations were carried out in the early 1920s and the old signal box was replaced by a new one on the down side of the line.

In 1932/3 the trainshed roof was removed and replaced by an umbrella awning although the side walls of the trainshed remained for some years. At the same time the narrow platforms on either side of the central island were cut back to a short stub. The station building remained largely unaltered for much of its life apart from the addition of a couple of shops. These were built into the east end of the frontage and occupied the space formerly used by the first class waiting room.

Through trains onto the Metropolitan Line ceased after Saturday 16 September 1939. The entrance canopy was removed in October 1941 after it was struck by a bus; the waiting room was later converted to a goods office.

Passengers were in decline in the post war years with commuters preferring the more convenient and faster Metropolitan and Piccadilly line services into London but the goods yard remained busy with an increase in freight traffic.  In the mid 1950s ex-GWR AEC railcars took over from the auto-trains used on the West Drayton shuttle, although steam continued to work through services to and from Paddington. These operated during the peaks and took about thirty minutes to complete their journeys. New diesel multiple units were introduced in 1958 but despite this closure of the loss making line was inevitable. The closure proposal was submitted to the Transport Users’ Consultative Committee in November 1961. Despite the usual public protests the station closed to passengers on 10 September 1962. The line The route was served by LT bus route 234A which ran between Uxbridge and West Drayton via Cowley with busses every 30 minutes (15 minutes in peak hours). This was a new route introduced in February 1955. Although the freight service remained profitable and the line was re-signalled, this only lasted until 24 February 1964 with final closure following on 13 July that year when the parcels service was also withdrawn.vine street

The track was lifted in March/April 1965 and the island platform was demolished shortly afterwards. The station building lingered a little longer and for a short time was used for storage by a local newsagent. By early 1968 it was derelict and it was demolished the following year. The stub of one of the side platforms remained at least until the 1990s when the station site was used as an NCP car park and for a weekly market.  The whole area was completely cleared when the A4020 Hillingdon Road was  realigned straight through the goods station site adjacent office block (Hertz House) occupying the site of the station. Construction was underway in 2001.

Today little remains of the Vine Street branch; Cowley Station has also been demolished and all the bridges have been removed. The cutting alongside Brunel University has been infilled but a short length of track bed running parallel with Cleveland Road, Cowley has been retained as a nature reserve and a short length of broad gauge track has been laid along it.

Further reading: GWR Disused Stations in Greater London by J.E. Connor - Connor & Butler 2000 ISBN 0 947699 31 7

Other web sites: Abandoned Tube Stations - includes photographs of the branch in 2005. Tickets from Michael Stewart

See also Cowley

Uxbridge Vine Street Station Gallery 1:
Early 20th Century - 1930s

The street side of Vine Street station building could hardly be called imposing and were it not for the awning would not stand out at all. This postcard view is undated but was likely taken around the turn of the 20th century. The camera is facing along Vine Street towards High street and immediately behind where the photographer stood is today's Hillingdon Road which turns eastwards to cut through the course of the former railway. Just beyond the station stands The Temperance Hotel, representing a period in history now largely forgotten. The Temperance Hotel in Uxbridge has ceased to exist entirely as indeed has this scene which today is totally unrecognisable. In the distance, beyond The Temperance Hotel, stands Randalls original store which stood at the corner of Cricket Field Road. A department store was erected in 1937, stretching a little further along Vine Street, and the business was to close down in 2015. The Grade II Listed Art Deco style building has since been redeveloped. Meanwhile the site of Vine Street station is now occupied by the UK and Europe head office of Hertz, the car rental organisation. Hertz House, a modern but not unattractive building, stand backs from the road and the site of the former station building is now a pleasant part paved, part planted forecourt area.
Click here for a more detailed caption.
Photo received from Kenneth Lea

1866 1:528 OS Town Plan shows the layout of the station as built. At this time the station was broad gauge. The room layout of the main station building is clearly shown. The booking office is indicated, other roopms woukd have been waiting rooms, toilets and station office. The single road engine shed butts up to the south end of the station building. There is a turntable on an adjacent road with a water tank adjacent to the shed road. The platform does not extend beyond the south end of the trainshed. Two lines run into the trainshed running either side of the short island platform. The goods shed is served by two parallel sidings running through the shed. A third siding runs up to a dock on the west side of the trainshed.

1899 1:2,500 OS map. The island platform has now been extended south from beneath the train shed. The engine shed is still shown aty the south end of the station building although it woukd close two years after the map was published. On this map the adjacent siding has lost its turntable but it actually survived for a few years after closure of the shed.. The water tank has been removed. Two additional sidings have appeared in the goods yard but one siding running through the shed has been removed. A weighbridge (WM) is shown at the entrance to the goods yard. LB indicates that there was a letterbox on the station building. This is shown in many of the and survived in use until the mid-1960s. Therfe was a 3-ton capacity crane but its posdition is not shown. The original signal box is shown on the east side of the line on the approach to the station. There has been some residential development to the east of the station to the west of Cricket Field Road. An Inn is shown opposite the station entrance, this pre-dated the railway when it was called The Swan. With the opening of the sdtation it was renamed The Railway Hotel, becomiong the Railway Arms in 1930.

1914 1:2,500 OS Map. The island platform has been further extended to the south. Additional goods facilities have been provided to the east of the station. The engine shed which closed in 1897 has been demolished and replaced by a dock. A new siding runs behind the signal box along the east boundary of the station On the west side little has changed although a second weighbridge has been added at the entrance to the goods yard. A building at an angle to the station forecourt is Thopre Brothers coal merchant's office. There hs been some industrial development with a print works opening on the east side of Cricket Green Road.

1934 1:2,500 OS Map. The trainshed roof has now been demolished and replaced by a canopy which is the same length as the trainshed whose side walls are still standing. A 6-ton capacity crane is shown to the south of the station on the east side. This replaced the earlier 3-ton crane which must have been on the west side as the east side was the site of the engine shed. A number of small buildings have appeared at the entrance to the west yard, these would have been merchants' office. The original signal box was replaced by a new box on the west side of the line in 1920.

Looking along Vine Street towards High Street sometime around the turn of the 20th century. Vine Street station stands on the right and the clutter of small buildings at the entrance to the goods yard is out of view at far right. The ornate building in the left background is the original Randalls department store which dated from 1891. At the time of this photograph road motor transport was very much in its infancy and the preserve of a very select and daring few. As is obvious, getting around, other than by train, was on foot, by bicycle or by horse drawn vehicles. Trams and buses still being mainly horse drawn at this time. Quite typical of the time was the Brougham seen parked outside the station.
For a larger picture and a more detailed caption click here.
Photo from Richard Casserley collection

Uxbridge Vine street station looking neat and tidy, circa 1908. At far left and far right the two non passenger platforms can be seen; following removal of the trainshed in 1932/3, these were cut back. The platform is illuminated by casement type gas lamps using non-self-supporting mantles. The lamps are similar to the Sugg 'Windsor' pattern but the Great Western Railway was very self sufficient and manufactured most of its lamps itself. The Great Western's gas lamps were, along with a vast range of other small metal items, produced in the Fitting and Machine Shop at Swindon Works. Fixed to the goods shed, left of centre, is a casement lamp of either hexagonal or octagonal pattern. It is not known if this image originated as a painting or a black and white image which has been colourised but, either way, the representation of the locomotive's livery is dreadful while the livery of the coaching stock is represented significantly better. The locomotive is either a member of the 140-strong 455 Class Metro Tanks with 2-4-0 wheel arrangement or one of the small class of twelve 633 Class 0-6-0T's known as 'Tunnel Locos'. Examples of both types were fitted with condensing apparatus for use on Middle Circle services over the tracks of the Metropolitan Railway, hence 'Metro' and 'Tunnel', with dedicated rolling stock but these services ceased in 1905.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Uxbridge Vine Street station circa 1919. The trainshed roof is starting to look a little shabby, unsurprising given the damaging effects of steam locomotive exhausts to woodwork, and would be removed in 1932/3 and replaced by a platform canopy with the exception of the innermost end over the circulating area - such as it was. The casement type gas lamps would also disappear, replaced by suspended types. Another, identical, gas lamp stands on the dock on the left and the dock itself was also to see change with the alterations of 1933 onwards. Surviving records of the GWR steam railmotors are incomplete. The railmotors shedded at Southall are known to have operated to Brentford and Paddington, also the Uxbridge High Street branch, but no record survives of them ever working the Vine Street branch so we are left wondering if the vehicle at the Down platform is a railmotor or an autotrain. The shadows on the platform suggest, however, that it is an autotrain. The vehicle would have worn Crimson Lake livery and there is a number below the central windscreen but it is unreadable. The train on the right is at first glance unremarkable but a close examination reveals round-topped doors, some of which are open further along the platform as passengers alight. The train is formed of four (First) and five (Third) compartment Holden stock, this being the stock used on the Great Western's through trains to and from the Metropolitan Railway and, more specifically, the Middle Circle services. Click here for a more detailed caption and an explanation of Middle Circle.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

All that is known about this scene is that it depicts troops departing from Uxbridge Vine Street in the mid 1920s and not, as might be assumed, during the First World War. The train is formed of GWR Dean era clerestory stock, some examples of which had been built for the broad gauge with narrow bodies as seen here mounted on broad gauge underframes. The Dean clerestory stock, standard gauge of course, is also the stock which many believe Tri-ang Railways and its successors based their original clerestory coach models upon. The men aboard the train, or in the nearest coach at least, are actually RAF personnel and most are wearing what appears to be RAF Type A cork sun helmets. As this applies only to the nearest carriage and as cork sun hats are unlikely to have been a necessity in Uxbridge, the photograph is deliberately posed and probably immediately prior to the train's departure. A number of Officers are also present and the boy on the platform was probably handing out nibbles for the journey. The men were bound for Egypt and possible also Sudan and Iraq but why? The story is politically complicated so suffice it to say the countries mentioned were, between the two World Wars, struggling to gain full independence from Britain. Egypt, to single out that country, had gained semi-independence in 1919 - this being the result of the well-known and so-called Egyptian Revolution - with the Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian Independence being issued by the British Government in 1922. Nevertheless unrest meant the British Military maintained a presence for some time afterwards. Independence for Sudan was rather more complex and finally came in 1956, meanwhile Iraq gained a Monarchy in 1921, effectively reliant on British security, with independence coming in 1932. The personnel seem in this photograph had probably been grouped at RAF Uxbridge but further details were not, at the time of writing, known. RAF Uxbridge was to closed in 2010 with its remaining personnel transferring
to nearby Northolt.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

The view looking south-south-east from the North Tower of St. Margaret's Church, Windsor Road, circa 1930. For those familiar with modern-day Uxbridge, the belfry, or South Tower, on the left will aid orientation. The church itself dates from at least 1245 and is today among the oldest buildings in Uxbridge. The Underground station is some 60 yards to the left while 200 yards ahead of the camera stands Vine Street station. Left of centre, in the background, the trainshed of the passenger station can be seen and to its right the goods shed. The pitch roofed building on the camera side of the passenger station is the Electric Cinema which was eventually to become Uxbridge fire station but is now demolished. Several of the buildings closer to the church survive today; for example, that with the rounded corner directly ahead of the camera is, in 2018, occupied by a hairdresser and an employment agency while the building adjoining it, with the lower roof, is occupied by the same employment agency and, ground floor, a watch repair shop. To the left of what is now a hairdresser's shop stood a small brewery, mostly long since demolished and its site is now occupied by Charter Place, a modern structure but which incorporates parts of the brewery frontage.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

Click here for Uxbridge Vine Street Station Gallery 2:
c early 1930s - 1958




[Source: Nick Catford]

Last updated: Monday, 06-Aug-2018 18:52:57 CEST
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