Theydon Bois – then and now

DSC 0155 - Theydon Bois - then and now

The picture of Theydon Bois shown below has been in my collection for years.

It’s a view looking north from the footbridge and shows the line climbing towards Epping.

The line originally belonged to the Great Eastern Railway and shows a train headed by one of the GER built Holden 0-6-0’s, then numbered under the LNER as 7143. The service is quite possibly from Ongar, and the destination board shows Liverpool Street.

The photo would have been about the mid to late 1920’s as 7143 would have then been based at Stratford.

The one thing that still stands out is the curved section of wall at the top end of the southbound platform. This can be seen in both views, old and modern.

tboldpic - Theydon Bois - then and now

Naturally the lower quadrant semaphore signal, trailing cross-over and the goods yard on the left no longer exist. That was removed during the sixties. One can see the platforms themselves are largely unaltered apart from the tactile edging, whilst the walls were altered somewhat in the 1950s to reflect the corporate tube image.

When the tube started running to Epping steam trains still continued using the line, as the section to Ongar was not yet electrified. Even when electric trains began in 1957 to Ongar, main line trains – in the form of diesel multiple units – too continued there as staff workings.

These diesel units even replaced the entire tube service one day when the power failed north of Loughton. In the final years they provided an early morning train for transport staff from Epping though to Liverpool Street mainline station. The last one ran on 31 May 1970.

DSC 0048 - Theydon Bois - then and now

Like some other sections of London’s tube system, main line freight trains too were a feature of the Central Line. These worked round both the Woodford and Hainault sides of the loop and continued until March 1956 via the old direct line from Ilford to Newbury Park, or April 1966 via Leytonstone.

Sunday holiday excursions using main line stock and Class 31 locomotives regularly started out from Loughton, most heading for destinations on the south coast. These continued until the mid sixties so the eastern Central Line had a pretty good mix of main line trains, diesel multiple units, freights as well as the usual tube trains. Main line trains were finally prevented from accessing the Central Line after the connections at Leytonstone were removed in 1972.

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