Freedom Pass Project – Update

Lewisham… Nowhere near the edge of the Freedom Pass map but on my list because it is a terminus of the Docklands Light Railway. Lewisham is around 5 miles south-east of London bridge and is served by trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Victoria running to stations in north and mid-Kent. No express services pass through as the mainline diverges a short distance to the northwest of the station at Tanners Hill Junction. There is quite a lot of freight traffic – mainly aggregates – running to and from Kent and distribution points around London. Having set the scene, let’s illustrate…

Looking northwest from Lewisham Station, 465181 approaches up the incline from St. Johns on a service for Gravesend…

465181 at Lewisham

…In the foreground is Lewisham Crossover Junction. On the left the tracks climb to Lewisham Vale Junction, where the line to Nunhead and Victoria diverges, before descending Tanners Hill Flydown – A connection to the existing flyover built in the 1970’s by British Railways to ease congestion at Tanners Hill Junction as part of the London bridge re-signalling scheme. It was built to reduce conflicting movements between Sussex expresses and mid-Kent services.

The current Lewisham station which opened in in 1849 has 4 platforms – 1 & 2 serving the mid-Kent lines are sharply curved…

66019 at Lewisham

…taking them back to re-join the Sussex mainline as far as Hither Green. In the shot above, 66019 heads a train of empty hoppers from Tolworth sidings in southwest London to Cliffe Brett Marine – located to the east of Gravesend beside the Thames – where they will be filled with aggregates for the return trip. Hard to believe this shot was taken on the same day as the previous one – a sleet squall passed through at lunchtimeπŸ™„ The curve continues to the south of the station…

66558 at Lewisham

…another empty aggregates train – 66558 enroute from Hanson’s in Maidstone to Whatley Quarry to the west of Frome in Wiltshire.

Platforms 3 & 4 curve a little more gently in the opposite direction…

376034 at Lewisham

…376034 enters the station on an Erith Loop service – Cannon Street to Cannon Street. The passenger services on the routes through Lewisham are normally shared between classes 465, 466 and 376 with the occasional class 707 – usually on Sevenoaks services.

The line continues to curve to the east of the station. In this shot, 465183 approaches with a service from Dartford…

465183 at Lewisham

…to London Cannon Street. The 6 coach train is made up of a 465+466 combination. The lineside trees show the light greens of early Spring in the bright sunshine.

Lewisham station sits above the roads in the town centre and if you look over the fence on platform 2, you can see the DLR station below…

Lewisham DLR Station

…The station is recent compared with the mainline station having been built as an extension of the DLR from Island Gardens in 1999. During the day trains run from here to Bank station in the City and at morning peaks there are also direct services to Stratford. Trains are made up of either 4 or 6 carriages. Here’s a shot looking through the window by the noticeboard in the shot above…

Lewisham DLR Station (2)

…with 123, one of the second batch of Docklands units, arriving from Bank at platform 6.

I boarded the following service, crossing off Lewisham DLR station for my project and rode on unit 70 as far as Canary Wharf where I changed. From here I was after a service towards Stratford as I needed a starting or terminating train from Canary Wharf for my project too. Unit’s 26 + 58, from the original batch of DLR units, were sitting in the centre platform when I got there…

DLR26 at Canary Wharf

…They were forming the next Stratford service but as they were already quite full I decided to wait for the following train. Here’s unit 29 arriving from Stratford with unit 65…

DLR29 at Canary Wharf

…29 will form my ride north to Bow Church and I can also cross Canary Wharf off my project listπŸ˜ŽπŸ‘

A short walk along Bow Road to the District Line station of the same name and I was on my way home via Whitechapel, Highbury & Islington and Gospel Oak, after a good day out. I think I should visit Greenwich and the DLR route along the Ravensbourne from Deptford Creek in the future to try and get some photos of that line. But, before then, I have some more Freedom Pass Project destinations to visitπŸ˜ŽπŸ‘Œ


    1. Thanks Brian πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘ A bit of background history – There were two railway companies fighting on routes to the Kent Coast in the 1860’s – The South Eastern Railway and the London Chatham & Dover Railway. They duplicated a lot of routes attempting to steal trade from each other. Eventually, they agreed to work together but the maze of lines in southeast London is a relic of that time. Although there has been some rationalisation of competing services much of the track remains largely as it was because, south of the river, the London Underground is conspicuous by its absence. Deep level tunnels were difficult and dangerous to construct because the clay peters out and there are many areas of loose gravel soil. So there were very few cuts to the British Railways network in the area even in Beeching’s time.

  1. I agree with Brian. That first photo is amazing. My husband was a Southern Pacific/Union Pacific railroad switchman for 40 years and I take notice. I think the complexity of this system is really intriguing.

    1. Thanks Debra πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘ Hope you saw my response to Brian with the addition of some historical background – it explains how we got to where we are todayπŸ˜…

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