Lost London train line from West Drayton to Staines last used in 1981

One of sad things about railways in this country is that so many of them have completely disappeared. Miles and miles of lovely little branch lines that would have carried you to all sorts of destinations in the middle of nowhere were torn up and ripped out in the 1960s. Since then, as the roads have become more and more overcrowded, people have started campaigning to get them back.

But in many cases it's just too late. One of these lost London lines was a little branch that ran from the unassuming station of West Drayton[1] all the way out to Staines. Just to make the line even more appealing, it ran north-south along the River Colne - today part of the leafy Colne Valley Regional Park.

It was 5.5 miles long and ran to Staines which back in 1885 would have been a small country town in Middlesex, 19 miles south west of London. These days of course it's a built up urban centre in Surrey. From 1884, the steam trains ran from a bay platform at the west end of the little West Drayton station which they shared with services to Uxbridge[2].

To give you an idea of just how little West Drayton itself was in those days, in 1901 it had about 900 people living there. Now it's more than 15,000. West Drayton station todayWest Drayton station today

According to the disused stations[4] website, The branch line ran south from West Drayton to pass under the main line and bridge the River Colne.

From there it headed south west, passing under the later M4, the A4 at Colnbrook Estate Halt and at Colnbrook over Bath Road by means of a level crossing. A little station at Poyle for Stanwell Moor Halt was located on the south side of the Horton Road overbridge and for the next two miles the line ran south alongside the Wraysbury River. It then climbed away from Yeoveney, bridged the L&SW Windsor branch line, passed under the Staines Bypass (A30) and ended at Staines West station near the junction of Wraysbury Road and Moor Lane.

At Staines West, the rail company was so strapped for cash that instead of building a station, it purchased an existing Georgian villa which it converted. The door that had once gone out onto the back garden now faced the platforms. It's now been converted into an office.

There was a thriving goods yard here too with cattle pens and a brick shed. Goods traffic was withdrawn from Staines West in 1953. By 1964 there were 14 passenger trains serving the route each day but the following year, passenger services stopped.

The goods yard at Staines was closed down and replaced with an oil depot which for 10 years was served by a new rail connection with the Southern region line between Staines and Purfleet. The three miles between West Drayton and Colnbrook also remained open for a while as a means of getting stone, steel and construction materials to Heathrow Airport[5] for the terminal 5 project

The former station at Colnbrook still exists as a houseThe former station at Colnbrook still exists as a house

The last ever passenger train was a special Farewell to Staines West Branch service in January 1981, although it was diverted onto another line before it actually reached Staines. There are many relics of the line still in place though.

West Drayton station is still open and serves the Paddington to Reading line. At Colnbrook the station manager's house still survives alongside the level crossing. At Yeoveney halt, a wooden entrance gate and concrete supports remain, while at Staines West, the station building is intact and listed Grade ll.

A token section of platform track and buffer stop also remain. So there's plenty to rediscover if you're after reliving some very old memories. Love the Tube with a passion? Sign up to MyLondon's London Underground newsletter for all the latest news, analysis and trivia HERE[6]


  1. ^ West Drayton (www.mylondon.news)
  2. ^ Uxbridge (www.mylondon.news)
  3. ^ London's lost train line from the 1980s leading to a half-abandoned station (www.mylondon.news)
  4. ^ disused stations (www.disused-stations.org.uk)
  5. ^ Heathrow Airport (www.mylondon.news)
  6. ^ Sign up to MyLondon's London Underground newsletter for all the latest news, analysis and trivia HERE (data.reachplc.com)