Hainault Forest Website

Written and Designed by Brian Ecott


The Eastern Counties Railway (1836 - 1862) line which passed through Ilford to the terminus at Shoreditch, London had been in existence for about 20 years when a plan and proposal for a branch line was lodged at Essex County Hall in 1857. Railway lines sprung up all over the Eastern Counties and were fragmented and owned by small companies. There often appeared to be no regard as to whether a railway would have sufficient passengers and freight to support it.

One such line was Ilford to Hainault Forest. The total length of the planned branch line would be 5 miles and 8 chains and would start at Ilford Station and go eastwards for one mile  then branch northwards following Seven Kings Water to Hainhault Forest terminating at Lord's Old Pond.

The route of the line is shown below superimposed on the first edition Ordnance Survey map.   In 1851 Hainault Forest was disafforested and almost immediately 3,000 acres of woodland belonging to the Crown was cut down and the cleared area was divided up into Crown farms like Foxburrows, Forest and Hainault Farms which were set up in 1856/7. New roads were built - New North Road, Forest Road and Chigwell Row to Collier Row road was improved.  The restored Hainault Forest did not come into being until 1903/6.

What was the purpose of the railway? What did the shareholders aim to achieve?

It could have been for residents of Chigwell Row for travel to Ilford and London. It may be that produce (milk, grain, vegetables) from the newly created farms (1851) would be transported to the

markets in London?



Could one of the answers for the proposed line to Lord's Old Pond be  to supply water to the steam locomotives?



  Land surveyors' linear measures prior to metrication:

1 link = 7.92 inches

1 chain = 100 links

10 chains = 1 furlong

8 furlongs = 1 mile




The proposed line was not built.



Thanks to the Essex Record Office.  The engineers maps can be seen at the ERO  Ref Q/RUm 2/117



By an Act of Amalgamation in 1862 the various railway companies in The Eastern Counties  were merged to form the Great Eastern Railway (GER) terminating in Shoreditch, London.






Uniform buttons and cap badges

Split pin uniform Pewter buttons 17mm., 22mm. and 29mm. diameter. General issue.

A dragon wing features on the buttons which comes from the Supporters of the City of London civic arms.



Uniform buttons "golden" were probably for management or supervisors 17mm and 22mm diam.

GER Luggage and Freight labels.

Old Ticket stubs:  Aug17 1907                                    1896                                                    July 6 1907

GER Shoreditch Terminus moves to Liverpool Street 1871

"Destruction" of the City of London Theatre Illustrated London News October 28 1871


Ruins of the Worship Street Gas Works        Illustrated London News October 28 1871


View from Liverpool Street of new City station at Broad Street    Illustrated London News October 28 1871

Liverpool Street Stn.

Early  postcard view of Liverpool Station with horse and cabs awaiting passengers arrival.

Men with bowlers, pipe smokers, top hats, Edwardian ladies and chocolate machines at Liverpool Street Station

The complex Great Eastern Railway Logo  showing the Counties and Towns served affixed to the iron railings outside Liverpool Station 2018.

Below are the civic arms featured in the above logo.

City of London,          Essex,             Maldon,                     Ipswich,                  Norwich,

Northamptonshire,      Cambridge,        Hertford,            Huntingdon

A fifties picture showing platforms 12 and above which still serve Local services, Norwich, and East Coast resorts.

Liverpool Street Station J69 0-6-0 68619 pulling goods.


Postcard postmarked July 5th 1905


The Stratford Works 


G E R Cap Badge Stratford (London) Works 57mm wide.


The Decapod 0-10-0 Class A engine was built in 1903 at Stratford and tested at Chadwell Heath. The threat of electrification at this time prompted faster steam engines


Arrival of GER  Locomotive 564 Class Y14  0-6-0 at Holt Station, North Norfolk Railway 29th May 2019


This engine was built at Stratford, London Works 1912.    Logo of the Great Eastern Railway Co. 


The Fairlop Loop Line 1903 - 1948


Ilford Station


  Ilford Ticket stubs   Sep 1928                                   16 June 1928                                6th June 1949

Plans shown on an Underground map of 1939 show plans for the electrification of the line from Liverpool Street to Epping and Ongar, and additional underground stations built at Wanstead, Redbridge and Gants Hill linking Leytonstone, and severing the Ilford - Newbury Park line. Work was almost completed on the underground section when war broke out in September 1939.

Newbury Park Stn

Stainforth Road in background
Newbury Park station in Hatch Lane.  



The original GER roof awnings cover both platforms, but the bridge now carries the A12 Eastern Avenue



Barkingside Station
An ex GER 2-4-2T locomotive and train arriving at Barkingside from Hainault, in the 1930's

This poster was put up at Barkingside Station timetabling the special bus service after the closure of the LNER December 14th 1947 and the Central Line electrification and services Commencing in 1948.

The Great Eastern Logo G E R is still seen supporting the platform roof on many stations on this line following electrification in 1948.

Third class CHEAP DAY ticket issued 29th July 1933 Barkingside to Liverpool Street via Ilford.

Fairlop Station

Train ticket 3rd class Fairlop to Grangehill 1d. 30th March 1907. A one penny coin 1907. Both the penny and the train ticket were 30mm in height. 12 pennies = 1 shilling, and 240 pennies = 1. A 4lb load of bread cost 5d or 6d. in 1907. The d. for a penny stood for the Roman denarius




Hainault Station





St. Francis of Assisi Church, Barkingside.  Services have been held in the Parish since February 1934 when the first service was held in the waiting room of Hainault Station. In 1938, two halls were built on the existing church site at Fencepiece road with one acting as the temporary church until 1956, when a brick building designed in a traditional style by J. J. Crowe, was built and consecrated.

Grangehill Station
Grange Hill towards station from Bald Hind. 8th November 1912

Detail from the above postcard. The railway line goes under the road bridge on which the station is built. 

A very tall signal can be seen from the track on the left. An Edwardian lady and two gents  are walking uphill. The Horse and Cart is carrying coal and bears the name J & H GIRL(ING).

1869 1874




Ex GER 2-4-2T locomotive and train passing under Grangehill Station ticket office towards Hainault.

G.E.R. Nursery between Grangehill and Chigwell Stations

Chigwell Station



Roding Valley Halt



J15's Steam engines hauling hoggin for the track bedding during electrification of the line at Roding Valley

Woodford Station

LNER (Ex GER) locomotive 7785 2-4-2T in June 1938 entering Woodford Station from sidings to form a train to   Fenchurch Street via Fairlop..