Site Records

Site Name: Wood Lane Station (Central Line)

Wood Lane (Junction with Ariel Way)
London, W12
OS Grid Ref: TQ234804

Sub Brit site visit April 1968, February 1980 & February 1986

[Source: Nick Catford]

The Franco-British Exhibition was a complete success and by the time it closed on 31st October 1908 a total of 8,400,000 people passed through the turnstiles. The 'White City' continued to host annual large exhibitions until the outbreak of war in 1914 when it was handed over to the government who used it for a variety of functions including army training and aircraft construction. It was finally vacated by the military in the early 1920s and put up for auction on 7th November 1922.

Some of the buildings on 50 acres of the site were demolished to make way for flats in 1936 while other buildings were again used by the government during WW2. The remainder of the site was cleared in the late 1950's to make way for the construction of the BBC Television centre which was built in 1960. The stadium fell

White City stadium during the 1908 Olympics
into disuse after the Olympic Games but was eventually take over by the Greyhound Association in 1927 closing in 1984; it was demolished the following year.

From 1st January 1913, the Central London Railway was absorbed into the Underground Group and the new management soon set about making improvements. These included the installation of automatic signalling and the replacement of some earlier track work. At Wood Lane, Harry Measure’s original frontage was removed around 1915 and replaced by a new design
from Stanley Heaps. Heaps had worked on the various Yerkes’ projects as Leslie Green’s assistant and was appointed architect to the London Electric Railway in 1910. The new frontage projected slightly further onto the pavement and was finished in brown tiling. The original station gated entrance and exit were retained.

Photo:The station concourse and Platforms 1 & 2 in the 1950s
Photo by J L Smith

The Ealing & Shepherds Bush Railway had been authorised under the 1905 Great Western Act and the Central London Act of 1911 and was eventually built jointly by the Underground Group and the GWR. It ran from a new terminus at Ealing Broadway adjacent to the existing GWR station running east from a junction with
theWest London Railway at Viaduct Junction and the Central London Railway at Wood Lane. Only the short section in the immediate vicinity of Wood Lane was built by the Underground Group.

Photo:Passengers boarding a Central London train at the new Platform 4 c.1920

A freight service between the Great Western at Ealing and the West London line started on 16th April 1917, but a passenger service onto the CLR was delayed while conductor rails were laid and new platforms were built at Wood Lane. Two additional 300' long platform were added below ground, constructed by cut and cover.

The station walls were largely tiled in white, with panels for nameboards and posters outlined in green and black. The same colour scheme was used on the concourse, which was redesigned with greater use being made of the available space. Booking facilities were improved and extra toilets for both ladies and gentlemen were added. The two new platforms were linked to the
concourse by separate entrance and exit stairways, although from the outset it was felt that under normal conditions each side would require only one of these to be in regular use.

Plan from The London Railway Record
Copyright Connor & Butler

Stanley Heaps new frontage in 1927

To the east of the depot, a new junction was built taking westbound trains on to the extension through Platform 4. A second junction was added at the west side of the loop with the eastbound track running into a new tunnel and through Platform 3. This unusual configuration meant that the standard left-hand running was not possible through Wood Lane and a flyover was built north of the station to return the track to normal sides.

The new line was ready for inspection on 25th July 1920 and opened on 3rd August. In 1927

the White City Stadium was refurbished for greyhound and motor-cycle racing and further changes were made at Wood Lane station to cater for the additional passenger traffic. The old booking office was removed and replaced by passimeters, which had electrically operated machines, capable of issuing 20,000 tickets an hour and speeding up passenger flow.

Photo:A empty Central Line train passes through the abandoned
Platform 4 in Match 1980 bound for the depot.
Photo by Nick Catford

In order that trains on the loop could enter the depot, Platform 1 was shorter than Platform 2 and couldn't accommodate 7 car trains, so passengers had to use Platform 2; this became more of a problem following the introduction of sliding door stock.

To overcome this, an extension to Platform 1 was required. This would be difficult to achieve because of the points serving the line into the depot. The solution was a moveable section of platform built of wood on a steel frame, which could be swung out of the way allowing trains to enter or leave the depot. This extension was approved and came into use in May 1928. There were about 30 daily train movements in and out of the depot and the swivelling platform might be operated up to one hundred and twenty times within twenty-four hours. The movable platform was a complete success and

The movable extension to Platform 2 in March 1928
remained in used until the station closed.  Once Platform 1 had been extended, Platform 2 was no longer required and stopped handling regular passenger traffic.

The New Works Plan of 1935 included a vast modernisation programme for the former Central London Railway. It was to be extended at both ends and from 28th August 1937 it was officially renamed ‘The Central Line’.

For further information and pictures of Wood Lane Station click here

[Source: Nick Catford]

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