For enthusiasts, researchers and modellers of the Great Eastern Railway

Ilford Flyover


Work on the scheme to electrify the line between Liverpool Street and Shenfield was well under way before the outbreak of war in 1939. A major project was the construction of a flyover on the site of Aldersbrook sidings west of Ilford. This photograph, taken on 6 May 1939, is probably posed and shows work progressing on the brick piers of the approaches to the flyover.

The new flyover was built on the site of the Through Lines at this point. The down Local line in the background was new and upon completion of the flyover became the down connection between the Main and Electric lines. Next to it is the up Local, formerly the down Local and which eventually became the down Main. The express is travelling over what was formerly the up Local line, latterly the up Main. In the foreground is the up Through, another new line which became the up connection from Main to Electric upon completion of the flyover.

Class N-7 870, built at Gorton in December 1926, is at the head of the unique eight-coach train built in 1900 for service on the Enfield line. It may be distinguished from the bogie stock created from mounting pairs of four-wheel stock bodies on new underframes as it was the only set to include a six-compartment brake 3rd in its composition. Class B-17 2802 Walsingham, built by the North British Locomotive Co in November 1928, approaches from the left on a down express composed of Gresley stock. The City of London Cemetery provides a pleasant background.


Photograph: GERS Collection
Caption by John Watling

Ilford Flyover, 30th September 1947


Before it was enlarged in 1896, Liverpool Street Station had ten platforms. Numbers 1-6 were on the west side and used for suburban trains and 7-10 were to the east serving main line traffic. Two pairs of running lines entered the station from the north, the western pair being known latterly as the "Through" Line and the eastern pair the "Local" Line. When enlarged, platforms 11-18 were added on the east side and were mainly used for suburban traffic. A further pair of running lines was added but these were to the west of the "Suburban" Lines. These served the west side of the station and were mainly used for local trains from the north east London suburban lines that branched away at Bethnal Green. The eastern side platforms were then used for local traffic from the Colchester Main line, via Stratford and Ilford. Thus, at the throat of the station, it can be seen that trains to and from the "Local" line had to cross the "Through" lines.

This inconvenient state of affairs persisted until the electrification of the line to Shenfield which was begun in the 1930s, but not completed until 1949. The opportunity was taken to exchange the functions of the Local and Through lines and this involved the building of new platforms on the former Through line at Maryland, Forest Gate and Manor Park. The Through line then became the "Electric" line and the Local line the "Main" line. A flyover was constructed between Manor Park and Ilford in order the swap the lines back to their original positions to enable electric trains access to the new depot on the north side of the line between Ilford and Seven Kings.

The picture shows the completed flyover before the electrification masts were erected. The view is looking towards Ilford with Aldersbrook Sidings in the foreground, on the site of what latterly became the Ilford Training School. An up express is hauled by LNER B-17 4-6-0 1629 Naworth Castle on the new Main line and the brand new L-1 Class 2-6-4T 9000 is ascending the flyover with an up suburban train. This consists of one of the eight-coach sets, eight of which were built by the LNER in 1935-6 for Ilford line traffic. Although of LNER design, they were built on 54' underframes of GER pattern, which included GER bogies. The new North Circular Road extension now crossed the view seen here, carried on a further lofty flyover.

This photograph is obviously posed as the express and local trains are on converging tracks and had the local train been moving they would have collided at the London end of the flyover.


Photograph: GERS Collection
Caption by Lyn D Brooks