Woodford Halse: Up, Down, Stop, Start, Finish




In 1791 Woodford Halse was a small agricultural village with just 61 houses and then came the railway…..

The ‘London Extension’ opened in 1899 as a brand new line into London from the North linking the existing railways of Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire. Woodford Halse was chosen as the site for locomotive sheds, goods sidings and a wagon repair shop and eventually had facilities for 50 engines and 1,000 wagons. 240 new brick homes and shops were built to accommodate the railway staff and by 1911 the population had trebled to 1,520. The new service had to compete with established lines and the first train only carried 4 passengers! The Great Central Railway ran trains from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, York and Rugby through Woodford directly to London Marylebone. In 1910 there were 17 “up” trains (away from London) and 16 “down” passenger trains (towards London) stopping, starting or finishing at Woodford.

By the 1950’s the service was in decline and in 1966 The Great Central line closed. Two railway bridges, the Railway Hotel and Station Street remain.



  1. The railway has played an important part at lots of my villages too, although sadly none of the stations exist anymore. Interesting that such a small village as this played such an important role, you would expect this sort of enterprise to be part of a town or city.


  2. Good point P – I found interesting references to the red brick new houses built for the railway were ‘at odds’ with the local farming cottages and more ‘akin to those found in industrial towns.


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