Opened - 8.9.1856
Closed to passengers - 10.9.1962
Closed to goods - 13.7.1964

-West Drayton 2nd (opened 1884) r/n 1895 West Drayton & Yiewesley r/n 1974 West Drayton
-West Drayton 1st (opened 1838, closed 1884)
-Cowley (opened 1904)
-Uxbridge r/n 1907 Uxbridge Vine Street

Motive Power Depots Uxbridge one-track shed (closed 1897).

Uxbridge lies 16 miles west of the centre of London and the first railway to reach the market town was the Great Western & Uxbridge Railway (GW&UR) in 1856. Laid to the broad gauge the single line left the Paddington - Reading main line at West Drayton. The GW&UR was absorbed by the GWR the following year; they converted it to standard gauge in 1881 and doubled it in 1880. In 1950 the Western Region ran a shuttle service of about two trains and hour with the 2_ miles covered in seven minutes. Passenger services were withdrawn in September 1962 and the following month it was re-singled. Goods traffic only lasted a further two years and it closed to all traffic in 1964 with track lifted within twelve months.

Route - when open
The bay platform at the west end of West Drayton station (GR061801) was used by both Uxbridge and Staines branch trains with both branches diverging NW from the Paddington - Reading line immediately west of the bridge over High Street. The two branches then parted company after a short distance with this line turning north to pass over the Grand Union Canal, over High Road (A408) and under Station Road at Cowley station. It continued north alongside Cleveland Road and then Whitehall Road to reach the terminus station at Uxbridge Vine Street (GR056839).

Route - today
Earthworks have been removed and little of the trackbed remains. The cutting alongside Brunel University has been infilled for use as gardens and playing fields but a section has been left as a nature reserve and this contains a relaid section of GWR broad gauge trackwork.

West Drayton station (2nd) - still open (Paddington - Reading line)
West Drayton station (1st) - demolished: no trace
Cowley station - demolished: no trace
Uxbridge Vine Street station - demolished: site occupied by a new block of offices.
Bridges - all bridges removed or infilled.
Uxbridge loco shed (GR056839) on east side of Vine Street station - demolished

(The above text courtesy of
Ralph Rawlinson. ©2005.)


Platform 5 at West Drayton, no longer used for passenger trains, only for the goods trains taking materials on the Staines line for the Terminal 5 works at Heathrow. This view is facing east.

(photo: 2006)




Westward view of platform 5 in 1962 and the final Uxbridge to West Drayton train.

photo: Phil Reeks. ©1962




Looking at the main line west of West Drayton station. The right hand branch line can be seen veering off to the right. This is the route of the lines to Staines and Uxbridge Vine St. The two split not far from here: the Staines line returning in a southerly direction to run under the main line at a 90° angle to it, the Uxbridge Vine St line continued northward via Cowley.

(photo: 2006)




There is so little left of this line that a walk of its route is a disappointing trudge along housing estates, some of them none too salubrious.

This is one of the few indications of a lost railway line; an otherwise inexplicable hump in Peachey Lane. The railway route beneath the road is infilled.

(photo: 2005)




Looking north from Peachey Lane along the route of the line.

(photo: 2005)




Cowley, the only intermediate station between West Drayton and Uxbridge Vine Street was opened in 1904, fifty years after the line opened. This view is looking northward as photographed by Phil Reeks in 1962. Move your cursor over the image to see the same view in 2009; there are no remains of the station in existence now.

Top level photo ©1962 Phil Reeks




Station Road but no station.

(photo: 2005)




The hump in Station Road - the track area beneath the road has been infilled. The station was situated on the right of this photo, with access to the platforms gained via footpaths.

The small remaining stretch of track bed on the line is located to the left of this photo (see below).

(photo: 2005)




The small section of track bed parallel with Cleveland Road that has been retained as a nature reserve.

This view is southward, toward the (infilled) bridge carrying Station Road over the top of the line.

(photo: 2005)




Northward view.

(photo: 2005)




South view of some reinstated track (with longitudinal sleepers!) and unknown wooden object. According to Charles Weaver "It's the bottom of a wooden pile. Large pointy post driven into the ground/riverbed to support a structure. This one has been cut off."

The reason for its placement here is unknown.

A more technical explanation from Doug Fleetney:
"... there is a section of the 7' baulk road with an inverted pile. The baulk road was built on long baulk timber with crossties at long intervals. At these crossties there were piles driven into the ground to provide lateral restraint. These piles behaved much like track pins on a Hornby and gave a strange undulating sensation to the trains, I quote/missquote the Rev Malan who took more pics of the old Great Western than any one else. The pile shoe refers to the metalwork on the point of the pile. You drive a pole into the ground; you get mashed wood. Now sharpen it and it sinks with less effort and will go deeper but you still get mashed wood. Now if you put a sharp steel point on the pole you get (a) a spear so don't do this in the street, and (b) a pole you can drive right into the ground. If you add extensions you can keep going, in theory, until you hit rock.

(photo: 2005)




Westward view of The Greenway at the road hump caused by the railway running beneath it (to the rear of the approaching 4x4).

(photo: 2005)



(continues on next page...)



Original research for this page by Roderick Timmerman.



Uxbridge Vine Street branch Pt.2