A plan to convert a little used freight railway in West London for passengers has taken a step forward.

The railway line was opened in 1859 and ran from Southall down towards the Thames in Brentford. Although built mainly for freight, it included two very small passenger stations and ran a regular passenger service.

The council has been working on a scheme for some years to resurrect the line, with a new station built in Brentford and passenger services restored to Southall. A key factor for the plans is that Southall will then be on the Elizabeth line, which they hope will drive a lot more traffic on the spur down to Brentford.

In order to part-fund the 4-mile railway, Hounslow Council has now agreed to undertake a full business case to look at introducing a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) within the Great West Corridor (GWC).

This decision follows the results of a public consultation which took place in the western section of the corridor between November 2018 and January 2019. Hounslow would be the first London local authority to move to this stage of the process.

As part of the proposal, the council has also commissioned Network Rail to begin a detailed study (known as ‘GRIP 4’) on building the new train link from Brentford to Southall, following encouraging early studies into the feasibility of such a link.

Cllr Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport at Hounslow Council said: “A WPL is expected to help reduce traffic levels from the date of its implementation whilst further benefits will materialise on the introduction of the transport improvements it will help fund. The earliest this scheme could be in operation in the western area would be 2021”.

The track seen as on a trip in 2014


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  1. good for for public and the the area London city west London and i may a bring into all so there is a railway line at old bath road were bus route 81 goes to Slough near company Aviva and UCL company railway station crossing which is were the three lights are and it not useable so make it use to plans to reopen just up to mark were the track finishes.Thank you.

  2. Richard Harman says:

    Does anyone other than Asif understand any of that??

  3. Libby Kemp says:

    The plan shows the line terminating at the M4? Is it not possible to continue it closer if not too Brentford Station.
    I think this is an excellent idea, well done Hounslow for the initiative.

  4. The track still exists up to the M4.
    After that there are a couple of buildings in the way and then you can see the place where the track used to run down to Brentford (London road)

    The old station building is actually still standing (it’s painted orange and is a car maintenance place) next to Pets At Home.

    • Phil Eadie says:

      It used to continue down to Brentford High Street (old station still there as noted) and beyond into the docks.

      The track still continues well past the M4 – down to the Great West Road – near GSK. The road actually dips at this point for no obvious reason – but was actually for the railway bridge.

      If they complete the first stage there is a possibility of extending the spur to join up with the Hounslow loop just before Brentford Station.

  5. Geoffrey says:

    There is a very unusual bridge – Windmill Bridge A 4127 near Southall where the Grand Union Canal crosses ABOVE the railway line.

  6. Jim Lockie says:

    Very good idea to consider and progress. Southall and Brentford/Kew road traffic terrible. Any efforts, however small to move people off roads onto rail should be considerded. However, business plan should include line going to current Brentford station, perhaps in 2 stages. Connections are essential for the success of branch lines.

  7. James Miller says:

    I have been following the construction of the step-free access at Syon Lane station and have talked to quite a few travellers, who work at Sky. They are very keen on better transport links, so I suspect the traffic for a reinstated Brentford branch would be there, as it’s the other side of the Sky site.

    I know it would be nice to go past the A4 to the River, but why not build a decent walking and cycling route as an extension to the railway, that perhaps in the distant future could be converted to light rail. It would be about seven hundred metres.

    If there was a route to the River, I feel this would make it more likely that the Thames Clippers extended their routes to Brentford and Kew.

    • dik leatherdale says:

      There IS a good walking and cycling route from the present end of the tracks just north of the Great West Road to the Thames at Brentford. It’s called the Grand Union Canal towpath. And a great oasis of calm it is too.

      Extending the branch to the old station at the end of Brentford High Street (again, just next to the canal) sounds obvious, but I rather doubt there would be much traffic on offer there. The branch was originally built to take Welsh coal to ships at the London Docks with transshipment at Brentford Dock (broad gauge remember). Passenger traffic was never up to much not least because the connection at Southall is the wrong way round for that purpose. Much better to connect onto the Hounslow loop as suggested above.

    • Simon says:

      I don’t speak for Thames Clippers, but I suspect that the severe speed limit on the river upriver of Wandsworth would make the service so slow as to not be attractive to commuters.

  8. Geoff Demprunt says:

    The possibilities to reinvigorate Communities under the auspices of the ever popular and successful London Overground, are yet to be exhausted and come at a fraction of the price of Hs2 and Crossrail . There’s probably going to be a little left over for Birmingham and Manchester too.

  9. Oliver Lee says:

    As someone who works on the Thames I can say that there are two main reasons why Clippers won’t extend their services beyond Putney where they presently terminate. Firstly the meander on the river extends the distance they would have to travel considerably making them uncompetitive against rail travel (especially when the 8 knot speed limit is considered. Secondly and more importantly, the river beyond Putney becomes considerably shallower at low tide and the size of their boats would make it difficult and impractical for them to offer a consistent service in comparison to land based methods. All for any rail re-openings in West London though…

  10. Overgrounded says:

    I know what Asif is talking about. It’s the Colnbrook Branch.

    Unfortunately it’s going to be hard to reinstate a station at Colnbrook as BPA have a fuel terminal there. But that doesn’t stop having a station on other parts of the line.

    Some upgrade work would be required but most of the line has modern track and a smattering of signalling equipment so it wouldn’t be too hard.

    West Drayton has now got a proper platform on the loop which helps. That was crossrail work. The loop has been upgraded too.

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