Had it been built, there would today be a tube line running between Victoria station and Kilburn, and could have altered the route of the Jubilee line.

What was proposed was a tube railway that would run between Victoria station[1] and Kilburn, calling at Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Edgware Road, Maida Vale, Kilburn High Road, and terminating roughly where Kilburn and Brondesbury stations are today.

Black line showing the rough route of the railway on a modern tube map.

The description was for a standard gauge railway powered by “cable traction, electricity, or any other motive power other than steam locomotives.” to run about 50 feet below ground. The cost of the railway was set at £1.2 million, and the formal notice announcing it was published in November 1892. In order to build the railway though, they needed to secure permission from Parliament, and at the time a number of companies were all vying to build railways in London.

A Committee of Selection in the House of Commons, comprising of Sir J Kenaway, Mr Gourley, the Marquis of Granby and Mr Grenfell was set up in March 1893 to look at this, and six other planned railways.

In order to try and win approval, the railway agreed to requests from locals that it would offer cheaper workmen’s fares[2] — “before seven in the morning or after six in the evening, except on Sundays, Christmas Day, and Good Friday” so that people living in the Kilburn area could afford to commute to work in Westminster.

Some of the railways were approved, but the Edgware Road and Victoria railway struggled with a lot of opposition. Not from the Kilburn end, but the other end, where the railway would be running through posh Mayfair and Victoria.

Petitions had already been filed against the railway before the Committee had started work, and more piled up. Some came from owners of houses along the route, two by the existing Metropolitan and the District railways, the London County Council, and in those days this was far more serious, the railway was also objected to by His Grace, the Duke of Westminster[3].

To attempt to assuage concerns about subsidence from the tunnels under posh houses, some of the route was moved to run underneath Hyde Park instead of the Park Lane houses, but that threw up all sorts of other problems with securing permission to tunnel under a Royal Park.

In the end, the company promoting the railway was unable to convince Parliament that it had both the ability to construct the railway and that it was sufficiently necessary to be profitable.

The proposed railway was eventually thrown out[4] by the House of Commons Committee on Friday 24th March 1893.

But what if?

What if the railway had been built — and was there when the Bakerloo line was looking to extend northwards from Baker Street in 1913. Would they have dug a new tunnel towards Kilburn as exists now, or would they have tried to take over the Edgware Road and Victoria railway?

If that had happened, the Bakerloo line would run up to where Kilburn station is today, on the Jubilee line. That would have meant the Jubilee line which took over the later Bakerloo line between Baker Street and Finchley Road wouldn’t have needed to dig tunnels through central London as it could use the existing railway to Victoria station.

And just possibly, the Jubilee line extension would today be offering a fast link between Victoria and Waterloo mainline stations.

But, the Edgware Road and Victoria railway was never built, so alas, we will never know.

Sources

1] London Gazette – 25th November 1892

2] West London Observer – 31st December 1892

3] Westminster Gazette – 20th February 1893

4] St James’s Gazette – 25th March 1893

London’s Lost Tube Schemes by Antony Badsey-Ellis

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6 comments
  1. Nick says:

    Just to note that it shouldn’t be a surprise that there were “already” petitions against the Bill before the Committee sat. The petitions *had* to be submitted before the Committee met, as the Committee is set up, in part, to consider the petitions against a bill.

    The same procedure still applies today for the few railways that are authorised by Parliamentary bills. See the HS2 factsheet at https://hs2-hb-documents-onlineshop.org.uk/M355.pdf

    Coincidentally, one of the firms of Parliamentary Agents promoting HS2 – Winckworth Sherwood – is the successor of the firm that promoted the Edgware Road and Victoria railway – Sherwood & Co.

  2. John Rowland says:

    There’s not a lot of need for a railway from Waterloo to Victoria. As a taxi driver I don’t think I’ve ever taken anyone between the two. Changing at Waterloo East or Clapham Junction is a lot more likely.

    • ianVisits says:

      And if you’re a person using the tube to get from, for random example, Earl’s Court to Waterloo, you’d have found a fast link between Victoria and Waterloo very useful.

  3. Peter versus Pan says:

    I wonder whether in those days the northern part of the route would have made sense. If traffic patterns were like they are today, I would have thought that it would have been more useful to go from Edgware Road towards Camden Town (via Lords), Finsbury Park, and from there along a route that emerged later as either part of the Piccadilly Line or part of the Victoria Line.

  4. Al says:

    Would have been useful as a Jubilee sub-branch, could see a route from Waterloo to Victoria stopping around Thames House. One of the alignment proposals for the Jubilee from Waterloo to Green Park via St Jame’s Park did propose an additional station around that area at greater cost.

    Despite making sense as a sub-branch for the Bakerloo (in spite of the alignment at Lambeth North) later Jubilee, could also see it travelling to Cricklewood by way of some version of the 1908 Bakerloo proposal, if not extended further to Finchley Central via Brent Cross / Golders Green down the line.

    The above draws inspiration from the 1946 “tube map that could have been” by Alastair Carr (based on the 1946 London Railway Plan), specifically the Knightsbridge to Finchley Central portion of what has been dubbed the Golders Line.

    One interesting scheme that would be touching upon in a future Unbuilt London article would be an unrealised GER plan for an Eastward Curve from Temple Mills to around Maryland (if not before Forest Gate), essentially the eastern version of the High Meads Loop to Lea Curve link onto the NLL that instead links unto the GEML from Lea Bridge that could have indirectly opened more cross London possibilities (including a link between the NNL onto the GEML via an eastern turn at High Meads Loop roughly alongside the DLR route to Stratford International towards Maryland).

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