Due to engineering works on the London Overground this weekend there’s a rare chance to travel over a bit of railway that doesn’t usually see passengers.

On both Saturday and Sunday 15th-16th July, the usual service between Richmond / Shepherds Bush and Gospel Oak won’t be running. To partially help, they are laying on a special service that will run between Willesden Junction (Low Level) and Stratford calling at Kensal Green, Queens Park, Kilburn High Road, South Hampstead and then all stations from Camden Road.

That means the London Overground trains that usually run between Willesden Junction and Stratford via Camden Road will have to be diverted along the railway that usually runs into Euston station — but at South Hampstead, the trains will divert onto another railway that will let them rejoin the north London line at Camden Road and continue on to Stratford.

And that’s the special bit, as passenger trains rarely use the link between Camden and Hampstead.

Blue diversion track overlay on Google Map

It’s the section of railway between Camden Road and South Hampstead station that’ll be in use for the diversion, so a chance for track bashers to tick one off their list, and for the rest of us to travel on a slightly unusual route.

Departure board at Camden Road showing the “impossible” route from last December.

It’s also a chance to pass by the remains of a disused station that used to be at Primrose Hill — look for the tracks diverting just to the west of the Camden Roundhouse and that’s where the island platform for the station used to be.

The last time they did this was last Christmas, so it’s a fairly rare event.

The trains appear to be leaving at 12 and 42 minutes past the hour from Willesden Junction station platform 2, and from Platform 1 at Stratford at 23/26 and 56 minutes past the hour.


Standard tube map

Ian’s crude attempt at editing to show the amended route


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  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    Am I correct to think this line over the Camden Market viaduct is only used to join Hanson Cement terminal at King’s Cross to The East Midlands Freight on the Midland Main Line?

    • Jim Watts says:

      Often used by container trains originating from Felixstowe to gain the West Coast Mainline. These are sometimes electric hauled from Ipswich.

  2. Michael Hilton says:

    When I was a child in Kent on in the 1950s and the Underground drivers were on strike, I remember that my father, instead of getting his normal Met Line train to the City from Preston Road, would walk to South Kent on and catch a direct train from there via Willesden Junction and Primrose Hill to Broad Street.

  3. NG says:

    No. Lots of freight uses that link ….

  4. Neil Nerva says:

    Spot on Michael Hilton
    Regular rush hour route Euston to Broad Street until closure and then following closure via the then new Graham Road Curve to Liverpool Street
    Indeed in the 70s the less usual route was Watford Junction to Broad Street via Hampstead Heath – used the connection to NLL accessed immediately on leaving Willesden Junction on the DC lines in the am and pm rush hours – this route lasted until until cuts in Public Service Obligation Grant-DfT – late 70s – IMF cuts

  5. c says:

    Nice to see this back. I remember when this was more regular (various NLL works like wires, closures, Eurostar works, platform extensions, you name it) – it was very well used from Queens Park especially. Far quicker to Camden and beyond. Useful for the central part of Kilburn too.

    A shame a permanent use can’t be made of it – possibly with a ‘Chalk Farm’ station too.

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