Due to engineering works on the London Overground over the Christmas period, there’s a rare chance to travel over a bit of railway that the trains don’t usually use.

Over the Christmas break, Network Rail will be refurbishing points near Gospel Oak station and replacing old rails near Hampstead Heath station, as well as putting in new ballast and sleepers which support the rails.

Because of those works, 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 a rarely used link railway track that will let them rejoin the north London line at Camden Road and continue on to Stratford.

It’s the little bit of little used track 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.

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 diversion will be in use on Wednesday 28th, Thursday 29th and Friday 30th December. 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. 100andthirty says:

    Does this mean that Eastbound trains will have to reverse at Kensal Green Junction to the east of Willsden Junction High Level station travel down the usually non-passenger connection and then reverse again at Willesden Junction Low Level?

    • BusinessBob says:

      Probably a shuttle service between Willesden & Richmond/Clapham from the High Level and a Camden-Stratford shuttle with every other train a Willesden Low Level to Stratford via the DC

    • 100andthirty says:

      Business Bob’s interpretation is probably more accurate than my guess!

    • Julian says:

      Business Bob is spot-on. Through passengers will need to change trains at Willesden Junction and cross between the low-level and high-level platforms.

      Just for completeness, there will also be a rail replacement bus service covering local journeys over the closed section of line.

  2. Gurty Von Moody says:

    “…little used track…”??? Really?

    Has very shiny tails for …. little used track….

    • BusinessBob says:

      used a lot for Freight and Empty Coaching Stock.

    • ianVisits says:

      OK, to spell out the blindly obvious, little used by passengers on passenger trains as there’s not much point my writing about a freight train that passengers can’t ride on.

  3. James E Brown F1 says:

    A very rare train btw Stratford and Watford Junction via Queen’s Park and Wembley South. U know what – I’ve been a train ride and I’ve been there ONCE with my support worker (was it in 2009???).

  4. David says:

    There was a service on Sundays from Willesden Junction to Stratford via this route. Has it been withdrawn since covid or does it still run

  5. Puffer says:

    A chance to see the proposed reopening of the third platform at Camden Road station, an aspiration of TfL in the ‘Draft London Rail Freight Strategy’ published in May 2021, findable on the web.

  6. Jacob Ohlsson-Budinger says:

    i’ve been on an overground train doing this earlier this year during disruption. very cool. you pass straight through the market and onto the abandoned parliament hill platforms, before tunnelling most of the rest of the way to south hampstead.

  7. Ancient relic says:

    I used to travel home from school sometimes when there was a regular rush hour service going into and out of Broad Street. That shows my age!

  8. NIGEL HUNT says:

    I would love to see Primrose Hill station reopened, remebr the rather short lived Liverpool Street to Watford train service. Why was it closed?

  9. train mike says:

    will this apply again in februarys clousure

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