Metropolitan District Railway


Opened: 1909

Closed: 1976

Location code: LT8/11

Hounslow Town boxThe history of the Metropolitan District Railway's lines in the Hounslow area is quite complex. Until 1909 the line for Mill Hill Park (better known these days as Acton Town) ran direct into a terminus at Hounslow Town. A branch line from Hounslow barracks merged with the main line on the approach to the station.

In 1909, the original Hounslow Town station closed, and a new curve built to allow through running to Hounslow Barracks. A new Hounslow Town station was provided on the new curve.

A new box was provided at the same time, to control the double to single line connection towards Hounslow Barracks. The box was built to a remarkably modern-looking design - with the vast window area and flat roof it could easily pass for a 1930s structure.

The box contained a 22-lever frame which is believed to have been to the design of Evans, O'Donnel & Co.

The double line was extended to a new box at Heston in 1910, and it would seem likely that this box became "open as required" from that date with its signals working automatically when not manned. The only function of the box from that date right up to closure in 1976 was to control a crossover road.

In 1934, proper colour-light signalling replaced the automatic semaphores, and although new boxes were built to control the line at Hounslow West and Northfields, this box survived. It was, however, renamed Hounslow Central at that date.

When finally abolished in 1976, Hounslow Central was one of the last three mechanical boxes remaining on the London Transport network.

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All photographs copyright © John Hinson unless otherwise stated