Even if you travel on the London Underground every single day, it’s still full of surprises.
Abandoned and closed stations and hidden tunnels and stairways are strewn across the network.
Sometimes stations have disappeared without a trace or have morphed into other buildings or structures which a little bit of detective work can uncover.
READ MORE: Why the London Underground Metropolitan line has 2 extra secret stations you may not know about
Such is the case way out west in Hounslow. Here, there is a huge bus garage which is a hub for major routes around West London.
It’s one of the biggest bus bases on the entire network.
But this incredible modern transport hub was once the site of a lost Tube station.
As JE Connor outlines in his book London’s Disused Underground Stations, the station first came into being when the Hounslow and Metropolitan Railway was given permission to build a line from Mill Hill Park (now Acton Town) to a station at Hounslow Barracks.
A branch off this line would eventually terminate just above Hounslow High Street at what became Hounslow Town station.
In 1883, the line was approved for public use and trains began to run carrying passengers.
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The classic old station had two platforms and a signal box.
But almost as soon as it had been opened – as often happened in the early days of the Tube, it was shut down again.
A section of line had been opened between Lampton Junction and Hounslow Barracks which made the section of line that led to Hounslow Town seem unnecessary. A new station called Heston-Hounslow was opened on the main line instead.
As early as 1901, a quaint description in The Railway Magazine showed the station was already decaying.
It said: “There was an imposing station , a signal box, engine line with coal stage…in fact everything required on a first-class line of railway.
“But time has wrought havoc with the disused line. The flooring of the two platforms is gone, and the beams are fast decaying.
“The station-house buildings are occupied as a dwelling house and the covered portion of the platform is used for hanging out the family washing while a solitary cock fowl is to be seen strutting on the platform and is apparently monarch of all he surveys.”
There was still hope for the derelict station however. In 1903 it was suddenly reopened and two trains an hour went to it each day with more at peak times.
The Metropolitan District Railway soon bought the lines and began plans to electrify them.
By January 1909, two-car electric trains began running every ten minutes between Mill Park and Hounslow Barracks via Hounslow Town.
But because Hounslow Town was always on a branch line off the main line, it’s potential was always limited. As traffic on the main line began to improve plans were made to build a new Hounslow Town station on the line itself and the old station fell into disuse.
It was eventually completely demolished.
But the old Hounslow Town station site has had an interesting afterlife.
It became the London General Omnibus Company Garage and is now simply Hounslow Garage which is just slightly to the north. It’s operated by RATP Dev London.
Twelve major bus routes now operate out of here clocking up some 4,488,284 miles every single year.
Although the little Tube station on the corner of Kingsley Road and High Street has disappeared, it’s surely a fitting use for the site.
But people in Hounslow might well miss having a station bang in the town centre instead of having to walk that extra little bit out to Hounslow Central or Hounslow East.
It’s another fascinating little piece of lost London history.