The abandoned London Underground line that would have linked East and South London 100 years before London Overground

Some of the plans for lines and stations that went missing in the early days of the London Underground could have filled gaps in our transport system that still exist today.

Back in a time when many companies were competing for contracts and passengers, huge numbers of plans were drawn up and most of them were rejected and binned.

This makes for an interesting alternative London Underground history of what might have beens.

READ MORE: London Underground’s last steam trains and how their ghosts ‘haunt the tunnels’

One such plan would have connected much of east London and south London with a line that swept in from past Canning Town way out east all the way into the city centre at Monument before heading south, crossing the Thames and running all the way out to East Dulwich.

This typically ambitious plan is one of many failed schemes outlined in Antony Badsey-Ellis’s excellent book ‘London’s lost Tube schemes’.

Named the East London, City and Peckham Railway, the route would have been nine miles long and started next to Peckham Rye Common with a station at East Dulwich Road.

It headed north to Peckham High Street and then on to Peckham Park Road where there would have been a station at the junction of Bird in Bush Road.

At the Old Kent Road the line would swing left and enter a station at Malt Street.

Then it was on to Upper Grange Road and a station at Bermondsey New Road (Now Tower Bridge Road)

Just north of the tracks into London Bridge there would have been a station at Artillery Street (now Druid Street). From here the line would bear east under Tooley Street to a station just north of London Bridge mainline station.

It would head under the Thames just downstream of London Bridge to a station at Monument and then on to stations at Rood Lan and Aldgate – just opposite the existing station.

From here the line headed east via stops at Lucas Street, Stepney East, West India Dock Road. Augusta Street, Brunswick Road, Abbot Road and then Canning Town.

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Then the line would curve north east under Barking Road to Morgan Street and finally to Liddon Road.

Two power stations would have generated electricity for the line and these would have been situated in Peckham and on the River Lea at Poplar.

Some £3.6 million needed to be raised to back the scheme.

But like a lot of these early plans, many landowners complained about potential disruption to their properties and there were fears about escalating costs and unhelpful competition between rail firms.

The scheme was withdrawn from Parliament early in 1902 never to see the light of day.

It would be until the days of the Docklands Light Railway in the 1980s that East London and South London would be somewhat better connected but this didn’t reach Peckham until the extension of the London Overground line there in 2012.

And certainly many passengers remain dissatisfied with the availability and frequency of trains into the city from the south with Southern Rail services to London Bridge so frequently overcrowded and disrupted.

Were the answers right there in plain sight 100 years earlier, way back in 1902?

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