STATUS UPDATE

Transport for London’s West London Orbital scheme is on pause until a longer-term funding agreement is in place.

Source: Modern Railways, September 2020, page 15.

In September 2017, the West London Alliance, a partnership between the local authorities of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow, proposed a new West London Orbital Railway passenger service that would connect Hounslow with Hendon and West Hampstead via the Dudding Hill line. New stations would be built at Neasden and Harlesden, and an interchange with the Elizabeth line and the Overground’s North London line in the vicinity of Old Oak Common on Victoria Road, North Acton.

Source: Wikipedia | See West London Orbital Rail – Technical Analysis and Conclusions (download link below)
Midland suburban lines in London – 1953 route map showing Dudding Hill line

Midland Railway Suburban Lines in London, 1953
The Dudding Hill line is a freight-only railway running from Cricklewood on the Thameslink line to Acton Wells Junction, which is located between Willesden High Level and Action Central on the North London line (see map below). Over the years, there have been numerous proposals for starting a passenger service over the line. If the funding issue can be resolved and the challenges outlined below can be overcome, the West London Orbital scheme stands a good chance of reaching fruition.
West London Orbital route map

Map updated by Jack Martin Leith.

The line will become part of the London Overground network — see West London Orbital – Strategic Outline Business Case – Transport for London (pdf—2019).

New stations

Brent Cross West (now ruled out – more about this soon)

Neasden

Harlesden

Old Oak Common Victoria Road

Lionel Road

Challenges

Transport for London acknowledges two major challenges:

  • Capacity contraints at Acton Wells Junction, a flat junction where the Dudding Hill line joins the North London line between Willesden Junction High Level and Acton Central.
  • Bollo Lane level crossing, between South Action and the proposed Lionel Road station, which will be located north west of Kew Bridge station. There are two level crossings close together on Bollo Lane. The other is on the North London line between South Acton and Gunnersbury. Additional trains crossing Bollo Lane would make the road unusable.
TfL is seeking ways of overcoming these challenges.

Next steps (as at 2019)

West London Orbital – next steps

Further reading

Dudding Hill line – Wikipedia

London Overground moves closer to building a West London extension

The new West London Orbital Rail line explained, on the website of Hendon & Finchley, Barnet & Potters Bar, and Edgware & Mill Hill Times (2018)

Progress continues on plans for the West London Orbital overground line, on Capital West London website (2018)

West London Orbital – Wikipedia

West London Orbital – Strategic Outline Business Case – Transport for London (pdf—2019)

West London Orbital Rail – Technical Analysis and Conclusions, produced by WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff for West London Alliance (2017—pdf)