07 January 2007

Derelict London - Feltham Marshalling Yards

Derelict London, originally uploaded by botogol.
Paul Talling's Derelict London site is intriguing and fascinating: an photographic record of derelict sites all over London including swimming pools, pubs, abandoned stations

Inspired by that site, here's a collection of photographs taken in the old Feltham Marshalling Yards, just adjacent to Hounslow Heath.

The old sidings and sheds were closed down in (I think) the 1960s and for a long time the area was fenced off and inaccessible to the public. Then two years or so ago the owners yielded to pressure to allow access to this large piece of land, and perhaps eventually to re-connect the divided sections of the River Crane walk (part of the London Loop) and opened up a gap or two in the fence.

To tell the truth, 'Opened Up' is a bit of an exaggeration: the fence has prised open leaving a small gap, the steel doors to a tunnel wrenched off their hinges and discarded on the ground nearby. Anyway.

Once the area bustled with trains and workmen. There was a scrap yard that contained old aeroplanes. All that's gone now, and the area is ghostly and still.

Abandoned cars are scattered around, one half-buried so that you can ride your bike over the top. A tunnel under a long-gone piece of railway-track leads to nowhere. An underground water main (path clearly visible on the satellite picture) runs from from SW to NE that many years ago used to take water from Kempton to Cricklewood, and if you look you'll find an old pumping station / access shaft.

Not many people visit: dog walkers, motorcyclists scrambling on the cinder paths, the occasional geocacher, ramblers and mountain bikers following the path of the Crane.

Once a greyhound came out of nowhere, galloped past me with a bark and disappeared into the scrub. I never saw an owner.


Unknown said...

I actually stumbled upon this while trying to work out what that line to the NE was. I followed it as far as Neasden. During my searches, I saw mention of old freight trains running from Feltham yard to Neasden, but absolutely no mention of tracks ever being along this curious line. I will now see what I can find on an underground river, but I can rule out Longford River. That's technically a canal, as it was constructed to divert water from the Colne to Hampton Court.


Botogol said...

Hi Paul,
I think this underground river/canal runs from the Brent reservoir to Thames at Hampton Court - see this map where I have traced the route

I suspect it is part of of a wider scheme and water in this waterway feeds to/from the Longford, or the Duke of Northumberland's River

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting and am intending to visit - have looked at the maps, but could you please tell me what road you can access the site from?

Botogol said...

This year - 2010 - I found out the truth of the underground 'river' - it is a water main that carried water from Kempton Park to Cricklewood. It's clearly visible in satellite pics (and passes some landmarks eg right along the front of the Hoover Building). Here it is traced on a map