Green Street history   

by Tony Wilkins

The history of Green Street is closely linked to that of the Brimsdown area of the Lea Valley line on the former Great Eastern section of the Eastern region of British Railways. The Lea Valley line was a very busy section of track supplying as it did the many industries at its southern end with transport for their raw materials and finished goods, a heavy coal traffic, and also a fair amount of commuter traffic, morning and evening.

Conceived originally as a minimum space layout, i.e. as much track as could be fitted into the space available, the concept developed into a busy terminus at the end of a short branch somewhere off the Great Eastern main line, built to serve a rapidly growing community and the industrial centre, which rapidly took over from the rural traffic of the 19th century. The first station dates back to 1884 which just happens to be when Brimsdown station was built and explains why the station buildings are identical; the builders used the same plans for both to save money. It was extensively remodelled in the early 1930's, when an electricity generating station was built on the site of the redundant cattle market, goods yard, engine shed and a large amount of previously unused land between these and the river Lea. To compensate for these losses a new engine shed was constructed at the junction and platform 3 was shortened and converted to a covered goods platform, to cater for the growing amount of traffic now arriving in covered vans. The rather cramped goods yard with only two sidings is explained by the already extant industrial site on this side of the line and the limited amount of traffic expected to be handled by the yard, a decision which can cause not a little fun and games during some of the shunting moves.

Modelled as it might have been in the mid 1960's, when there was still a considerable wagon load tonnage being handled by the local yards, although not as much as there would have been in previous years, but well before the rot set in and the local yards all closed, Green Street attempts to capture the atmosphere of that time of perhaps unparalleled change, when railways were still interesting to watch and observers were plentiful.

© Tony Wilkins