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Roding Valley. The least used tube station of all! And here are the little bits Geoff missed out… As I predicted in my earlier post Roding Valley was undoubtedly going to be the number one least used tube station, and as widely expected, it made the grade. Very few use the station as Geoff pointed out, just over a thousand a day, the peak periods seeing the bulk of the entire days’ passengers. As I have personally seen there’s probably just one or two passengers for each train during the day times. Some trains there’s nobody getting on or off!

The tube line was actually opened in 1903 by the Great Eastern Railway however it wasn’t until 1938 that the GE’s successor the LNER, opened a halt here. It soon got taken over by the Underground. And the reason its called Roding Valley? There’s a river which the Central Line passes across on a small viaduct.

So far so good.

Its then mentioned that when people think about viaducts on the tube the one at Dollis Brook is invariably the one that comes to mind but Geoff tells us the ‘Central Line has got its own little viaduct here too over the River Roding.’

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Apparently as Geoff implies, this is seemingly the Central Line’s only viaduct. It isn’t!

UPDATE: I wasn’t able to say exactly all of what Geoff said as the subtitles were as usual jinxed. However the following tweet confirms Geoff had said Dollis Hill viaduct (I had thought that but could not confirm due to crappy subtitles, especially when I know its Dollis Brook.)

The information given in the video re viaducts is a little misleading. That at Roding Valley might be the Central Line’s only viaduct over a river in Essex (Geoff didn’t tell you that either did he…?) but well before now there was also a seven arch viaduct over the Cripsey Brook on the Ongar line. Since that route no longer belongs to the tube system, it can be heavily discounted.

Thankfully there there are other viaducts elsewhere on the Central line. The West Ruislip branch has a good number of these. In fact there’s a distant twin of the Roding Valley viaduct over the River Brent near Alperton adjacent to the A40 Westway! Same number of arches and similar vintage.

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The one over the River Brent! That which carries the tube is the further of the two. Source: Google Streets

This viaduct was originally Great Western built (c1904) for its Greenford branch (via North Acton) but later taken over by the London Passenger Transport Board .

There are other viaducts on the West Ruislip branch too including these delightful concrete ones which were actually built by the London Passenger Transport Board in the late 1940s as part of the upgrade works to convert the West Ruislip branch for its tube trains.

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One of the Greenford viaducts – complete with semaphore signals sited on the High Wycombe line. Source: Google Streets

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The better of the Greenford viaducts. Lovely concrete rendering! Source: Google Streets

There’s a good example of yet another concrete Central Line viaduct at Ruislip Gardens station, alongside West End Road.

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The one by Ruislip Gardens station. Source: Google Streets

As far as buses go, the 549 mentioned in geoff’s video is indeed one of London’s rarer used services, but if we go back to the Brent viaduct at Alperton, there are loads of buses which can be seen. In fact practically no passengers will ever be seen on these buses – so these can wryly be said to be even more rarely in service than the 549!

The secret? These buses are actually parked up at Perivale garage right alongside the Central Line lol!

There’s just one more thing from Geoff’s video that needs elaborating upon. This was the final segment of the video showing a bar graph of the tube’s least used stations from Blackhorse Road (at bottom) to Roding Valley at the top.

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Blackhorse Road (bottom) and Roding Valley top in this graphic from Geoff’s video.

The fantastic thing about this graph is both those stations (bottom and top) are also London’s least served ‘Victoria Line’ first generation ATO train stations! Yes you read that right. Automatic tube train stations!

The Hainault loop was the experimental test bed for the new Victoria Line ATO trains and services began on 5th April 1964 using initially specially adapted 1960 tube stock. 1967 tube stock was later used when these became available. As mentioned elsewhere, I remember riding the 1967 tube stock on the Hainault loop long before the Victoria Line had opened.

Roding Valley’s train services were operated by Victoria Line trains for maybe five years or so, thus the 1967 tube stock has the great and dubious honour of being the only tube trains to serve the bottom most and the top most stations in the current least used tube stations list!

The last 1967 tube stock to serve Roding Valley and the Hainault loop was 1970 or soon after (picture here of one serving Roding Valley in May 1970.) Thereafter the Hainault loop reverted to normal tube train operation and Roding Valley lost its ATO services.

Geoff’s least used tube station video – Roding Valley