The Great Eastern Section of the LNER in WW2
The first V1 "Flying Bombs" fell on East London on 13 June 1944, causing damage to Grove Road bridge at the London end of Coborn Road station. The photograph shows the first passenger train to pass over the rebuilt bridge on the down local line at 9.27pm on 14 June 1944, hauled by Class B-12/3 4-6-0 7488 (later 8574, (6)1574). [Note this photograph has often been described as showing Coborn Road bridge, but this appears to be a long-standing error]
Photograph: GERS Collection/RC Riley Donation
Extract from "The Railway Gazette" (22 September 1944)
Rapid L.N.E.R. Bridge Repair
The first flying bomb to reach the London area badly damaged a bridge at Grove Road, Bow, carrying the four tracks of the L.N.E.R. between Liverpool Street and Stratford in the early hours of June 13. The damage included the complete demolition of the northern half of the bridge carrying the up and down fast lines and the severance of the southern half carrying the up and down local lines. The work of repair was begun at 9.30am., as soon as Air Ministry and other officials had completed their examination of the damage. The steel flooring was removed with the aid of oxyacetylene flames and rolled-steel joists (kept at strategic points for emergencies of this kind) were then placed in position. Timber trestles were provided under these to reduce the span; one was placed on each side of the roadway near the pavement, so as to cause as little obstruction as possible. By 7.45pm on the day after the damage, the work of restoring the northern side was completed. The first train to cross was the 9.5pm from Liverpool Street. The remainder of the bridge was then dealt with similarly and replaced by joists supported on trestles, but this was accomplished without interference with the traffic that had been resumed over the northern half. By 7pm on Friday June 16, the work of restoration was complete and all four tracks had been brought into use. Apart from the damage to the bridge, tracks had been torn up and distorted and seven cables and numerous wires across the bridge, and a power cable below, were severed. Temporary cables were installed and other arrangements made so that full communication was restored by 5pm on the first day. In addition L.N.E.R. electrical engineers repaired the power cable, enabling London Transport trolley-bus services to be resumed first thing on Saturday morning. The damage necessitated extensive train diversions. Main-line trains normally using the bridge were run via Cambridge to and from Liverpool Street and other trains were either terminated at or started from Stratford, or were diverted to run to and from Fenchurch Street; certain trains were also run via Tottenham and Stratford. When the northern half of the bridge was replaced, it was possible to resume normal mainline services and also the suburban services to and from Ilford, Shenfield, Chelmsford and Southend, although some continued to use Fenchurch Street to ease the pressure. For the latter reason it was necessary to run the Loughton service to and from Stratford until the bridge was completely restored.