Custom House for ExCeL DLR station

Custom House for ExCeL is a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and future Elizabeth line station in Custom House, Canning Town in London, England. It is by the Royal Docks in London Borough of Newham. It is situated in Travelcard Zone 3. It takes its name from the old Custom House, which formerly stood nearby, and ExCeL London which it serves.

Custom House for ExCeL Docklands Light Railway
Custom House stn entrance.JPG
The station entrance in 2008
Custom House for ExCeL is located in Greater London
Custom House for ExCeL
Custom House for ExCeL
Location of Custom House for ExCeL in Greater London
LocationCustom House, Canning Town
Local authorityLondon Borough of Newham
Managed byDocklands Light Railway
OwnerTransport for London
Station codeCUS
Number of platforms2
Fare zone3
DLR annual boardings and alightings
2012Increase 4.067 million[2]
2013Decrease 3.369 million[3]
2014Increase 3.849 million[3]
2015Increase 4.063 million[3]
2016Decrease 3.383 million[4]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2005–06Increase 66,184[5]
2006–07Increase 335,689[5]
Key dates
26 November 1855Opened
28 March 1994DLR service added
9 December 2006North London Line service withdrawn
2021Due to open (Crossrail)
Other information
External links
WGS8451°30′35″N 0°01′33″E / 51.509639°N 0.025894°E / 51.509639; 0.025894Coordinates: 51°30′35″N 0°01′33″E / 51.509639°N 0.025894°E / 51.509639; 0.025894
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal

It is adjacent to the site of an older Custom House station built by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1855 and closed in 2006. A new Crossrail station is being built on that site, due to open in 2021. As a result of the Crossrail development, the Custom House DLR station was closed from February 2017 until 7 January 2018.


The original Custom House station was opened in 1855, by the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) on the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway (ECTJR) line which was built to link the Eastern Counties Railway at Stratford with the developing London docks of the mid-nineteenth century. The ECTJR was formally absorbed by the ECR in 1847.

By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the ECR; they wished to amalgamate formally, but could not obtain government agreement for this until 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway was formed by amalgamation. Thus Custom House became a GER station in 1862.[6]

On 14 October 1872 a branch to Beckton Gas Works opened to freight, the line diverging just to the east of the station. Passenger services commenced 17 March 1874[7] generally running from Stratford (Low Level platforms) or Stratford Market stations.[8]

On 3 August 1880 the branch to Gallions was opened by the St Katherine's and London Docks Company although initially trains terminated at Central before being extended to Gallions in November of that year. The dock company acquired three former London & North Western Railway 2-4-0T locomotives to operate a shuttle service between Custom House and Gallions.[9]

The station was situated between housing to the north and exchange sidings for the dock system to the south (which opened in 1877). It was rebuilt in 1891 and was a three platform affair with a bay platform at the east end for Gallions Branch services. The station building was on the north side of the line and linked to the southbound platform by a footbridge. There was a shelter on the up platform and a signal box at the east end of the station.[10]

Following the Railway Grouping of 1923 Custom House station became part of the London & North Eastern Railway.

During the Second World War the station was bombed in the London Blitz on 7 September 1940.[11] The Gallions and Beckton branches were also heavily bombed and the passenger service was withdrawn at this time.[12]

Following nationalisation in 1948 Custom House became part of British Railways (Eastern Region). Passenger numbers fell during the 1950s and 1960s as the docks declined and car ownership grew. Eventually the service was reduced to a shuttle between Stratford (Low Level) platforms and North Woolwich generally operated by two car DMUs.[13]

In 1969 the station building was demolished and replaced by a shelter.[14]

In 1973 a government report on the redevelopment of London's Docklands proposed an extension of the unbuilt Fleet line from Charing Cross via Fenchurch Street to Beckton, with stations on each side at North Greenwich and Beckton. The proposal was developed during the 1970s as the Fleet line developed into the Jubilee line. The route was approved in 1980 with the main route running via Silvertown to Woolwich Arsenal and the Beckton route planned to operate as a shuttle service from Customs House. Financial constraints meant that the route was not proceeded with.[15] By the start of the 1990s new plans had been developed to extend the Jubilee line on a route south of the River Thames towards Stratford.

In 1978 it was announced a new service would be operated linking North Woolwich, Custom House and Stratford to Camden and this commenced on 14 May 1979. The line was electrified by British Rail in 1985 and this allowed through running from Richmond to North Woolwich.

In 1986 the line became part of Network SouthEast.[16]

Following privatisation of the railways in 1994 the track through Custom House became the responsibility of Railtrack whilst train operations became the part of North London Railways (part of National Express) on 3 March 1997. This company was re-branded as Silverlink in September of that year.

The adjacent Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station opened on 28 March 1994 as part of the extension to Beckton.

In 2002 following financial difficulties at Railtrack, Network Rail took over responsibility for the operation of the infrastructure around the station.

The original Custom House station was closed on Saturday 9 December 2006 along with Silvertown and North Woolwich. The area was by now well served by the Docklands Light Railway and this was also due to take over the track bed of the old ECTJR up to Stratford railway station.

Custom House Engine ShedEdit

This engine shed was located to the east of the station and on the south side of the line. The three track engine shed was built in 1881 by the London and St Katherine Docks Company after a fire had destroyed an earlier wooden structure.[17]

Early locomotives tended to be a series of second hand locomotives including some from the London and North Western Railway which tended to work passenger services on the Gallions branch and would have been seen at the GER station.

The main duties undertaken by the shed's locomotives were shunting the various sidings, wharves and factories around the Victoria and Albert docks.

In 1889 the shed passed to the London and India Docks Joint Committee following the merger of some of the dock companies. The dock company's locomotives stopped working passenger services on the Gallions Branch from 1903 and services were then worked by the GER although occasionally Custom House locomotives did help out.[18] Six years later in 1909 the remaining dock companies were all merged under the umbrella of the Port of London Authority who became responsible for the operation of the shed and rail network in the docks.

From time to time shunting locomotives from the Great Eastern (later LNER and British Railway) shed as Stratford were hired in to cover shortages.

By the mid-1920s the locomotive stock allocated to Custom House consisted of:

The first diesel engines (from the Yorkshire Engine Company) appeared in 1959 and a handful of steam engines were retained until 1963 (mainly for the banana traffic).[a] The reign of the diesels was short lived as the docks were in rapid decline and on 1 May 1970 the PLA system and Custom House shed closed.[20]



It is linked to the main entrance of the ExCeL Exhibition Centre by an overhead walkway, which also connects to the Royal Victoria Dock Bridge, spanning the Royal Victoria Dock to its southern side.


It is the principal public transport access to the ExCeL Exhibition Centre and its adjacent complex of hotels, restaurants and bars.


London Buses routes 147, 241, 325 and 678 and night route N551 serve the station.


Crossrail's Abbey Wood branch will have a station at Custom House, located on the site of the former station.[21]


  1. ^ The bananas were ripened en route by means of heating pipes in the vans, fed by steam from the locomotive.


  1. ^ "Step free Tube Guide" (PDF). Transport for London. April 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 May 2021.
  2. ^ Transport for London (12 February 2013). "Freedom of Information DLR usage 1213". Transport for London. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Up-to-date DLR entry/exit statistics for each station" (XLSX). What Do They Know. Transport for London. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Passenger Numbers - Docklands Light Railway Limited" (XLSX (after downloading zip)). What Do They Know. Transport for London. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "Estimates of station usage". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  6. ^ Vaughan, Adrian (1997). Railwaymen, Politics and Money. London: John Murray. pp. 134, 135. ISBN 0-7195-5150-1.
  7. ^ Chronology of London Railways by H.V.Borley
  8. ^ Jackson, Alan.A (199). London's lost railways (Second ed.). Harrow Weald UK: Capital Transport Publishing. p. 444. ISBN 1-85414-209-7.
  9. ^ Connor, J E (March 2001). Branch lines around North Woolwich. Midhurst, UK: Middleton Press. p. vii. ISBN 1-901706-65-6.
  10. ^ Connor, J E (2001). Branch Lines around North Woolwich. Midhurst UK: Middleton Press. pp. 58, 6. ISBN 1-901706-65-6.
  11. ^ Connor, J E (2001). Branch Lines around North Woolwich. Midhurst UK: Middleton Press. p. 59. ISBN 1-901706-65-6.
  12. ^ Jackson, Alan.A (199). London's lost railways (Second ed.). Harrow Weald UK: Capital Transport Publishing. p. 445. ISBN 1-85414-209-7.
  13. ^ Connor, J E (2001). Branch Lines around North Woolwich. Midhurst UK: Middleton Press. p. v. ISBN 1-901706-65-6.
  14. ^ Connor, J E (2001). Branch Lines around North Woolwich. Midhurst UK: Middleton Press. p. 63. ISBN 1-901706-65-6.
  15. ^ Horne, Mike (2000). The Jubilee Line. Capital Transport. pp. 50–52. ISBN 1-85414-220-8.
  16. ^ Connor, J E (2001). Branch Lines around North Woolwich. Midhurst UK: Middleton Press. p. vi. ISBN 1-901706-65-6.
  17. ^ Marden, Dave (2013). London's Dock Railways Part 2. Southampton UK: Kestrel Railway Books. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-905505-28-9.
  18. ^ Marden, Dave (2013). London's Dock Railways Part 2. Southampton UK: Kestrel Railway Books. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-905505-28-9.
  19. ^ Marden, Dave (2013). London's Dock Railways Part 2. Southampton UK: Kestrel Railway Books. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-905505-28-9.
  20. ^ Marden, Dave (2013). London's Dock Railways Part 2. Southampton UK: Kestrel Railway Books. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-905505-28-9.
  21. ^[bare URL]

External linksEdit

Preceding station     DLR   Following station
towards Bank or Tower Gateway
Docklands Light Railway
towards Beckton
  Future development  
Preceding station       Crossrail   Following station
Elizabeth line
towards Abbey Wood
Disused railways
Canning Town   Silverlink
North London Line
Terminus   London & St. Katharine Docks Company
Gallions Branch
  Connaught Road
  Abandoned Plans  
Preceding station     London Underground   Following station
towards Stanmore
Jubilee line
Phase 3 (1980) (never constructed)