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Bromley station in 1961, with West Ham Power Station visible in the background. Attribution: Ben Brooksbank.

Westbound platform looking east with the former London, Tilbury and Southend Railway platforms on the right which closed in 1962. Author: Sunil060902.

Overview[]

LUL[]

  • This article is about the London Underground line. For a literal "district line", see: border. For the album by Bob Mould, see: District Line (album).

The District line is a London Underground line that runs from Upminster in the east to Earl's Court in west London, where it splits into a number of branches. One branch runs to Wimbledon in south-west London, one runs north to Edgware Road, and a short weekends-only branch runs one-stop to Kensington (Olympia). The main route continues west from Earl's Court to Turnham Green after which it divides again into two western branches to Richmond and Ealing Broadway.

Coloured green on the Tube map, the line serves 60 stations over 40 miles (64 km), and with bridges across the River Thames on the Wimbledon and Richmond branches it is the only Underground line to cross the river in this way. The track and stations between Barking and Aldgate East are shared with the Hammersmith & City line, and between Tower Hill and Gloucester Road and on the Edgware Road branch they are shared with the Circle line. Some of the stations between South Kensington and Ealing Common are shared with the Piccadilly line. Unlike London's deep-level lines, the railway tunnels are just below the surface, and the trains are of a similar size to those on British main lines.

The District line is the busiest of the sub-surface lines as well the fifth-busiest line overall on the Underground, with over 208 million passenger journeys recorded in 2011/12.

The original Metropolitan District Railway (as it was then called) opened in December 1868 from South Kensington to Westminster as part of a plan for a below-ground "inner circle" connecting London's main line termini. Services were operated at first using wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives. Electrification was financed by the American Charles Yerkes, and electric services began in 1905. In 1933 the railway was absorbed by the London Passenger Transport Board. In the first half of the 1930s the Piccadilly line took over the Uxbridge and Hounslow branches, although a peak-hour District line service ran on the Hounslow branch until 1964. Kensington (Olympia) has been served by the District line since 1946, and a short branch to South Acton closed in 1959 (it is now on London Overground). The trains carried guards until one-person operation was introduced in 1985.

The signalling system is being upgraded, and the previous D Stock trains were replaced by seven-car S Stock trains in 2017.

British Railways (BR)[]

In 1902 the Whitechapel and Bow Railway was constructed as a joint venture with the District Railway, connecting the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway at Bow with the District Railway at Whitechapel. The connection allowed through-running of District Railway trains from the tunnels under central London to provide local services to Upminster from 2 June 1902. When the Metropolitan, District and Whitechapel & Bow Railway lines were electrified, an additional pair of tracks was installed between Bow and East Ham and the service was cut back to there from 30 September 1905.

The electrified tracks were extended to Barking and that section opened on 1 April 1908. Delayed by World War I, the electric tracks were eventually extended to Upminster and District line services started to and from there on 12 September 1932.

By the 1930s electric tramways were taking a lot of traffic from the railway and proposals were drawn up to electrify the lines from Liverpool Street to Shenfield using the 1,500v DC system. By 1938 the major contracts were let and work started. Despite the commencement of World War 2 in 1939 work continued on the scheme but the scheme was postponed in late 1940. In February 1946 the LNER announced work would recommence. On 5 October 1946 the new interchange platforms with the Central Line were opened.

Central Line services started on 4 December 1946, extended from Liverpool Street station in new tunnels after being delayed due to the Second World War. The line was further extended to Leyton on 5 May 1947 and then to the former Great Eastern Railway branch lines to Epping, Ongar and Hainault progressively until 1957. Prior to this date trains to and from Epping and Ongar had used the currently numbered platforms 11 and 12 and diverged from the Broxbourne line about half a mile north of the station. Trains for the Hainault loop used either these platforms or the currently numbered platform 5 (up) or 8 (down) diverging from the Great Eastern Main Line at a junction between Ilford and Seven Kings which has since been redeveloped as part of the Ilford Carriage sheds.

The nationalisation of Britain's railways saw the operation of Stratford station pass to British Railways Eastern Region. The electric service to Shenfield was inaugurated on 26 September 1949 but services were run to steam timings with a number of steam trains still operating. The full electric service officially commenced on 7 November 1949 (although a full dummy run had taken place the previous day). Two days earlier services to Fenchurch Street via Bow Road were withdrawn.

The London Plan Working Party Report of 1949 envisaged as its Route G the LTSR electrified and diverted away from Fenchurch Street to Bank and onward through the Waterloo & City line tunnels to Waterloo and its suburban lines. Of course, the Waterloo & City tunnels would have had to be bored out to main-line size for this proposal to succeed. However, electrification went ahead from 1961 to 1962 under British Railways and direct passenger services from Bromley, Plaistow, Upton Park, East Ham, Becontree, Dagenham and Hornchurch to Fenchurch Street were withdrawn.

On 8 April 1953 a collision occurred in the Central Line tunnels just to the east of Stratford station.

In 1972 the British Railways Board (BRB) proposed to construct a 1-mile freight-only spur line from the railway at Bowers Gifford between Pitsea and Benfleet to East Haven creek and thence to the proposed oil refineries on Canvey Island, to allow petroleum products to be exported from the refineries. Once the layout of the proposed refineries had been established, in early 1974 the BRB sought powers to extend the spur line a further mile from the creek to the site of the refineries through the British Railways Bill 1974. The Bill was subject to considerable opposition in parliament, furthermore a public inquiry proposed to revoke planning permission for one of the refineries. The proposal was abandoned and the BRB removed the spur line proposal from the 1974 Bill.

In 1974 a station was opened to serve the new town of Basildon and in 1995 a station was built at Chafford Hundred to serve the new community there as well as Lakeside Shopping Centre. Platforms were re-established and opened at West Ham in 1999 to provide interchange with the extended Jubilee line.

The Docklands Light Railway opened on 31 August 1987 reusing redundant rail routes through the Bow and Poplar areas to reach the new Docklands developments on the Isle of Dogs. Initially the line used one of the south facing bays which had been built for the Fenchurch street via Bow Road service (but never used).

Stations involved[]

Bromley, Plaistow, Upton Park, East Ham, Becontree, Dagenham and Hornchurch.

The idea[]

The LUL line had extra capacity in the 1960s and could absorb the local stops and trains on the BR route from Fenchurch St. to Upminster. It would free up track for electrically powered semi-fast and fast trains.

Each station's story[]

Bromley by Bow[]

Bromley station in 1961, with West Ham Power Station visible in the background. Attribution: Ben Brooksbank.

Westbound platform looking east with the former London, Tilbury and Southend Railway platforms on the right which closed in 1962. Author: Sunil060902.

Electrification of the system followed in 1905. Delayed by World War I, electrified tracks were extended by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) to Upminster and through services fully resumed in 1932.

Westbound platform looking east with the former London, Tilbury and Southend Railway platforms on the right which closed in 1962.

Congestion of the railway through Bromley saw additional tracks provided in 1905. Two new Local Lines (which were the new electrified lines) were added on the north side of the station along with two new platform faces and improved passenger facilities. The new lines, which stretched as far as Abbey Mills Junction (where the North Woolwich trains diverged from the main line), opened on 1 August 1905.

In 1912 the LTSR was taken over by the Midland Railway, although on 1 January 1923 this was grouped into the London Midland & Scottish Railway. In 1927 the local lines were re-signalled with colour light signalling.

The District Railway was incorporated into London Transport in 1933, and became known as the District line. The Hammersmith & City line (then part of the Metropolitan line) started operating services through Bromley on 4 May 1936. The 1947 timetable shows only a few services a day provided by the LMS and a frequent service provided by the District and a peak hours service of the Metropolitan line (now part of the Hammersmith & City line). After nationalisation of the railways in 1948 management of the station passed to British Railways London Midland region although it was then transferred to the Eastern Region on 20 February 1949. The remaining Fenchurch Street–Southend services were withdrawn in 1962 when the main lines were electrified with 25kv overhead lines.

On 13 September 1959 the spur between Bromley and Bow (NLR) was closed and three years later in 1962, the goods yard closed. The station was renamed to Bromley-by-Bow in 1967, to prevent confusion with Bromley station in the London Borough of Bromley. The continued management of the station by an organisation now providing none of the services became more of an anomaly and in 1969 ownership transferred to the London Underground which came under the authority of the London Transport Executive of the Greater London Council. Another fire in February 1970 led to the demolition of the station buildings (dating from 1894) and a new modern booking office opened on 11 June 1972.

On 2 June 2008, an unexploded bomb from World War II was found near where the line crosses the Prescott Channel, not far from the station, causing disruption to trains.

Plaistow[]

Plaistow (/ˈplɑːstoʊ/ PLAHST-oh or /ˈplæstoʊ/ PLAST-oh) is a London Underground station on Plaistow Road in the London Borough of Newham in Greater London. It is between West Ham and Upton Park stations on the District and Hammersmith & City lines, and in Travelcard Zone 3.

The District Railway was incorporated into London Transport in 1933, and became known as the District line.

The 1947 timetable shows only a few services a day on the main lines and a frequent service provided by the District line. The remaining Fenchurch Street–Southend services were withdrawn in 1962 when the LT&SR route was electrified with overhead lines.

Ownership of the station passed to the Midland Railway in 1912 and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923. After nationalisation of the railways in 1948 management of the station passed to British Railways. In 1969 ownership was transferred to the London Underground.

Upton Park[]

Upton Park is a London Underground station on the District and Hammersmith and City lines, on Green Street in the Upton Park area of the London Borough of Newham, east London. It is in Zone 3.

The station was opened by the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LTSR) in 1877. District line service began in 1902, and the Hammersmith & City (at that time the Metropolitan line) followed in 1936. LTSR services were withdrawn in 1962. The station has two working platforms, one for each direction. Two other platforms used to serve the LTSR but are now disused.

Nowadays, the station serves Queens Road Market and Green Street.

East Ham[]

LTSR canopy support at East Ham tube station (no longer served by main line trains). Author: MRSC at English Wikipedia.

East Ham is a London Underground station on High Street North in the East Ham neighbourhood of the London Borough of Newham in east London, England. The station is on the District line and Hammersmith & City line. The station was opened in 1858 by the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway on a new more direct route from Fenchurch Street to Barking. The large Edwardian station building was constructed to accommodate the electric District Railway services on an additional set of tracks opened in 1905. It has high and growing usage for a suburban station with 13.1 million entries and exits in 2010. It is in London fares zones 3 and 4.

The District line was electrified in 1905 over a second pair of tracks, and the service was cut back from Upminster to East Ham; the station then served as the eastern terminus, where passengers transferred to steam trains, until 1908 when electrification was extended to Barking. In 1936 the Metropolitan line service was introduced. A short spur line to Woodgrange Park was opened in 1894 and was closed in 1958.

On 12 November 1959, a passenger train overran signals and was in a rear-end collision with another standing at the station. Thirteen people were injured.

The disused platforms of the Fenchurch Street to Southend services, withdrawn in 1962, are to the south of the current platforms. A disused bay platform on the northern side of the station, closed in 1958, connected to the Tottenham and Forest Gate Railway (now the Gospel Oak to Barking line) via a curve.

In 1988 the station, along with other stations beyond Aldgate East, was transferred to the new Hammersmith & City line. The station has two platforms, one for each direction. Much of the original Victorian station architecture has been retained and some restoration work was carried out during 2005.

Becontree[]

Becontree tube station former London, Tilbury & Southend line (now operated by c2c) platforms looking east. These closed in the 1960s. Author: Sunil060902.

Becontree is a London Underground station on Gale Street in the Becontree neighbourhood of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in northeast London, England. The station is on the District line, between Upney and Dagenham Heathway stations and is in Travelcard Zone 5. The station was originally opened as Gale Street Halt in 1926 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway on the existing route from Fenchurch Street to Southend. The station was renamed and completely rebuilt in 1932 with an additional pair of platforms to serve the electric District Railway local

The station has four platforms which two are used by the District line and another two are disused since the LT&S service was withdrawn in 1962. The single storey brick station buildings are of typical 1930s design which are also constructed at Dagenham East, Hornchurch and Upminster at the time. The station was refurbished by Metronet in 2006.

Dagenham East[]

Dagenham East is a London Underground station on the District line, located in the suburb of Dagenham, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The station is in Zone 5 and is located between Dagenham Heathway to the west and Elm Park to the east. The station has moderate usage for a suburban station, with approximately 2 million exits or entrances a year. The station was opened as a main line station in 1885 and was called Dagenham. The current station buildings date from the introduction of electric services in 1932 and of typical railway architectural style for the period, with little trace remaining of the station's Victorian origins. In 2006 the station was extensively refurbished by Metronet.

An additional station was opened at Heathway in 1932 and Dagenham East was renamed to its current name in 1949. The station was predominantly served by the electric London Underground services and the main line platforms were eventually decommissioned in 1962, when those lines were overhead electrified. After nationalisation of the railways in 1948 management of the station passed to British Railways and in 1969 ownership transferred to the London Underground.

Hornchurch[]

Hornchurch is a London Underground station on Station Lane in the southern part of the Hornchurch neighbourhood of the London Borough of Havering in northeast London, England. The station is on the District line and in London fare zone 6. The station was originally opened on 1 May 1885 by the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway on a new direct route from Fenchurch Street to Southend that avoided Tilbury. The station was completely rebuilt in 1932 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and an additional pair of platforms were constructed to serve the electric District Railway local service which was extended from Barking to Upminster. The Fenchurch Street–Southend service was withdrawn from Hornchurch and the original platforms have been abandoned since 1962. The single storey brick station building is of a common design also constructed at Becontree, Dagenham East and Upminster at the time. In 2011 the station had approximately 2 million entries and exits.

Upminster Bridge[]

The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway from Fenchurch Street and Barking was constructed through the Upminster Bridge area in 1885, with stations at Hornchurch and Upminster. The Whitechapel and Bow Railway opened in 1902 and allowed through services of the District Railway to operate to Upminster. The Metropolitan District converted to electric trains in 1905 and services were cut back to East Ham. Delayed by World War I, electrified tracks were extended by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway to Upminster and through services resumed in 1932. The District Railway was incorporated into London Transport in 1933, and became known as the District line.

The new tracks built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway allowed additional intermediate stations to be constructed on the local lines between 1932 and 1935. Increased local demand was caused by the expansion of the built up area of suburban London during the interwar period. The station at Upminster Bridge opened with platforms on the local electric lines on 17 December 1934. The station was operated by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway but was only served by District line trains. After nationalisation of the railways in 1948 management of the station passed to British Railways and in 1969 ownership transferred to the London Underground.

Upminster[]

The District Railway electric service extended eastward as far as Barking in 1908. Delayed by World War I, an additional pair of electrified tracks were extended by the LMSR and services of the District resumed to Upminster in 1932. The District Railway was incorporated into London Transport in 1933, and became known as the District line. A new station at Upminster Bridge on the District line became the next station to the west in 1934. After nationalisation of the railways in 1948, management of Upminster station passed to British Railways.

Stratford (on the Central Line)[]

A failed (broken down) British Rail Class 305 train (Class in service- 1959 to 2001) at platform 8 of Stratford station. In the background can be seen part of a London Transport Central Line 1962 stock tube train. The tracks in the foreground were (at the time) used by trains which did not call at Stratford. Author: SP Smiler.

A Thompson B1 4-6-0 passes Stratford station in April 1958. Author: Ben Brooksbank.

A new station at Upminster Bridge became the next station to the east in 1934 and Elm Park was added to the west in 1935. The 1947 timetable shows only a few services a day provided by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and a frequent service provided by the District.

After nationalisation of the railways in 1948 management of the station passed to British Railways. The remaining Fenchurch Street–Southend services were withdrawn in 1962 when the route was electrified with overhead lines. Barking station was reconfigured to provide cross-platform interchange between District line and Fenchurch Street services. The continued management of the station by an organisation now providing none of the services became more of an anomaly and in 1969 ownership transferred to the London Underground which came under the authority of the London Transport Executive of the Greater London Council.

The District Railway electric service extended eastward towards Hornchurch to Barking in 1908. Delayed by World War I, an additional pair of electrified fourth rail tracks were extended by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway to Upminster and services of the District resumed at Hornchurch in 1932. To coincide with the introduction of electric services, the station was rebuilt with two additional platforms and a new ticket office spanning the tracks facing onto Station Lane. The Metropolitan District Railway amalgamated with several other transport concerns to form London Transport in 1933, and became known as the District line. A new station at Upminster Bridge became the next station to the east in 1934 and Elm Park was added to the west in 1935. The 1947 timetable shows only a few services a day provided by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and a frequent service provided by the District.

Central Line services started on 4 December 1946, extended from Liverpool Street station in new tunnels after being delayed due to the Second World War. The line was further extended to Leyton on 5 May 1947 and then to the former Great Eastern Railway branch lines to Epping, Ongar and Hainault progressively until 1957. Prior to this date trains to and from Epping and Ongar had used the currently numbered platforms 11 and 12 and diverged from the Broxbourne line about half a mile north of the station. Trains for the Hainault loop used either these platforms or the currently numbered platform 5 (up) or 8 (down) diverging from the Great Eastern Main Line at a junction between Ilford and Seven Kings which has since been redeveloped as part of the Ilford Carriage sheds.

s saw the operation of Stratford station pass to British Railways Eastern Region. The electric service to Shenfield was inaugurated on 26 September 1949 but services were run to steam timings with a number of steam trains still operating. The full electric service officially commenced on 7 November 1949 (although a full dummy run had taken place the previous day). Two days earlier services to Fenchurch Street via Bow Road were withdrawn.

Electrification[]

Electrification of the District Line[]

The American businessman Charles Yerkes, who was later to form the Underground Electric Railways of London, financed the needed electrification of the railway and the first electric services ran from Ealing to South Harrow in 1903. Electric multiple-units were introduced on other services in 1905 and had become the norm by the mid 1930s. They used either 630v, 650v, 730v, 750v, 1,250v or 1,500v 3rd or 4th rail systems.

Electrification on the BR lines[]

  1. Electrification of the line and the connecting branches, under various system of traction current, took place in stages as follows:

November 1949[]

  1. Fenchurch Street to Bow Junction, electrified at 1.5 kV DC as part of the Great Eastern (Liverpool Street to Shenfield) electrification. Fenchurch Street Platforms 1 and 2 only and former slow (south) lines to Stepney East (now Limehouse) then to Bow Junction via Gas Factory Junction. It was abandoned before completion, later wired for emergency use.

November 1960[]

  1. Fenchurch Street to Bow Junction converted from 1.5 kV DC to 6.25 kV AC.

November 1961[]

  1. Fenchurch Street to Stepney East (now Limehouse), Fenchurch Street Platforms 3 and 4 and fast (north) lines, electrified at 6.25 kV AC,
  2. Gas Factory Junction to Barking, electrified at 6.25 kV AC,
  3. Forest Gate Junction to Barking (except Platform 1), electrified at 6.25 kV AC,
  4. Barking to Southend Central via Upminster, electrified at 25 kV AC,
  5. Barking to Pitsea via Tilbury, electrified at 25 kV AC,
  6. Upminster to Grays, electrified at 25 kV AC,
  7. Southend Central to Shoeburyness, electrified at 6.25 kV AC.

In 1984[]

  1. Fenchurch Street to Barking, converted from 6.25 kV AC to 25 kV AC,
  2. Gas Factory Junction to Bow Junction, converted from 6.25 kV AC to 25 kV AC,
  3. Forest Gate Junction to Barking, converted from 6.25 kV AC to 25 kV AC,
  4. Southend Central to Shoeburyness, converted from 6.25 kV AC to 25 kV AC. 

In 2017[]

  1. Barking Station Junction to Barking Station Platform 1, electrified at 25 kV AC.

Electrification at Stratford in general[]

All lines at Stratford are electrified, although a few passenger and freight services which pass through this station are hauled by diesel locomotives. At one time there were four different systems of electrification in use, a record for any station in London. However, since the diversion of the North London Line from the low-level to the new high-level platforms these trains have changed the electrical system they use while at this station. The remaining systems used are:

  1. 25 kV 50 Hz overhead on Network Rail lines (high level)
  2. 630 V DC fourth rail on London Underground Central and Jubilee lines
  3. 750 V DC bottom-contact conductor rail on Docklands Light Railway

Since April 2009, 750 V DC third rail is no longer used at this station. This was used for the London Overground (low level) North London Line services.

  1. In 1949 the Great Eastern Main Line through Stratford was electrified at 1500 V DC overhead before being converted to 6.25 kV AC 50 Hz overhead in 1960 and converted again to 25 kV in about 1976.[40]

Also see[]

  1. Trains and trams
  2. UK railways- 1945 to 1985
  3. Low Street railway station (Essex)
  4. Acton Town to South Acton Tube Line
  5. Notable UK railway lines 1945 to 1990
  6. "London's Burning" (the political epithet, not the UK TV show)

Sources[]

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London,_Tilbury_and_Southend_Railway
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hornchurch_tube_station
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagenham_East_tube_station
  4. http://www.fdal.co.uk/r_station_numbers.html
  5. http://www.fdal.co.uk/r_station_numbers.html
  6. https://web.archive.org/web/20140116100838/http://www.timetableworld.com/image_viewer.php?id=7&section_id=1584
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_for_London
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagenham_East_tube_station
  9. http://www.lurs.org.uk/documents/pdf%2007/july/STATION%20REFURBISHMENT%20SUMMARY%20JULY.pdf
  10. http://www.newhamstory.co.uk/node/1674
  11. https://web.archive.org/web/20140116100838/http://www.timetableworld.com/image_viewer.php?id=7&section_id=1584
  12. https://archive.is/20120730214030/http://www.fdal.co.uk/r_station_numbers.html
  13. http://www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk/4-heritage/local-history/information-sheets/pdf/info-sheet-10.pdf
  14. https://tfl.gov.uk/tube/route/district/
  15. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_line
  16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7432348.stm
  17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7432348.stm
  18. http://www.davros.org/rail/culg/district.html
  19. https://web.archive.org/web/20140116100838/http://www.timetableworld.com/image_viewer.php?id=7&section_id=1584
  20. https://web.archive.org/web/20130315033342/http://newhamstory.com/node/1674
  21. http://www.timetableworld.com/image_viewer.php?id=7&section_id=1584
  22. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaistow_tube_station
  23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Becontree_tube_station
  24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upton_Park_tube_station
  25. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upton_Park_tube_station
  26. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromley-by-Bow_tube_station
  27. http://www.timetableworld.com/image_viewer.php?id=7&section_id=1584
  28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaistow_tube_station
  29. https://londonpostcodewalks.wordpress.com/tag/plaistow/
  30. http://lostbritain.uk/site/st-marys-tube-station/
  31. https://www.lbbd.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Infosheet10-LTS-railway.pdf
  32. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London,_Tilbury_and_Southend_Railway
  33. http://www.britishpathe.com/video/tube-train-crash-stratford
  34. http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/MoT_Stratford1953.pdf
  35. http://www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk/4-heritage/local-history/information-sheets/pdf/info-sheet-10.pdf
  36. http://www.davros.org/rail/culg/district.html
  37. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upminster_Bridge_tube_station
  38. http://www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk/4-heritage/local-history/information-sheets/pdf/info-sheet-10.pdf
  39. http://www.fdal.co.uk/r_station_numbers.html
  40. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upminster_station
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