The disused railway which has caught the imagination of rail enthusiasts has now been taken on by the Mayor of London - but what is the West London Orbital Rail line?

In order to understand the line now, which is as simple as a way to connect west and northwest London residents, it is important to consider its history and how the line is made up.

The Dudding Hill line was opened to passengers in 1875, but was used primarily as a freight line before then and a small goods yard was opened around Cricklewood.

The line ran from Brent, just south of Hendon, to Acton Wells where it joined the North and South Western Junction Railway, then the line was absorbed by the Midland Railway in the 1870s

Eventually a "Cricklewood curve" was built to allow the passenger service to run into Childs Hill and Cricklewood, but this was replaced by a shuttle service.

Once the passenger service was withdrawn less than 20 years later, stations along the line were not used and Dudding Hill station itself was demolished in the 1970s and 80s.

At present, the line is barely used, but only for freight trains when it is occasionally used.

It had maintenance take place on the tracks almost 10 years ago, and as the route is still authorised for passenger use, it has now been considered as part of the proposed West London Orbital Rail line.

The other proposed routes which will be taken and used for this line are the Hounslow loop, which was opened in 1850 and only used for freight services at present, and part of the the North London line, which is still used for passenger services overall.

The proposed line extension will join from Hendon in the north of London to Hounslow in the south, via West Hampstead, Acton and Kew.

The feasibility of the project was assessed in a study throughout 2017 by the West London Alliance, a partnership group between seven west London boroughs.

The study found it was technically feasible, and that the resulting travel times will be a massive improvement for those travelling around west London: the journey of the whole length of the line would take just 39 minutes, and a journey from Cricklewood to Acton would take only 16.5 minutes.

Benefits of the line increase when considering the interchange at Old Oak Common, which will provide interchange with the new HS2 and Crossrail once they are in place, and with large scale regeneration projects set for Brent Cross, the service will be available to many of the new residents in the area.