|London, Tilbury and Southend Railway|
|Termini||London Fenchurch Street|
|Type||Commuter rail, heavy rail|
|Rolling stock||Class 357 |
|Line length||39 miles 40 chains (63.6 km)|
(main line via Basildon)
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||25 kV AC|
|Operating speed||75 mph (121 km/h)|
The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LTSR), also known as Essex Thameside, is a commuter railway line on the British railway system. It connects Fenchurch Street station, in central London, with destinations in east London and Essex, including Barking, Upminster, Basildon, Grays, Tilbury, Southend and Shoeburyness.
Its main users are commuters travelling to and from London, particularly the City of London which is served by Fenchurch Street, and areas in east London including the Docklands financial district via London Underground and Docklands Light Railway connections at Limehouse and West Ham. The line is also heavily used by leisure travellers, as it and its branches serve a number of seaside resorts, shopping areas and countryside destinations. Additionally, the route provides an artery for freight traffic to and from the port of Tilbury, Dagenham Dock and London Gateway Port near Stanford-Le-Hope.
The railway was authorised in 1852 and the first section was opened in 1854 by the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway Company, which was a joint venture between the London and Blackwall Railway and the Eastern Counties Railway companies. The route was extended in phases and partnerships were formed with the Midland Railway and District Railway to provide through-services.
The railway serves three main routes. The main line runs from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Basildon over a distance of 39 miles 40 chains (63.6 km). A loop line between Barking and Pitsea provides an alternative route via Rainham (Essex), Grays and Tilbury. Finally, there is a short branch line connecting the main line at Upminster with the loop line at Grays via Ockendon. The line has a maximum speed limit of 75 mph (121 km/h), although the Class 357 and Class 387 electric trains which run on it are capable of speeds of 100 mph (161 km/h) and 110 mph (177 km/h) respectively.
The line forms part of Network Rail's strategic route 6. It is classified as a London and South East commuter line. Passenger services form the Essex Thameside franchise that is currently operated by train operating company c2c.
The construction of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line was authorised by Parliament on 17 June 1852. The first section, built by Peto and Grissell, was opened between Forest Gate Junction on the Eastern Counties Railway line and Tilbury, via Barking and Grays on 13 April 1854. Services initially ran from Fenchurch Street and Bishopsgate stations over existing lines to Stratford and Forest Gate Junction. Further extensions opened in late 1854 to Horndon, to Leigh-on-Sea on 1 July 1855 and finally to Southend on 1 March 1856.
In 1858 a more direct route from Barking to London was constructed through Bromley, Plaistow and East Ham, connecting with the London and Blackwall Extension Railway at Bow, and the service from Bishopsgate was withdrawn. Under the management of civil engineer Arthur Lewis Stride, the line was extended from Southend to Shoeburyness in 1884. A more direct route from Barking to Pitsea via Upminster was built between 1885 and 1888, completing the current main route. A single-track branch was constructed between Romford and Grays via Upminster in 1892–93.
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.
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. With the completion of electrification the remaining through steam services from St Pancras to LTSR destinations were removed.
The line was re-signalled between 1958 and 1961, starting in the Barking area in April 1958 and completed in August 1961 with the section between Purfleet and West Thurrock junction. Semaphore signals were replaced with 3- and 4-aspect searchlight signals.
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.
|Station||Location (miles & chains from Fenchurch Street station)||Date Opened||Date Closed||Notes|
|Minories||c. 0.18||6 July 1840||24 October 1853||Original terminus of London and Blackwall Railway|
|Leman Street||c. 0.40||1 June 1877||7 July 1941|
|Cannon Street Road||c. 0.60||21 August 1842||December 1848|
|Shadwell||c. 1.10||1 October 1840||7 July 1941||DLR station opened 31 August 1987|
|Burdett Road||c. 2.26||11 September 1871||21 April 1944|
|Bromley-by-Bow||3. 18||31 March 1858||15 June 1962||LUL platforms remain in use|
|Plaistow||4. 45||31 March 1858||15 June 1962||LUL platforms remain in use|
|Upton Park||5.28||1 September 1877||15 June 1962||LUL platforms remain in use|
|East Ham||6.18||31 March 1858||15 June 1962||LUL platforms remain in use|
|Becontree||9. 48||28 June 1926||15 June 1962||LUL platforms remain in use|
|Dagenham East||11.25||1 May 1885||15 June 1962||LUL platforms remain in use|
|Hornchurch||13.56||1 May 1885||15 June 1962||LUL platforms remain in use|
|Leigh-on-Sea (original site)||c. 33.0||1 July 1855||31 December 1933|
|Purfleet Rifle Range Halt||About ¾ mile north west of Purfleet station||October 1921||31 May 1948|
|Tilbury Riverside||22.45||13 April 1854||30 November 1992|
|Tilbury Marine||15 May 1927||1 May 1932|
|Low Street||24.16||July 1861||5 June 1967|
Electrification of the line and the connecting branches, under various system of traction current, took place in stages as follows:
- 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. Abandoned before completion, later wired for emergency use.
- Fenchurch Street to Stepney East (now Limehouse), Fenchurch Street Platforms 3 and 4 and fast (north) lines, electrified at 6.25 kV AC,
- Gas Factory Junction to Barking, electrified at 6.25 kV AC,
- Forest Gate Junction to Barking (except Platform 1), electrified at 6.25 kV AC,
- Barking to Southend Central via Upminster, electrified at 25 kV AC,
- Barking to Pitsea via Tilbury, electrified at 25 kV AC,
- Upminster to Grays, electrified at 25 kV AC,
- Southend Central to Shoeburyness, electrified at 6.25 kV AC.
- Fenchurch Street to Barking, converted from 6.25 kV AC to 25 kV AC,
- Gas Factory Junction to Bow Junction, converted from 6.25 kV AC to 25 kV AC,
- Forest Gate Junction to Barking, converted from 6.25 kV AC to 25 kV AC,
- Southend Central to Shoeburyness, converted from 6.25 kV AC to 25 kV AC.
- Barking Station Junction to Barking Station Platform 1, electrified at 25 kV AC.
Ownership and management
The railway was initially jointly promoted by the Eastern Counties Railway and London and Blackwall Railway and was leased for 21 years to Peto, Brassey and Betts. The lease expired in 1875, leaving the LTSR to take over operation itself. The Midland Railway and LTSR jointly constructed the Tottenham and Forest Gate Railway, which enabled through-running of trains between St. Pancras and the Tilbury docks from 1894 and Southend from 1895. In 1912 the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway was vested in the Midland Railway following an Act of 7 August 1912, though Midland did not assume full control until 1 October 1920. Upon company grouping in 1923, the line became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. That organisation was nationalised into British Railways in 1948, the line becoming part of the London Midland Region, however, in 1949 the LTSR line became part of the Eastern Region of British Railways. The line was electrified in the late 1950s. In 1986 the route was transferred to the Network SouthEast sector of British Rail. During this period, it was known as Network SouthEast's "misery line". On privatisation in 1996, ownership passed to Railtrack and Prism Rail took over operations of the franchise, marketing the route as LTS Rail. Ownership passed to Network Rail in 2002. Prism Rail were bought out by National Express in 2000 and in 2002 the line was rebranded as c2c.
There were three engine sheds on the route, at Plaistow (which was also the location of the works), Tilbury and Shoeburyness. Shoeburyness replaced an engine shed at Southend Central when the line was extended in early 1884.
After electrification in 1962 most services were operated by British Railways Class 302 electric multiple units (EMUs), which were withdrawn in 1998, leaving Class 310s, Class 312s and some loaned Class 317s in service until they were replaced by Class 357 EMUs. These are stabled at Shoeburyness and East Ham depots, where they are also maintained. There are now six Class 387 that are used at peak times to increase capacity.
During the early 1990s proposals were put forward to convert the whole route into a guided busway, however these plans were quickly dismissed when British Rail announced a complete re-signalling of the line. Over the years the line had been used in an almost experimental fashion and contained a host of different signalling systems, such as geographical, WESTPAC and relay interlockings. In 1995 work began to replace everything from signals and point machines to whole junctions.
The main contractor for the work was GEC Alsthom which provided a Mark 3 Solid State Interlocking (SSI) system, with SEMA providing the IECC element at Upminster that replaced all signal boxes on the whole line. Main line running signals mostly became four-aspect colour lights (replacing searchlight signals amongst others), all point machines were replaced with HW2000 machines and the whole line had a complete fibre optic network installed. All level crossings were renewed with automatic barriers to be CCTV-controlled by a designated workstation at Upminster.
The main line between East Ham and Shoeburyness was also bi-directionally signalled (with three-aspect signalling) along most parts, with the bi-directional section alternating from one track to the other between certain stations, to provide maximum flexibility for continuing operations should disruption occur.
The line was re-signalled over the Easter weekend of 1996 when all the signal boxes from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness (via Basildon) were switched out and control was transferred to Upminster IECC. This was later followed over the 1996 August bank holiday when Upminster took control from the remaining boxes on the Tilbury Loop.
|Station||Local authority||London fare zone||Usagea||Openedb||Service frequencyc||Interchange/notes|
|London Fenchurch Street||City of London||1||18.399||1854||8 tph||London Underground (Circle and District lines, from Tower Hill); Docklands Light Railway (from Tower Gateway)|
|Limehouse||Tower Hamlets||2||3.505||1854||8 tph||Docklands Light Railway|
|West Ham||Newham||3||10.554||1901d||8 tph||London Underground (District, Hammersmith & City and Jubilee lines); Docklands Light Railway|
|Barking||Barking & Dagenham||4||13.473||1854||8 tph||Tilbury loop; London Underground (District and Hammersmith & City lines); London Overground (Gospel Oak to Barking Line)|
|Upminster||Havering||6||5.962||1885||6 tph||Ockendon branch; London Underground (District line); London Overground (Romford to Upminster Line)|
|West Horndon||Brentwood||outside zones||0.416||1888||2 tph|
|Laindon||Basildon||outside zones||2.287||1888||4 tph|
|Basildon||Basildon||outside zones||3.233||1974||4 tph|
|Pitsea||Basildon||outside zones||1.270||1855||4 tph||Tilbury loop|
|Benfleet||Castle Point||outside zones||3.680||1855||6 tph|
|Leigh-on-Sea||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||2.232||1856||6 tph||In 1934, the current Leigh on Sea station replaced the original one, and Chalkwell station was opened.gn ai|
|Chalkwell||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||1.968||1934||6 tph|
|Westcliff||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||1.299||1895||6 tph|
|Southend Central||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||3.396||1856||6 tph|
|Southend East||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||1.926||1932||4 tph|
|Thorpe Bay||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||0.885||1884||4 tph|
|Shoeburyness||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||0.746||1884||4 tph|
|Chafford Hundred Lakeside||Thurrock||G||2.817||1993||2 tph|
|Dagenham Dock||Barking & Dagenham||5||0.401||1908||2 tph|
|Grays||Thurrock||G||4.053||1854||4 tph||Ockendon branch|
|Tilbury Town||Thurrock||outside zones||1.173||1854||2 tph|
|East Tilbury||Thurrock||outside zones||0.443||1936||2 tph|
|Stanford-le-Hope||Thurrock||outside zones||1.109||1854||2 tph|
- ^a Number of passenger entries/exits in millions in 2017/18
- ^b Year station was first served by the LTSR (could have been served earlier by another railway)
- ^c Typical off-peak Monday-Saturday service frequency in trains per hour (tph)
- ^d Service suspended in 1913 but reintroduced in 1999
Route via Stratford and Liverpool Street
When necessary, due to engineering work or service disruption, trains can be diverted at Barking over the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and then the Great Eastern Main Line to call at Stratford and Liverpool Street instead of the usual LTSR route via West Ham. Trains diverted at Barking, having passed Stratford, can also rejoin the LTSR before Limehouse and then continue to Fenchurch Street. This latter route is not currently used in the standard timetable, however at weekends there are two trains per hour to and from Shoeburyness that call at Stratford and Liverpool Street.
From May 1985 to May 2007, the standard weekday service after 22:30 operated out of Liverpool Street rather than Fenchurch Street. Currently, this is only used during weekends, when some Basildon services are diverted into Liverpool Street, as well as during engineering works that prohibit access to Fenchurch Street.
The Greater Anglia RUS, published in December 2007, outlined a number of developments intended for the LTSR. In the medium term, 2009–14, this included minor infrastructure works and additional rolling stock to allow all main line peak-service trains to be extended to 12-carriage formation. Also included is the proposal for the extension of platforms on the Tilbury loop and Ockendon branch to handle 12 carriages, to allow all main line peak-service trains to be extended to 8 or 12-carriage formation. In the longer term, intentions are to continue the lengthening of peak trains to 12-carriage formation. A new railway station, Beam Park railway station, was proposed at Beam Reach, between Dagenham Dock and Rainham, near Marsh Way road and CEME Innovation Centre (between A13 and A1306).
Work on the London Gateway deep water port, which will be linked to the line, started in February 2010. The port is expected to handle 3.5 million TEU annually. The first stage of the dock opened in 2013 and it will be fully completed over the next[timeframe?] ten to 15 years.
Of the original LTSR, 4-4-2T number 80 survives as a stationary exhibit at Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk. Ex-LTSR BR Standard Class 4 80079, which was involved in the 1958 Dagenham East rail crash, is preserved on the Severn Valley Railway in Shropshire. Another ex LTSR locomotive BR 42500 is the sole remaining member of the 37 3 cylinder 2-6-4 tank engines built by the LMS in the 1930s for the LTSR. It is preserved in LMSR livery at the National Railway Museum in York.
Until 1855, the ferry crossing between Tilbury and Gravesend in Kent was operated by sailing and rowing boats; however, in that year, steam driven vessels were introduced on the River Thames crossing. On formation of the LTSR, that operation became part of its activities.
Particulars of the ferry service and the vessels employed are listed at Gravesend-Tilbury Ferry.
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