|Shepperton branch line|
South East England
|Termini||London Waterloo |
|Type||Commuter rail, Heavy rail|
|Operator(s)||South Western Railway|
|Rolling stock||Class 455 |
|Opened||1 November 1864|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC third rail|
|Operating speed||60 mph (97 km/h)|
Shepperton branch line
The Shepperton branch line is a railway line in the south west of London and north Surrey. It is also known as the Shepperton line and connects to the Kingston loop by a triangular junction between Fulwell, Strawberry Hill and Teddington stations.
The line opened on 1 November 1864 briefly named The Thames Valley Railway with access only from the Twickenham direction. The line was originally intended to reach a terminus on the north bank of the River Thames immediately east of Chertsey Bridge and the town itself but this plan was abandoned in 1862. The line's optional curve linking Fulwell and Teddington initially opened only to freight on 1 July 1894 and first carried passengers on 1 June 1901. The line was electrified by the L&SWR using 630 V DC third rail on 30 January 1916.
'Even the railway is a quite retiring type of line, ending abruptly at Shepperton, which is not in the way of being a metropolis; and so for many years a single train ran quietly to and fro upon a single line, resting a good deal and never hastening. And it is still in this state...till the racing tap is turned on every month or so.'
Demand and population in the area increased after the railway's relatively late introduction. Hampton station is the line's busiest with more than 1.2 million journeys made in the 2014-2015 financial year Its recorded use was 0.7 million ten years before. The total of journeys per year of the six stations on the line has reached 2.848 million recorded journeys. Hampton station has formally been assigned C2 (Important feeder) status as its station category.
Stations on the line are:
Service on the line is half-hourly to London Waterloo via Kingston (hourly on Sundays). Monday to Friday, four additional early morning rush-hour trains to Waterloo are routed via Twickenham and Richmond. Three additional evening rush-hour trains from Waterloo arrive via that route.
In common with the 16 hourly off-peak ("inner") commuter services to/from London Waterloo, trains must stop at every intermediate station. There are no mid-track destinations (Waterloo to Wimbledon or Kingston express services) using sidings there. The long travel time of this pattern gives overcapacity at Shepperton and Sunbury where commuters are three miles from faster track stations. It gave overcrowding to these 16 "stopping service routes" during their inner-city phases in the ultra-peak hours due to the great number of stations each service "must" serve per service, much abated by 10-car trains.
Stopping-only formats contrast to most patterns of other historic railway operators in the region.[a]
Notes and references
- e.g. New Southern Railway's Tonbridge, Reigate and East Grinstead services which until leaving London only call at Clapham Junction and at East Croydon (they adopt a semi-fast pattern with both of their respective trains per hour). The original rationale may be that any form of transit to/from Sevenoaks, Redhill and Three Bridges, Crawley on the fast tracks was deemed too far from these 'important' market towns.
- London's Local Railways by Alan A. Jackson, Capital Transport (1999); ISBN 1-85414-209-7
- Charles Dickens, Jr.| All the Year Round Volume: 60 p.582.
- "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation.
- Calling at Earlsfield railway station and all intermediate London stations all managed by South Western Railway, namely:
- "10-car SWT hangs in balance". Modern Railways (London): p. 52. December 2010.
- Mitchell, Vic & Smith, Keith (1990). London Suburban Railways: Kingston and Hounslow Loops. Middleton Press.