London, Tilbury and Southend Railway
|London, Tilbury and Southend Railway|
|Type||Commuter rail, heavy rail|
London Fenchurch Street|
|Rolling stock||Class 357|
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 which 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.
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 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 Grays and Tilbury, and there is a short branch line connecting the two via Ockendon. The line has a maximum speed limit of 75 mph (121 km/h), although the Class 357 electric trains which run on it are capable of a speed of 100 mph (160 km/h).
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 c2c, a train operating company that is part of the National Express Group.
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 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. 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.
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. 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 and 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 Group 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.
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 and Class 312s in service until they were replaced by Class 357 EMUs. These are stabled at Shoeburyness and East Ham depots, where they are also maintained.
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||18.245||1854||8 tph||London Underground (Circle and District lines, from Tower Hill); Docklands Light Railway (from Tower Gateway)|
|Limehouse||Tower Hamlets||2||3.251||1854||6 tph||Docklands Light Railway|
|West Ham||Newham||3||3.690||1901d||8 tph||London Underground (District, Hammersmith & City and Jubilee lines); Docklands Light Railway|
|Barking||Barking & Dagenham||4||8.331||1854||8 tph||Tilbury loop; London Underground (District and Hammersmith & City lines); London Overground (Gospel Oak to Barking Line)|
|Upminster||Havering||6||4.530||1885||6 tph||Ockendon branch; London Underground (District line); London Overground (Romford to Upminster Line)|
|West Horndon||Brentwood||outside zones||0.355||1888||2 tph|
|Laindon||Basildon||outside zones||1.946||1888||4 tph|
|Basildon||Basildon||outside zones||2.764||1974||4 tph|
|Pitsea||Basildon||outside zones||1.114||1855||4 tph||Tilbury loop|
|Benfleet||Castle Point||outside zones||3.401||1855||6 tph|
|Leigh-on-Sea||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||2.000||1856||6 tph|
|Chalkwell||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||1.735||1856||6 tph|
|Westcliff||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||0.957||1895||6 tph|
|Southend Central||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||1.955||1856||6 tph|
|Southend East||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||1.902||1932||4 tph|
|Thorpe Bay||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||0.812||1884||4 tph|
|Shoeburyness||Southend-on-Sea||outside zones||0.690||1884||4 tph|
|Chafford Hundred Lakeside||Thurrock||G||2.084||1993||2 tph|
|Dagenham Dock||Barking & Dagenham||5||0.362||1908||2 tph|
|Grays||Thurrock||G||3.224||1854||4 tph||Ockendon branch|
|Tilbury Town||Thurrock||outside zones||0.843||1854||2 tph|
|East Tilbury||Thurrock||outside zones||0.321||1936||2 tph|
|Stanford-le-Hope||Thurrock||outside zones||0.998||1854||2 tph|
- ^a Number of passenger entries/exits in millions in 2013/14
- ^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.
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 cars, to allow all main line peak-service trains to be extended to 8 or 12-car formation. In the longer term intentions are to continue the lengthening of peak trains to 12-car formation. A new railway station was proposed at Beam Reach, between Dagenham Dock and Rainham, near Marsh Way road and CEME Innovation Centre (between A13 and A1306).
London Gateway link
The London Gateway deep water port currently under construction will be linked to the line. Work of the port started in February 2010 and it is expected to handle 3.5 million TEU annually. The first stage of the dock is already open and it will be fully completed over the next ten to 15 years.
Of the original LTSR, 4-4-2T number 80 survives as a stationary exhibit at Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk. An ex-LTSR BR Std (80079) is preserved as a stationary exhibit, on the Severn Valley Railway in Shropshire. Another ex LTSR locomotive BR 42500 is the sole remaining member of the 36 3 cylinder 2-6-4 tank engines built by the LMS in the 1930s for the LTSR. It is preserved in LTSR 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, but 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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- "Beam Park set for 2,000 new homes and c2c rail station".
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- Detailed description of Tilbury Riverside at Disused Stations web site
- collection of 1940 clips, starting with restored 'Thundersley'