London Tilbury and Southend Railway

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AmtrakMaineiac

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I spent the first 7 years of my life in South Benfleet England now a sprawling bedroom exurb of London but then a village where everyone knew everyone else. The LT&S railway line traveled near our house and I would watch the trains go by from our front garden. Nearby Southend was a fading seaside resort (for Americans think Atlantic City without casinos). The original line to Southend ran via the port of Tilbury which was an important passenger steamship port on the Thames estuary and the departure point for many emigrants to Australia and other far flung places. Later on a more direct line was built bypassing Tilbury. By the 1950s steamship travel faded as airlines became more popular and the large terminal at Tilbury Riverside eventually abandoned and bypassed, due to needing a reversal to continue onto Southend.

Historically the line started as an independent company that was taken over by the Midland Railway then at the 1923 Grouping became part of the London Midland & Scottish which was a bit of an anomaly as the LMS was more of a West coast London to Scotland railway. This was corrected after Nationalisation when it was moved to the Eastern Region.

Originally the line had connections to the Underground's District Line and through boat trains to Tilbury and summer services to Southend from various points such as Ealing were run. Remember the District was originally run with steam. Even after electrification of the District they would haul these specials with electric locos to Barking where the power was exchanged for steam for the remainder of the trip.

The line terminated in London at Fenchurch St. probably the smallest of London's many termini with only 4 tracks. Back in the steam days the frequent service was handled by having trains pull in then the engine was detached and a new engine added at the other end ready for departure. The use of 4-6-2T tank engines helped as they could run in either direction.

A trip back as an 11 year old in 1961 showed change was in the air for the venerable line. Catenary was already installed and the tank engines were showing their age, as well as the old red carriages with their separate compartments holding 8 persons apiece. I recall there was a ladies only compartment at the end next to the guards compartment. One issue for ladies traveling alone was the possibility of being stuck in a compartment with a disagreeable male traveler who might make unwanted advances or worse, with no means of escape. One of many reasons why these compartments were phased out for open gangway, although I recall using a closed compartment as late as 1982 on an ancient set of EMUs out of Southend Victoria.

By 1962 steam was no more and electric multiple unit trains had taken over, surely faster and cleaner for the daily commuter but the loss of the romance if steam. I recall riding those on later trips to the UK with their traction motor sounds (I would always try to ride in the motor cars for the best effects). In more recent times after "privitisation" the line is now called C2C which no one can say what it stands for (City to Ceaside?) with more modern class 357s whiz people to the City.

I have always found this line fascinating and have lots of good memories from early childhood to later trips back there.
 

JontyMort

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I spent the first 7 years of my life in South Benfleet England now a sprawling bedroom exurb of London but then a village where everyone knew everyone else. The LT&S railway line traveled near our house and I would watch the trains go by from our front garden. Nearby Southend was a fading seaside resort (for Americans think Atlantic City without casinos).

Historically the line started as an independent company that was taken over by the Midland Railway then at the 1923 Grouping became part of the London Midland & Scottish which was a bit of an anomaly as the LMS was more of a West coast London to Scotland railway.

A trip back as an 11 year old in 1961 showed change was in the air for the venerable line. Catenary was already installed and the tank engines were showing their age, as well as the old red carriages with their separate compartments holding 8 persons apiece. I recall there was a ladies only compartment at the end next to the guards compartment. One issue for ladies traveling alone was the possibility of being stuck in a compartment with a disagreeable male traveler who might make unwanted advances or worse, with no means of escape. One of many reasons why these compartments were phased out for open gangway, although I recall using a closed compartment as late as 1982 on an ancient set of EMUs out of Southend Victoria.

By 1962 steam was no more and electric multiple unit trains had taken over, surely faster and cleaner for the daily commuter but the loss of the romance if steam. I recall riding those on later trips to the UK with their traction motor sounds (I would always try to ride in the motor cars for the best effects). In more recent times after "privitisation" the line is now called C2C which no one can say what it stands for (City to Ceaside?) with more modern class 357s whiz people to the City.
Apologies for snipping part of your post, but to reply broadly in order…

Southend has declined still further, I suspect.

The significance of the takeover of the LT&S by the Midland was that the Tilbury boat trains could be run to and from St Pancras, where the facilities were considerably better suited to this traffic than Fenchurch Street - which is, as you suggest, rather like a full-size terminus that has shrunk in the wash.

Non-corridor compartment stock continued into the 1980s - though by then they made strenuous efforts to confine it to rush hour use and in particular not on late night services, for the obvious reasons. But it could be equally unpleasant when packed with four a side seated and six standing.

The staple traction motor on UK EMUs from the 1930s to 1980s was the English Electric EE507, a unit for which the word “rugged” might have been coined.

As to C2C, “capital to coast” has been suggested as the origin, but nobody really knows.
 

caravanman

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As a footplate secondman at Stratford diesel MPD, we used to travel over that section of line. A link took us from Forest Gate down to Barking and so on through to Greys, etc, freight traffic. There was a depot along there somewhere too? Ripple Lane is a name that comes to mind? Happy times for me, around 1973ish, so my recollection is a bit vague now!
 

Willbridge

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Apologies for snipping part of your post, but to reply broadly in order…

Southend has declined still further, I suspect.

The significance of the takeover of the LT&S by the Midland was that the Tilbury boat trains could be run to and from St Pancras, where the facilities were considerably better suited to this traffic than Fenchurch Street - which is, as you suggest, rather like a full-size terminus that has shrunk in the wash.

Non-corridor compartment stock continued into the 1980s - though by then they made strenuous efforts to confine it to rush hour use and in particular not on late night services, for the obvious reasons. But it could be equally unpleasant when packed with four a side seated and six standing.

The staple traction motor on UK EMUs from the 1930s to 1980s was the English Electric EE507, a unit for which the word “rugged” might have been coined.

As to C2C, “capital to coast” has been suggested as the origin, but nobody really knows.
Thanx for the background. I seem to recall that Fenchurch had the names of Continental destinations in its facade though the ferry service had long departed.

On Page 118 of The Golden Age of the Railway Poster (J. T. Shackleton; 1976) there is a beautiful two-page spread from the LMS in the 1920's. It is titled "Tilbury for the Continent" and shows the S.S. Picard in a harbor scene. The caption reads "The nightly Tilbury--Dunkerque Service affords connections with all parts of the Continent and is the most convenient Route from the Midlands and North of England to Paris, Basle, Italy, and Central Europe."
 

JontyMort

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As a footplate secondman at Stratford diesel MPD, we used to travel over that section of line. A link took us from Forest Gate down to Barking and so on through to Greys, etc, freight traffic. There was a depot along there somewhere too? Ripple Lane is a name that comes to mind? Happy times for me, around 1973ish, so my recollection is a bit vague now!
Ripple Lane indeed. It’s at about the point where the high speed line from the Channel Tunnel dives underground for the long approach to St Pancras.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

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As a footplate secondman at Stratford diesel MPD, we used to travel over that section of line. A link took us from Forest Gate down to Barking and so on through to Greys, etc, freight traffic. There was a depot along there somewhere too? Ripple Lane is a name that comes to mind? Happy times for me, around 1973ish, so my recollection is a bit vague now!
That link from Barking to Forest Gate besides being used for freight can also be used to divert services to Liverpool St. which I believe occasionally happens for engineering works. I believe there is also still a daily trip that operates to Liverpool St. in order to keep drivers qualified on the alternate route.
 

JontyMort

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That link from Barking to Forest Gate besides being used for freight can also be used to divert services to Liverpool St. which I believe occasionally happens for engineering works. I believe there is also still a daily trip that operates to Liverpool St. in order to keep drivers qualified on the alternate route.
Nothing on weekdays, but actually quite a few trains to/from Liverpool Street at weekends - which makes sense, because the extra capacity can be spared then.

Quite a few of these “route knowledge” diversions are discernible in the timetable. Sadly, this doesn’t happen as much these days - too often bustitution happening at the first sign of trouble.

Thanks for making me check. The December TT has just gone on the web. Separate pdf files for each route (to make Amtrak regulars jealous).
 

caravanman

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Back in the day, I thought there was a B.R. passenger service from Barking which passed over the Liverpool Street main line and continued north, maybe joining or part of a "North London Line"? I looked on Google Maps today, but it shows that line as a Tube run line now?
As with Stratford area itself, the DLR, closing of the loco sheds, Thornton Fields, Temple Mills, the map in my head is so far removed from what is on the ground these days!
 

JontyMort

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Back in the day, I thought there was a B.R. passenger service from Barking which passed over the Liverpool Street main line and continued north, maybe joining or part of a "North London Line"? I looked on Google Maps today, but it shows that line as a Tube run line now?
As with Stratford area itself, the DLR, closing of the loco sheds, Thornton Fields, Temple Mills, the map in my head is so far removed from what is on the ground these days!
That’ll be the Gospel Oak to Barking line. I’ve never travelled on it, but it *was* one of those ugly ducklings that occupy backwaters of the system, with apparently little purpose. However… it was electrified in 2018, is being extended to a new development on the estuary at Barking Riverside, is crying out for longer trains, and has generally turned into a swan.

As to Google maps, the “Underground” symbol is in orange, not red, denoting a service run by Transport for London but not the Tube as we know it, Jim. Incidentally, I prefer Bing - which in its GB iteration has the option of the Ordnance Survey at 1:50,000, then zooming in to 1:25,000.

As you say, the position on the ground here will have changed out of all recognition in the last 20 years - mainly for the better?
 

jis

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Yes. the so called GOBLIN is now part of the so called London Overground, as is the North London Line which it connects to at Gospel Oak AFAIR. I had traveled on it some years back when it was operated by a single DMU unit and quite infrequently at that.
 

JontyMort

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Yes. the so called GOBLIN is now part of the so called London Overground, as is the North London Line which it connects to at Gospel Oak AFAIR. I had traveled on it some years back when it was operated by a single DMU unit and quite infrequently at that.
The London Overground thing has been quite successful. The basic idea is that if someone wants to go from (say) twelve on the clock face to (say) three or four, get them to go round the edge rather than into the centre and out again. If that gives some urban regeneration to two and three as well, so much the better.
 
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