South Essex [ESX]

720522 heads a service to Colchester Town north of Witham: Image Credit David Cope
720522 heads a service to Colchester Town north of Witham: Image Credit David Cope

Welcome

Welcome to the website of the South Essex Branch of the RCTS. We are an active group of professional railwaymen and rail enthusiasts and we welcome any new members that live in Essex and East London along with visitors from other branches.

Meetings

In normal times we meet at Shenfield Parish Hall, 60 Hutton Road, Shenfield CM15 8LB, commencing at 19.30. The Hall is just 5-10 mins walk from Shenfield railway station with frequent Greater Anglia and TFL Rail Services. A donation of £3.00 members / £4.00 non-members is requested. Some of our winter meetings are being held virtually via Zoom and should you like to attend, please contact the Branch Secretary for the Zoom registration link. The secretary’s contact details can be found in the ‘Contacts’ area here.

Great Eastern Main Line

745009 with a Norwich to Liverpool Street Service at Witham
745009 with a Norwich to Liverpool Street Service at Witham. Image credit: David Cope

The main railway activity is to be found on the Great Eastern main line from Liverpool Street to Norwich operated by Grearter Anglia Class 745 units. The outer-suburban services to Ipswich, Harwich, Clacton, Colchester, Braintee, and Southend Victoria are in the hands of Greater Anglia Class 321s but are gtradually being taken over by Class 720s.  The branch line from Marks Tey to Sudbury sees an hourly service operated by Greater Anglia using class 755 units. To the west, outer-surburban services to Cambridge, Hertford East and occasional services to Ely and Kings Lynn see Class 379s and Class 317s again operated by Greater Anglia both of which will be replaced by Class 720s.  The Stansted Express service sees increasing numbers of Class 745s taking over from Class 379s.

London Suburban Services

345 010 about to work a TFL Rail service to Liverpool Street from Shenfield
345 010 about to work a TFL Rail service to Liverpool Street from Shenfield. Image credit: David Jackman

Closer to London, Class 345s ply their trade on the TFL Rail route from Shenfield to Liverpool Street gradually replacing the 40 year old Class 315s. Eventually these will run as Elizabeth Line services through the Central London Crossrail Core to Paddington and the West. London Overground operate class 317s and new class 710s on inner-suberban services from Liverpool Street to Chingford, Enfield and Cheshunt along with Romford to Upminster and Gospel Oak to Barking services. London Undergound operate District Line services to Upminster, Hammersmith and City Services to Barking and Central Line services to Hainault, Woodford and Epping

London, Tilbury and Southend Line

357317/039 in Shoeburyness Plat.1 with 9B41 
19:08 to Liverpool St., 22.04.2021
357317/039 in Shoeburyness Plat.1 with 9B41 19:08 to Liverpool St. Image credit: Iain Scotchman

In the south of the  county C2C operates the London Tilbury and Southend line services between Fenchurch Street and Southend Central/Shoeburyness using Class 357 and Class 387 Electrostar units with some through services routing via Ockendon and Tilbury. An inner-suburban service to Grays via Rainham is also operated by C2C.

Freight Operations

66594 heads a Wentlog to Felxistowe intermodal at Witham
66594 heads a Wentlog to Felxistowe intermodal at Witham. Image credit: David Cope

A considerable number of freight services operate via the Great Eastern and London Tilbury and Southend lines. Whilst mainly inter-modals, there are also some bulk traffic services operated by Freightliner, DB Cargo and GB Railfreight. Whilst the majority of these flows are Class 66 operated, Class 70 diesels and Class 90 electrics are used from time to time by Freightliner on the Great Eastern line.

Preserved Lines

Pitchford Hall waits at Ongar with a service to North Weald
Pitchford Hall waits at Ongar with a service to North Weald. Image credit: David Cope

There is also an active preserved railway scene within the branch area. The Epping Ongar Railway running between North Weald and Ongar, Mangapps running from its base in Burnham on Crouch, The East Anglian Railway Museum running from Chappel and Wakes Colne and the Colne Valley Railway operating from their base in Castle Heddingham.  In the near future we hope to bring you news of events at all four of these lines on a regular basis.

What's on

Venues

Click the venue name to see more

Contacts

Secretary
David Couzens-Howard
email: southessex@rcts.org.uk

Chairman

Rodger Green

Meeting reports

Rail Freight Group – The Opportunities and Challenges

22 Nov 2021

Presenter: Maggie Simpson Meeting Held at Shenfield Parish Hall Maggie gave us an excellent Zoom presentation a year ago; she kindly accepted our invitation to visit us at Shenfield for…

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That Was the Year That Was – 1963

18 Oct 2021

Presenter: Geoff Plumb Meeting Held at Shenfield Parish Hall Many of us are old enough to remember the year in question and fortunate enough to have savoured it. Geoff was…

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Pole to Pole

20 Sep 2021

Presenter: John Day Meeting Held at Shenfield Parish Hall September saw our first physical meeting since February 2020 and it was a pleasure to get back to our meeting place…

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The Railways of Southern France

16 Aug 2021

Presenter: Michael Bunn Virtual Meeting via Zoom Michael served us up a veritable feast. Although the scope was necessarily slightly limited geographically, Michael covered a period from the days of…

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Confessions of a Narrow-Minded Enthusiast

19 Jul 2021

Presenter: Colin Brading Virtual Meeting via Zoom Colin has spoken to us before; this time his presentation was about narrow gauge. He focused on the smaller end of the topic…

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