A railway line had been going through this site from 1868, but it would not be until after the electrification of the line in the 1920’s, that a station would be built in this new commuter town.
Petts Wood opened in 1928, initially with only a single island platform, but a second would be added some 5 years later. The station building is unique, likened by some to resemble a signal box.
A small goods and coal yard was added on the coastbound side, however no goods shed was ever built on the site, and this facility lasted until 1968.
In 1962, signalling was transferred to the new box at Chislehurst, and over the next 40 years, shelters and other platform buildings and furniture was either removed or replaced. Today it is a station of function rather than elegance, however the station building does still retain some charm.
At time of writing, passenger services are provided by class 376, 465, 466 and 700 Electric Multiple Units.
There are 6 trains per hour in both directions on weekdays, with a slightly reduced service at the weekends.
The entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 2 215 876
As I have previously noted, Petts Wood is a station which is more function over style. However, the quirky station building still exits and it has good passenger facilities, its only let down being it has no step free access. For the enthusiast, fantastic views of all lines are too be had, especially from the connecting footbridge.
Below is a video that was shot in 2021:
Thanks for reading, I’ll leave you with my tagline :
The station was opened in 1868 by the South Eastern Railway Company, and originally had a familiar staggered platform arrangement with clapboard construction buildings and a lattice footbridge, which was installed from the start, negating the need for a passenger foot crossing.
A goods siding would not appear until 1871, this was placed behind the coast bound platform. However, by the end of the 19th century, this had increased to three more. Two of these were on the London bound side and were coal sidings. All were controlled by a two-story signal box placed at the south of the coast bound platform.
By 1935, electrification of the route required the platforms to be extended, and an electric substation was installed just behind the coast bound platform. By 1957 the staggered platform arrangement was all but lost, this was to help accommodate 12-car trains. All goods services were removed by the end of 1964.
Unfortunately, the signal box was destroyed by fire in 1971, and all operations were switched to Orpington. In 1973 the station building suffered the same fate, and after consultation a new modern glazed building was erected in its place, and still stands today. The photo below shows that the glass acts as a shell for the main ticket office inside.
The view below is from the south end of platform 2, shows an impressive sweeping curve into Chelsfield tunnel, which (like Knockholt) is said to be an inspiration for the tunnel in the book ‘The Railway Children’.
Below is the view of the station as taken from the impressive road bridge. Note the electric substation on the left.
Passenger services at time of recording are provided by either class 466 465 or 376 electric multiple units
Chelsfield has two trains per hour in each direction off-peak, with many additional services during the peak times, and at those peak times these run to Cannon Street and not to Charing Cross.
The 2019 2020 exit and entry figures were 973 208
Chelsfield was a surprisingly good station to visit, not least for the excellent sweeping views down the line towards the Chelsfield tunnel. The ticket office is a good example of 1970’s architecture, and although not to everyone’s taste, does show the style of the time. For the enthusiast, the aforementioned tunnel is a bonus, but also the variety in traffic, including freight, will give you a good deal of photographic and video opportunities.
Here is a video of the station, filmed in 2021
Thanks for reading, I’ll leave you with my tagline :
Dunton Green was opened in 1868 by the South Eastern Railway Company, and it had a familiar clapboard station building similar to that of the one at Hildenborough. It also had a single siding on the London bound side, and this was incorporated into a proper running line when a branch line to Westerham was opened in 1881.
This branch line had its own station building as well as a three-story high signal box. As this new branch line cut through access to the village, a subway was constructed to gain access, but more on this later.
Three new goods sidings were also constructed at this time on the branch line section. The signal box had a short life however, as a signal modernization scheme in the early 1900s had it demolished in favour of a two-story design. By 1934 the newly formed southern region began the electrification program and Dunton Green had its platforms lengthened, with the first electric train running through the station from 1935.
Unfortunately Dunton Green’s recent history is less illustrious. In 1961 the branch line closed, and over the next 35 years the station went into rapid decline, culminating in the complete removal of the station in the mid-1990s and at time of writing, a new station building has never been rebuilt at this location.
This picture is of the subway which still connects the station to Dunton Green village (credit for these are below as I was unable to photograph on the day of my visit)
At time of writing passenger traffic is provided by class 465 or class 376 electric multiple units.
The statistics for Dunton Green are that it opened in 1868, it has two trains per hour in both directions off-peak and Saturdays, with additional trains at peak times (this is reduced to only one train per hour in both directions on Sundays).
The entry and exit figures for 2019-2020 were 258 682.
The absence of a station building (at time of writing) really makes a visit to this station unappealing if you are a casual enthusiast. However, the location and relatively good frequency of service makes the stations survival a must. Photography and videography are ok, but I would advise that perhaps a visit to another railway station on the line nearby could wield better and more atmospheric results.
Below is a video filmed in 2021:
Thanks for reading, I’ll leave you with my tagline :
I visited Canary Wharf and surrounding area in late 2021, as it has more than its fair share of railway transport systems. The Docklands Light Railway (DLR), Overground, Underground and soon Elizabeth line all serve this or the very immediate area. Her in this blog is a short overview of these. It is by no where a comprehensive look, but hopefully will get you the reader to perhaps go and explore these for yourself.
DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY (DLR)
The concept of the DLR was first discussed around 1982 when the docklands area were being readied for redevelopment.
Construction of the first two lines, one from Tower Gateway to Island Gardens and from Stratford to Island Gardens were started in 1985. They both opened in 1987, and over the next 20 years more lines were added as the docklands expanded.
The railway is entirely automated, enabling those at the front or rear of the train to get an unobstructed view of the track, which can be quite entertaining. There is however a control desk at either end of the train, so that the train can be driven manually in the event of a automation failure.
New trains are due to be in service by 2023, and look the same as the current stock, albeit with a more streamlined look and less boxy.
Located on the Abbey Wood branch of the Elizabeth line, the station has been built on the West India North dock. This has been achieved using a cofferdam, which is an enclosure built in the water and then pumped out to create a dry space for construction below the waterline. This picture, taken before official opening and therefore not of the actual station concourse, show that it is a great feat of engineering and very pleasing to the eye.
The excellent roof garden on top of the station building is a very clam place to spend some time, and it is amazing that such a structure should have such a pleasant area sitting on top of it. I recommend a visit to here, it really is something special.
Connecting one half of the station is a walkway (pictures below). The geometric shapes on the walls of this were added in 2020, and designed by French artist Camille WALALA. It is intended to be a permanent installation, and certainly makes what would otherwise be a plain steel walkway into something Instagram worthy.
This is to be one of two entrances to the Elizabeth line, one either side of the dock, and alongside it are many bars, restaurants and cafes for you to enjoy.
Walking through this walkway and shopping centre will get you to the area called Middle dock. A fantastic space, and one where you can gain excellent views of the buildings, and of course the DLR.
JUBILEE LINE UNDERGROUND STATION
In Middle dock, you cannot fail to see the spectacular entrance to the London Underground Jubilee line. Covered in grass, it is almost impossible to see from the air. The escalators move you down into a cavernous space, very unique across the London underground network.
The concourse is huge, and is certainly able to take the large amount of passengers using the station at peak times. The high ceilings all around add to the sense of space.
Moving down to the platforms, and you will find these are also a very good size, and the overall feel is that of a safe and very efficient underground station.
If we now hop on a train and go one stop westbound, you will get to Canada Water station.
At Canada Water you will find a sub level platform for the Overground line. This will take you North and South in London, and as such complements the East/West alignment of the Jubilee line.
Both stations, like most on the jubilee line, are spacious and industrial in feel, with steel everywhere, and I personally like it very much, although I get it is not to everyone’s taste. My personal favourite of the Jubilee line stations is Westminster, but that is for another blog!
As spectacular as it is during the daytime, the Canary wharf area dazzles at night. Fantastic photography can be had, and here are a few of my favourites that I took on this trip:
Canary Wharf and immediate area is well worth a visit. It certainly is looks the part with its many high rise buildings, and getting here is no problem with the amount of rail travel routes you can take. I would recommend coming late afternoon so that you will get the benefit of day and night time views, i am sure that you will not be disappointed.
I filmed a vlog for this visit, and this can be seen below :
Brampton was opened in 1854 by the East Suffolk Railway, on the same day the rest of the East Suffolk line opened. The railway station and indeed line was absorbed into the Great Eastern Railway in 1862
It serves not only Brampton, but other villages nearby like Redisham.
Finding out any history for this station has proved extremely difficult, both in paper and internet form. So if anyone has anything to add, please comment down below, it will be most appreciated.
It used to be a request stop, but on the day of my visit in 2021 it was not, and a check of the timetables seem to confirm that, for the time being at least, it is now a regular stop on the line.
A good set of walks in the local area get to this point, and there is even a circular walk from the station via Shadingfield, which is contained within a free walks booklet.
Passenger services at time of writing are provided by class 755 Bi-Mode units.
Passenger exit and entry figures for 2019 / 2020 were 9, 858
In conclusion, Brampton is a charming and very quiet station along this line. It is also very well maintained. The fact that it is no longer a request stop gives hope that it will remain so for a many years to come. For the enthusiast sight lines are excellent, a visit when an engineering train is due would be recommended.
Below is a video taken in 2021 as part of this series.
Somerleyton was opened in 1847 by the Norfolk Railway. This was taken over, like all on the surrounding lines, in the mid 1800’s by the Great Eastern Railway. The village which it serves is around 1 mile from here.
As well as Somerleyton hall, which has featured in many films and tv shows including the crown as a replica for Sandringham, the village has another claim to fame. It was home to the first testing of the hovercraft, which was built by Sir Christopher Cockerell.
The line moves towards Norwich over the river Waveney via the Somerleyton swing bridge, pictured below. This can yield some pretty good photos and video of trains coming to and from the station.
Even after extensive research , I could not find any documentation of sidings at this location, however there used to be a major brickworks nearby, so I would assume that they would have had a siding or two. If anyone knows anymore, please comment below.
In fact, details about the station history are extremely sparse, I would welcome more information to flesh out this Blog, but unfortunately after a lot of looking this is all the history I could find.
At time of writing , passenger services are provided by class 755 Bi-Mode Units. Other movements are very rare, with just an occasional engineering, measurement or rail head treatment train.
The entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 10, 898.
Somerleyton is a very picturesque station, plenty of flowers and trees, plus good sweeping views of the track make it ideal for photography and videography; just check to see if an engineering train is due and it should yield a superb and unique photo. The original station building is a bonus, albeit now in private hands. Overall a superb little station which hopefully will remain open in the future.
Oh and also comment about pronunciation of this station, I am unsure of it, and wary of getting it wrong!
Below is my Vlog which I filmed during a visit in 2021 :
Westerfield was opened by the East Suffolk railway in 1859, but a few years later like the rest of the stations on the line, it was taken over by the Great Eastern Railway.
At this time the branch to Felixstowe was not here, but this was added in 1877.
Bay platforms were included for trains running to and from Felixstowe from the opening of the branch line. This continued until 1879, when most trains continued on towards Ipswich, the bays then being used for storage.
From the 1880’s, the station had sidings which served the Westerfield steam brewery, as well as a coal merchant. During the second world war, these would also be used for storing engines, including the Polish armour train.
After the war, they were used as stabling for the Pullman camping coaches during the winter, these being moved to Felixstowe for use during the summer months.
Unfortunately like most other stations, these sidings were closed un 1964, and the booking office closed soon after, the station becoming a “Pay-Train” station, where you bought your ticket from the guard on the train.
Modernisation of the track layout, including the addition of automatic barriers have taken place, and although not terribly busy with passengers, the line here sees much freight to and from the port, as well as the occasional nuclear flask train from Sizewell.
The original station building remains, although this is now a private residence.
As well as an electronic ticket machine, posters, bike rack and new style service information boards, the station has recently been enhanced with an extensive wildflower garden on platform one. Created by East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, Suffolk Butterfly Conservation Trust, Friends of the Earth and Greater Anglia, it certainly brightens up the station.
At time of writing, passenger traffic is provided by class 755 Bi-Mode units, with most of the passing freight hauled by class 66 locomotives.
A video is below, taken during a visit in 2021 :
Below is a link to the East Suffolk Lines Community Partnership :
Trimley was opened in 1891 by the Great Eastern Railway. Its primary purpose was to fill the gap between the station at Orwell and Felixstowe beach, both of which were substantially far away from the village.
A few freight lines were here, but were withdrawn in 1964, and in 1967 the station building was closed. This meant that together with the rest of the branch line, the station became a “pay train” station, with the guards collecting fares. This left only the signalmen at the station, whose purpose was to operate the level crossing and signalling away from the station.
A direct line to the docks at Felixstowe was opened in 1970, and 17 years later in 1987, the spur down to the north freightliner terminal was opened to the south of the station.
The removal of the signal box in 1997 meant the installation of the automatic barriers, and control of these and the points was now undertaken by the Colchester panel signal box.
The station building was a version of a new Essex style, one of only two to be built outside Essex. Its interior would have included a first class waiting room, porters lodge, booking office and combined booking hall and waiting room. A ladies room with toilet completed the facilities.
There was also a small building on the other platform, but this was demolished a long time ago.
Although at time of filming it is in a very bad state, it is still standing, and is now under control of the Trimly station community trust. They gained control of a long term lease in 2011. Their ambition is similar to that of the station at Wickham Market, to transform the station into a café and meeting room whilst preserving the station fabric.
They have a long way to go, and recent months (2021/2022) have seen Greater Anglia seek improvements to the station which ‘may’ involve the demolition of the building, but nothing has been set in concrete. Hopefully in the coming months both fundraising and grants may become available, however multiple applications to the national lottery heritage trust have not borne fruit. I do hope this situation changes for the better, as it would be a shame to lose such a quaint and historically important station. If you wish to know more, I have provided a link in the video description below.
Facilities include a waiting shelter, help point, electronic ticketing machine and new style service information boards.
Passenger traffic at time of writing is provided by class 755 Bi-Mode units, and almost all freight is hauled by class 66 Locomotives.
The entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 31, 122. These figures are used as the figures for 2020 / 2021 are unreliable due to being very skewed by the pandemic.
Still a functioning station for the village, Trimley could be so much more. I hope that the building gets funding and finally gives the village a focal point it deserves.
For the enthusiasts, obviously the abundance of freight (albeit only intermodal) plus excellent sightlines, gives plenty of video and photo opportunities.
I recorded a video for this station in 2021, and you can view it below :
Derby Road was opened in 1877 by the Felixstowe railway, and was amalgamated into the Great Eastern Railway in 1879. It only had one platform originally, but due to popularity gained a second one in 1891
This popularity was due to the Ipswich tramway terminating at this point. Passengers going to Felixstowe for the day would get the tram from Ipswich and get the train from Derby Road. In fact, during the summer many trains would terminate at Derby Road from Felixstowe, instead of going though to Ipswich
The trams continued until 1926 when they were replaced by trolleybuses, but these too were fully phased out by 1962. Some of these can still be seen at the Ipswich transport museum, a link to which is at the end of this blog.
Getting back to the station, it also had two sidings, which were increased during the early 20th century, but like most in the country were phased out by the late 1960’s
The station building still stands, although not used today. Originally it had a fine canopy and a similar structure was to be seen on the other platform. This other building no longer survives, as well as the canopy on the main building. The other notable absentee is the signal box which was on the Felixstowe side of the station.
However, this does not mean the station has been left unkept. In fact in late 2020, work was started to create a wildflower garden on the entrance to platform one. Supported by the East Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, Greater Anglia Railway, Ipswich Friends of the Earth and Ipswich Council, it really adds colour to the station and makes it feel very well looked after.
An additional poppy patch is situated on the Felixstowe end of platform two.
Many of the freight headed towards Felixstowe will stop here, as the line after the station becomes single line running for a few miles. These are at time of writing mostly hauled by class 66 locomotives, and passenger traffic is provided by class 755 Bi-Mode units.
The entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 46, 808.
In conclusion, Derby road was once an important interchange for the passengers from Ipswich to the coastal town of Felixstowe. However after the 1960’s, most passenger traffic would be confined to the local area. The expansion of Felixstowe port has brought many more freight trains through the station, these quite often stop in the loop. Great views can be had of both freight and passenger traffic, especially through the curves towards Ipswich. The station benefits from the new wildflower garden, and generally speaking is a good place for the intermodal freight enthusiast.
The station was opened in 1859 by the East Suffolk railway, although this would be almost immediately amalgamated into the eastern counties railway the same year. Eventually like all along the line it would become part of the Great Eastern railway in 1862.
A branch line to Framlingham carried freight and passengers from Wickham Market station, up until 1952 when it was closed to passenger traffic, and the line was fully closed in 1965. However the branch line platform can still be seen at the far end of the current platform towards Ipswich.
The station was quite popular right up until the late 1950’s, it even boasted a WH Smith bookstore. A level crossing went over the tracks at the north end of the platform, but was replaced by road bridge in 1902, and the current bridge was erected in 2005.
The most important thing about the station however is that it not actually in Wickham Market, but in a small village called Campsea Ashe. The reason for this placement was all due to the river Deben, which had a tendency to flood around the village. Also the village was also on a gradient, so the decision was made to build it on this current site.
It does however take around 45 minutes to walk to Wickham Market from here. As there are no direct paths over the river. A taxi will take 10 minutes.
The station building has had a chequered history. Designed by Francis Thompson, it is very striking and quite large for a station of this size.
It had largely laid dormant since 2005, but in 2013 a charitable community benefits society was set up to regenerate the building. Called “Station House Community Connection LTD” its aim was to refurbish the station and bring it back to life as a community hub.
After a lot of fundraising efforts and a lot of dedication, the fully refurbished building re-opened in 2017. It shows off not only the buildings history, but combining it with a community function. The very impressive canopy on the platform was re-instated, with a complete recasting of the colonnades, based on the original 1880 design. This was carried out by Hargreaves foundry in Halifax.
Benches on the platform still contain the Great Eastern Railway insignia, and are also lovingly restored. On the walls can be seen two plaques commemorating the regeneration of this fine building.
Entering the building you will see an electronic information board, as well as interactive screens telling you about the history of the station. A small lending library is near the doors, and disabled lift is also here to get you up to the second floor meeting areas.
To the rear is a fantastic café, with both indoor and outdoor seating. A good variety of drinks, cakes and sandwiches are on offer, and it is a very pleasant place to spend a while whist waiting for your train.
On the walls are pictures about the stations history, with a few dedicated to the refurbishment. Various rooms are available for hire and the whole project is a testament to all involved. It just goes to show what can be achieved if everyone pulls together.
The station building does not have a booking desk though, so buying a ticket must be done via the electronic machine on the platform. Other facilities include information boards, timetables and a small bike rack on the platform.
At time of writing, one hourly passenger services (in each direction) are provided by Class 755 Bi-Mode units.
I really enjoyed this station, the staff were very helpful in telling me the history of the station, and the care and attention to detail is to be commended. A good place to visit for a drink and snack and a must to see the platform with the excellent restored details in place.