‘Southminster’s Rail Romancing Rennaissance’.... an illustrated talk by Nathaniel Dodd

Wednesday 01 November 2017
20:00 to 22:00

A Trip Through Time on the Southminster Branch Line



For more than 125 years the Southminster Branch Line - today’s ‘Crouch Valley Line’ - has played a pivotal role in sustaining the five settlements strung along its length between Wickford and Southminster. When opened by the Great Eastern Railway in 1889 the regular goods service it provided for farmers in the area was probably more important than the service it provided for passengers in what then was a sparsely populated rural area. It wasn’t long however before the line had prompted housing growth around its stations, the railway in effect generating its own business. It is a line that has experienced varying fortunes and its survival in the 1960s may have owed more than a little to the opening of the nuclear power station at Bradwell in 1962 which used the line to transport spent nuclear flasks.


The next meeting of the South Woodham Ferrers Local History Society sees a return visit of Nathaniel Dodd when he will share some more of his Essex railway archive to provide a trip though time on the Southminster Branch Line. Whilst the line itself has remained fairly constant, the supporting railway infrastructure has undergone a dramatic transformation and today might perhaps best be described as ‘minimalist’ – certainly as compared with the spread of sidings, goodsyards, station houses, footbridges, signal boxes, parcel sheds, water tanks and turntables of yesteryear. Nathaniel has entitled his illustrated talk ‘Southminster’s Rail Romancing Rennaissance’ and it is likely that evocative images from this yesteryear will predominate in his presentation.


The talk will be held at 8.00 pm on Wednesday 1st November at Champions Manor Hall, Hullbridge Road CM3 5LJ. Visitors are welcome to attend (admission £3) subject to seat availability at what is certain to be a popular event in the Local History Society’s varied calendar. New members will always be welcome to join the Society – the £12 per annum membership fee covers admission to all of the Local History Society’s remaining six talks between November and May 2018.

Contact John Frankland
01245 321518
Champions Manor Hall
Hullbridge Road
South Woodham Ferrers
(view map)
Cost Free for Society members; visitors are very welcome to attend (admission £3)