Station House, Laindon Class 302 (EMU), Basildon Basildon History Booking Office, Pitsea Level crossing view, Pitsea
Basildon's Railway Stations
Booking Office, Pitsea Station
Basildon's Railway Stations
The town of Basildon is served by three railway stations: Basildon, Laindon and Pitsea on the direct route to London or Shoeburyness via Upminster. Pitsea is the oldest having opened in 1855 on the original route via Tilbury, and Basildon is the youngest, opening as recent as 1974. Pitsea became a junction in 1888 the year Laindon opened.
In the early 1900s the railway played a major role in establishing Pitsea and Laindon as growing towns. Land auctions were regularly held with free rail travel and many Eastenders became landowners and built their own properties. Many took up permanent residence in them. With Basildon now part of the London commuter belt all three stations continue to play a vital role in the town's future.

History of the line
On 4th July 1840 the London and Blackwall Railway Company opened a line from Minories to Blackwall via Stepney. When permission was granted to build a short extension into the city of London, Fenchurch Street station was built and opened on 2nd August 1841.
Gradually the railway expanded and on the 17th June 1852 the London Tilbury and Southend Extension Railway Act, was passed authorising the construction of a new section of line between Forest Gate and Southend via Tilbury. This section also included a short branch from Mucking to Thames Haven (built for use by the Thames Haven Dock & Railway Company). Within two years the line had reached Stanford-le-Hope and on 7th June, 1855 the Thames Haven branch opened. The following month the line was completed as far as Pitsea where a station opened on 1st July 1855. Southend was finally reached on 1st March 1856 the same year that Fenchurch Street was established as the London terminus.
On 31st March 1858 a section on the London and Blackwall extension between Gas Factory Junction and Barking via Bromley & East Ham opened. This more direct route avoided Stratford and saved a mile on the journey. In 1884 the lines final eastern terminus was reached when Shoeburyness opened on 1st February.

On 24th July 1882 an Act was passed authorising a proposal for a new more direct route between Barking and Pitsea. This reached fruition in 1888 when a station at Laindon opened; the line to Pitsea having been completed, and the new line became operational. A new station at Pitsea - now with four platforms - was built at the same time, and although never referred to as such in timetables the station nameboards for many years carried the name Pitsea Junction.
As a result of the new route mileage was cut from 43 to 35¼.
Construction of the new route through Dunton to Pitsea had proved the most challenging for the contractors. Ground subsidence in the cutting at Dunton held up construction and limited space at Pitsea necessitated a blind arch retaining wall and speed restriction.
The last major development, a branch line linking Romford with Grays via Upminster, was authorised in an act dated 20th August 1883. The first section, Grays to Upminster, with intermediate station at Ockendon, opened on 1st July 1892, followed by the remainder to Romford on 7th June 1893.

A station for Basildon
In 1949 Basildon was designated a new town, and, although it was nearly 10 years before the new shopping centre became operational, plans for a new station to serve the town were soon proposed. Many years of campaigning followed before the station was finally opened in November 1974. Fears that either Pitsea or Laindon might have to close to make way for Basildon were proved unfounded and both have continued to serve the town. In the years prior to Basildon's opening, station nameboards at Laindon had read 'Laindon for Basildon'.

Two additional stations at Dunton and Lee Chapel were also proposed but never got beyond the draft planning stage. Interestingly the site proposed for Lee Chapel was very close to the eventual Basildon station site. These plans, judging by one of the station names, presumably pre-dated Basildon's new town designation.

Following electrification in 1962, stations at Bromley, Plaistow, Upton Park, East Ham, Becontree, Dagenham and Hornchurch were all closed, providing a quicker service between Upminster and Fenchurch Street. On 26th May 1995 a new station was opened at Chafford Hundred on the Upminster to Grays branch, to serve the Lakeside shopping centre and Chafford Hundred housing developments, and then in 1999, West Ham, was re-opened to link with the Jubilee line extension. For many years some London bound late evening services operate via Stratford and terminate at Liverpool Street station.

Traction
Originally, the first section of line opened between Minories and Blackwall, used a 'cable-haulage' system on a gauge of almost 5 feet (1,524mm), but by April 1849 conversion to standard 4ft 8½ (1,435mm) gauge rails was complete and steam locomotives took over.
The Great Eastern Railway provided the locomotives through to 1880 when the LTS introduced new 4-4-2 tank engines. These proved very durable and various other classes of this type were used well beyond 1909 when the last 4-4-2 tanks were built. All locomotives carried a name up to the Midland railway takeover of 1912, and these included Basildon, Dunton, Laindon and Pitsea. From 1934 onwards class 2-6-4Ts were introduced in a decade that saw many of the earlier 4-4-2 class withdrawn from service. The main livery colour of these steam engines was light green, while the carriages - often in either 8 or 11 coach configurations - in later years ended up scarlet and brown.
Electrification was considered as early as 1912 following the Midland Railway's takeover. In the event it was not until November 1961 that the first electric trains ran, and then only on off peak services. Steam was finally phased out altogether on 15th June 1962.
The first electric trains used were of the class 302 EMU's (electric multiple units) of either four, eight or 12 carriages running on a 25k V ac overhead power system. They had a top speed of 75 miles an hour. The carriages, for much of their working life, were a mixture of separate compartments; seating 12, and also offering Ladies only - or open plan. Towards the end of their working life compartment carriages were phased out. First class compartments were also available for many years.
Between 1999 and 2002, 74 new computer controlled class 357 Electrostar trains were brought into service and the 'slam door' type stock was gradually phased out. The original class 302's last ran on 4th July 1998 and the final service, featuring an eight carriage class 312, left Fenchurch Street at 13.28 bound for Shoeburyness via Upminster on 29th March, 2003.

Ownership
The London and Blackwall and Eastern Counties Railways promoted the line and leased it out to its contractors Peto, Brassey & Betts for a period of 21 years from 3rd July 1854. From 1875 onwards the line was operated by the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway company (LTS). On 7th August 1912 the Midland Railway took on ownership of the line through to 1st January 1923, when most of the British railway operators were amalgamated into four main companies. These being: London, Midland and Scottish Railway, London and North Eastern Railway, Southern Railway and the Great Western Railway; thus the line came under L.M.S. ownership. This arrangement lasted until 1st January 1948 when, following nationalisation, the 'Big Four' companies were merged under the name British Railways, which was later shortened in 1965 to British Rail. After initially being part of the London Midland Region, it passed to British Railways Eastern Region on 20th February 1949. From 1986 the line was worked as Network SouthEast and following privatisation in 1996 reverted back to its original London, Tilbury and Southend title when Prism Rail won the franchise to run the line on 26th May. It was renamed c2c (coast to capital) in May 2000, and is now part of the National Express Group of companies who acquired Prism Rail in September 2000.

Stations
There are 17 stations on the direct route from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness.
They are: Fenchurch Street, Limehouse, West Ham, Barking, Upminster, West Horndon, Laindon, Basildon, Pitsea, Benfleet, Leigh-on-Sea, Chalkwell, Westcliff, Southend Central, Southend East, Thorpe Bay and Shoeburyness.

There are 20 stations on the Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness section via the Tilbury loop.
They are: Fenchurch Street, Limehouse, West Ham, Barking, Dagenham Dock, Rainham, Purfleet, Grays, Tilbury Town, East Tilbury, Stanford-le-Hope, Pitsea, Benfleet, Leigh-on-Sea, Chalkwell, Westcliff, Southend Central, Southend East, Thorpe Bay and Shoeburyness.

There are 4 stations on the Upminster to Grays branch line.
They are: Upminster, Ockendon, Chafford Hundred and Grays.

Preserved Locomotives
A 4-4-2T number 80 has been preserved and can be seen at the Bressingham Steam Museum near Diss in Norfolk.

Text researched and written 2003 with revisions 2004-2008.
Copyright 2003-2008, B.Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.
London, Tilbury and Southend Railway - Station History
StationOpenedHistory
Fenchurch Street02/08/1841Open to Services
Minories06/07/1840Closed 24/10/1853
Leman Street01/06/1877Closed 07/07/1941
Shadwell01/10/1840renamed Shadwell & St. Georges East 01/07/1900
Closed 07/07/1941
Stepney02/08/1840renamed Stepney East 01/07/1923
renamed Limehouse 11/05/1987
Open to Services
Burdett Road11/09/1871Closed 21/04/1941
Bromley31/05/1858renamed resited 01/03/1894
Closed to LTS trains 1962
West Ham01/02/1901renamed West Ham Manor Road 11/02/1924 - 1/1969
Closed to LTS trains 1913
reopened 30/05/1999
Plaistow31/03/1858Closed to LTS trains 1962
Upton Park--/09/1877Closed to LTS trains 1962
East Ham31/03/1858Closed to LTS trains 1962
Barking13/04/1854Open to Services
1854 via Tilbury1885 via Upminster
StationOpenedHistoryStationOpenedHistory
Dagenham Dock01/07/1908Open to Services Gale Street Halt28/06/1926renamed Becontree 18/07/1932
Closed to LTS trains 1962
Rainham13/04/1854resited 1962
Open to Services
Dagenham01/05/1885renamed Dagenham East 01/05/1949
Closed to LTS trains 1962
Purfleet Rifle Range Halt1921Closed 31/05/1948 Hornchurch01/05/1885Closed to LTS trains 1962
Purfleet13/04/1854Open to Services Upminster01/05/1885Open to Services
Grays Thurrock13/04/1854renamed Grays
Open to Services
East Horndon01/05/1886renamed West Horndon 01/05/1949
Open to Services
Tilbury Dock15/06/1885renamed Tilbury Town --/12/1934
Open to Services
Laindon01/06/1888Open to Services
Tilbury Fort13/04/1854renamed Tilbury 18??
renamed Tilbury Riverside 06/07/1936
Closed 30/11/1992
Basildon25/11/1974Open to Services
Low Streetc.July 1861Closed 05/06/1967  
East Tilbury Halt07/09/1936renamed
East Tilbury
Open to Services
Horndon14/08/1854renamed Stanford-le-Hope 1854
Open to Services
Pitsea01/07/1855
01/06/1888 (direct Barking-Pitsea)
From 1888 Pitsea Junction? - renamed Pitsea for Vange (1932-1953) - renamed Pitsea (1953)
Open to Services
Benfleet01/07/1855Resited 1932
Open to Services
Leigh-on-Sea01/07/1855Resited 04/01/1934
Open to Services
Chalkwell11/09/1933Open to Services
Westcliff-on-Sea01/07/1895renamed Westcliff 1969
Open to Services
Southend01/03/1856renamed Southend-on-Sea --/06/1876
renamed Southend-on-Sea Central 01/05/1949
renamed Southend Central 1969
Open to Services
Southend East18/07/1932renamed Southend-on-Sea East 01/05/1949
renamed Southend East 1969
Open to Services
Southchurch01/07/1910renamed Thorpe Bay 18/07/1910
Open to Services
Shoeburyness01/02/1884Open to Services
London - Shoeburyness via Tilbury Loop 1999 London - Shoeburyness via Upminster 1999
Fenchurch Street
Limehouse
West Ham
Barking
Dagenham Dock
Rainham
Purfleet
Grays
Tilbury Town
East Tilbury
Stanford-le-Hope
Pitsea
Benfleet
Leigh-on-Sea
Chalkwell
Westcliff
Southend Central
Southend East
Thorpe Bay
Shoeburyness
Fenchurch Street
Limehouse
West Ham
Barking
Upminster
West Horndon
Laindon
Basildon
Pitsea
Benfleet
Leigh-on-Sea
Chalkwell
Westcliff
Southend Central
Southend East
Thorpe Bay
Shoeburyness
The information given here is a brief account of the lines history with the emphasis on reference dates. If you are seeking a more thorough and detailed history there are a number of books available.
Details of known titles can be found here.

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