Crouch Valley Line
|Crouch Valley Line|
The Crouch Valley Line is a branch line from Wickford to Southminster in Essex. It is usually called the Southminster Branch Line by users of the line, although that is no longer its official name. It forms Network Rail route EA 1060.
Places served by the line are:
- South Woodham Ferrers
The line diverges from the Shenfield-Southend Victoria line at Wickford. It is single track from South Woodham Ferrers to Southminster, with a passing loop at Fambridge station (which is the mid-point of the line to allow trains in opposite directions to pass), and is electrified at 25 kV AC, using overhead wires.
The number of trains on the Crouch Valley Line is normally restricted to two trains per hour (one train in each direction), with additional trains during the rush-hour. This is due to the limited track space available when the line was drastically cut back by Dr. Beeching to one track in the 60's as part of the Beeching Axe railway closures. The line still takes overnight waste and fuel rods from Bradwell's decommissioned power station to another part of the country during the night.
As the line is deemed minor, it often gets the oldest rolling stock of trains in operation by the current operators, whereas the mainline trains and even the Southend line trains get more up-to-date stock. That said, some of the very oldest stock used on the Southminster line was scrapped in 2004.
Passenger services are currently operated by 'one'. They replaced the previous operator, First Great Eastern, on 1 April 2004, when all the operators in East Anglia were merged into one new franchise. Services are formed using Class 315 or Class 321 electrical multiple units.