Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Blog - 2017

January 2017

Charing Cross Station, London - 11/1/2017

11/1/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to Limehouse. Charing Cross to London Bridge. London Bridge to Tulse Hill. Tulse Hill to St Pancras. Fenchurch Street to Leigh-on-Sea.

My first railway outing of 2017 was just a short jaunt into London to visit some of the London terminal stations for a new book I am writing, which should be out in the next couple of months. One station I visited was London Bridge which is nearly finished in its complete rebuild. Although it is all very modern, I persoanally don't like the way you go into the front of the station, then have to go downstairs to the new concourse (where there aren't any waste bins by the way), then have to go back up to the platforms to catch a train. Plus they have destroyed the old passageway with all the shops that you used to walk through on the way to the terminal platforms, which is a great pity.

February 2017

Alton station with both a South West Train and a Watercress Line train in the picture

18/2/2017 - Aldershot to Alton and return

Alton to Alresford and return on the Watercress Line.

A quiet month by my standards, mainly because I have been suffering from a heavy cold and had to postpone going on a railway trip on 11th February because of it. I did get away with my wife for a few days towards the middle of the month and stayed over the weekend in Aldershot. Whilst there we went over to Alton to have a trip on the Watercress Line. Rather than driving there from Aldershot, we decided to take a train from Aldershot to Alton and then hop over the platform to the Watercress Line platform. It was the first full weekend of operating this year and was quite busy, though I didn't see many children which you might expect, it being half term. Coming back the train was delayed, so as we arrived at Alton, our South West Train back to Aldershot was just leaving as we came in. What a pity they didn't hold the train for the twenty or so passngers that had to wait another half hour for the next train back to Aldershot and London!

March 2017

Plymouth railway station east end

3/3/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to London Fenchurch Street and return

Went to London to see Procul Harum in concert.


5/3/2017 - Benfleet to London Fenchurch Street and return

Went to London to see Gilbert O'Sullivan in concert. 


24/3/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to London Fenchurch Street. London Paddington to Penzance via Bristol. Penzance to Plymouth.

Went down to Plymouth on business. I managed to fit in a fleeting visit all the way down the Cornish Mainline to Penzance. My original timings gave me approximately fifty minutes in Penzance, but due to a freight train derailment near Castle Cary on the Monday all trains going to Taunton and beyond were being diverted via Bristol. So by the time we git to Penzance we were about forty minutes late, giving me around ten minutes there! Just enough time to take some photos of the station, both inside and out. I then went back to Plymouth on the same HST I had come on, this time 1st class, for just £10. I was treated like royalty and had no end of teas, bottles of water, biscuits and cakes! Plus much nicer seats with a quieter and less crowded carriage than on the way down.


25/3/2017 - Plymouth to Saltash and return. Plymouth to Exeter St Davids. Exeter St Davids to Basingstoke. Basingstoke to Reading. Reading to London Paddington. London Fenchurch Street to Leigh-on-Sea.

In the morning before I returned home I took a quick trip back over Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge into Cornwall to Saltash. I had enough time to take some photos and have a full "Cornish" breakfast in a small cafe before returning to Plymouth. 

April 2017

Westbury railway station looking east

8/4/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to London Fenchurch Street and return. London Waterloo to Weymouth. Weymouth to Westbury via Frome. Westbury to Southampton via Salisbury. Southampton to London Waterloo.

Went doen to Weymouth for the day courtesy of South West Trains doing a special offer of a single jiourny anywhere on their network of for just £14. On the way at Southampton I saw alll these people with cameras and then we pulled in next to a railtour being hauled by

10/4/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to London Fenchurch Street and return.

Went up London to see the show, "Carousel" at the London Collesium.

May 2017

Canterbury West signal box

3/5/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to London Fenchurch Street and return

Went up to London for a meeting.

13/5/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to Barking. Barking to West Ham. London Bridge to Norwood Junction. Norwood Junction to West Croydon. West Croydon to Sutton. Sutton to Horsham. Horsham to East Croydon. East Croydon to London Bridge. West Ham to Leigh-on-Sea.

Went down to Horsham for the afternoon after going on some South London lines I hadn't been on for a while.

20/5/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to West Ham. Canada Water to Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace to Balham. Balham to Streatham Common. Streatham Common to Battersea Park.Queenstown Road Battersea to Vauxhall. Vauxhall to Lodon Waterloo. London Fenchurch Street to Leigh-on-Sea.

29/5/2017 - Gravesend to Ashford International via Margate and Dover. Ashford International to Ramsgatevia Canterbury West. Ramsgate to Canterbury West. Canterbury West to Ashford International. Ashford International to Stratford International. Stratford International to Gravesend.

31/5/2017 - Leigh-on-Sea to Fenchurch Street. London Bridge to Tonbridge. Tonbridge to Ashford International and return. Tonbridge to St Leonards Warrior Square. St Leonards Warrior Square to Ore. Ore to Brighton. Brighton to East Croydon. East Croydon to London Bridge. West Ham to Leigh-on-Sea.

June 2017

2/6/2017 - Gravesend to Dartford. Dartford to Hither Green. Hither Green to Cannon Street. Cannon Street to Dartford via Deptford. Dartford to Gravesend.