Romford to Upminster Line

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Romford to Upminster Line
Upminster station Romford shuttle bay looking west.JPG
A train awaits departure at Upminster
Type Suburban rail; heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater London
Termini Romford
Stations 3
Services 1
Opening 7 June 1893
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Greater Anglia
Character Branch line
Depot(s) Ilford
Rolling stock As available:
Class 315
Class 317
Class 321
Line length 3.4 mi (5.47 km)
No. of tracks 1
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 25 kV AC
Operating speed 30 mph (48 km/h)

The Romford to Upminster Line or Upminster Branch Line is a 3.4 mi (5.47 km) branch line between Romford and Upminster in the London Borough of Havering. The line is part of the Network Rail Strategic Route 7, SRS 07.09, and is classified as a rural line.[1] The line is single track throughout, electrified at 25 kV AC, has a loading gauge of W6, and a line speed of 30 mph.[1]


Part of a 1904 Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram showing the line between Romford and Upminster

The line was originally built as a branch of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LT&SR) and opened on 7 June 1893 providing the LT&SR with an inroad into Great Eastern Railway territory at Romford and a small goods yard where the branch joins the Great Eastern Main Line. At Romford the branch had a separate station entrance in a three-storey building opposite the Great Eastern station entrance and a cast-iron footbridge was also constructed over South Street opened when a LT&SR train was due. When in April 1934 the LT&SR building ceased use as a station and the ground floor rented as a shop the then LNER took control of the whole station.

Emerson Park Halt opened 1 October 1909. A run round loop was constructed 500 yards to the west to enable extra trains to run between Emerson Park and Upminster. When push-pull working began in 1934 the loop was not needed and taken out c. 1936.[2]

From 17 September 1956 DMUs from Stratford replaced the steam service and from 20 April 1957 a new bay (dead end) platform six opened at Upminster effectively making it part of the Great Eastern Railway.

After attempts to close the line in the 1960s failed, the line continued until it was electrified and EMU services began on 17 April 1986.[3]

In 2014, it was announced that operations on the line would be transferred to London Overground from 31 May 2015.[4]


Romford to Upminster Line
Great Eastern Main Line
to Liverpool Street via Stratford
0.000 Romford
Great Eastern Main Line
to Shenfield
2.897 Emerson Park
LTS Line & District line
to Fenchurch Street (LTS) or via Tower Hill (LU)
5.432 Upminster London Underground
Unbuilt connection to District line
LTS Line
to Grays via Chafford Hundred
Upminster Depot
LTS Line
to Shoeburyness via Basildon

The branch is known colloquially as the Romford Push and Pull[citation needed] as it is single-track throughout. It is electrified at 25 kV AC. Electrification of the line saw an end to years of speculation about its future. There is only one intermediate station, at Emerson Park. At Upminster the connection west of the station to the LT&S line was severed in 1968.[5]

The branch is not signalled. There were plans to link the line from platform six at Upminster to the reception tracks of the underground depot. This would have allowed the transfer of London Underground D78 Stock units onto the main line to be hauled away by diesel locomotive for refurbishment by Bombardier at Ilford Depot. These plans were scrapped when the refurbishment work was transferred to Wakefield in Yorkshire and the transfer was done by road.[6] The point-work which was half installed is still visible from the eastern end of platform 5 of Upminster.


The line is entirely within Travelcard Zone 6. Passenger services are currently operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, who replaced the previous operator, on 5 February 2012. Trains are normally formed by a Class 315. As of December 2013, the service pattern on the route is one train every 30 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays between approximately 06:00 and 20:00 with no service on Sundays. The journey time from one end of the line to the other is eight minutes. As of May 2015 services will be transferred from Abellio Greater Anglia to London Overground[7]


During the construction of the railway in 1892, the geologist T. V. Holmes discovered a 5 metre layer of boulder clay underlying the gravel and sand in a section just north of St Andrews Park. This is now the Hornchurch Cutting Site of Special Scientific Interest, which exhibits the southernmost limit of the Anglian ice sheet 450,000 years ago, the furthest south that any ice sheet reached.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Route 7 - Great Eastern". Network Rail. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  2. ^ Kay, Peter (1997). The London Tilbury and Southend Railway Vol 2. p. 83. ISBN 1-899890-19-X. 
  3. ^ Kay 1997, p. 80
  4. ^ "More EMUs for London Overground". Railway Gazette. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Kay 1997, p. 81
  6. ^ "D78 Stock Programme". Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Geology Site Account, Hornchurch Railway Cutting". The Essex Field Club. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 

Further reading[edit]