Bishop's Stortford–Braintree branch line

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Bishop's Stortford
–Braintree branch line
to Witham
Bannister Green Halt
Easton Lodge
Stane Street Halt
Hockerill Halt
Bishop's Stortford

The Bishop's Stortford–Braintree branch line was an 18-mile-long (29 km) line connecting the towns of Bishop's Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree. The Engineer's Line Reference for the line is BSB.


The line was originally one of several schemes promoted in the 19th century, which included north-south routes connecting Great Dunmow with Epping, Halstead and/or Saffron Walden. The route of the built line was proposed by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1859, the line from Bishop's Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree was eventually built by Great Eastern Railway who had since absorbed ECR. Construction started in 1864 and the route opened on 22 February 1869. The line initially served Takeley, Felstead and Rayne with Easton Lodge being added in 1894, Hockerill in 1910, and finally Stane Street and Bannister Green in 1922.[1]

The line was almost entirely single track apart from at Bishop's Stortford, Dunmow, Takeley, Rayne and Braintree where there were passing loops. Goods sidings were provided at Hockerill Halt, Takeley, Easton Lodge (for supply of US Air Force bases at Stansted and Easton Lodge), Dunmow, Felsted (for general, and use of sugar beet factory) and Rayne.

Major features included a viaduct crossing the River Chelmer to the south of Great Dunmow which was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the A1256 Great Dunmow bypass.

Passenger numbers were at decent levels when the line first opened, but increasing competition from bus and road transport meant trains were running almost empty near the end of its serving life; it closed to passengers on 3 March 1952. The line remained open for freight until the end of 1971 before closing completely in 1972.

Flitch Way[edit]

The tracks have been removed, but most of the line formation remains as the Flitch Way country park which is a popular walking and cycling route.[2]

Future developments[edit]

There have been several proposals to reopen the line but none has come close to being realised.[1] In January 2018, Bishop Stortford council called for restoration of the line as part of a consultation on new communities.[3] The line has also been identified as being both of significant value as a route and feasible for restoration with moderate work (mainly at Braintree, Dunmow and diverting to join the National Rail network near Stansted Airport). [4]


  1. ^ a b "Subterranea Britannica: SB-Sites:Dunmow Station".
  2. ^ "Subterranea Britannica: SB-Sites: Easton Lodge Halt".
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Chris Austin, Richard Faulkner, (2015). Disconnected! Broken Links in Britain's Rail Policy. Crecy Press.

Further reading[edit]

  • Peter Paye, (2010). Bishop's Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree Branch. Oakwood Press. ISBN 978-0-85361-708-2.
  • David Gridley, (2016). Lost And Found, Journey to a Forgotten Railway. Slowcoach Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9564128-1-2. Bishop’s Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree Branch Line. Downloaded 25 May 2018.