Braintree Branch Line

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Braintree Branch Line
Braintree - Greater Anglia 321303.JPG
Braintree station
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale East of England
Termini Witham
Stations 5
Services 1
Opening 1848
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Abellio Greater Anglia
Character Branch line
Rolling stock Class 321
Class 360
No. of tracks 1
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 25 kV AC OHLE
Braintree Branch Line
miles/chains from Bishop's Stortford
Bishop's Stortford-Braintree Branch Line
17m 72ch Braintree
Braintree Freeport
19m 75ch Cressing
21m 10ch White Notley
To Colchester
24m 15ch Witham Jn (Witham-Maldon branch)
24m 22ch Witham
Great Eastern Main Line

The Braintree Branch Line is a branch line from Witham to Braintree in Essex, England. The line diverges from the Great Eastern Main Line at Witham. Passenger services are currently operated by Abellio Greater Anglia. The line is part of the Network Rail Strategic Route 7, SRS 07.06 and is classified as a London and south East commuter line.[1]


Originally constructed from Maldon to Braintree via Witham, only the line from Witham to Braintree remains open. The line was proposed by the Maldon, Witham & Braintree Railway Co and given Royal Assent in June 1846. The company was purchased by Eastern Counties Railway and the line opened in 1848.[2]

The section from Maldon to Witham was constructed as dual track however one track was lifted during the period of the Crimean War (1854-6) and sold to the War Office.[2]

The Bishop's Stortford-Braintree Branch Line, also built by the Great Eastern Railway, was opened in 1869 creating a route from Maldon through to the West Anglia Main Line.

The line was extended from Maldon to South Woodham Ferrers in 1889.[2] In 1923, both lines became part of the London and North Eastern Railway.[2]

During the Second World war the passenger services on the section between Maldon East and Woodham Ferrers line were withdrawn and never reinstated.[2]

The Bishop's Stortford-Braintree Branch Line closed for passenger traffic in 1952 and then to freight traffic in 1971. The Maldon East to Witham section was closed for passenger traffic with the Beeching axe in 1964 although goods service on that section continued until 1966.[2]

National Express East Anglia replaced the previous operator, First Great Eastern, on 1 April 2004, when all the operators in East Anglia were merged into one new franchise.


The line is single track throughout and the route is electrified at 25 kV AC. It has a loading gauge of W6 and a line speed of 50 mph.[1]

Services are usually formed of using Class 321 units and occasionally Class 360 replace them. However Class 360's are used on the line in the weekday morning peaks only.


  1. ^ a b "Route 7 - Great Eastern" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The Old Railway Lines to Maldon". This is Malden. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 

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