Fenchurch Street railway station
|London Fenchurch Street|
Main entrance on Fenchurch Place
Location of Fenchurch Street in Central London
|Local authority||City of London|
|Number of platforms||4|
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|Original company||London and Blackwall Railway|
|Pre-grouping||Great Eastern Railway|
|Post-grouping||London and North Eastern Railway|
|Listed feature||Front block|
|Added to list||14 April 1972|
|Lists of stations|
|London Transport portal
UK Railways portalCoordinates:
Fenchurch Street, also known as London Fenchurch Street, is a central London railway terminus located on Fenchurch Place, off Fenchurch Street, in the southeastern corner of the City of London. It is one of the smallest railway termini in London in terms of platforms but one of the most intensively operated.
Fenchurch Street is the London terminus of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line, with services to destinations in east London and south Essex; all services on the line are currently operated by c2c. Uniquely among London termini, Fenchurch Street does not have a direct link to the London Underground, although a secondary entrance on Cooper's Row (also known as the Tower entrance) is close to Tower Hill tube station and Tower Gateway DLR station, while Aldgate tube station is also nearby.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
The station facade is of grey stock brick and has a rounded gable roof. In the 1870s a flat awning over the entrance was replaced with the zig-zag canopy seen today. Above, the first floor facade has 11 round-arched windows, and above these is the station clock.
Fenchurch Street has four platforms arranged on two islands elevated on a viaduct. The station operates at capacity, especially during peak hours. To avoid overcrowding of the station, trains arriving during the morning peak period use alternate island platforms whenever possible. Office blocks (including the 15-storey One America Square) have been built above the station platforms in two places with only one short section of canopied platform and another short section of exposed platform.
The station has two entrances: one located on Fenchurch Place, just off Fenchurch Street itself, and another on Cooper's Row, near Tower Hill. The main station concourse is arranged on two levels connected by stairs, escalators and lifts. There is a ticket office and automatic ticket barriers at each entrance and retail outlets located on both levels of the station.
The station was the first to be constructed inside the City of London; the original was designed by William Tite and opened on 20 July 1841 for the London and Blackwall Railway (L&BR), replacing a nearby terminus named Minories that had opened in July 1840. The station had two platforms when opened.
The station was rebuilt in 1854, following a design by George Berkley, adding a vaulted roof and the main facade. Two additional platforms were added at this time as well as a circulating area and two separate ticket offices for L&BR and London, Tilbury and Southend Railway traffic. From 1850 until the opening of Broad Street station in 1865 it was also the City terminus of the North London Railway (NLR).
The track layout at the station was rearranged in 1883 and a fifth platform was added for use by the Blackwall services. Platform usage was as follows at this time:
- Platform 1 – Blackwall services (GER)
- Platform 2/3 – Ilford and Ongar services (GER)
- Platform 4 – Southend line services (LTSR)
- Platform 5 – North Woolwich (and Bow?) services (GER)
The Great Eastern Railway (GER) used the station as an alternative to the increasingly overcrowded Liverpool Street station for the last part of the 19th and first half of the 20th century over the routes of the former Eastern Counties Railway. The L&BR effectively closed in 1926 after the cessation of passenger services east of Stepney (now Limehouse).
The station was rebuilt with four longer platforms between 1932 and 1935 to address overcrowding issues. Before this rebuilding the Southend line services could only use one of the platforms. Re-signalling of the lines approaching Fenchurch Street also took place at this time.
When the former Eastern Counties lines transferred to the Underground's Central line in 1948 the former LT&SR services became the sole user of the station. The line was later electrified, with electric services commencing on 6 November 1961 and a full electric timetable being introduced on 18 June 1962.
Fenchurch Street station was the location of the first railway bookstall in the City of London, operated by William Marshall.
Connection to the Underground
In the 1970s Fenchurch Street was considered an integral part of the proposed Fleet line (now called the Jubilee line). This would have brought it into the London Underground network. An extension from the end of the existing track terminus at Charing Cross to Fenchurch Street via Aldwych and Ludgate Circus would then have seen the line go on to a destination in east London, most probably via a new station at St Katharine Docks.
Political wrangling delayed the extension, despite being considered the highest priority transport project in the city, and when in 1999 the extension was finally completed as part of the Jubilee line, the route did not go through Fenchurch Street but instead went south of the River Thames before cutting back northwards at North Greenwich. Fenchurch Street remains isolated from the Underground network, although within close walking distance of Tower Hill tube station and is shown on the tube map next to Tower Hill's marker.
Accidents and incidents
- On 1 August 1859, two trains were involved in a low-speed head-on collision at Fenchurch Street after an arriving North Woolwich service erroneously passed a red signal and struck a stationary Tilbury Riverside service. No-one was injured.
- On 28 November 1860, a service to Benfleet via Hornchurch and Tilbury Riverside had a track defect causing the first four carriages of a departing train to leave the line at low speed. No-one was injured.
- On 24 June 1872, a service arriving from Bow came into collision with the buffers at the platform end at Fenchurch Street, resulting in injury to three passengers.
- On 17 August 1872, two people were injured when their service collided with an empty train being shunted out of a siding.
- On 2 September 1903, 11 passengers and one crew member were injured when a train hit the buffers as it arrived at Fenchurch Street from Benfleet via Tilbury Riverside and Hornchurch .
- On 3 February 1912, approximately 86 people were injured when a train hit the buffers as it arrived at Fenchurch Street from Westcliff via Tilbury Riverside and Hornchurch. It was estimated that 860 passengers were aboard at the time. Driver error and excessive speed were blamed for the incident.
- On 26 January 1927, 10 people were injured in a head-on collision on a train to Westcliff via Hornchurch and Tilbury Riverside and subsequent derailment caused by defects in the signal detection and signals at Fenchurch Street.
When the station opened it was only served by the London and Blackwall Railway (L&BR) from Blackwall but following the opening of the London and Blackwall Extension Railway on 2 April 1849, services started to operate to Bow & Bromley with some being extended to Victoria Park & Bow where an interchange existed with the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) from Bishopsgate.
Relations between the L&BR and ECR were poor and connections at Victoria Park & Bow were virtually non-existent. On 26 September 1850 the East and West India Docks and Birmingham Joint Railway (renamed the North London Railway (NLR) on 1 January 1853) started operating a service from Bow into Fenchurch Street and the LBR withdrew their service and the line between Gasworks Junction and Bow & Bromley closed. At this point Fenchurch Street had two heavily used platforms and the line from Stepney was double track.
Alarmed by their decreasing receipts at Blackwall (the South Eastern Railway had opened a direct line from Gravesend), LBR shareholders voted to align with the ECR and jointly construct the London, Tilbury and Southend Extension Railway (LTSR) from Tilbury to Forest Gate Junction (near Maryland Point). Services would then split at Stratford, with one service being routed to Bishopsgate and the other to Fenchurch Street along the reopened line via Bow & Bromley (although that station did not reopen). To accommodate this service a third line was built on the line between Stepney and Fenchurch Street which was also being enlarged at this time. The new service commenced on 13 April 1854 using ECR locomotives and stock.
It soon became obvious that the railway through Stratford was unable to cope with the LTSR services and that company applied to build a more direct line from Barking to Gas Works Junction. The third track from Stepney to Fenchurch Street was opened in 1856, followed two years later in June 1858 by the more direct line from Barking. At this time LTSR services were diverted way from Stratford and a spur was also opened at Abbey Mills Junction (just east of Bromley) which allowed services to and from North Woolwich to operate from Fenchurch Street without the need to be routed via Stratford.
By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the ECR. Although they wished to amalgamate formally, they could not obtain government agreement for this until 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway (GER) was formed by amalgamation. The LTSR and LBR were separate legal entities at this time although on 1 January 1866 the LBR was leased to the GER for 999 years.
The GER took over operation of the NLR shuttle from Bow on 1 January 1869 which it operated until 3 April 1892 (the GER had opened its Bow Road station in 1876 on the L&BR extension line) and this was re-sited in 1892 along with a passenger subway connection to the NLR station.
After 1892 services into Fenchurch Street were operated by the GER and the LTSR and three years later the viaduct from Stepney to Fenchurch Street was widened to accommodate a fourth track.
In 1912 the Midland Railway (MR) purchased and took over operation of the LTSR services.
The timetable from July 1922 shows that Fenchurch Street was served by trains operated by both the GER and the MR. Between 5 pm and 6 pm there were 14 departures as follows:
|Destination||Company||Number of departures|
|Shoeburyness via Laindon||MR||4|
|Shoeburyness via Rainham||MR||2|
|North Woolwich via Bow Road and Stratford Market||GER||2|
After the Railways Act 1921 the country's railways were grouped into four main companies. At Fenchurch Street the London Midland and Scottish Railway took over operations of the MR whilst GER services were taken over by the London and North Eastern Railway.
Direct trains to Gallions which were usually routed via Bromley operated in hours outside the peak. During the peak hours passengers for Gallions changed at Custom House for a shuttle service. Passengers for the North Greenwich branch changed at Millwall Junction.
Withdrawal of the Blackwall and North Greenwich passenger services had been announced for 30 June 1926 but a national general strike saw the poorly patronised services suspended early on 3 May 1926 and never reinstated.
When the former Eastern Counties lines transferred to the Underground's Central line in 1948 the former LT&SR services became the sole user of the station.
Since 1996 Fenchurch Street is served by the train operating company c2c, owned by National Express, with services towards east London and south Essex. The typical off-peak service consists of eight trains per hour (tph) arriving and departing Fenchurch Street:
|2||Shoeburyness||via Laindon and Basildon||not stopping at Limehouse, West Horndon or Pitsea|
|2||Shoeburyness||via Laindon and Basildon||all stations|
|2||Southend Central||via Ockendon||all stations|
|2||Grays||via Rainham||all stations|
During peak periods services are increased from 8 tph to 20 tph.
The approaches to Fenchurch Street were home to a number of goods depots established because of the proximity of the City of London. The following table lists the various depots which were located between Fenchurch street and Christian Street Junction just east of Leman Street:
|Cable Street||Great Eastern Railway||1870s||??||Coal depot – leased by Charringtons|
|City Goods||Midland Railway||1 October 1862||1 July 1949||Closed after nationalisation (duplication of facilities). An hydraulic accumulator tower lasted until 2015 when it was demolished.|
|Commercial Road||LTSR||17 April 1886||3 July 1967|
|East Smithfield||Great Eastern Railway||17 June 1864||1 September 1966||Short quarter-mile branch that led to the Thames riverside. Marked as London Docks on Railway Clearing House diagram above.|
|Goodmans Yard||L&BR||1 February 1861||1 April 1951||Built later for ECR and LTSR traffic. Badly damaged during London Blitz.|
|Haydon Square||London North Western Railway||12 March 1853||2 July 1962||A short fragment of the viaduct serving the depot can be seen today (2015).|
|Mint Street||L&BR then leased to the Great Northern Railway from 1861||1 August 1858||1 April 1951||Contained part of the original Minories station building. Known as Royal Mint Street c1870. Badly damaged by bombs on 29 December 1940. – closed after nationalisation (duplication of facilities)|
London Buses route 40 serves the station.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
- Fenchurch Street is one of the four railway stations featured on the standard UK Monopoly board. The others are Liverpool Street, Marylebone and King's Cross.
- The character Fenchurch in Douglas Adams' So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish was named after Fenchurch Street station, where she was conceived in the ticket queue.
- The name of the clothing brand Fenchurch is derived from the station.
- In Jerome K. Jerome's novel Three Men on the Bummel, the characters start their journey in Fenchurch Street station.
- In the Book Dracula, by Bram Stoker, Dr. John Seward and Mrs. Mina Harker take the Underground to Fenchurch Street after they have met for the first time.
- "Out of Station Interchanges" (Microsoft Excel). Transport for London. May 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-03-12.
- "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
- "The National Heritage List for England". English Heritage. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Station facilities for London Fenchurch Street". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- "Stations Run by Network Rail". Network Rail. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Commercial information". Our Stations. London: Network Rail. April 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- NetworkRail.co.uk – Fenchurch Street
- "Economic influences on growth: Local transport". A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5. 1966. Retrieved 19 March 2008.
- McCarthy, Colin; McCarthy, David (2009). Railways of Britain – London North of the Thames. Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-7110-3346-7.
- Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's own railway (2nd ed.). Colchester UK: Connor and Butler. p. 38. ISBN 0-947699-08-2.
- Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's own railway (2nd ed.). Colchester UK: Connor and Butler. pp. 38,39. ISBN 0-947699-08-2.
- Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's own railway (2nd ed.). Colchester UK: Connor and Butler. pp. 43–45. ISBN 0-947699-08-2.
- Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's own railway (2nd ed.). Colchester UK: Connor and Butler. p. 47. ISBN 0-947699-08-2.
- Vaughan, Adrian (1997). Railwaymen, Politics and Money. London: John Murray. pp. 134, 135. ISBN 0 7195 5150 1.
- Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's own railway (2nd ed.). Colchester UK: Connor and Butler. p. 116. ISBN 0-947699-08-2.
- Bradshaw, George (July 1922). Bradshaw's July 1922 railway guide. Bradshaws. p. 308-320,651.
- Brennand, Dave (2013). London's East End Railways Part 2. Nottingham UK: Booklaw Publications. p. 23. ISBN 978-1909625013.
- Connor, J E (1987). Stepney's own railway (Second ed.). Colchester UK: Connor and Butler. p. 123. ISBN 0 947699 08 2.
- Connor, J E (August 1998). Fenchurch Street – Barking. Midhurst UK: Middleton Press. pp. 28–44. ISBN 1 901706 20 6.
- Hawkins, Chris (1990). Great Eastern in Town and Country. Pinner UK: Irwell Press. pp. 36–42. ISBN 1 871608 16 3.
- Watling, John; Taylor, Dave; Goldsmit, Paul (April 1996). "Lineside features 2:coal drops". Great Eastern Journal 86: 16.
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|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
London, Tilbury & Southend Line
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|