Some Early Lines
An old” J ” Class Loco on the Wivenhoe to Brightlingsea run, Bill Sadler who runs the secondhand shop in station Rd. used to be Fireman on these Loco’s.
I was told that a commuter coming home from london to Brightlingsea, fell asleep and when the train slowed down to go over the iron bridge at Alresford Creek, he thought he had arrived at Brightlingsea. He opened the door to step out in the dark and fell headlong into the creek, he was rescued and lived to tell the tale.
Brightlingsea railway station was located in Brightlingsea, Essex. It was on the single track branch line of the Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea Railway which opened in 1866 and closed in 1964.
The station building was located on the southern side of Lower Park Road where the town’s community centre now sits.
The station and line was built by The Wivenhoe & Brightlingsea Railway company. This been incorporated in 1861 to build a line from Wivenhoe to Brightlingsea which opened on 17 April 1866. The company was a separate, but associated, company to the Tendring Hundred Railway which had built the line from Colchester to Wivenhoe. The GER soon negotiated to buy both the Tendring Hundred Railway and the Clacton-on-Sea Railway, and both became part of the GER on 1 July 1883. The Wivenhoe & Brightlingsea was absorbed by the GER on 9 June 1893.
The line was temporarily closed on 1 February 1953 following severe flood damage but was not reopened until 7 December that year.
The service was identified for closure the Beeching Report of 1963 and was eventually axed in 1964. This was supposedly prompted by the high costs of maintaining the railway swing bridge over Alresford Creek, which was necessary to allow boat traffic to the many sand and gravel pits in the area.
“Wivenhoe Station, taken around the late ’50s, early ’60s. The sign on the Clacton platform reads Wivenhoe and Rowhedge, Junction for Brightlingsea.”
Remains of railway
The visible relics of the railway’s presence today are the Railway public house and micro-brewery, and the old embankment which is now a footpath. It is possible to walk along virtually the whole length of the former route from very near the site of the old station in Brightlingsea along the old embankment to the site of the former swing bridge. This makes for a pleasant, scenic walk alongside the River Colne with its the ecologically interesting salt marsh environment.
The nearest railway station is now at Alresford.