Southend (Central)

Southend is one of those towns that, from a station perspective, is a little bit greedy. The popular seaside town has no less than three stations. Southend Central and Southend East are both on the London, Tilbury and Southend Line, whilst Southend Victoria is on a branch of the Great Eastern Mainline. Southend Central opened in 1856, making it the oldest of the Southend stations.

Central (I’m too lazy to keep typing out the whole name) was the original eastern terminus of the line out of Fenchurch Street. There were once six platforms here, but two have been removed and redeveloped as a car park, and one (funnily enough, platform one) is largely disused. Platforms two and three service through services to London, and in the other direction, Shoeburyness. Platform four is a bay platform, where services to/from Fenchurch Street via the LTSR branch lines begin and terminate. Once upon a time (from 1910 to 1939), London Underground’s District Line ran excursion trains to Central. I imagine the outbreak of World War II in 1939 is the main reason these services stopped, and after the war, there was no effective case for restarting them.

The station itself retains a little of its origins, despite a major refurbishment in 2007. Not being a grand terminal, Central doesn’t have a sweeping, epic feel to it, but it’s alright. It doesn’t have particularly good cross-platform access (it’s done via a subway, so good luck if you have mobility issues), but overall, it functions quite well. There’s plenty of seating for waiting passengers, and it’s sheltered from the inevitable British rain. Beyond that, there isn’t anything more I can say about this seaside stop.

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