Despite travelling through Upminster on many occasions, I have rarely alighted or boarded trains here. It has happened, but before I discuss that, let’s dive into the history of this station.
Upminster opened on the 1st of May 1885, but the reason for the station’s existence is surprisingly complex. It is a through station for the London, Tilbury and Southend Line, but it was built after a line to Southend was established, originally via Tilbury (a convoluted route, to put it mildly). The new Upminster station was part of a new, more direct service, that would link Barking to Pitsea, and this route would soon become regarded as the ‘main line’, with services from Barking to Southend via Tilbury and Pitsea seen as the branch line. Additional branch lines would sprout from Upminster, including a southern link to Grays and the Tilbury Line via Chafford Hundred (which now provides a rail link to the popular Lakeside Shopping Centre), and a spur to the northwest, to link to the Great Eastern Line at Romford.
The rail companies that owned the route came to arrangements to let the District Railway run services to Upminster as well, though electrification of the District Railway’s operations forced the curtailing of those services, as Upminster and the route beyond were not electrified until some time later. Eventually though, this was completed, and once upon a time, the branch to Romford was connected to the main line as well.
Nowadays, Upminster is the terminus of the Underground’s District Line, and a bit further to the east is a huge depot for Underground trains. The link between the Romford-Upminster Line and the rest of the lines has been severed.
My own personal journeys here have tended to involve getting to, or getting home from, Lakeside. As a single track branch, timing here is everything, and the same is true of the link to Romford, which I have also made use of. Upminster feels old to me, but I dare say it has a certain little charm too. It could do with some TLC, but that is true of a lot of stations. I don’t think Upminster can ever be called glorious, but it doesn’t need to be.