Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Eastern - Hertford East review 1


6/11/07  Broxbourne to Hertford East

Cost of ticket: £4.30 (Cheap Day Return: Cheshunt to Hertford East)

Dept Broxbourne: 12.44  Arrive Hertford East: 13.02

Journey time:  18 mins

Distance: 7 miles  Weather: Sunny but cold

Train type: Class 317 4-car EMU(double track all the way)

Railway company: One

Frequency of trains - one every half hour


After travelling in a 315 unit up to Cheshunt, I change here to buy my ticket and get on a 317 unit, which is much more luxurious, with carpets and better upholstery. Broxbourne is a four-platform station on the Great Eastern mainline to Cambridge and is in the post-modern style. It has a brick footbridge and a signal box just north of the platforms. There are also lots of sidings here on the eastern side, but they are empty at this time. There are lakes on either side of the rack as we leave the station, but the scenery soon changes into factories and industrial estates. We leave the Cambridge mainline at Broxbourne Junction and bear northwestwards through more factories before we arrive at Rye House station. The place is famous for its speedway team and the "Rye House Plot" back in the 1600's. It is a two-platform station with very long platforms and has bus stops on both platforms. To the right can be seen some narrow boats on the canal next top the station and open countryside beyond that. There are still lots of houses on the left though and we soon pass under the A414. More housing appears on both sides now as we slow down for St Margaret's Station. This time it is a pleasant old station, with its original yellow brick station building still in place, as well as a boarded up signal box in situ. The scene is complemented by the yellow and brown leaves of the trees next to the station and the river Lee with more narrow boats. The land becomes quite wooded now and there is also some marshland that we pass through, as well as gravel pits on the left hand side. The track becomes single as we come into Ware station with its lone platform. It still has its original yellow brick Victorian station building, with a station café and the old buttresses holding up the canopy. Beyond the station is a mixture of modern flats and factories. A stream (the river Lee?) passes next to us and we go under the A10 viaduct, being briefly out in the countryside again, before more houses appear on both sides. We soon slow down and stop at Hertford East station, which has some empty sidings on the right side. The station has just two platforms, though there are two tracks in the middle, which can be used to stable trains at busy times. The station building is an elegant building of red brick and looks like a mini-London terminus from outside. I can't see a ticket office though and there is an old signal box still standing at the end of the platforms.

Summary: A pleasant branch line, which is busy all through the day because of its proximity to London. It could be used as a "different" destination for an excursion train with its spare capacity.   MC