Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways


Why did you start this website?

Living in South Essex, I have always been fascinated by the Wickford to Southminster branchline, knowing that Southminster is only a small village, I often wondered why this line was built. One day I drove to Wickford and caught a train to Southminster and back, visiting the village. I always thought that as it was near Bradwell Nuclear power station that there would be a line continuing to Bradwell, but there wasn't. I quite enjoyed my trip and wondered if anyone had ever set up a website dedicated to branchlines. Having checked the internet for one, I did find a few localised branchline websites, but not one that covered the whole country, so I decided to start one and here it is! The aim is to record for posterity details of all Britian's existing branch lines, including their history, details of the line and the stations, as well as giving details of any local places of interest. Visitors can even add their own reviews and memories of different branchlines if they wish.

How do you define a Branch Line?

For the purposes of this website, we have split the types of lines we cover into three categories:

1) Traditional Branch Lines. These are lines where a line branches off from a station or junction on the main line to a destination  further down the branch. The trains run only on the branch line and do not come from further afield. E.g Mark's Tey to Sudbury in Suffolk, Liskeard to Looe in Cornwall.

2) Other Branch Lines. These are almost the same as those in 1, yet trains come from places further down the main line such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow or Manchester. E.g. Manningtree to Harwich in Essex where trains start from London Liverpool Street. Or Barnt Green to Redditch where trains start from Birmingham New Street or Lichfield.

3) Other minor routes. These are routes where trains travel across the country from one main line station to another main line station, or from a large town to a smaller town.  Yet the line itself will almost certainly be single track and the traction used be a one or two car "Sprinter" unit. E.g. Ipswich to Cambridge, or Carlisle to Barrow.

Why do you not cover preserved lines?

We do not cover preserved lines on this website because there are several websites on the Net who already do this. Such as:

Why do you not include freight only lines?

The problem with freight lines is that apart from train drivers, members of the public rarely travel on these routes, plus there are no stations to report on. Plus this website is a work in progress which will take many months (or even years?) to complete! However, if visitiors do send in reviews/details of freight branch lines I might be tempted to start a section for them.

What do I do if I would like to contribute to this website?

All contributions to this website are welcome, be they written or photographic. We would ask you to follow the guidelines when submitting any articles of photographs. 

If you have any questions not covered in our guidelines you can contact us here.