ID DJG_CAW Article from Mersea Museum

TitleCrab and Winkle Express
AbstractIn 1902 after some few years of negotiations, a light single track railway was constructed for the Great Eastern from Kelvedon low level to Tollesbury, with intermediable stations and halts at Feering Halt, Inworth, Tiptree, Tolleshunt Knights, Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Guines Court (Halt) and Tollesbury. The line was further extended in 1904 to the south, across the fields and marshland to Mell, where a wooden pier, ¼ mile in length was thrust out into the river Blackwater. The train which usually comprised two passenger carriages and guards van drawn by one of the classic GER. tank engines and was popularly nick named the "Crab and Winkle Express". This was no reflection on the speed of the train, which could do the journey of some 10 miles in ¾ hour, but was attributed to the amount of shellfish usually conveyed by the train in those days.

The railway was opened on 1st October 1904 which was a Gala day for the village, as passengers were conveyed free in open trucks.

The first railway official in charge at Tollesbury was Mr Jack Gallant who was later assisted by Mr Lawrence. Their duties mainly consisted of attending to freight, keeping the station clean and tidy, trimming and filling the oil-lamps, for station office work etc. They were also responsible for uncoupling and coupling up the rolling stock and trucks etc, when shunting in the goods yard, also for coupling up the engine for the return journey. No tickets were issued at Tollesbury or the intermediate stations, fares were collected and tickets issued en route by the guard, who was able to traverse the length of the train by the gangways running up inside each coach. On arrival at Kelvedon, if any passenger wished to travel on to London or elsewhere they had to obtain a ticket from the booking office.

On the occasion of the Annual Horse Show at D'Arcy, much activity took place at Tollesbury Station where a siding for cattle had been installed, and during the Great War and spratting season it was a hive of activity. Nothing untoward happened on the railway during its period of activity, there were the odd disrailments in shunting operations, but no fatality other than the one traffic accident to a local boy during the construction of the line.

In 1910 when local boys and girls gained scholarships to Chelmsford and Maldon Grammar Schools, they invariably travelled by train. The route to Maldon was via Kelvedon, Witham and Maldon East, entailing a journey of some 36 miles, taking some 2¼ hours, and which prevailed up to 1921, when a motor bus service was instituted between Tollesbury and Maldon.

Following the end of the 1939-1945 war the traffic using the railway declined, and in 1954 the line was closed, and the pier finally demolished. Mr Jack Gallant who had been in charge of the station from 1904 to 1954 retired.

AuthorDouglas J. Gurton
Keywordsrailway
SourceMersea Museum / Cedric Gurton
IDDJG_CAW
Related Images:
 FASHODA, when the train first ran to Tollesbury. Postcard, not mailed.
 The opening of the Tollesbury Railway - locomotive is FASHODA.
 An Essex County Standard report on the opening of the railway on Whit Monday 1904 says Novel excursions were made on the new line from Kelvedon to Tollesbury, the journey being made in ballast wagons with sleepers serving as seats. The contractor's smart little engine 'Fashoda' gaily decorated was used. [David Thornton in Plough and Sail].
 The contractors Scott & Middleton used a Manning Wardle 0-6-0 saddle tank in the final stages of construction. [The Tollesbury Branch by Peter Paye]  CG17_001
ImageID:   CG17_001
Title: FASHODA, when the train first ran to Tollesbury. Postcard, not mailed.
The opening of the Tollesbury Railway - locomotive is FASHODA.
An Essex County Standard report on the opening of the railway on Whit Monday 1904 says "Novel excursions were made on the new line from Kelvedon to Tollesbury, the journey being made in ballast wagons with sleepers serving as seats. "The contractor's smart little engine 'Fashoda' gaily decorated was used. [David Thornton in Plough and Sail].
The contractors Scott & Middleton used a Manning Wardle 0-6-0 saddle tank in the final stages of construction. [The Tollesbury Branch by Peter Paye]
Date:23 May 1904
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury
 Waiting for the train at Tollesbury. Postcard by T. Hammond, Great Totham, not mailed.
 Used in Tollesbury Past, photo 37.  CG17_009
ImageID:   CG17_009
Title: Waiting for the train at Tollesbury. Postcard by T. Hammond, Great Totham, not mailed.
Used in Tollesbury Past, photo 37.
Date:c1910
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury
 Tollesbury Pier Station. Postcard 63840 posted 19 October 1909 (?) to Miss Femia Cranfield, Yarama House, Rowhedge.  CG17_021
ImageID:   CG17_021
Title: Tollesbury Pier Station. Postcard 63840 posted 19 October 1909 (?) to Miss Femia Cranfield, Yarama House, Rowhedge.
Date:Before October 1909
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury
 Tollesbury Station. Great Eastern Railway sign by the crossing. Postcard mailed 15 February 1907.  CG17_025
ImageID:   CG17_025
Title: Tollesbury Station. Great Eastern Railway sign by the crossing. Postcard mailed 15 February 1907.
Date:Before February 1907
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury
 Station and waterworks, Tollesbury. Postcard by H.S. White, High Street, Tollesbury, not mailed.
 The water tower was erected in 1914.  CG17_027
ImageID:   CG17_027
Title: Station and waterworks, Tollesbury. Postcard by H.S. White, High Street, Tollesbury, not mailed.
The water tower was erected in 1914.
Date:After 1914
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury
 Railway - Looking towards the Pier, Tollesbury. Postcard 126388, not mailed.  CG17_031
ImageID:   CG17_031
Title: Railway - Looking towards the Pier, Tollesbury. Postcard 126388, not mailed.
Date:c1932
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury
 7053 at the Station. Postcard, not mailed.
 Pictured in the 1930s is a mixed train arrival from Kelvedon. LNER information boards but original GER 'Trespassers' noticce remains. Saturday rates for parties are advertised. Note: station buckets, the platelayer's hut (background), cattle loading pens (rightf). J69/1 0-6-0 Tank engine ( later BR 68619 ) finally became the spotlessly maintained east side pilot at Liverpool Street [caption from back of card].  CG17_041
ImageID:   CG17_041
Title: 7053 at the Station. Postcard, not mailed.
Pictured in the 1930s is a mixed train arrival from Kelvedon. LNER information boards but original GER 'Trespassers' noticce remains. Saturday rates for parties are advertised. Note: station buckets, the platelayer's hut (background), cattle loading pens (rightf). J69/1 0-6-0 Tank engine ( later BR 68619 ) finally became the spotlessly maintained east side pilot at Liverpool Street [caption from back of card].
Date:1930s
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury
 LNER 7169 (ex GER) 0-6-0 tank locomotive. Tollesbury Light Railway train at Kelvedon  CG17_043
ImageID:   CG17_043
Title: LNER 7169 (ex GER) 0-6-0 tank locomotive. Tollesbury Light Railway train at Kelvedon
Date:1930s
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury
 Tollesbury Railway Station. The timetable on the station building is LNER.  RG050316
ImageID:   RG050316
Title: Tollesbury Railway Station. The timetable on the station building is LNER.
Source:Ron Green Collection


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