Crab and Winkle Express
|In 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
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.
Public Transport - the Railway
To School by Train
Douglas Gurton Articles
|Author: Douglas J. Gurton|
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]
23 May 1904
Tollesbury Station. Great Eastern Railway sign by the crossing. Postcard mailed 15 February 1907.
Before February 1907
Tollesbury Pier Station. Postcard 63840 posted 19 October 1909 (?) to Miss Femia Cranfield, Yarama House, Rowhedge.
Before October 1909
Tollesbury Station. Postcard mailed 7 August 1915
Photograph taken about 1910, showing parents and children waiting for the train In the background is Washington Terrace, at the top of what became Waterworks Road when the water tower was erected in 1914 Note the village policeman standing by the station's oil lamp, the milk-churns on the porter's barrow, and the smart station nameboard. The Kelvedon Tollesbury Light Railway, affectionately known as the 'Crab and Winkle' opened in 1904 and closed in 1951.
Used in Tollesbury Past, photo 32.
Waiting for the train at Tollesbury. Postcard by T. Hammond, Great Totham, not mailed.
Used in Tollesbury Past, photo 37.
Station and waterworks, Tollesbury. Postcard by H.S. White, High Street, Tollesbury, not mailed.
The water tower was erected in 1914.
Railway - Looking towards the Pier, Tollesbury. Postcard 126388, not mailed.
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' notice remains. Saturday rates for parties are advertised. Note: station buckets, the platelayer's hut (background), cattle loading pens (right). 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].
LNER 7169 (ex GER) 0-6-0 tank locomotive. Tollesbury Light Railway train at Kelvedon
Tollesbury Railway Station. The timetable on the station building is LNER.
Source: Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton