Frinton & Walton Railways ~ Important Dates

1843  Colchester The railway came to Colchester.
1854  Harwich The railway came to Harwich with boat links to the Netherlands
1855  Colchester, Hythe The railway reached Colchester, Hythe Docks
1866January8th.Weeley Railway opened at Weeley
1866July28th. SaturdayKirby Cross First train ran from Colchester to Kirby Cross.
1867May17th.Walton on Naze First train ran to Walton. For the ten months from July 1886, passengers were conveyed from Kirby Cross to Walton by horse-drawn omnibus.
The station at Frinton was part built and signalled but not opened for a further 21 years. During this time Frinton was a 'halt'.

1879  Frinton and Walton Walton and Frinton Improvement Company obtained permission to run a two and a quarter mile tramway between Frinton and Walton - To be horsedrawn.
1882  Clacton on Sea Sinlge line built from Thorpe to Clacton
1883July   Tendring Hundred Railway company was absorbed by Great Eastern Railway company.
1888July1stFrinton on Sea The first 'timetabled' train arrived at Frinton on Sea station. Prior to this the nearest stations were at Walton and Kirby and Frinton may have been a 'Halt'.
1888June8th.Frinton on Sea Great Eastern Railway opened a station at Frinton with new station buildings and signals for a goods yard
1899  Kirby Cross A crossing loop was added at Kirby Cross. At the same time the single-track line was converted to tablet working in place of the train staff and ticket system used until then.
1900    A single first class fare from London to Frinton was 13s 3d; a return fare for the same journey was 20s; third class was 5s 11d single and 11s 10d return. There were special ‘Friday to Tuesday’ tickets, ‘fortnightly tickets’, and ‘tourist tickets’. Annual season tickets were £28 first class and £21 third class. Many of these prices also applied to travelling from London to Walton which, on the ‘quickest express run’ took just 1 hour 53 minutes from Liverpool Street Station.
1905  Frinton on Sea Tar Paving and Gas Lighting was authorised for the station platform.
1910June1st.  A new businessmen’s train left Clacton just after 7am picking up the Walton portion of the train at Thorpe and, after stopping only at Chelmsford and Shenfield, reached Liverpool Street just before 9am. The return journey left London just after 5pm arriving in Walton before 7pm.
1910May Frinton on Sea Company house built for Station Master at Frinton for £480 (on the site of present (2011) Doctors’ Surgery)
1911May Walton on Naze Construction of two new sidings in order to facilitate the heavy excursion traffic in the summer. The platforms were also lengthened by a few yards and the engine turn-table was enlarged to cater for the larger engines needed to pull the excursion trains.
1918March18Colchester An accident occurred on the Great Eastern Railway at Colchester, about half-a-mile on the London side of the station, early on Monday morning, when a train from Chelmsford crashed into the rear of a stationary newspaper train and practically demolished a couple of the hind coaches - the guards van and the goods van adjoining.
1919  Frinton on Sea Goods Accounts office opened and goods sidings increased to three.
1921April Clacton, Walton, Frinton Train service reduced due to continuance of coal strike.
As reported in East Essex Advertiser 23 April 1921

1921May21st.Frinton Councillor Markham expressed his concern at a council meeting at the loss of time experienced at the Frinton Railway Gates which were closed when the signalman got the news that the train was in Kirby and were not opened again until the train almost reached Walton station.
This was reported in the East Essex Advertiser on 21 May 1921

1922  Frinton on Sea Old signal box abolished and signalling now established from Hut near the ‘Gates’.
1923    Great Eastern Railway was amalgamated with/superseded by London & North Eastern Railway
1927December 3rdWalton Mr William Reynolds involved in accident at Walton.
1928December15Clacton Clacton's Railway Station - Alterations and Improvements. Work has started on the new Railway Station.
1930    Frank H Mason produced the iconic ‘Walton on Naze: It’s quicker by rail’ poster for the London & North Eastern Railway when the golf course surrounding the Naze Tower was enjoying its heyday.
Copies are available to purchase from Frinton & Walton Heritage Trust.

1930    The line between Frinton and Walton was seriously threatened by coastal erosion where it ran close to the sea cliff edge. Nearly a mile of track was diverted further inland. The steady erosion of the sea front between Frinton and Walton, and the instability of the cliffs resulted in a period of activity in the winter of 1929/30 when a new trackbed was constructed alongside Pedlars Wood, inland of the original layout by about 100 metres. The track was re-laid to give a sharp curve out of Frinton followed by a straight run to Walton, where the previous line had followed a smooth curve with sea views based on land owned by the Tendring Hundred Railway’s engineer Peter Bruff. The old trackbed was later used as the foundation of Waltham Way in the new Frinton Park Estate.
1931January 16thGreat Holland Accident at 6.15 a.m. near Great Holland signal box. The 6.8 am newspaper train, Thorpe to Walton started against signals from Thorpe junction and after wrongly running for over two miles on the single branch towards Clacton instead of on the Walton branch collided head on with an up light engine which was correctly proceeding from Clacton to Thorpe.
1934    Proposed new station to serve Frinton Park Estate to be situated by a new level crossing where Central Avenue traverses the railway line. This was never built but is beautifully illustrated in the mosaic on the Round House floor.
1935August10Clacton Three Coaches Derailed Outside Clacton Railway Station
During shunting operations three carriages fouled a pair of points and were derailed outside Clacton Railway Station. One coach turned over onto its side obstructing the main single line in and out of Clacton. The coaches which were empty were being shunted into a siding in order to form a train

1935February Weeley, Alresford Essex County Highways Committee consider by-passing the level crossings at Weeley and Alresford.
1936August1stAlresford - Thorrington Clacton - London Express collides with level-crossing gate
1937August27th.Frinton Railway Station Recently Constructed Wall At The Railway Station Facing Frinton Road
Suggestion, which proved false, turned down to use above for exhibiting advertisements.
Frinton and Walton UDC Minutes

1937September Frinton on Sea An iron passenger bridge was erected at Frinton in six hours, watched by the signalman, Mr Bright. Similar bridges still exist at Alresford and Great Bentley stations but with replacement spans.
1938    The single track section from Thorpe to Walton was re-signalled and worked by the direction lever system, replacing the tablet system used since 1899. At the same time a crossing loop was provided at Frinton and a second platform was built.
1938February7thGreat Bentley Mr W.R. Garnham, Foreman Platelayer, found dead near Clacton Line
1938March19thAlresford Alresford by-pass and bridge over railway opens
The first photograph shows progress in February 1938.
The second photograph shows the dignitaries opening the bridge.

1939  Thorpe, Clacton, Colchester 1939 Work being undertaken:
- Doubling of line between Thorpe and Clacton
- Extension of platforms at Thorpe
- Bridge over Great Holland Brook being widened
- Bridge over Valley Road, Clacton being reconstructed
- Provision of water softening plant at Clacton
- Alignment of main track at Colchester being straightened
- Extension of 'Up' platform at Colchester
- Provision of carriage sidings and loop lines at Colchester
- New signal box at Colchester
- Water softening facilities at Colchester
- Improvements to Colchester Station Buildings
- Subways between platforms for passengers and parcels at Colchester.

Times and Gazette - 14 January 1939

These improvements were first publicised in the Clacton Graphic 1st August 1936

1941January   Automatic and semi-automatic colour light signalling was brought into use. Great Holland signal-box was closed and removed as the passing loop at Great Holland was removed and the line from Thorpe to Clacton was doubled. The line to Walton became a branch line.
1943March14th.Frinton on Sea At 2.11pm one of six Focke-Wulf FW190 fighter-bombers machine-gunned Frinton gate hut during a typical ‘tip and run’ raid that was without warning, short lived and damaging. The cannon shell holes are still visible in the pulling levers in the hut. High-explosive bombs were dropped on Frinton, Walton and Kirby-le-Soken and there several casualties. There is more information on pp. 80-81 of ‘Seaside Front Line’ by Geoff Rayner which is available from Frinton & Walton Heritage Trust.
1948    Diesel Engines introduced
1948January1st.  The railways of Britain were nationalised and became ‘British Railways’.
1949    Line electrified between London, Liverpool St. and Shenfield
1949January7thClacton Work has begun at Clacton railway station on the restoration of the glass roof which was shattered early in 1941 when a bomb fell in a coal wagon nearby.
Gazette and Times 7th January 1949

1954August18th  Halting Of A Clacton Train May Have Been A Mail Theft Rehearsal
1954June to September Clacton on Sea to Birmingham Official details of the summer rail services linking North East Essex and the Midlands have been released.
1954May23rdFrinton on Sea Frinton crossing gates were closed for more than ten hours while workmen re-layed the stretch of line between the crossing gates.
1957    The decision had been taken to electrify the Clacton/Walton line continuing the 1500 volt DC scheme which had reached Chelmsford in 1956.
1957February10th.Frinton on Sea Reinforced concrete passenger bridge completed at Frinton and ‘christened’ by Trevor Bright, the signalman’s grandson
1958    Test of the newly-adopted BR standard 25 KV 50 cycles AC overhead system in the self-contained area of Colchester to Clacton/Walton.
On the Clacton/Walton line 22 bridges had to be altered and the existing sidings at Walton lengthened.
Only on the Walton branch was semaphore signalling retained, the rest of the line being installed with continuous track circuiting with colour light signals of the searchlight type.
Track slewing and repositioning of points was necessary at Walton and the awnings at most of the stations had to be cut back to provide lateral clearance for the overhead equipment.
The passenger service of electric multiple units with 4-car sets working in tandem were brought into service in March 1959. On 13 April 1959 a new timetable had trains running at half-hour intervals with alternate trains giving London connections at Colchester. The trains between Walton, Clacton and London still had to be steam or diesel-hauled pending completion of electrification between Colchester and Chelmsford (?) in the early 1960s?

1959February6th.  Article in the Clacton and Frinton Gazette advising that the first electric train in North East Essex ran from Colchester to Alresford and back again on 5th. February 1959.
1959September29Colchester First Fatality on Colchester Electric Line.
Newspaper article: 6 October 1959
Colchester's new electric railway line claimed the life of a local engine-driver on Tuesday (29 Sept.) when he accidently touched a 25,000-volt overhead cable. The driver, 58 year old Mr Hugh Reed, of 24, Morten Road, Colchester, was cleaning his cab windows of his engine when he brushed against the cable.
Mr Reed was very keen on raising money for charity, and had organised several entertainments locally for good causes.
His main hobby was the making of plaster gnomes, pixies and Walt Disney characters which he sold. The proceeds from these went to charity.

1961February13Thorington Thorington Station Closes
1961May5Clacton Mechanised train cleaning installed at Clacton.
1961-1967    Goods facilities were withdrawn from all stations and all signal boxes were closed with the exception of Thorpe and Frinton – to control the level-crossing only.
1962  Walton on Naze Electrification completed Clacton/Walton to Liverpool street.
1962December 7th.Walton-on-Naze Train Derailment
1962February Colchester New Signal Box comes into operation
1962May26th.Clacton on Sea First through Electric Trains run from Clacton to London, Liverpool St.
1962November7th.Thorpe-le-Soken Train Derailment
1963January10th.  10-coach multiple units of Class 309 with buffet cars started operating. A total of 23 units were built in three sub-classes: 309/1 were two-car sets, 309/2 were four-car sets with a griddle car and 309/3 were standard four-car sets without refreshment facilities. The 10-car trains used one of each sub-class and when dividing at Thorpe, the front four cars formed the Walton section, the remaining six cars (including the griddle car) going to Clacton.
1963March   Richard Beeching issued his report "The Reshaping of British Railways", commonly referred to as the Beeching Report, which led to far-reaching changes in the railway network, popularly known as the Beeching Axe. As a result of the report, just over 4,000 route miles were cut on cost and efficiency grounds, leaving Britain with 13,721 miles (22,082 km) of railway lines in 1966. A further 2,000 miles (3,200 km) were to be lost by the end of the 1960s.
1964December7th.Frinton on Sea Frinton Goods Yard closed.
1965February25thFrinton Signal Lever Ground Frame that gave access to the Frinton Goods yard abolished.
1965January1stFrating First Continental-type railway barrier in Essex in use at Frating level crossing.
1965May28Clacton Train derails and hits pylon in shunting yard
1966February26thWalton Walton To Loose Rail Depot on April 18th when servicing of the trains will transfer to Clacton.
1966January20thThorpe Two Hurt In Thorpe rail Bump
1967February15th.Great Bentley Goods Train Derailed at Great Bentley
1967May1  Great Bentley and Thorpe rail freight depots closed
1971July22nd.  New experimental mini-roundabout installed outside Frinton gates.
1974June16thFrinton on Sea Crossing Loop removed and Frinton was no longer a token station. See also 10th October 1982.
Frinton signal box was downgraded to a 'Gate Box'

1981April5thKirby Cross Head on collision, low speed between empty coaching stock and a passenger train on the single line between Kirby Cross and Walton on Naze.
1982May   Total reorganisation of the timetable and introduction of a shuttle service between Thorpe-le-Soken and Walton necessitating passengers changing at Thorpe, thus ending some ninety years of the division or joining up of separate portions of Clacton and Walton trains.
1982October10th.Frinton on Sea Rationalisation of signalling brought One Train Working regulations between Kirby Cross and Walton.
1983  Walton on Naze All the lines at Walton station were lifted except that serving platform 1. The signal box was also closed.
1984(?)    Some years ago (written in 1990) the passing loop at Frinton was taken out.’
1987    British Rail notified Frinton & Walton Heritage Trust that it proposed modifying the working of the level crossing and that the approach road outside the Crossing Cottage might be widened resulting in loss of some of the Cottage Garden. The proposal came to nothing.
1987August12th.Walton on Naze The 1.05pm train from Thorpe ploughed into the buffer stops at 50mph at Walton, demolishing a waiting-room. Seven people had to be taken to hospital. British Rail’s plan to demolish the station building and erect 30 flats in four storeys in its place were modified in 1987 to provide 26 flats in three storeys with a new waiting room and ticket office, but these plans were still rejected.
1989  Thorpe le Soken Large-scale remodelling of Thorpe-le-Soken station resulted in the down main line track being removed and full bi-directional working introduced around the island platform. A new ticket office was provided and a new signalling panel installed in the signal box to control the Kirby Cross loop, resulting in the closure of the Kirby signal box.
1989August21st.Walton on Naze A new station was opened immediately adjacent to the old one at Walton which was itself sold off to a developer who converted it into flats.
1989July Walton on Naze Walton station was put up for auction but was withdrawn after it failed to reach the asking price.
2009April18th.Frinton on Sea At 2:00 am Frinton Crossing Gates removed
2009May7th or 14thFrinton Article from Gazette - New rail crossing is up and running
2009September Frinton on Sea ‘Slam Door’ 312 train calls at Frinton for the last time
2011April25th.Frinton on Sea Frinton & Walton Heritage Trust open the rebuilt Signal Box at Frinton Gates as a Railway Museum
2011December6th.Frinton on Sea The Frinton Crossing Railway Gates were erected in the garden to the left of the entrance to Frinton Station.
2012April9thFrinton on Sea 'Final Closing of The Crossing Gates'. Ceremony conducted by Jeremy Russell and Trevor Bright (grandson of the last crossing keeper, Jack Bright, who lived at Gatehouse)
2016July30thKirby Cross 150 Years Plaque Unveiling