The Anonymous Widower

Chalkwell And Southend East Stations To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Currently, four c2c stations are not step-free.


  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. The large number is the number of passengers in 2017-18

As Chalkwell And Southend East stations are the two busiest stations without step-free access, they on the list of stations to be improved.

Chalkwell Station

The Current Station

These pictures show Chalkwell station and a selection of views from the path that runs on the seaward side of the station.

This Google Map shows the Eastern End of the station.

I hope it explains some of the pictures.

  • The Booking Office and gate-line are in the building identified by the red rail sign.
  • There are two bridges over the railway.
  • The Western bridge is for pedestrian access between the gate-line and the two platforms.
  • There are steep staircases down to the two platforms.
  • There is also a separate |Eastern bridge, which is to allow pedestrians, cyclists and dogs to cross the railway and access the coastal path, which runs South of the station.

Note too, that the station is very close to the sea.

Adding Step-Free Access At The Booking Office

I think that my pictures also flag up several problems of making the current pedestrian bridge step-free, either by complete replacement or the addition of lifts.

The Pedestrian Bridge At Station Has A Severe Case Of The Moths

Engineers and those that repair vehicle bodies, often refer to rust in steel structures as moth damage. The pedestrian bridge at Chalkwell station was built in 1933 and it appears to have suffered badly in the salty atmosphere close to the sea.

I do wonder, if a structural engineer has said that the bridge will need replacing within a few years.

It should be noted that the second bridge contains a lot more concrete, so this may be in less risk of collapse.

Would An Electric Lift Work Reliably In a Heavy Gale Blowing In From The Sea?

A knowledgeable station guy told me, that he believed the weather would stop a lift being installed on the seaward platform.

The Current Stairs Are Long And Very Steep

I managed them, but then I have a great advantage in that I’m only 61 Kg and can generally climb most stairs, even if I take it slower than some.

Is There Space To Add Lift Towers To The Current Pedestrian Bridge?

It might be possible by the Booking Office, but I suspect that there is not enough space on the seaward side.

The Pedestrian Bridge Would Be Difficult To Replace Whilst Keeping The Station Open

I think it would be nearly impossible to rebuild the bridge or replace it with a new one, whilst keeping the station open.

Why Not Replace Both Bridges?

It might be possible to replace the two bridges with a new single bridge in the position occdupied by the Eastern bridge, that is separate from the station.

But this would be very disruptive to both train passengers and to pedestrians wishing to cross the railway.

A Conclusion About Step-Free Access At The Booking Office

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to add step-free access to the station, whilst keeping it open to passengers, if step-free access is provided at the Booking Office.

Could A Separate Step-Free Bridge Be Built At The Western End Of Chalkwell Station?

This Google Map shows the Western end of the station.

Note that there is a steep slope up from the platform to the road that passes the station on the Northern side.

This picture was taken of the bridge at Maghull North station.

Note how there is a short bridge to the top of the cutting on the left hand side of the bridge.

  • Could a similar arrangement be used at Chalkwell station?
  • It should be possible to build a level path along the top of the slope.
  • The path could connect into the Booking Office behind the gate-line.

I feel this approach would have several advantages.

During Installation Of The New Step-Free Bridge, Platform Access Would Be As Now

Passengers would not be inconvenienced, whilst the new bridge was being installed.

After Installation Of The New Step-Free Bridge, Passengers Would Enter The Station Through The Same Doors And Gate-line

How convenient, especially for occasional travellers, who might be confused by the new layout.

The New Bridge Could Be Placed In The Most Convenient Place

The new bridge could be placed in the best place for the passengers and the optimum place for train loading.

The New Bridge Could Be Built With Minimum Disruption To Services

There would be a big advantage in that the bridge could be built over a working railway, as was the one at Maghull North station.

After Installation Of The Bridge, There Would Be Two Routes To Each Platform

If it were to be decided that  the old pedestrian bridge with its steep stairs were to be demolished, this could be done, at a safe and leisurely pace after the new bridge was deemed to be a good design.

But it may be decided to refurbish the old bridge to keep the two seperate routes.

The Winner Of The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition Could Be Used

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could a factory-built bridge like this be installed at Chalkwell station?

An extension from the bridge on one side, would give access to the path to the Booking Office.

Could this bridge be slightly lower, than the current bridge? I suspect, this bridge has been designed so that 25 KVAC overhead electrification can be fixed to the underside of the bridge deck using insulated fittings. The reduced height would make climbing up slightly easier.

Southend East Station

The Current Station

These pictures show Southend East station.

This Google Map shows the station.

There would appear to be plenty of space, but where will the bridge be placed?

If they decided to use a bridge based on the competition winner could probably be placed on the Eastern end of the platforms.




May 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Between Bratislava And Kiev By Train

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Slovakia – Ukraine passenger service to launch in June.

This is the first three paragraphs.

Slovakian national operator ZSSK and its Ukrainian counterpart UZ have agreed to launch a through passenger service on June 9 on the 146 km route between Košice and Mukachevo via the Čierna nad Tisou/Chop border crossing.

This follows a trial train which ran on April 2. Services are expected to leave Košice at 09.10 and 12.01 and Mukachevo at 13.54 and 17.20, with a journey time of around 4 h including the border formalities.

There will be connections at Košice with trains to and from Žilina, Bratislava and the Czech Republic, and at Mukachevo with trains to Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa.

This new train, will open up a new route between Bratislave and Kiev.

  • Košice is a large city, that has been European City of Culture.
  • Mukachevo looks to be a place to while away a day and according to, there are well-rated rooms in the town.
  • I should think some knowledge of Hungarian or Ukrainian would help.

I would do the trip by flying to Kiev and after visiting Chernobyl, I would come home by train via this new route to Bratislava.

I’ve already done Bratislava to London by train, as part of my Home Run From Budapest in 2013.

You can find all the posts in Flying To Budapest And Getting The Train Back.

If anybody wants to visit Chernobyl with me and come back from the Ukraine by train, hopefully, I shall be doing this trip sometime in the summer.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments