Maldon's Railways - Maldon East and Heybridge Station and Maldon West Station
Maldon was fortunately enough to have two railway stations, Maldon later to become Maldon East and even later to become Maldon East and Heybridge railway station. The Station was located on the north-East side of Station Road, Maldon and opened on 20th October 1848 and Maldon West railway station being located south side of Spital Road, Maldon and opened 1st October 1889. Maldon East and Heybridge was a terminus station located at the end of two branch lines from Witham and Woodham Ferrers via Maldon West. The Station originally had a goods shed and a 2-road engine shed. A turntable was situated adjacent to the station building and there were sidings that served the Blackwater Canal and the river wharf. The second bay platform was added in 1889. The station building at Maldon is an impressive example of Victorian railway architecture. The reason behind this is during the 1847 election the potential MP (David Waddington a vice-chair of the Eastern Counties Railway) was looking to woo his constituents. A lot of local people found employment on the construction of the railway and it was reported in an investigation into the election afterwards that some of these were not actually fit to do the work they were paid for. The station building was built in the Jacobean style, with a large booking hall, waiting rooms and ticket office on the ground floor.The upper floor contained the station master’s apartments which were reached by a winding staircase from the booking hall. Originally the single platform was partly covered by a glass roof but this was removed after an explosion of an engine boiler caused significant damage.
The branch from Witham was part of a scheme to link Braintree (“the granary of Essex”) with its traditional port at Maldon. The scheme started in 1845 as a direct link from Braintree rather than the two branches that were actually built. It soon ran into financial trouble and was taken over by the Eastern Counties Railway keen to ensure there was no competition for its own interests. And this was before work actually started. Construction started in March 1847 and the first goods trains ran in August 1848 followed by the opening to passenger trains on 20th October of the same year. In 1862 the Eastern Counties Railway was taken over by the Great Eastern Railway (GER). The station was originally named Maldon, but after the opening of the Maldon West line on 1 October 1889, the station was re-named to Maldon East. The 50 foot diameter turntable (manufactured by Ransomes & Rapier of Ipswich was installed at this time and a second platform was added to the west of the station building at this time. In 1907 the station was further renamed to Maldon East and Heybridge as its actual position is half way between the two. In 1958 Railbuses started operating the line to Witham with an improved schedule and in 1959 more frequent services were introduced. It was however too late as the rise of road transport and cheaper competing bus services saw the Witham branch carrying just 400 passengers per day. It is thought by 1959 the engine shed had closed as no steam locomotives were using the branch.The line was slated for closure in the Beeching Report and despite the efforts of local campaigners the last passenger train ran on 7thSeptember 1964. Freight lingered on with gravel and fruit traffic until 18th April 1966.