The 19th Century London Liverpool Street is the City terminus point of the Great Eastern Main Line before the line winds through the suburbs of London and past the Olympic Park, into Essex and on to Suffolk.
The earliest section of the line (often shortened to ‘GEML') opened in 1839 and ran from Devonshire Station (in Mile End, London) to Romford, Essex. A year later, the London terminus was moved to Bishopsgate and over subsequent years the line was extended further into Essex, reaching Ipswich in 1846. London Liverpool Street became the City terminus of the route in 1872, and now sees more than 57 million passengers each year.
The 70 mile route from London to Ipswich sees daily fast passenger services to and from East Anglia with slower commuter services serving the ‘banker belt'. It is electrified at 25 kV AC using overhead wires and has a line speed of up to 100mph (161km/h). The line also carries frequent freight operations working from Felixstowe and Ipswich to Stratford, where connections are made with the North London Line and main lines radiating from London to other parts of the UK.
A common sight on the line is the Siemens-built Class 360 EMU, operated by Greater Anglia and included with the route. These ‘Desiro' units were introduced to service in 2003 and by mid-2004 had completely replaced the ageing Class 312 slam-door units. The four-car units have a top speed of 100mph and quick acceleration, making them ideal for long commuter lines with frequent station stops.
Notable landmarks along the route include London Liverpool Street, Stratford, the Olympic Park, Ilford Carriage Sidings, Chelmsford, Colchester, Manningtree, Stoke Tunnel (the only railway tunnel on the Great Eastern Main Line) and Felixstowe Container Terminal and Docks, as well as the Braintree branch from Witham and the short branch line to Colchester Town.
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