BENFLEET The Southend Rail Travellers Association says this is one of the busiest stations on the entire line, serving a huge catchment area swollen with Sixties’ development. Benfleet itself is little more than ribbon development along the A130, and it is hard to find anything you could define as a centre. A three-bedroom terraced house would cost between £160,000 and £215,000, detached executive houses with four or five bedrooms from £320,000 to £400,000.

The station also attracts commuters from Canvey Island, which is really the scrag end of Essex. So much of it lies below sea level that houses tend to offer views of the sea wall or of oil refineries. You can get a little one-bedroom bungalow for £130,000, or a three-bedroom semi for around £170,000. Traffic in and out of the island strangles the only two roads linking it to the mainland, although there is talk of road improvements and better access. Peter de Savary once had plans to build 4,300 houses, accompanied by a new station just south of Benfleet, but these were shelved and now Wilson Connolly have built a large development instead.

Good for: quick commute, sea wall walks, good schools at Brentwood, Westcliff and Southend.
Local knowledge: a farmers’ market is held at Hadleigh Home Farm on the second Wednesday of each month.

other stations nearby...

London terminal: Fenchurch St
Journey time: 42 mins
Season ticket: £2608
Peak trains: 8 per hour
Off-peak trains: 4 per hour