Chatham Main Line
|Chatham Main Line|
|Type||Commuter rail, Suburban rail|
South East England
|Rolling stock||Class 375 "Electrostar"
Class 395 "Javelin"
Class 465 "Networker"
Class 466 "Networker"
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC third rail|
|Operating speed||90 mph (140 km/h)|
Services to Charing Cross as well as some slow Cannon Street services run in parallel from Gillingham to Rochester, diverging once across the River Medway at Rochester Bridge Junction onto the North Kent Line via Gravesend and Dartford.
Heading away from Victoria, between Farningham Road and Longfield Stations, the line which was used by Eurostar trains running from Waterloo International towards Fawkham Junction to pick up High Speed 1 still exists but is no longer used. This line is reserved for emergency use only by Class 395 Javelins travelling to/from Ashford International. As the Eurostar trains have had their 750V shoes removed, they can no longer use this line.
Most services on the Line are run by Southeastern, part of Govia Group, which also operate the Southern and the London Midland franchises. During the rush hour, First Capital Connect run a Thameslink service over part of this line between Shortlands and Swanley where it then heads to Sevenoaks.
While travelling between Bromley South and London Victoria, the trains can either travel on the main line, through Beckenham Junction, Herne Hill and Brixton, or can be divert via the Catford Loop Line, coming away from the main line at Shortlands Junction, travelling through Catford and Peckham Rye, and then just past Brixton it either picks up the Southeastern line all the way, or can follow the Southern (Atlantic) Line through Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road Stations, before crossing back over to the Southeastern Line to Victoria Station.
Since a major timetable change in December 2009, the typical Off-Peak services on this line are as follows.
A half hourly service currently consist of either stopping or semi-fast trains, one travelling from Ramsgate and the other from Dover Priory where the two of the trains would then normally join together at Faversham. They will then stop at either Teynham or Newington on an alternating half hourly service, and will include Sittingbourne in between these stations. Then Rainham, Gillingham, Chatham, Rochester, Meopham, Longfield, and Bromley South then non-stop to London Victoria.
An hourly service starts from Gillingham (which used to be a half hourly service from Faversham), stopping all Chatham, Rochester, Sole Street, Meopham, Longfield, Farningham Road, Swanley, St Mary Cray, Bromley South and London Victoria only. Stations prior to Farningham Road (as coming from London Victoria) are served by stoppers on the Swanley to Ashford (via Maidstone East) Line.
The introduction of the Class 395 Javelins, coinciding with the opening of a link to High Speed 1 in December 2009 has seen the addition of a half hourly service departing from Faversham calling at Sittingbourne, Rainham, Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester. It then switches over to the North Kent Metro Line, calling at Strood and Gravesend, before then picking up a dedicated line to Ebbsfleet International, before dropping onto High Speed 1, where it calls at Stratford International, and St Pancras International. There is no First Class service on this train, and between Faversham and Gravesend, this is treated as a classic service, which means you can travel with a standard (Non High Speed) ticket, but if you want to travel to any of the High Speed One Stations, you will have to pay a premium fare or purchase a supplemental ticket (Plus High Speed) either on the train heading towards St Pancras International, or from one of the High Speed Stations for the return leg of the journey. Most train tickets which are valid across different networks (Not just Southeastern) are usually (but not always) exempt from this premium fare.
During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the service was cut back to only one train per hour from Faversham to St Pancras International, due to additional Shuttle Trains running from St Pancras to Stratford International. All the London Termini were extremely busy during this time, with a queuing system in place at the very busiest stations.
There is a suburban (metro) service where the majority of this travels on a small part of this line. Departing from Victoria, it calls at Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction (for the Croydon Tramlink), Shortlands, Bromley South, and Bickley. It then switches to the South Eastern Main Line at Chislehurst Junction where it calls at Petts Wood, terminating at Orpington. From here, you can pick up services towards Tonbridge and Ashford International.
Rolling stock 
The line was built by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, who were in competition with the South Eastern Railway (hence the duplication of stations in Kent). They subsequently built lines to Sevenoaks and Ashford (via Maidstone) from the Chatham Main Line.
The line was electrified (750v DC third rail) in a series of stages. Initially the new Southern Railway electrified the urban (within London) workings of the SECR in the 1920s. In July 1925 "South Eastern Electrification (Stage 1)" saw the line from Victoria to junction with the South Eastern Main line at Bickley, including the Catford Loop Line electrified. This was extend to outer suburban workings to Sevenoaks via Swanley (Bickley junction to Swanley) in two stages, reaching St Mary Cray in May 1934 and Swanley in January 1935. Full outer suburban electrification was achieved with the "Maidstone & Gillingham Electrification" scheme in July 1939, extending electrification from Swanley to Gillingham. Post war, under the BR's 1955 Modernisation plan, electrification was completed (Gillingham to Ramsgate and Dover) under "Kent Coast Electrification" stage 1 in 1959. At the same time the four track section between Shortlands and St Mary Cray junction was extended to Swanley Junction with a complete rebuilding of the St Mary Cray Junction. Two passing loops were added (to create a four-track section) between Rainham and Newington.
Car parking at Chatham railway station, the Maidstone Road bridge and the portal to the Chatham Tunnel
A 1908 Railway Clearing House map of Chatham Main Line and surrounding lines between Beckenham Jct and Herne Hill
A 1908 Railway Clearing House map showing the two different routes of the Chatham Main Line in South London.
A 1908 Railway Clearing House map of the end of the Dover branch of the Chatham Main Line.
A 1912 Railway Clearing House map of the line's final approaches to Victoria.
See also 
|This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (July 2011)|
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (September 2009)|
- Quail Map 5 - England South [pages 2-13] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 2011-12-14)
- "Electric Railways". 'Stendec Systems'. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
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