Maidstone East railway station
|Number of platforms||3|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|1874||Opened as "Maidstone"|
|1899||Renamed (Maidstone East)|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Maidstone East from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Maidstone East railway station is one of three stations in the central area of Maidstone, Kent, but currently the only one with a regular direct service to London. The station is on the Maidstone East Line, 40 miles (64 km) south-east of London Victoria (37 miles (60 km) south-east of London Bridge), and is served by trains operated by Southeastern.
The station is to the east of the River Medway. The approach from the west is via a high level truss bridge over the river and a later girder bridge over the A229. Immediately east of the station is the portal to the 100 yards (91 m) Week Street tunnel.
The booking office, open for most of the operational day, is located at street level on Station Road, above the tunnel portal, with other offices on up platform 1 as well as a coffee shop. There are also offices on Platform 2.
There is a PERTIS self-service 'Permit to Travel' ticket machine located on the ramp which leads to the down side platforms (2/3) but that on the up side was removed some years ago when the current-generation passenger-operated self-service ticket machine was installed.
The station has three platforms: 1 and 2 are through platforms capable of handling trains of up to 8 cars. Platform three is a bay platform on the north (down line) side. Ramps lead down to the platforms on each side. The station formerly had a goods yard on its north side. Part is the site of a Royal Mail sorting office and the remainder a car park for station users. A short siding from the down line to the west of platforms 2 and 3 is a remnant of tracks into the yard. A smaller goods yard also existed on the south side; this is now a car park. A disused face to platform 1 shows the alignment of a former bay platform.
A third track runs as a passing track through the station between the up and down lines.
A pedestrian walkway on the railway bridge provides a route to the Medway Valley Line's Maidstone Barracks station on the west of the river. Maidstone's third station, Maidstone West, is 0.5 miles (800 m) south of Maidstone Barracks.
Maidstone East was opened as Maidstone by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) on 1 June 1874 as the terminus of the line from Otford. On 1 July 1884, the line was extended eastwards to Ashford. In 1899, following the merger of the LCDR with the South Eastern Railway (SER) which operated the Medway Valley line, the station was given its current name to distinguish it from the SER's identically named station which was renamed Maidstone West.
Following the grouping of mainline rail companies into regional railways in 1923, the Southern Railway undertook electrification as far as Maidstone East in 1939. Electrification to Ashford was carried out in 1961. Goods services at the station were discontinued in 1965.
The station has been the site of two accidents involving freight trains.
In the first, on 17 July 1967, a slow-moving westbound train passed a signal at danger and ran into the rear of a stationary passenger train at the up platform causing damage to both trains but only interrupting services for a few hours.
The second, on 6 September 1993, was more significant. At 02:02, a freight derailment occurred. A train, comprising 15 goods wagons was travelling from Dover to Willesden hauled by a Class 47 locomotive (No 47288), when, due to excessive speed, the locomotive's rear bogie derailed in the tunnel approaching Maidstone East. The locomotive ended up on its side on the track. Several wagons left the track, running into signals, platforms and buildings, and spilling their load of 900 tons of steel cable. The driver subsequently failed a breathalyser test. The station remained closed for only a short period as a result of the accident.
There have been plans to redevelop the station for a number of years. In 2005 Network Rail announced that they were in talks with the John Lewis Partnership who intended to build a large Waitrose supermarket on the site. However, in November of that year, the developer that had been working on the deal pulled out taking John Lewis with them. The following year a new redevelopment in conjunction with supermarket chain Asda was proposed. This development included a 50,000 sq ft (5,000 m2) store, hotel, 100 homes and parking for 515 cars. In 2007 it was reported that Asda were getting cold feet over the plans, although Asda stressed that talks were still ongoing, but in 2009 it was confirmed that Asda had withdrawn their interest due to their development of a site at the nearby St Peters' Street complex instead.
In November 2012, initial plans for the regeneration of Maidstone East Station were submitted to Maidstone Borough Council to determine whether an Environmental Impact Assessment was required. MBC concluded in December 2012 that due to the additional road traffic, an assessment would be appropriate. Plans include a new railway station, new large foodstore, other retail units, bar, cafe, commuter and retail parking (approx 1100 spaces) and associated landscaping. The proposed plan involves the demolition of the existing station ticket office, a disused hotel/bar, retail units opposite County Hall and the adjacent Royal Mail sorting and enquiry office which is due to transfer operations to a new site in Park Wood, Maidstone late 2012.
The 2015 typical off-peak service from the station is :
- 2 trains per hour to London Victoria
- 1 trains per hour to Ashford International
- 1 trains per hour to Canterbury West
There is also a peak hour service via Thameslink across London, serving City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras International before travelling onto Bedford.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
Maidstone East Line
- www.railwaysarchive.co.uk - Report on the Collision that occurred on 17 July 1967 at Maidstone East Station in the Southern Region British Railways
- www.railwaysarchive.co.uk - Provisional Report on the Derailment on 6 September 1993 at Maidstone East Station in the Southern Region, British Railways
- "John Lewis scraps move to County Town". KentOnline. 2005-11-11.
- "Asda to develop at Maidstone East". BBC News. 2006-01-20.
- "Fears over Asda's £50m station plan". KentOnline. 2007-03-09.
- "ASDA pulls out of station deal". KentOnline. 2009-02-13.
- "Online Planning :: Maidstone Borough Council". 2012-11-24.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maidstone East railway station.|
- Train times and station information for Maidstone East railway station from National Rail
- Kentrail.co.uk - Maidstone East
- Ordnance Survey Maps of Maidstone East station 1871 to 1947