North Kent Line

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North Kent Line
Kent Railways.svg
The North Kent Line, shown with other railway lines in Kent.
Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater London
South East England
Termini London Charing Cross
London Cannon Street
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Southeastern
Depot(s) Slade Green
Grove Park
Rolling stock Class 375 "Electrostar"
Class 376 "Electrostar"
Class 395 "Javelin"
Class 465 "Networker"
Class 466 "Networker"
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 DC third rail
North Kent Line
South Eastern Main Line
Fast & Slow Lines to London Bridge
St Johns
Nunhead to Lewisham link
Lewisham Vale junction
Lewisham Docklands Light Railway
Mid-Kent Line
SEML & Dartford Loop Line
Bexleyheath Line
Blackheath Tunnel 1 mile
Greenwich Line
Angerstein Wharf aggregates
Charlton Lane Crossing
Charlton Tunnel 154 yds
Mount Street Tunnel 121 yds
Dockyard Tunnel 121 yds
Woolwich Dockyard
Coleman Street Tunnel 89 yds
George IV Tunnel 238 yds
Calderwood Street Tunnel 58 yds
Cross Street Tunnel 134 yds
Woolwich Arsenal Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway
to Royal Arsenal
Church Manor Way Halt
Crossrail 1
Abbey Wood
Slade Green
Bexleyheath Line
Slade Green Depot
Dartford Loop Line
River Darent
Dartford Carriage Sidings
Stone Crossing
Greenhithe for Bluewater
Greenhithe Tunnel 253 yds
High Speed 1
towards St Pancras
Ebbsfleet International
High Speed 1
towards Channel Tunnel
Milton Road Halt
Denton Halt
Milton Range Halt
Hoo Junction Staff Halt
The Hundred of Hoo Railway
Higham and Strood Tunnels 3,931 yds
Strood (1st)(Old terminus)
Chatham Main Line
towards London Victoria
Medway Valley Line
Rochester Bridge Junction
River Medway
Chatham Main Line
to Dover Priory and Ramsgate

The North Kent Line is a railway line which runs from Lewisham Vale junction[1][2] (at the country end of St Johns station) where it splits from the Southeastern Main Line to Rochester Bridge junction[3][4] (just south of Strood station), then links up with the Chatham Main Line.



The North Kent Line was the means by which the South Eastern Railway (SER) was able to connect its system to London at London Bridge. In 1846 the SER purchased the Thames and Medway Canal tunnel near Higham and laid railway tracks through it; in 1847 trains were working through from the Strood terminus, on the River Medway to Gravesend. From 30 July 1849 the line was extended, via Blackheath, to a junction with the London and Greenwich Railway at North Kent East Junction, near Deptford, and through trains were now working.


The line is electrified (750v DC third rail). Electrification was initially to Dartford (6 June 1926) and was extended to Gillingham by World War Two.

The Route and Services[edit]

The North Kent Line is regarded[by whom?] as a high-frequency line, with all stations in the London area being served by at least 4 trains per hour, with Lewisham being served by 14tph.

A major timetable change was introduced in December 2009 in connection with domestic high speed services on High Speed 1. This has led to additional services from St Pancras International operating along High Speed 1, then using the North Kent Line from Gravesend, continuing then along the Chatham Main Line to Faversham.

All passenger services are provided by Southeastern, and interchange with the Docklands Light Railway is available at Lewisham, Woolwich Arsenal & Greenwich. From January 2010, Oyster Pay-as-you-Go has been accepted on services within the London Travelcard Zones. The entire line is also within the Penalty fare scheme.

The line has a mixture of fast, semi fast and slow services, and from 2009 high speed services on the High Speed One route from Strood & Gravesend to St. Pancras International.

From 1999–2002 there were semi-fast trains starting from Plumstead to London Victoria briefly resuming a 1980s service pattern. This service was for the Millennium Dome, the service called at, Woolwich Arsenal, Charlton, Blackheath, Lewisham, Peckham Rye then non-stop to London Victoria


Abbey Wood is to become the eastern terminal for Crossrail.


Train services working the Line today take the following route; the first ten miles (16 km) passes through many tunnels, included on the list:

The North Kent Line connects with the LCDR Chatham Main Line at Rochester Bridge Junction, about 200 m beyond Strood station. It totals some 30 miles (48 km) in length.

Service patterns[edit]

As of December 2009, the service pattern is:

Off-peak & Saturday:


Peak hour frequencies vary, with services from the Bexleyheath and Dartford loop lines also running to and from stations to Gillingham.


  1. ^ Quail Map 5 – England South [page 3] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
  2. ^ Network Rail (April 2001). Southern Zone Sectional Appendix. Module SO. p. 1/37 SO130.  (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
  3. ^ Quail Map 5 – England South [page 7] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
  4. ^ Network Rail (April 2001). Southern Zone Sectional Appendix. Module SO. p. 1/15 SO130.  (Retrieved 25 December 2011)

External links[edit]