|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2008)|
|Type||Suburban rail, Heavy rail|
South East England
|Rolling stock||Class 466
Class 465 (Occasional)
Class 375 (Occasional)
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Operating speed||75 mph (121 km/h)|
The Sheerness Line connects Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent with Sittingbourne on the mainland, and with the Chatham Main Line for trains towards London Victoria, St Pancras International, Ramsgate or Dover Priory. It opened on 19 July 1860.
The line was electrified by British Railways on 15 June 1959 as part of the "Kent Coast electrification" in the 1955 Modernisation Plan. In conjunction with electrification double track was introduced between the junction with the main line and near Swale Halt. In 1960 the bridge over the Swale estuary was rebuilt when a slight deviation of the line was built requiring a new platform at Swale Halt on a different alignment.
The connection to Sittingbourne faces away from London (Coast Bound), and most trains on the line run as shuttles between the station and Sheerness - there are, however, a few through trains which run directly between Newington station and Kemsley via a connecting loop.
Swale station was earmarked for closure, with the Strategic Rail Authority proposing either a Parliamentary train or complete closure. This plan was eventually rejected, and the station retains a regular service.
Train services on the line are operated by Southeastern. There is only a Standard Class Service on this line. The typical trains that run on the line are 2-car Class 466 Networker EMUs which replaced the old 3-car Class 508 EMUs introduced as a stop gap to replace the Mk1 Slam Door EMUs. Usually in the case of bad winter weather or operational problems, the Class 466 units can sometimes be doubled up, or a 4-car Class 465 can occasionally be seen operating on this line. In December 2010, as a one-off, a Class 375/3 "Electrostar" was spotted operating on this line. Electrostars have also been running the line in February/March 2014 due to engineering works between Sittingbourne & Gillingham.
During July 2010 there were events celebrating 150 years of trains to Sheppey, with a plaque on display at Queenborough Station.
Sheppey Light Railway