Chatham Main Line

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Chatham Main Line
Overview
Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater London
South East England
Termini London Victoria
Ramsgate
Dover Priory
Operation
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Southeastern
Rolling stock Class 375 "Electrostar"
Class 395 "Javelin"
Class 465 "Networker"
Class 466 "Networker"
Technical
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 V DC third rail
Operating speed 145 km/h (90 mph)
Chatham Main Line
London Victoria London Underground
Grosvenor Road
Carriage Sidings
Grosvenor Bridge
River Thames
Battersea Park
Battersea Park Road
Brighton Main Line
South Western Main Line
to London Waterloo
all lines to Clapham Junction
South London Line
Factory Junction
Stewarts Lane TMD
Wandsworth Road London Overground
Clapham High Street London Overground
Brixton London Underground
Down arrow Catford Loop Line
East Brixton
Thameslink line to
Blackfriars and the north
Herne Hill
Denmark Hill London Overground
Sutton and Mole Valley Lines
to Tulse Hill
Peckham Rye London Overground
West Dulwich
South London Line
to London Bridge or Whitechapel
Sydenham Hill
Nunhead
Sydenham (Hill) or Penge Tunnel
2,141 yards (1,958 m)
Nunhead to Lewisham link
to Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace and
South London Junction Rwy
Brighton Main Line
(London Bridge branch)
Penge East
Crofton Park
Kent House
Catford
Crystal Palace Line
Hayes Line
to London Bridge and
other London Terminals
Limited service curve
Bellingham
Beckenham Junction Tramlink
Beckenham Hill
Ravensbourne
Up arrow Catford Loop Line
Shortlands Junction
Shortlands
Bromley South
Bickley
to London Bridge and
other London Terminals
Chislehurst Junction
South Eastern Main Line
to Orpington
and Tonbridge
St Mary Cray
River Cray
Swanley
Swanley Junction
Maidstone Line
M25 motorway
Farningham Road
River Darent
Fawkham Junction
Longfield
to High Speed 1 and
former Gravesend West Branch
Meopham
Sole Street
High Speed 1
M2 motorway
North Kent Line
towards London
Medway Valley Line
to Maidstone
Strood
Rochester Bridge (LCDR)
Rochester Bridge
River Medway
Goods station
Rochester
Rochester Common
Chatham Central
Fort Pitt Tunnel
428 yards (391 m)
Chatham
Chatham Tunnel
297 yards (272 m)
Gillingham Tunnel
897 yards (820 m)
Gillingham
Gillingham Depot
to Chatham Dockyard
Rainham
Newington
Sheerness Line
Sittingbourne
Teynham
Faversham
Dover branch
Ramsgate branch
Whitstable Town
Whitstable
Canterbury & Whitstable Rwy
Chestfield & Swalecliffe
Hampton pier
Herne Bay
RAF Manston
Birchington-on-Sea
Westgate-on-Sea
Margate
Margate Sands (SER)
Selling
Margate East
Broadstairs
Tivoli
Ramsgate Harbour Tunnel
1,124 yards (1,028 m)
Ramsgate Harbour (LCDR)
Dumpton Park
Ramsgate Town (SER)
Ramsgate Depot
Ramsgate
St Lawrence for Pegwell Bay
Ebbsfleet and Cliffsend Halt
Ashford to Ramsgate
(via Canterbury West) line
Canterbury East
Kent Coast Line
Bekesbourne
Adisham
Aylesham
Snowdown
East Kent Railway
Shepherds Well
Shepherd's Well Tunnel
2,376 yards (2,173 m)
Stonehall and
Lydden Halt
Kearsney
Kent Coast Line
from Ramsgate
Buckland Junction
Charlton Tunnel
265 yards (242 m)
Priory Tunnel
158 yards (144 m)
Dover Priory
Dover Harbour Tunnel
684 yards (625 m)
Dover Harbour
Mileage Change
77 mi 76 ch (Victoria)
76 mi 50 ch (Charing Cross)
Hawkesbury Street Junction
Connection to Train ferry
Dover Town
Pier Junction
Archcliffe Junction
Admiralty Pier
South Eastern Main Line
Dover Marine

The Chatham Main Line is a railway line in England that links London Victoria[1] and Dover Priory / Ramsgate, travelling via Medway (of which the town of Chatham is part, hence the name).

Services to Cannon Street follow the route as far as St Mary Cray Junction where they diverge onto the South Eastern Main Line near Chislehurst.

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.

A shuttle service operates on the Sheerness Line which starts at Sittingbourne.

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 750 V shoes removed, they can no longer use this line.

Services[edit]

Most services on the Line are run by Southeastern, part of Govia Group, which also operate the Southern and the London Midland franchises. Govia Thameslink Railway run a Thameslink service, starting from London Blackfriars and travelling via Denmark Hill on the Catford Loop, joining at Shortlands Junction. It then travels to Swanley before heading to Sevenoaks. Southeastern used to run this service.

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 Station before crossing back over to the Southeastern Line to Victoria Station.

From 13th December 2015, the off-peak timetable consists of two trains per hour from Victoria, calling at Bromley South, Longfield, Meopham, Rochester, Chatham, and Rainham. One service will call at Newington, Sittingbourne, Teynham and Faversham, then all stations to Dover Priory. The other service will call at Sittingbourne and Faversham then all stations to Margate and Ramsgate. These trains will no longer split or join up at Faversham. The hourly stopping service from Victoria now goes as far as Dover Priory, calling at Denmark Hill, Bromley South, St Mary Cray then all stations to Gillingham. It then becomes a semi-fast service, calling at Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Canterbury East and Dover Priory. A High Speed Service sees two trains per hour from St Pancras International to Faversham via Gravesend and Chatham. One service will terminate at Faversham, and then travel back to St Pancras International via Chatham and Gravesend. The other service continues coastbound as a semi-fast service calling at Whitstable, Herne Bay, Birchington, Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. It will then carry on, stopping at Sandwich, Deal, Walmer, Martin Mill, Dover Priory, Folkestone Central, Folkestone West and Ashford International, before picking up the High Speed Line to Ebbsfleet International, Stratford International and arriving back at St Pancras International. The same will operate in the opposite direction. There is one other service that runs on a small part of the line, starting from Margate and calling at Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Canterbury West, and Ashford International before picking up the High Speed Line and calling at the remaining stations to St Pancras International.

Altered Services due to emergency repairs[edit]

On 24th December 2015, engineers carrying out a survey of the railway line running between Dover Priory and Folkestone Central discovered that a section of sea wall carrying the line has eroded away, and suspended the service immediately.
This means that there is a rail replacement service between Dover Priory, Folkestone Central and Folkestone West, with passengers instructed to go to Folkestone West, unless they either have a lot of luggage or are of limited mobility where they are then instructed to go to Folkestone Central.
The High Speed Service via Chatham, Faversham, Ramsgate and Deal will now terminate at Ramsgate, with an hourly shuttle service running between Ramsgate and Dover Priory via Deal.
A High Speed Service will start from Folkestone Central via Ashford International to St Pancras International.
Some morning peak services are running between Dover Priory and Ramsgate, where they then attach to a Faversham to Ramsgate service then travel via Canterbury West and Ashford International. In the evening peak, a some services from St Pancras International will travel to Ramsgate where the train splits, and one section runs to Dover Priory via Deal.
It was thought this line would be back in service in December 2016, but the repair is going better than expected, so it may be operational from September.
In the mean time, Southeastern have announced that the Car Park at Folkestone West will be free while this section of line is under repair, to encourage people from Deal and Dover to drive there to pick up the High Speed Service. Otherwise, people can catch a service from Dover Priory to London Victoria via Chatham or change at Chatham to catch a High Speed Service.

Rolling stock[edit]

The following trains are operated on the line : Class 395 "Javelin" since 2009, Class 375 "Electrostar" since 2001, Class 465 "Networker" since 1992 and Class 466 "Networker" since 1993.

History[edit]

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 (750 V 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.[2] 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[2] and Swanley in January 1935.[2] Full outer suburban electrification was achieved with the "Maidstone & Gillingham Electrification" scheme in July 1939, extending electrification from Swanley to Gillingham.[2] 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.[2] 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.

A short branch was built during World War One to service the construction of RAF Manston with a junction off the up line at Birchington on Sea.

East Kent Resignalling Project[edit]

The idea of this project is for control of East Kent from Longfield to Ramsgate and just short of Dover Priory to be under the control of the East Kent Signalling Centre (EKSC) based at Gillingham.

Phase 1 of the project was carried out over the Christmas and New Year period of 2011, which involved the complete re-signalling from just East of Sittingbourne to Faversham, then on to Minster Junction and Buckland Junction, just short of Dover Priory. The old signal boxes were then abolished at Faversham, Margate, Ramsgate, Canterbury East and Shepherdswell. Phase 2 involved the re-signalling of the line between Sittingbourne to Longfield and Strood, including the Sheerness Branch Line and the Medway Valley Line to operate from the East Kent Signalling Centre at Gillingham, which is now operational. This means that the Signal Boxes at Rainham and Rochester have now closed, although Sittingbourne remains open as a relay signal box for the Sheerness Branch Line, controlled from Gillingham.

On 13th December 2015, a new £26m Rochester station on Corporation Street opened 500m west of the original station which it replaced. This station has 3 platforms and can accommodate 12-car trains instead of the 10-cars maximum length at the original station. Some 12-car Peak Time Trains are additionally stopping here. At the time, only platforms 1 and 2 were operational, but after engineering works over Easter, platform 3 is operational as a bay platform, but can only hold a maximum of 8-cars, with trains entering from the down line, and then head back up towards London. Although the Rochester Signal Box has been demolished, there is still quite a bit of work to do to turn Platform 3 into a through platform.

Rainham has a new bay platform off the up-line, which can accommodate a 12-car train, labelled Platform 0. It is now being used as a Terminus for a couple of evening rush hour trains.

Strood has also been lengthened to accommodate 12-car trains.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 10 September 1963, a freight train became divided and was derailed between Farningham Road and Longfield due to defects in a wagon. The line was closed until 13 September.[3]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quail Map 5 – England South [pages 2–13] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 14 December 2011)
  2. ^ a b c d e "Electric Railways". 'Stendec Systems'. 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007. 
  3. ^ Glover, John (2001). Southern Electric. Hersham: Ian Allan. p. 141. ISBN 0 7110 2807 9. 

External links[edit]