North Kent Line

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North Kent Line
Kent Railways.svg
The North Kent Line, shown with other railway lines in Kent.
TypeCommuter rail, Suburban rail
SystemNational Rail
LocaleGreater London
South East England
TerminiLondon Charing Cross
London Cannon Street
OwnerNetwork Rail
Depot(s)Slade Green
Grove Park
Rolling stockClass 375 "Electrostar"
Class 376 "Electrostar"
Class 395 "Javelin"
Class 465 "Networker"
Class 466 "Networker"
Class 700 "Desiro City"
Number of tracks2
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification750 V DC third rail
Operating speed90 mph (145 km/h)
North Kent Line
St Johns
Lewisham Vale junction
Lewisham Docklands Light Railway
Blackheath Tunnel
1681 yd
1537 m
Angerstein Wharf aggregates
Charlton Lane Crossing
Charlton Tunnel
154 yd
141 m
Mount Street Tunnel
121 yd
111 m
Dockyard Tunnel
121 yd
111 m
Woolwich Dockyard
Coleman Street Tunnel
89 yd
81 m
George IV Tunnel
238 yd
218 m
Calderwood Street Tunnel
58 yd
53 m
Cross Street Tunnel
134 yd
123 m
Woolwich Arsenal Docklands Light Railway & Woolwich Crossrail
Plumstead Carriage Sidings (NR)
Church Manor Way Halt
Plumstead Carriage Sidings
Abbey Wood Crossrail
Crossrail boundary
Erith Pier
Slade Green
Dartford Carriage Sidings
A282 Dartford Tunnel Approach
Stone Crossing
for Bluewater
Greenhithe Tunnel
253 yd
231 m
Ebbsfleet International Eurostar
Milton Road Halt
Denton Halt
Milton Range Halt
Hoo Junction Freight Yard
3931 yd
3595 m
(Original terminus)
Rochester Bridge Junction

The North Kent Line[1][2] is a railway which runs from a junction of Britain's South East Main Line, east of St Johns railway station, Greater London to a point south-west of Strood station by the River Medway in Medway where it links to the Chatham Main Line. The London terminus is Charing Cross station.

The section from Charlton to Dartford is also referred to as the "Woolwich Line" in the context of Southeastern Metro services.



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 able to operate.


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

Former services[edit]

Between 1999 and 2002, there were semi-fast trains running 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. There was also an early morning semi-fast service to London Blackfriars from Dartford in the 1980s.

In 2003, there were plans to run a Plumstead to Clapham Junction service across South London, but it never came to fruition.


The line diverges from the Southeastern Main Line at Lewisham Vale junction[3][4] at the country end of St John's station at the edge of Inner London, and runs as far as Rochester Bridge junction[5][6] beside the River Medway by the north coast of historic mid-Kent.


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

London Charing Cross to Dartford 2tph, calling at Waterloo East, London Bridge fast to Lewisham (for Docklands Light Railway), Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal (for the Docklands Light Railway), Plumstead, Abbey Wood (Future interchange with Crossrail) Belvedere, Slade Green and Dartford.

London Cannon Street to Slade Green all stations via Greenwich 4tph, of which 2tph continue back to Cannon Street via Bexleyheath and Lewisham on the Bexleyheath line and 2tph to Cannon Street via Sidcup and Hither Green on the Dartford Loop Line.

Luton to Rainham 2tph, Semi Fast calling all stations to West Hampstead Thameslink, St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Slade Green, Dartford, Greenhithe, and all stations to Rainham.

Service patterns[edit]

As of May 2019, the service pattern is:

Off-peak & Saturday:

  • 2tph between Luton & Rainham via Greenwich (Semi-Fast)
  • 2tph between London Cannon Street & Slade Green via Greenwich, continuing to London Cannon Street via the Bexleyheath Line (stopping service)(Also runs 2tph via Bexleyheath first and then via Greenwich)
  • 2tph between London Cannon Street & Slade Green via Greenwich, continuing to London Cannon Street via the Dartford Loop Line (stopping service)(Also runs 2tph via the Dartford Loop Line first and then via Greenwich)
  • 2tph between London Charing Cross & Dartford via Lewisham & Woolwich Arsenal
  • 2tph between London Charing Cross & Dartford via Bexleyheath
  • 2tph between London Charing Cross & Gravesend via Dartford Loop Line (Fast service)
  • 2tph between London Charing Cross & Dartford via Dartford Loop Line (Semi-Fast)
  • 2tph between St Pancras International & Ramsgate, continuing to St Pancras International via the Kent Coast Line and High Speed One, via High Speed One


  • 2tph between London Cannon Street & Dartford via Greenwich (stopping service)
  • 2tph between London Charing Cross & Dartford via Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal
  • 2tph between Kentish Town & Rainham via Greenwich (Semi-Fast)

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


Abbey Wood station has been rebuilt to become the eastern terminus of Crossrail. However, a possible extension of Crossrail to Gravesend has been safeguarded.


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.


  1. ^ Quail Maps. Map#5 - Southern & TFL. [page 5] Feb 1998 (Retrieved 2018-01-14).
  2. ^ "KSW2 Kent Sussex Wessex Routes Sectional Appendix; LOR SO290 Seq003 to 009" (pdf). Network Rail. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  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)
  5. ^ Quail Map 5 – England South [page 3] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
  6. ^ Network Rail (April 2001). Southern Zone Sectional Appendix. Module SO. p. 1/37 SO130. (Retrieved 25 December 2011)

External links[edit]