* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Staplehurst from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Staplehurst railway station is located in the north of the Staplehurst urban area - which lies in the Maidstone Borough Council administrative area. The ticket office, staffed for part of the day, is located in a modern building on London-bound platform 1. A passenger-operated self-service ticket machine is located by the platform 1 entrance.
The stretch of line near the station which crosses the River Beult (pronounced "Belt") was the site of a fatal train accident on 9 June 1865. This accident is well known in literary circles as Charles Dickens was on the stricken train and survived. He later wrote a short story, "The Signal-Man", which was said to have been inspired by this accident, although it was actually based on the earlier Clayton Tunnel rail crash of 1861. The accident left Dickens very anxious about rail travel.
On 14 September 1996, an eastbound Railfreight Distribution service, train number 6O67, the 00:53 Wembley Yard to Dollands Moor Yard, hauled by locomotives47 033 and 47 360, came to a stand under the Sweetlands Lane bridge east of Staplehurst. A French-owned wagon loaded with steel coil derailed nearly 3 miles (4.8 km) earlier, at Godden Cottages foot crossing; but as the derailed wagon was mid-train it remained upright and in formation, until striking a crossover at Staplehurst, causing the derailed bogie to disintegrate. The wagon mounted the station platform breaking the train brake pipe thus applying the brakes. The older brick section of the station platform deflected the wagon back onto the line, narrowly missing the A229 trunk road bridge, which otherwise would have been severely damaged.[original research?]
It took three days to re-open the railway after the accident. The damaged steel coil wagon was moved to a site west of the station on the London-bound side of the line to be unloaded.
The cause of the accident was that the train was travelling at up to 75 miles per hour (121 km/h), which was in excess of the 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) limit of the wagon. Although it was not possible to weigh the derailed wagon, other wagons in the train were unevenly loaded, which meant that individual wheel loads exceeded permitted limits.