Chatham Main Line
|Chatham Main Line|
The Chatham Main Line is the British railway line that runs from London Victoria to Dover Priory or Ramsgate via the Medway Towns (of which Chatham is one, hence the name) and Bromley. Some trains on the service also run from Blackfriars (connecting at Bromley).
Commuter services to Cannon Street follow the route as far as Chislehurst Junction where they diverge onto the Chislehurst line.
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.
Services on the Line are run by Southeastern.
Services currently consists of stopping trains from Ramsgate and Dover Priory joining at Faversham and running fast from Chatham to Bromley South, then Victoria (with the odd stop at Rochester or Longfield or Meopham). A stopping service stops at all stops from Faversham to St Mary Cray and Bromley South then fast to London Victoria). Stations prior to Farningham Road (as coming from London Victoria) are served by stoppers on the Ashford via Maidstone East Line.
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 (750v DC third rail) in a series of stages. Initially the new Southern Railway electrifed the urban (within London) workings of the SECR in the 1920s. Outer suburban electrfication reached Gillingham in the 1930s. Post war, under the BR's 1955 Modernisation plan, electrification was completed under "Kent Coast Electrifcation" stage 1. 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.