North Kent Line
|North Kent Line|
The North Kent Line was the means by which the South Eastern Railway (SER) were 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 Strood, 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 working.
Train services working the Line today take the following route; the first ten miles passes through many tunnels, included on the list:
- Blackheath - here is the junction for the Bexleyheath Line
- Charlton Tunnel [154 yd (138 m)]
- Mount Street Tunnel [121 yd (108 m)]
- Dockyard Tunnel [121 yd (108 m)]
- Woolwich Dockyard
- Coleman Street Tunnel [89 yd(80 m)]
- George IV Tunnel [238 yd (214 m]
- Calderwood Street Tunnel [58 yd (52 m)]
- Cross Street Tunnel [134 yd (120 m)]
- Woolwich Arsenal
- Plumstead - here the Royal Arsenal railway system connected with the main line
- Church Manor Way Halt - closed
- Abbey Wood
- Slade Green -includes the large carriage-servicing depot
- Stone Crossing
- Greenhithe - to which has been added "for Bluewater"
- Greenhithe Tunnel [253 yd (228 m)]
- Northfleet - here the connection with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is being constructed (due to open in 2007)
- Gravesend: was originally named Gravesend Central to differentiate it from the ex-London, Chatham and Dover Railway station at Gravesend West which closed in 1968
- Higham and Strood tunnel - actually two tunnels [total 3931 yd (3595 m)] with a gap of 100 yards between.
- Strood - the junction for the Medway Valley Line.
With the exception of a few trains, the majority of services via Blackheath are fast or semi-fast services that travel beyond Dartford. The vast majority of suburban stopping services travel between London Bridge and Charlton via Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park instead.
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.