Folkestone East railway station

Folkestone East is a former railway station in Folkestone, England. Opened by the South Eastern Railway in 1843 as part of its main line from London, it was Folkestone's first station and handled substantial boat train traffic travelling to the Continent via Folkestone Harbour. Passenger traffic declined in later years with the opening of other more convenient stations in the town and the station eventually closed in 1965.

Folkestone East
Folkestone East railway station (1965).JPG
Folkestone East railway station in 1965
AreaFolkestone & Hythe
Grid referenceTR234368
Original companySouth Eastern Railway
Pre-groupingSouth Eastern and Chatham Railway
Post-groupingSouthern Railway
Southern Region of British Railways
18 December 1843[1]Opened as Folkestone
July 1849Renamed Folkestone Old
January 1852Renamed Folkestone Junction
September 1858Renamed Folkestone Junction (Shorncliffe)
November 1863Renamed Folkestone Junction
April 1884Renamed Folkestone
June 1897Renamed Folkestone Junction
10 September 1962Renamed Folkestone East
6 September 1965[2]Closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain


The South Eastern Railway (SER) opened the first permanent railway station in Folkestone in December 1843. Constructed high above the shore at the rear of the town, it was initially named Folkestone and replaced a temporary station built to the west pending the construction of Sir William Cubitt's 19-arch Foord viaduct. To the north of the station, the SER constructed a branch line to Folkestone Harbour which the railway company had purchased earlier the same year.[3] The branch had no direct connection with the main line and instead trailed into a siding near Folkestone station requiring trains to reverse in order to join the main line; this arrangement (which once existed at Tonbridge) was a safety measure as the line to the harbour descends on an incline of 1 in 30 for 0.75 miles (1.21 km).[4]

Until the harbour was provided with its own Harbour station in 1849, the SER's first station handled all the passenger traffic for both the town and the harbour, including the boat train traffic from Folkestone to Boulogne which was said to have carried over 20,000 people in the short space of five months.[5] Eight trains each way ran per day, the fastest trains covering the 92 miles (148 km) from London in 3 hours, 5 minutes at an average speed of 29.6 miles per hour (47.6 km/h).[6] Following the opening of the Harbour station, Folkestone station was renamed Folkestone Old and then Folkestone Junction in recognition of its status at the head of an important branch leading to the now busy port.[2] The opening of Folkestone Harbour took away all of the boat-train traffic and much of the town traffic from Folkestone Junction, the remainder being lost with the opening of Shorncliffe Camp (now known as Folkestone West) in 1863.[7]

Goods traffic became the most important business at Folkestone Junction and extensive goods facilities were provided in the 1890s on the former site of the line's coking ovens which had become redundant when the perfection of coal-burning techniques put an end to the production of coke for locomotives.[8] A shed was established on the down side of Folkestone Junction where a small stud of locomotives was kept to help services travelling to the harbour gather the necessary momentum to climb the 1 in 30 incline on the harbour branch. The shed closed in 1961 with the introduction of electric traction on the line.[9]

In September 1962, Shorncliffe was renamed Folkestone West and Folkestone Junction became Folkestone East. The station closed to passengers three years later.[2]

Present and futureEdit

All the original station buildings dating from 1844 were demolished shortly after the station closing. A short length of the down platform remained outside the signal box and was retained for use by staff.[10] As at March 2017 most of the up platform was still in situ.

Various schemes for the re-use of the remaining land at Folkestone East have been proposed, from the site of a new depot,[11] sidings for stabling and maintaining CTRL services[12] and a new passenger station.[13] The site of the former goods yard was offered for sale in January 2008.[14]


  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Sparkford, ISBN 1-85260-508-1, p. 98.
  2. ^ a b c Clinker, C.R. (October 1978). Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830-1977. Bristol: Avon-AngliA Publications & Services. p. 49. ISBN 0-905466-19-5.
  3. ^ Hart, Brian (2002). Folkestone's Railways. Didcot, Oxon: Wild Swan Publications. pp. 7–9. ISBN 978-1-874103-69-1.
  4. ^ White, H.P. (1992). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Volume 2 Southern England. Nairn, Scotland: David St John Thomas. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-946537-77-8.
  5. ^ Hart, B., p. 11.
  6. ^ White, H.P., p. 29.
  7. ^ Course, Edwin (1973). The Railways of Southern England: The Main Lines. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 46. ISBN 0-7134-0490-6.
  8. ^ Hart, B., p. 37.
  9. ^ Course, E., p. 45-46.
  10. ^ Course, E., p. 46.
  11. ^ Meeting of Rail Passengers Committee for Southern England: Folkestone, 15 October 2002.
  12. ^ Kentish Express, "MP Gywn Prosser calls for cut to Folkestone high speed train service", 7 May 2009.
  13. ^ Dr Paul Rennie, Folkestone 2012, August 2006.
  14. ^ "Property Review Group decisions". Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°05′15″N 1°11′21″E / 51.087409°N 1.189036°E / 51.087409; 1.189036