North Kent Line
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The North Kent Line 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.
|North Kent Line|
The North Kent Line, shown with other railway lines in Kent.
|Type||Commuter rail, Suburban rail|
South East England
|Termini||London Charing Cross|
London Cannon Street
|Rolling stock||Class 375 "Electrostar"|
Class 376 "Electrostar"
Class 395 "Javelin"
Class 465 "Networker"
Class 466 "Networker"
Class 700 "Desiro City"
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC third rail|
|Operating speed||90 mph (145 km/h)|
|North Kent Line|
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.
From 1999 until 2002 there were semi-fast trains starting 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.
There were plans in 2003 to have a Plumstead to Clapham Junction cross south London service but it never came to fruition.
The line diverges from the Southeastern Main Line at Lewisham Vale junction at the country end of St John's station at the edge of Inner London, and runs as far as Rochester Bridge junction 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 6tph, 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.
This section needs to be updated.May 2019)(
As of May 2019[update], 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 Bridge & Plumstead via Greenwich (stopping service)
- 2tph between London Charing Cross & Gillingham (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 is to become the eastern terminal for Crossrail. 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:
- 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, subtitled "for Bluewater"
- Greenhithe Tunnel [253 yd (228 m)]
- Northfleet – this station is only 305m or so from Ebbsfleet International c. 800m by foot.
- 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
- Milton Road Halt-closed
- Denton Halt- closed
- Milton Range Halt-closed
- Hoo Junction Staff Halt, where the line branches ("The Hundred of Hoo Railway") to Grain. Currently for freight services (not electrified)
- Higham and Strood tunnel – actually two tunnels [total 3931 yd (3595 m)] with a gap of 100 yards (91 m) between.
- Strood – the junction for the Medway Valley Line.
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.
- Quail Maps. Map#5 - Southern & TFL. [page 5] Feb 1998 (Retrieved 2018-01-14).
- "KSW2 Kent Sussex Wessex Routes Sectional Appendix; LOR SO290 Seq003 to 009" (pdf). Network Rail. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Quail Map 5 – England South [page 7] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
- Network Rail (April 2001). Southern Zone Sectional Appendix. Module SO. p. 1/15 SO130. (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
- Quail Map 5 – England South [page 3] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
- Network Rail (April 2001). Southern Zone Sectional Appendix. Module SO. p. 1/37 SO130. (Retrieved 25 December 2011)