- North Kent Line
North Kent Line
The North Kent Line, shown with other railway lines in Kent.
Overview Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail System National Rail Status Operational Locale Greater London
South East England
Termini London Charing Cross
London Cannon Street
Operation Owner Network Rail Operator(s) Southeastern Rolling stock Class 375 "Electrostar"
Class 376 "Electrostar"
Class 395 "Javelin"
Class 465 "Networker"
Class 466 "Networker"
Technical No. of tracks 2 Track gauge Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Electrification 750 DC third rail
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 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 working.
The line is electrified (750v DC third rail). Electrification was initially to Dartford (6 June 1926) and was extended to Gillingham by World War Two.
The Route and Services
The North Kent Line is regarded[by whom?] as a high-frequency line, with all stations in the London area being served by at least 4 trains per hour, with Lewisham being served by 14tph. Interchange with the Docklands Light Railway is available at Lewisham, Woolwich Arsenal & Greenwich.
A major timetable change was introduced in December 2009 in connection with domestic high speed services on High Speed 1. This has led to additional services from St Pancras International operating along High Speed 1, then using the North Kent Line from Gravesend, continuing then along the Chatham Main Line to Faversham.
All passenger services are provided by Southeastern, and interchange with the Docklands Light Railway is available at Lewisham, Woolwich Arsenal & Greenwich. From January 2010, Oyster Pay-as-you-Go has been accepted on services within the London Travelcard Zones. The entire line is also within the Penalty fare scheme.
In addition to the two Docklands Light Railway connections there is a connection at New Cross with the London Overground line, the line has a mixture of fast, semi fast and slow services, and from 2009 high speed services on the High Speed One route from Gravesend to St. Pancras International.
From 1999-2002 there were semi-fast trains starting from Plumstead to London Victoria briefly resuming a 1980s service pattern. This service was for the Millennium Dome.
Abbey Wood is to become the eastern terminal for Crossrail.
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
- Blackheath Tunnel [1 mile (1.6 km) in length]
- here is the freight branch to Angerstein Wharf
- junction for the line from Greenwich and the eastern connection with the London and Greenwich Railway, opened in 1878
- 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 - this station is only 305m or so from Ebbsfleet International as the crow flies, but it is at least a 1km walk between the two stations.
- 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 (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.
The current service pattern (as of December 2009) is as follows:
Off-peak & Saturday:
- 2tph between London Cannon Street & Dartford via Greenwich (stopping service)
- 2tph between London Cannon Street & Slade Green via Greenwich (stopping service)
- 2tph between London Cannon Street & Slade Green via Greenwich, continuing to London Cannon Street via Dartford Loop Line
- 2tph between London Charing Cross & Gillingham (semi-fast)
- 2tph between London Charing Cross & Gravesend via Dartford Loop Line
- 2tph between St Pancras International & Faversham via High Speed One
- 2tph between London Charing Cross & 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 & Dartford loop lines also running to & from stations to Gillingham
The December 2009 timetable withdrew peak hour services between Charlton & Blackheath with all services running via Greenwich instead. This has been met with much criticism from passenger groups.
Railway lines in London Primary SecondaryBexleyheath Line · Brighton Main Line · Caterham Line · Chatham Main Line · Chiltern Main Line · Crossrail (under construction) · Dartford Loop Line · Hertford Loop Line · Lea Valley Lines · London to Aylesbury Line · London, Tilbury and Southend Line · North Kent Line · Oxted Line · Shepperton Branch Line · South Eastern Main Line · South Western Main Line · Sutton & Mole Valley Lines · Tattenham Corner Line · Thameslink · Watford DC Line · Waterloo to Reading Line · West Anglia Main Line LocalBromley North Line · Catford Loop Line · Chessington Branch Line · Chingford Branch Line · Dudding Hill Line · East London Line · Epsom Downs Branch · Gospel Oak to Barking Line · Greenford Branch Line · Greenwich Line · Nunhead to Lewisham Link · Hayes Line · Hounslow Loop Line · Kingston Loop Line · Mid-Kent Line · New North Main Line · North London Line · Northern City Line · Romford to Upminster Line · South London Line · West London Line Disused Railway lines in the South East Primary SecondaryBexleyheath Line · Brighton Main Line · Caterham Line · Chatham Main Line · Chiltern Main Line · Dartford Loop Line · Epsom Downs Branch · London to Aylesbury Line · North Kent Line · Oxted Line · Shepperton Branch Line · South Eastern Main Line · South Western Main Line · Sutton & Mole Valley Lines · Tattenham Corner Line · Thameslink · Waterloo to Reading Line LocalAlton Line · Arun Valley Line · Ascot to Guildford line · Ashford to Ramsgate (via Canterbury West) line · Cherwell Valley Line · Cotswold Line · East Coastway Line · Eastleigh to Fareham line · Eastleigh to Romsey Line · Hampton Court Branch Line · Hastings Line · Henley Branch Line · Hundred of Hoo Railway · Island Line, Isle of Wight · Kent Coast Line · Lymington Branch Line · Maidstone East Line · Marlow Branch Line · Marshlink Line · Marston Vale Line · Medway Valley Line · New Guildford Line · North Downs Line · Oxford to Bicester Line · Oxfordshire Ironstone Railway · Portsmouth Direct Line · Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line · Reading to Basingstoke Line · Reading to Taunton Line · Redhill to Tonbridge Line · Sheerness Line · Slough to Windsor & Eton Line · Staines to Weybridge Line · Staines to Windsor Line · Wessex Main Line · West Coastway Line · West of England Main Line
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