- Chatham Main Line
Chatham Main Line Overview Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail System National Rail Status Operational Locale Greater London
South East England
Termini London Victoria
Operation Owner Network Rail Operator(s) Southeastern Rolling stock Class 375 "Electrostar"
Class 395 "Javelin"
Class 465 "Networker"
Class 466 "Networker"
Technical Track gauge Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Electrification 750 V DC third rail Operating speed 90 mph (140 km/h)
The Chatham Main Line is a British railway line that runs from either London Victoria to Dover Priory / Ramsgate or London St Pancras to Faversham, with both services travelling via Medway (of which Chatham is part, hence the name). Some trains on the service also run from Bedford via London Blackfriars (connecting at Bromley).
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.
Heading away from Victoria, between Farningham Road and Longfield Stations, the line which was used by Eurostars running from Waterloo International towards Southfleet Junction to pick up High Speed 1 still exists but is no longer used. This line is reserved for emergency use only by Class 395 Javelins travelling to/from Ashford International. As the Eurostars have had their 750V shoes removed, they can no longer use this line.
While traveling towards London Victoria, after Bromley South, the trains can either travel on the main line, through Beckenham Junction, Herne Hill and Brixton, or can divert via the Catford Loop Line, coming away from the main line at Shortlands Junction, travelling through Catford and Peckham Rye, and then just past Brixton it either picks up the Southeastern line all the way, or can follow the Southern (Atlantic) Line through Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road Stations, before crossing back over to the Southeastern Line to Victoria Station.
Since a major timetable change in December 2009, the typical Off-Peak services on this line are as follows.
Services currently consist of either stopping or semi-fast trains, one traveling from Ramsgate and the other from Dover Priory where the 2 trains would then normally join together at Faversham. They will then stop at either Teynham or Newington on an alternating half hourly service, but will include Sittingbourne in between these stations. Then Rainham , Gillingham, Chatham, Rochester, Meopham, Longfield, and Bromley South then non-stop to London Victoria. This operates as a half hourly service.
An hourly service starts from Gillingham (which used to be a half hourly service from Faversham), stopping all stations to St Mary Cray, then Bromley South and London Victoria only. Stations prior to Farningham Road (as coming from London Victoria) are served by stoppers on the Swanley to Ashford (via Maidstone East) Line.
The introduction of the Class 395 Javelins, coinciding with the opening of a link to High Speed 1 in December 2009 has seen the addition of a half hourly service departing from Faversham calling at Sittingbourne, Rainham, Gillingham, Chatham, Rochester, Strood and Gravesend, then across to Ebbsfleet International via a dedicated line, before dropping onto High Speed 1, finally calling at Stratford International, and London St Pancras. There is no First Class service on this train, and between Faversham and Gravesend, this is treated as a domestic service, which means you can travel with a standard (Non High Speed) ticket, but if you want to travel to Ebbsfleet Intl, Stratford Intl, or St Pancras Intl, you will have to pay a premium fare or purchase a supplemental ticket either on the train heading towards St Pancras, or from one of the High Speed Stations for the return leg of the journey.
There is a suburban service which runs on the majority of this line, departing from Victoria, calling at Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction (for the Croydon Tramlink), Shortlands, Bromley South, and Bickley. It then switches to the South Eastern Main Line at Chislehurst Junction where it calls at Petts Wood, terminating at Orpington
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 electrified the urban (within London) workings of the SECR in the 1920s. In July 1925 "South Eastern Electrification (Stage 1)" saw the line from Victoria to junction with the South Eastern Main line at Bickley, including the Catford Loop Line electrified. This was extend to outer suburban workings to Sevenoaks via Swanley (Bickley junction to Swanley) in two stages, reaching St Mary Cray in May 1934 and Swanley in January 1935. Full outer suburban electrification was achieved with the "Maidstone & Gillingham Electrification" scheme in July 1939, extending electrification from Swanley to Gillingham. Post war, under the BR's 1955 Modernisation plan, electrification was completed (Gillingham to Ramsgate and Dover) under "Kent Coast Electrification" stage 1 in 1959. 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.
Car parking at Chatham railway station, the Maidstone Road bridge and the portal to the Chatham Tunnel
A 1908 Railway Clearing House map of Chatham Main Line and surrounding lines between Beckenham Jct and Herne Hill
A 1908 Railway Clearing House map showing the two different routes of the Chatham Main Line in South London.
A 1908 Railway Clearing House map of the end of the Dover branch of the Chatham Main Line.
A 1912 Railway Clearing House map of the line's final approaches to Victoria.
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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