LCDR Lines and Stations

Schematic of the London Chatham Dover Railway Network The London Chatham Dover Railway was one of the four railway companies which in 1923 merged to become Southern Railways. The diagram at the right of this page shows those lines originally built by the LCDR that still exist today although several of the stations shown have been subsequently closed. Not included in the diagram are lines built by the LCDR which have been completely closed, the line between Dover Priory and Deal which was built jointly with the South Eastern Railway (SER) and several connections that were made between the LCDR and SER lines where they crossed.

The first line opened by the LCDR which still exists today was the Rochester to Faversham line which opened in 1858. Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Tyneham, and Faversham stations were all opened with the line with Newington being opened in 1862. Also opened in 1858 was the Bromley Junction to Bickley line. Shortlands, Bromley South, and Bickley were all opened with the line with Beckenham junction having opened the year before. Birkbeck was opened in 1930. The section of line between Bromley Junction and Beckenham Junction is currently the only section of single track line on the ex-LCDR network.

The extension from Faversham to Canterbury East opened in 1860 with both Selling and Canterbury East opening with the Line. The line from Sittingbourne to Queensborough also opened in 1860 although Queensborough was initially the only station. Swale opened in 1922 and Kemsley in 1929. The extension from Queensborough to Sheerness-on-sea was not opened until 1883 (and was also closed between 1914 and 1922). Other extensions beyond Queensborough to Queensborough Pier, Sheerness Dockyards and Leysdown were built but have been subsequently closed.

1860 also saw the opening of the line between Bickley and Rochester connecting the two sections of the LCDR network. St Mary Cray, Farnington Road, and Rochester Bridge were opened with the line although Rochester Bridge was subsequently closed in 1917. Meopham and Sole Street opened in 1861. Swanley opened in 1862 and was resited to its current location in 1939. Longfield opened in 1872. Rochester station was moved to its current location in 1892.

1861 saw the Canterbury to Dover extension open with Bekesbourne, Adisham, Shepherds Wall and Dover Priory opening with the line. Kearnsey opened in 1862 Snowdown in 1914 and Aylesham in 1928.

On to 1862 and several additional sections of line were opened. Swanley to Bat and Ball (Sevenoaks) was one of these with Eynesford, Shoreham, Otford, and Bat and Ball all opening with the line. The lines from Herne Hill into London via two different routes also opened with Clapham, Brixton, Herne Hill, and Elephant and Castle all opening with the lines. Wandsworth Road opened in 1863 and it and Clapham were both subsequently closed in 1916. Loughborough Junction opened in 1872. These London lines were then connected to the rest of the LCDR network the following year with West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, and Penge East all opening with the line. Kent House opened in 1884. Borough Road was the first of the city stations to be closed due to the railways inability to compete with the motor car. This station closed in 1907. Walworth Road and Camberwell followed in 1916 and the extensions (not shown) To Farrington Street and Mooregate Street were progressively closed during the same period.

Also to open in 1863 was the last stage of the Faversham to Ramsgate line. The section to Whitstable had opened in 1860 although the station was moved to a new location in 1915. Whitstable to Herne Bay opened in 1861 although Chestfield didn't open until 1930. Birchington-on-sea, Margate, and Broadstairs (Ramsgate) all opened in 1863 when the line was completed and Westgate-on-sea opened in 1871.

The next extension to the LCDR network didn't happen until 1874 when the Otford to Maidstone East line was opened. Kemsing, Borough Green, West Malling, Barming and Maidstone East all opened with the line and East Malling opened in 1913. Ten years later this line was extended to Ashford with Bearsted, Hollingbourne, Harrietsham, Lenham, and Charing all being opened with the line.

The joint line that the LCDR and SER built between Dover Priory and Deal (not shown) opened in 1881.The intermediate stations at Martin Mill and Walmer were opened with the line.

The last section of line opened by the LCDR before grouping was the construction of the alternate route to Shortlands via Nunhead. Nunead itself was opened in 1871 and was subsequently resited in 1925. 1892 saw the completion of the line and the opening of Crofton Park, Catford, Bellingham, Beckenham Hill, and Ravensbourne.

On 1st January, 1899 the LCDR teamed up with the SER. The two companies were not merged but a joint managing committee was formed that ran both railways. This managing committee was known as the South East and Chatham Railways managing committee. The term SE&CR refers to this managing committee only, there was no such thing as the South East and Chatham Railway company.

1899 saw the completion of a spur from the SER station at Sevenoaks to connect to the LCDR line at Bat and Ball. The LCDR station at Ashfield closed on 1st January 1899 with all trains now using the SER station.

In 1901 plans were made for a connection between the LCDR and SER lines at Whitstable. The proposed connection never eventuated and neither did a proposal to connect the two companies where their lines crossed at Gravesend. In both of these instances one of the two lines has since been closed.

In 1902 the first connection at Chistlehurst opened allowing trains from the LCDR line at Bickley to transfer onto the SER line at Orpington. The second connection between Chistlehurst and St Mary Cray opened in 1904.

Various branch lines in the Chatham/Rochester area belonging to both companies were rationalized during this period and the connection between Strood and Rochester allowed Rochester Bridge (the LCDR station alongside Strood) to be closed in 1917.

A link at Canterbury between the two companies opened in 1918 but was closed two years later.

In 1923 the LCDR was merged with the SER, the London Brighton South Coast Railway (LBSCR), and the London South Western Railway (LSWR) to form Southern Railways.

Southern Railways reworked the railway lines at Ramsgate in 1925 resiting the SER station and connecting it to the LCDR station at Broadstairs less than 1 - 1/2 miles away. Broadstairs and Margate stations were rebuilt and a new station at Dumpton Park opened the following year. Other work included the modernization of a few stations.

1948 saw Southern Railways merge with the LMS, LNER, and GWR to form British Railways. While BR Southern Region does not correspond exactly with the earlier Southern Railways all of the still extant LCDR lines are still a part of this region today.

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Copyright Stephen Chapman