SER Lines and Stations

Schematic of the South Eastern Railway Network - part one
Schematic of the South Eastern Railway Network - part two

The South Eastern Railway was one of the four railway companies which in 1923 merged to become Southern Railways. The diagrams on this page shows those lines originally built by the SER that still exist today although several of the stations shown have been subsequently closed. Not included in the diagram are some of the lines built by the SER which have been completely closed and some connections that were built with other companies such as the London Chatham Dover Railway (LCDR) where their lines crossed.

The diagrams show the stations in the order in which they exist on the various lines while the text refers to each section of line in order by its opening date, Some sections of line referred to in the text may therefore be well separated from their location on the diagram. (The diagram is in three sections because the SER network was too much for me to fit onto just one diagram - the circled letters indicate where lines connect).

The first line opened by the SER which still exists today was the London Bridge to Charlton line which opened as far as Deptford in 1836 (Deptford was subsequently closed between 1915 and 1926). The line was extended to Greenwich in 1838 (station resited in 1878). The section between Charlton and Maze Hill opened in 1873 with the final link between Maze Hill and Greenwich opening in 1878. Westcombe Park station opened in 1879.

1841 saw the opening of the next section of SER line, this time between Couldson South and Redhill. Merstham and Redhill opened with the line but both were resited in 1844. Couldon South opened in 1889.The line from Redhill on to Ashford opened the following year with Godstone, Edenbridge, Penshurst, Tonbridge, Paddock Wood, Marden, Staplehurst, Headcorn, Pluckley, and Ashford all opening with the line. Nutfield opened in 1883 and Leigh in 1911. A further Extension to Dover opened in 1844 with Westenhanger opening with the line. Folkestone West opened in 1863, Folkestone Central in 1884, and Sandling in 1888.

The branch line from Paddock Wood to Maidstone also opened in 1844. Yalding, Wateringbury, East Farleigh, and Maidstone (West) all opened with the line. Beltring opened in 1909.

1846 saw the opening of the line from Ashford to Ramsgate. Wye, Chilham, Canterbury (West), Minster, and Ramsgate all opened with the line. Sturry opened in 1848, Chartham in 1859, and Chislet Colliery in 1920. Chislet Colliery has since been closed. The line from Minster to Deal opened in 1847 with both Sandwich and Deal opening with the line.

Another short section of line to open in 1847 was between Gravesend and Strood. Higham and Strood opened with the line. Two years later in 1849 this section of line was connected right into London Bridge. Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Abbey Wood, Erith, Dartford, Northfleet, and Gravesend opened with the line. New Cross opened in 1850, Plumbstead in 1859, St Johns in 1873, Slade Green in 1900, and Stone Crossing and Swanscombe in 1908. Swanscombe was resited in 1930.

Also to open in 1849 was the line from Redhill to Guilford. Reigate, Betchworth, Deepdene, Dorking Town, Gomshall, Chilworth, and Shalford all opened with the line. The line between Ash Junction and Reading also opened in the same year with Wokingham, Blackwater, Farnborough North, and Ash all opening with the line. North Camp opened in 1858, Crowthorne in 1859, Candhurst in 1909, and Winnersh in 1910. The SER never built a line to join up these two sections but the London South Western Railway (LSWR) linked them in 1852.

1851 saw the opening of a branch line from Ashford to Hastings. Ham Street, Appledore, Rye, and Winchelsea opened with the line. Ore opened in 1888 and both Doleham and Three Oaks opened in 1907. The following year (1852) another line to Hastings opened this time from Tonbridge. Frant, Wadhurst, Stonegate, Etchingham, Robertsbridge, St Leonards Warrior Square and Hastings had opened in 1851 before the line was completed. Tunbridge Wells Central had opened even earlier in 1845. After the line opened Battle opened in 1852, West St Leonards in 1887, High Brooms in 1893, Crowhurst in 1902, and Mountfield in 1923.

The line between Purley and Caterham opened in 1856. Kenley, Whyteleafe South and Caterham all opened with the line and Whyteleafe opened in 1900. Also to open in 1856 was the line between Strood and Maidstone (finally connecting the two main sections of the SER network together). Cuxton, Snodland, and Aylesford were opened with the line with Maidstone Barracks opening in 1874 (to provide a connection with the LCDR station at Maidstone East that opened the same year), Halling opened in 1890, and New Hythe opened in 1929.

The line from Lewisham to Beckenham opened in 1857 with Ladywell, Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham, and Beckenham terminus opening with the line. The following year the terminus became a junction with the LCDR and in 1864 New Beckenham opened only to be resited two years later. Lower Sydenham was resited in 1906. 1864 saw an extension of the line from New Beckenham to Addiscombe (obviously the reason for New Beckenham's construction). Elmers End and Addiscombe opened with the line, Woodside opened in 1871, and Clock House in 1890.

1865 saw yet another new line, this time between St Johns and Chislehurst. Grove Park opened in 1871, Hither Green in 1895, and Elmstead Wood in 1904. The following year a loop was built between Hither Green and Dartford. Lee, Mottingham, Sidcup, Bexley, and Crayford all opened with the line. New Eltham opened in 1878 and Albany Park in 1935. The line from Chistlehurst was extended right through to Tonbridge in 1868 with Hildenborough, Sevenoaks, Dunton Green, Chelsfield, and Orpington opening with the line. Knockholt opened in 1876 and Petts Wood in 1928.

Yet another branch, this time between Grove Park and Bromley opened in 1878 with Sundridge Park and Bromley North both opening with the line.

The joint line that the SER and the LCDR built between Dover Priory and Deal opened in 1881.The intermediate stations at Martin Mill and Walmer were opened with the line.

1882 saw the opening of a new line between Elmers End and Hayes with Eden Park, West Wickham, and Hayes all opening with the line.

The joint line that the SER built with the London Brighton South Coast Railway (LBSCR) between Woodside and Selsdon was opened in 1885. The stations at Coombe Road and Selsdon opened with the line and Bingham Road was opened in 1906. Bingham Road closed in 1915 and was reopened in 1935. This entire section of line was subsequently closed (sometime between 1970 and 1984 but I'm not sure of the date). The extension of this line to Oxted opened in 1884 (the LBSCR built through to East Grinstead but the SER only ran as far as Oxted). Sanderstead, Upper Warlingham, Woldingham, and Oxted opened with the line. Riddlesdown opened in 1927. This section of line is still in use. The construction of these lines almost connected the SER lines out of Purley with the rest of the network but the short gap between Selsdon and Purley was only ever linked by an LBSCR line that opened in 1841.

Another loop line opened in 1895, this time between Blackheath and Slade Green. Kidbrooke, Welling, Bexkeyheath and Barnehurst all opened with the line. Eltham Park opened in 1908 and Falconwood in 1936.

On 1st January, 1899 the SER teamed up with the LCDR. 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 SER's Canterbury - Whitstable line having been the first railway line in the world to use mainly locomotive haulage opening several months before the better known Liverpool - Manchester). 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.

Schematic of the South Eastern Railway Network - part three 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.

The final line to be built by the SER opened in 1901 and ran from Purley to Tattenham Corner. Chipstead and Kingswood had opened in 1897 before the line was completed as was Tadworth in 1900. After completion of the line Smitham opened in 1904, Reedham in 1911, and Woodmansterne in 1932.

In 1923 the SER was merged with the LCDR, the LBSCR, and the 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 (not shown). 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 SER lines are still a part of this region today.

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Copyright Stephen Chapman