Continuing the potted series on my local stations, the next one on the ‘up’ line from Rainham is Gillingham.
The station was originally opened as ‘New Brompton’ in January 1858, the main station building being situated on the ‘Down’ platform, being similar in structure to the one at Rainham. This was demolished in 1973 and replaced by prefabricated buildings, housing staff accommodation.
A goods yard was provided on the ‘down’ side, to the east of the station. This had two eastward-facing sidings, one which ended behind the ‘Down’ platform. The second passed through a 45ft long goods shed. In 1877, after an act of parliament the previous year, a branch line to the north was provided to gain access to Chatham Dockyard. This passed through a cutting and over a bridge, terminating at the Dockyard. It was around this time that a substantial goods shed with 3 lines was placed adjacent to the ‘up’ line to the east of the station.
In 1912, the name changed to “Gillingham”, and a year later the first of many re-models started. Firstly the addition of a third set of rails next to the “up” platform, creating the now familiar island configuration of the ‘up’ platform. The “A” signal box was next to the up platform. This remained in operation until the early 1970’s.
The Gillingham “B” signal box is next to the level crossing, and also at this time the footbridge beside the level crossing was built. The spur to Chatham Dockyard was situated to the west of the crossing, branching off of the ‘down’ line.
An extension to the electric section of railway, from the already electrified section as far as Swanley, was agreed in 1935. This would bring third rail operations as far as Gillingham, and the works were completed in 1939. As previously talked about in the Rainham section, it would be almost 25 years until the rest of the south and south-eastern network would be electrified. An EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) depot to the east of the level crossing was established, and EMU stabling commenced shortly after, something it continues to do today.
The 2nd station building, situated on the bridge over the railway, remained until a major reconstruction in 2011, when a new glass façade was built.
In the early 1990s, a scheme centered around the “Networker” program meant a new building was built to the west of the level crossing signal box on the ‘Up’ side. This building was meant to contain a new signalling centre, however after its completion in 1994, the building remained empty, only to house a railtrack archive centre. Eventually though, due to the start of the ‘East Kent Re-Signalling Scheme’ in 2012, the building was fitted out with equipment. It is now the main signalling hub for the North Kent area, with only a few signal boxes on the fringes of the area operational (including Folkestone and Minster). It is known as the ‘North Kent Operations Centre’.
Videos of the rail network can be seen on my YouTube Channel
Many thanks for reading and stopping by, I’ll blog again soon.