Starting off this look at the South East Mainline, I find myself at Sandling Railway Station.
Opened in 1888 by the South East railway company ,Sandling was originally a junction station. Four platforms were here, as well as two signal boxes and a goods yard for livestock. The line branched away from the station to Hythe and Sandgate
where the wooded area is here now, but more on that in a moment.
The station building is the only remaining one of three that were originally on the site. It is of an unusual design, as it was modelled on residential houses of the time in the area.
Looking along the coast bound platform, a relatively new steep bank hides the channel tunnel rail link which was completed in 2003. This platform also used to have a pretty elaborate canopy, but this was demolished in the early 1970s.
As we enter the station building, you can really see it is one of a kind. This quaint and charming ticket office still remains, adorned with posters and paintings both recent and historic. It is nice to see the exterior and the interior of the building is still maintained to a high level.
If you stand on the large triangular platform outside the station building (which used to separate the main from the branch line) the old track bed is still visible on the right hand side. Going through a small gate, and continue along where the old platform was, we will eventually get to the old track bed, which is now a public footpath.
The start of this path is however pretty overgrown, but does open out into a pleasant track. After about five minutes, the walkway opens out into this rather wet area which at the end of it features the disused Hayne tunnel. This 94-yard tunnel was opened with the branch line in 1874, some 14 years before Sandgate station was opened.
Now unfortunately waterlogged due to infilling east of the tunnel, the only way around is via steps up the embankment.
Entry and exit figures for 2019 /2020 were 96, 612
Sandling is a great rural railway station and a variety of rail traffic can be seen here and there is a bonus of an unused railway tunnel if you have the time for a quick five minute walk. the station building is lovely, and very well maintained. As already said, various passenger traffic can be seen as well as freight, although this is mainly on weekdays.
A video of the station can be seen here :