The station was opened in 1868 by the South Eastern Railway Company, and originally had a familiar staggered platform arrangement with clapboard construction buildings and a lattice footbridge, which was installed from the start, negating the need for a passenger foot crossing.
A goods siding would not appear until 1871, this was placed behind the coast bound platform. However, by the end of the 19th century, this had increased to three more. Two of these were on the London bound side and were coal sidings. All were controlled by a two-story signal box placed at the south of the coast bound platform.
By 1935, electrification of the route required the platforms to be extended, and an electric substation was installed just behind the coast bound platform. By 1957 the staggered platform arrangement was all but lost, this was to help accommodate 12-car trains. All goods services were removed by the end of 1964.
Unfortunately, the signal box was destroyed by fire in 1971, and all operations were switched to Orpington. In 1973 the station building suffered the same fate, and after consultation a new modern glazed building was erected in its place, and still stands today. The photo below shows that the glass acts as a shell for the main ticket office inside.
The view below is from the south end of platform 2, shows an impressive sweeping curve into Chelsfield tunnel, which (like Knockholt) is said to be an inspiration for the tunnel in the book ‘The Railway Children’.
Below is the view of the station as taken from the impressive road bridge. Note the electric substation on the left.
Passenger services at time of recording are provided by either class 466 465 or 376 electric multiple units
Chelsfield has two trains per hour in each direction off-peak, with many additional services during the peak times, and at those peak times these run to Cannon Street and not to Charing Cross.
The 2019 2020 exit and entry figures were 973 208
Chelsfield was a surprisingly good station to visit, not least for the excellent sweeping views down the line towards the Chelsfield tunnel. The ticket office is a good example of 1970’s architecture, and although not to everyone’s taste, does show the style of the time. For the enthusiast, the aforementioned tunnel is a bonus, but also the variety in traffic, including freight, will give you a good deal of photographic and video opportunities.
Here is a video of the station, filmed in 2021
Thanks for reading, I’ll leave you with my tagline :
“If you can, get out there, get on the railway, and see where it takes you.” ©