The station was opened in 1874, a little later than others on the line, and was originally named ‘barracks’ after the Invicta Parks Barracks nearby. A simple wooden platformed affair, both platforms were to be accessed by the road bridge via wooden steps.
It wouldn’t be long until a basic wooden station building was built on the Strood bound platform in 1876. This had a canopy extending along it, and toilet facilities. Goods facilities were provided a year later, running along side the paddock wood bound side, and these were further enhanced with two further sidings serving the malt houses.
Electrification arrived in the late 1930’s, and this extended to the sidings, which also gained concrete pathways. These would be used to store Electric Multiple Units. The platforms were also rebuilt in to concrete structures around the same time.
The early 1960’s saw a replacement of the wooden steps on the bridge to concrete ones, and unfortunately this is also when the Malt house sidings became disused. It was mainly downhill from here on in, as the 1980s saw the canopy reduced in length and the Multiple unit sidings closed.
The 1990s saw the buildings demolished, to be replaced only simple shelters, and little has changed since, the remaining sidings being have now gone and replaced by industrial units.
The bridge you see below carries the Kent Downs line, and can offer some good photographs if the timing is right.
At time of writing, passenger services are provided by class 375 electric multiple units, at a frequency of two per hour in each direction.
Although now quite a baron station, the fact of the two running bridges being close together, give this station a unique standing compared to others on the line. A distinct lack of parking makes this station only really accessible by foot or rail, but good, and indeed unique, views of rolling stock can be had here, however the surroundings are quite noisy so photography rather than videography is probably the best option.
The South Eastern railway opened Aylesford with the line in 1856, and like the rest of the stations on the line had quite a unique look. A stone built station building on the Strood bound side stands proudly, allegedly echoing that of the architecture of the nearby priory. Its grand nature could also be attributed to the fact that this part of the railway went through the land of Mr Edward Betts, the lines railway contractor.
The station building was made of Kentish ragstone, and this two story affair would not look out of place at a major station, and the fact it still stands today is a testament to those who planned and built it. The chimneys on the top are yellow brick, standard fayre for the South East railway. Unfortunately it is not a booking office now, but an Indian restaurant, but at least this means it is being maintained.
The original signal box was made of timber, however the replacement seen below was put in place in the late 1920s. A more substantial brick design design, it has a similar extension to that at Snodland. It is also a very eye pleasing structure, and hopefully will never be removed.
A building across the road here is in similar style to the station building, and I assume it may have been the station masters house at one point.
Goods facilities here were positioned to the north of the Maidstone bound side, with a large goods shed similar to that at Snodland. Another dock style siding was positioned on the Strood bound side, behind the station building.
To note here, a foot crossing was originally the way to cross the lines, but a footbridge was added in the late 1800’s
At time of writing, passenger services are provided by class 375 electric multiple units, at the rate of two per hour in each direction.
Aylesford is a very pretty station. The setting on a curve gives great views as trains come in and leave. But the stars of the show are surely the buildings. The elegant station building and signal box still stand proud here, and make it an excellent place for photography. Unfortunately the main roads surrounding it make good videography difficult, but the views you gain outweigh that fact. Come and give it a visit, you will not be disappointed.
A later addition to the line, New Hythe Halt as it was then known, was opened in 1929 by the Southern Railway. It was Primarily designed to serve the paper mill beside the line, and was quite a busy station.
However, it still was deemed a halt, and as such had only rudimentary facilities, including very basic wooden platforms. On top of these were two waiting shelters, which were more than adequate for a station of this size.
A level crossing at the north end of the station sufficed for many years as a way to cross the tracks, although to the south of the station there was a footbridge serving the paper mill.
Regarding this mill, a spur off of the up line took locomotives to and from the mill, and was still in use up to 2015 when it closed. However the spur is still in situ, and perhaps could be utilised for the new development by panettoni, although this isn’t confirmed.
The station had a big makeover during the electrification of the line in the late 1930’s, with new concrete platforms and waiting shelters to match. In turn a new signal box was placed by the level crossing, controlling both the crossing and the paper mill spur. It was also at this time the name halt was dropped
The station gained a rather large, pressed steel footbridge in 1961. In the early 1970’s, the level crossing was upgraded to automatic barriers, however this was totally removed in the 1990’s as a new road bridge was constructed over the line to serve a new industrial estate.
The years that followed saw re-signalling of the line, the signal box closed, and general decline in the station.
At time of writing, services are provided by Class 375 electric multiple units, at the rate of 2 per hour in both directions.
A visit to New Hythe railway station is certainly one for the hardcore enthusiast. I do hope that the regeneration of the old paper mill site will lead to its re-generation, and that it gains a better reputation than it has at the moment. If you do wish to visit sight lines to the south are very good, but can be hampered by the sun, and noise is an issue for videoing.
Opened in 1856 by the South East Railway, Snodland would be part of the extension of the line already in place between Paddock wood and Maidstone.
The Strood bound platform has a wall with canopy, which was unique to the South East railway network, as no other station had such a spectacular canopy over the down platforms. This was because it was attached to the large goods shed.
Snodland did not have a main station building from the outset, this being provided around 2 years after opening, and like most along the line was of a unique configuration. A two story brick built building, was more suited to a town station, but it certainly made a statement.
Goods facilities were positioned on the Maidstone bound side, and consisted of the aforementioned goods shed. A siding was also provided on the Strood bound side, it terminated just behind the platform.
The signal box next to the level crossing appeared in 1892, and the footbridge was built two years later. A familiar clapboard design for the signal box was chosen, and an extension to this can be seen, which was completed in the 1930’s.
This arrangement continued until the 1960’s, when the goods facilities closed, however the shed was not demolished until the 1980’s, with only the retaining wall being kept utilising that opulent Maidstone side canopy. There is nothing left of the sidings in the present day.
The station and building has been well looked after since 2010, and this included upgrade works on the footbridge in 2020, and this is also when the snodland mural appeared on platform one.
The Kent Community Rail Partnership are active along the whole line, and at this station the Sunflower Mural was installed in January 2022, which aims to help raise awareness of hidden disabilities and that everyone is different. This was part of a community lead station improvement by the students of Five Acre Wood.
At time of writing, the majority of services are provided by Class 375 electric multiple units. However, two Class 395 Javelin electric multiple units run to St Pancras in the morning, with two returning services in the early evening.
Snodland is a great station on the line. Most of the original fabric is still here, which is great to see. Not only that, but with recent refurbishments and the murals which have been installed, it is also a very pleasant place to catch a train. For the enthusiast, it has good sight lines, and normally a few freight trains a day. I highly recommend a visit.
A video of Snodland railway station is to be seen below.
Opened in 1890 by the South East Railway, Halling was a late addition to this section of the Medway Valley Line. And Unusually for this line, the platforms were not staggered.
As was usual, the Maidstone bound side of the line wasn’t very opulent, just having the one covered waiting shelter, and getting to this platform was via a foot crossing initially.
The station was however provided with this unique single story brick built station building on the Strood bound side. There was also a canopy attached to this, although this was removed in 1973.
The bridge you see here was installed four years after the initial opening, and a signal box at the north end of this platform, as well as two small sidings completed this side of the station.
This view from the bridge is facing south. Although Halling only had two small sidings, a spur did come off the line to the south of the station to Halling Manor Cement works. There was also a spur north of the station seen here which lead to Clinkham Lime works. Having closed years ago, it is a surprise to still see the spur still in place, however works were taking place on it when I was here, and indeed improvements to this spur now enable freight trains (currently Colas) to reverse from Halling station into the industrial area beyond.
Currently there are 2 trains per hour in both directions Monday through Sunday with extra at peak times, using class 375 EMUs.
Even though the original canopies and shelters have gone, Halling still retains some charm with both its location and brick built station building. Its proximity to new housing developments should ensure its future, which that is obviously a good thing. For the enthusiast, sight lines are excellent, especially from the bridge, although sun is a factor when facing Maidstone bound.
This video was taken on my last visit to Halling Railway Station :
Opened in 1856 by the South Eastern Railway, Cuxton was one of 5 stations on the northern half of the Medway Valley Line. Initially, It only had a single siding beside the line towards Strood.
The station building like many on the line was fairly unique. A mock Tudor design was chosen, similar but much smaller to that at Wateringbury. You can still see the hexagonal chimneys, and the stone window surrounds. The facilities on the Maidstone bound side were less opulent, being just a small wooden waiting shelter.
In 1931 a siding appeared beside the Maidstone bound line beyond the crossing, and a goods loop appeared just north of the station on the Strood bound side. This would be turned into a freight loop in 1961, but was eventually decommissioned in 1990, and no evidence of it remains.
The station building above sadly closed in 1989, but in recent years has been maintained and still is a fantastic building to look at, especially from platform 2.
This view from the 1961 footbridge shows the line towards Maidstone.
The lovely signal box above was opened in 1892, and is great to see still standing. However the manual barriers were replaced by automatic ones in the late 2010’s.
Freight is a regular sight on this line, mainly hauled by class 66 or 59 diesel locomotives, but you can see other classes on occasion. Railtours will also pass though at various times during the year.
I really enjoy vising Cuxton, although it is fairly quiet, the overall ambience of the station is very pleasant, and the addition of new waiting shelters and the planters give it a fresh look. For the enthusiast, sight lines are very good and usually there is good mix of freight to be enjoyed.
Opened in 1871 by the South East Railway Company, it was actually provided at this location as a land owner requested it. A station building was put on the London bound side and it had an ornate canopy across the platforms.
The station became a junction in 1878 when the Bromley branch line came into use. By 1899, it had increased to 6 platforms, and a total remodelling of the trackwork came in the early 1900’s
It only had one goods siding, which was eventually removed in 1961, and in 1962 the Hither Green power box opened and the signal box at Grove Park was closed.
Further alterations to the station occurred in the mid 1970s, with the canopies replaced with metal ones, and so at least at platform level, the station lost its charm.
A short distance away from the station is the Railway Children walk. The author of the book lived in Grove Park, and I was expecting something a little more spectacular, but it is just a small walkway, which does however take you over a bridge spanning Grove Park Carriage Sidings.
At time of writing, there are 4 trains per hour to London, and 4 trains per hour towards Orpington, 2 of which then carry on to Sevenoaks. There are also trains along the Bromley branch at the rate of 2 per hour. Peak times and Sundays vary.
For the enthusiast, there is a lot of traffic, and views away from the station are particularly good, especially towards Orpington.
Entry and exits for 2021 / 2022 were 1, 583, 636
A video from the station in 2022 is below :
Many thanks for reading, and remember if you can :
Opened in 1904 as just Elmstead, the station was actually quite large considering that even from the outset not many stopping services would be provided. The four track section would enter two separate tunnels on the London bound direction at the end of the platforms.
The station building on the coastbound side is very good for a quiet station, with extensive canopies either side. There was a building on the London bound side also, but this was demolished sometime in the 1960s’
All the platforms are served by a long footbridge, originally fully covered, but part of that was removed in the renovations of the 1960’s. This remaining cover has been repaired and repainted in the last few years and looks great.
On thing of note is that the station never had any goods yard, the one at nearby Chislehurst being sufficient. It did however have its own signal box, positioned on the coastbound side of the London bound platform. However this became out of use in 1960 when a new power box was installed at Chislehurst.
The station only really uses platforms 3 and 4 as stopping platforms, the other two lines being used for through traffic, although their platforms still remain.
The Elmstead Wood gardening club look after the super green areas on platforms two and three. A recently added feature to these gardens are these fantastic bear carvings by Will Lee which were provided by the Chislehurst Society, and form part of a bear trail, the website details of which I will leave below.
It is a great area to walk through, and perhaps relax a little while you wait for your train. The gardening club is always keen for volunteers so please visit their site by following the link below if you wish to help out.
Elmstead Woods opened in 1904
It has four trains in both directions off-peak, with additional trains during peak hours.
the entry and exit figures for 2019-2020 were 1, 033, 002
Elmstead woods is a great place to sit and relax whether you are a railway enthusiast or not. Its recent refurbishment is fantastic and the well-tended gardens make this a very pleasant station indeed.
I visited this railway station for the first time in March 2022, and at that time it seemed that the building was undergoing some demolition within. I subsequently found out that this was part of a regeneration project, which was to create a community hub.
Fast forward to January 2023, and I attended an open day at the Station which not only celebrated the opening of this community space, but also asked the local people what they would like to come from the rooms within the building.
A potted history
Opened in 1884, it was one of many which appeared on the Maidstone and Ashford railway. From the outset it had a crème brickwork building with icicle style valance, and this is pretty much the same today.
Hollingbourne is quite a rural station, but this did not stop it from having an extensive goods facility. All sidings were on the London bound side, one of which was a dock line. The others were around 500 ft in length, all of which connected with the London bound line.
A through brick goods shed was inbetween the dock and other sidings, however access to the building was only to be done by running in the opposite direction on the London bound line to join with the connection to the yard. A bit of an inconvenience, but space constraints were to blame.
A signal box, typical of the time was placed at the east of the Ashford bound platform. This not only controlled the yard, but a significant portion of the line to and from the station.
Nothing much changed until the 1960’s, when the goods yard closed, just before electrification came to the line in 1961. This electrification meant a concrete footbridge needed to be installed at the same time to remove the need of the foot crossing.
The signal box continued in use until 1984, when the Maidstone East panel took over block signalling duties, and the semaphore signals were replaced with 3 aspect colour ones. Also at this time the station building was cleaned and refurbished.
Around the 1990’s however the ticket office was closed, but thankfully the building was kept, and even had a re-roof at some point. Fast forward to 2021 and the Kent Community Rail Partnership in association with Sustrains put forward a plan to convert the majority of the building to community use. The plan was accepted in April 2021.
So here were are today with the help of Southeastern railway, Kent community rail partnership and of course the local community, especially Maria Domican who has worked tirelessly throughout to bring this building back to life.
The new community hub
Now lets take a look at the transformation that has occurred to the station building. The shutter and window work is excellent, but before we see more of the finished product, here are a few photographs taken during the extensive building work.
This final photo of the vaulted ceiling shows the extent of the roof.
Unfortunately due to the inevitability of how much the rooms would cost to heat if the ceiling remained this high, a decision was made to put in a false ceiling, although as you can see it is still of quite a height. The timbers can be accessed however through a hatch.
The area you see above is the main hall, which could be used for many events. Everyone attending the open day was asked to fill in a questionnaire, which asked the community what they would like to see within the building, and I am pleased to report that many were indeed filled in and handed back.
The area above is the kitchen, which when fully fitted, should be able to cater for commuters and school children in the morning. It will however require volunteers to be run, something which the organisers are looking for. Of course there is direct access to the main hall from here.
A book library seems to have already been set up in the main hall, which is great.
This smaller area above is to be found the other side of the hall, and could possibly be used as a small office space, perhaps for those working from home to come and sit quietly.
Off of this room is a fully accessible toilet, to which a baby changer may be installed in the near future.
The station at Hollingbourne has really been transformed into a fantastic community hub, and the interest from the community on the day was fantastic to see. I really hope that the space will be used regularly. I have some links below If you wish more information or to even volunteer.
The original station was opened some 800 yards away from the current site in 1865, as Chislehurst and Bickley Park.
A cut off line to Tonbridge opened in 1868, and this meant the station was re-located to its current location in the same year.
Five London bound sidings were to be found here, controlled by a signal box on the coastbound side, which also had a small single siding too. Cottages for railway workers were provided by 1869.
Originally two station buildings on either side were present, but the London bound one was demolished in the early 1900’s in order for extra tracks to be laid. It was however rebuilt sometime after this work was done.
Small changes were to be implemented at the station in the next hundred years and by 1968 the good yards were closed. By the late 1970s the London bound station was demolished, but thankfully the coastbound one was kept. In fact, many original features can still be seen as we’ll see in the pictures below.
The two photos below show the island platform as well as the elaborate canopy, shown closer in the lower photo.
The underpass is also very well looked after as you can see below.
Many of the finer details in the canopies can also be seen.
The station is busy with many trains either stopping or passing through.
Chislehurst is a great commuter station, and it is nice to see the grand station building, canopies and underpass are not only standing, but in very good condition.
Overall, the Chislehurst has fantastic views for the enthusiast. There is always something passing or stopping, and both ends of the platforms have amazing opportunities for photography and videography.
Below is a video taken in 2021 :
Thanks for reading, I’ll leave you with my tagline :