Maidstone Barracks Railway Station | Along The Railway Line | Medway Valley Line

( 2021-2022 entry / exit figures : 176 148 )

Maidstone barracks railway station

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.

Maidstone barracks railway station

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.

Maidstone barracks railway station

The bridge you see below carries the Kent Downs line, and can offer some good photographs if the timing is right. 

Maidstone barracks railway station view towards Kent downs line bridge

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.

Below is a video taken at the station :

Click for the Kent Community Rail Partnership

Snodland Railway Station | Along The Railway Line | Medway Valley Line

( 2021 / 2022 entry and exit figures : 214 130 )

Snodland Railway station building kent

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 Railway station  kent

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.

Snodland Railway station building kent

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.

Snodland Railway station signal box

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.

Snodland Railway station mural

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.

five acre wood mural snodland railway station

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.

Snodland Railway station kent

A video of Snodland railway station is to be seen below.

Click for the Kent Community Rail Partnership

Halling Railway Station | Along The Railway Line | Medway Valley Line

Halling Railway Station

( 2019 / 2020 entry / exit figures : 92 430 )

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.

Halling Railway Station building Kent

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.  

Halling railway station footbridge

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.

Halling railway station looking north

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.

class 376 electric multiple unit

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 :

Click for the Kent Community Rail Partnership

Cuxton Railway Station | Along The Railway Line | Medway Valley Line

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.

Cuxton Railway Station Building

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.

Cuxton Railway Station Kent

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.

Cuxton Railway Station Kent Freight

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.

A video taken in 2021 is below :

Click for the Kent Community Rail Partnership

Many thanks for reading, and remember if you can

“Get out there, Get on the railway and see where it takes you” (c)

Along The Railway Line | South East Mainline | Elmstead Woods Railway Station

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.

Elmstead Woods railway station tunnel

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.

Elmstead Woods Railway Station bridge

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.

Elmstead Woods Railway Station Bear Trail

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.

Main statistics:

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.

My video from the station is below :

Links are as follows :

Elmstead Woods Station gardening club

Chislehurst society bear trail

Will Lee Woodcarving

Many thanks for reading, and remember :

“If you can, get out there, get on the railway and see where it takes you” (c)

Hollingbourne Railway Station | Along the railway line | Kent Downs Line

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 Railway Station

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.

Hollingbourne railway station community hub

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.

Hollingbourne railway station community hub

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.

Hollingbourne railway station community hub

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.

Hollingbourne railway station community hub

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.

Hollingbourne station

Kent Community Rail Partnership

A link to my YouTube video is below

Many thanks for reading and if you can :

“Get out there, Get on the Railway and see where it takes you” (c)

Along The Railway Line | South East Mainline | Petts Wood Railway Station

A railway line had been going through this site from 1868, but it would not be until after the electrification of the line in the 1920’s, that a station would be built in this new commuter town.

Petts Wood station building
Petts Wood station building

Petts Wood opened in 1928, initially with only a single island platform, but a second would be added some 5 years later.  The station building is unique, likened by some to resemble a signal box.

A small goods and coal yard was added on the coastbound side, however no goods shed was ever built on the site, and this facility lasted until 1968.

Petts Wood railway station
Petts Wood railway station

In 1962, signalling was transferred to the new box at Chislehurst, and over the next 40 years, shelters and other platform buildings and furniture was either removed or replaced.  Today it is a station of function rather than elegance, however the station building does still retain some charm.

At time of writing, passenger services are provided by class 376, 465, 466 and 700 Electric Multiple Units.

Class 376
Class 376

There are 6 trains per hour in both directions on weekdays, with a slightly reduced service at the weekends.

The entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 2 215 876

As I have previously noted, Petts Wood is a station which is more function over style.  However, the quirky station building still exits and it has good passenger facilities, its only let down being it has no step free access. For the enthusiast, fantastic views of all lines are too be had, especially from the connecting footbridge.

Petts Wood railway station
Petts Wood railway station from footbridge

Below is a video that was shot 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.” ©

Along The Railway Line | South East Mainline | Dunton Green Railway Station

Dunton Green was opened in 1868 by the South Eastern Railway Company, and it had a familiar clapboard station building similar to that of the one at Hildenborough.  It also had a single siding on the London bound side, and this was incorporated into a proper running line when a branch line to Westerham was opened in 1881.

This branch line had its own station building as well as a three-story high signal box. As this new branch line cut through access to the village, a subway was constructed to gain access, but more on this later.

Three new goods sidings were also constructed at this time on the branch line section. The signal box had a short life however, as a signal modernization scheme in the early 1900s had it demolished in favour of a two-story design. By 1934 the newly formed southern region began the electrification program and Dunton Green had its platforms lengthened, with the first electric train running through the station from 1935.

Dunton Green railway station
Dunton Green railway station

Unfortunately Dunton Green’s recent history is less illustrious. In 1961 the branch line closed, and over the next 35 years the station went into rapid decline, culminating in the complete removal of the station in the mid-1990s and at time of writing, a new station building has never been rebuilt at this location.

Dunton Green railway station

This picture is of the subway which still connects the station to Dunton Green village (credit for these are below as I was unable to photograph on the day of my visit)

Dunton Green station underpass

(c)Lamberhurst (Ravenseft)

At time of writing passenger traffic is provided by class 465 or class 376 electric multiple units.

Class 465
Class 465
Class 376
Class 376

The statistics for Dunton Green are that it opened in 1868, it has two trains per hour in both directions off-peak and Saturdays, with additional trains at peak times (this is reduced to only one train per hour in both directions on Sundays).

The entry and exit figures for 2019-2020 were 258 682.

The absence of a station building (at time of writing) really makes a visit to this station unappealing if you are a casual enthusiast. However, the location and relatively good frequency of service makes the stations survival a must. Photography and videography are ok, but I would advise that perhaps a visit to another railway station on the line nearby could wield better and more atmospheric results.

Below is a video 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.” ©

Along The Railway Line | South East Mainline | Hildenborough Railway Station

Hildenborough was opened in 1868 by the South Eastern Railway company. It is the only station between the larger Tonbridge and Sevenoaks stations.  Unusually for the time, the platforms were not staggered, but placed opposite each other from the start.  

As with all others on the line, crossing the track was done by means of a foot crossing placed at the end of the Tonbridge bound side.  The station when it opened had one single siding placed on the coastbound side, and this was joined by two further sidings on the London bound side in the 1890s. A third was added by the end of the century.

The substation you see below was put here during the 1960s as part of the electrification scheme, and replaced the siding on the coastbound platform.

Hildenborough Railway Station Kent
Hildenborough railway station – view to platform 2 and substation

In this view from the bridge towards Tonbridge, you can clearly see the break in the third rail in the foreground. This is where the staff foot crossing used to be. The line curves away from the station as it leaves towards Tonbridge.

Hildenborough Railway Station Kent

The station building seen here below original, however it had external rendering work done to protect the station in the 1950’s, but at least it survived the cull which many succumbed to in the 1960’s.  A further building is adjacent to it, which is currently owned by a coffee shop.

Hildenborough Railway Station Kent
Hildenborough railway station

This view from platform 2 shows the original features quite well including the sash windows which were common for the southeast railway.

Hildenborough railway station platform 1
Hildenborough railway station platform 1

At the time of writing, passenger traffic is undertaken either by class 375 electric multiple units, or during the peak times, class 466 electric multiple units may also be seen.

The passenger entry and exit figures for 2019-2020 were 573 762.

Hildenborough offers good sight lines for the Enthusiast and the original station building gives it lots of character, however the electric substation is quite noisy and can impact videography. at times.  But that should detract from the fact that Hildenborough is still a thoroughly lovely station which is well maintained.

Below is a video I filmed in 2021 :

Thanks for reading :

If you can, get out there, get on the railway, and see where it takes you.” ©

Along The Railway Line | South East Mainline | Staplehurst Railway Station

Opened in 1842 by the South Eastern Railway Company, Staplehurst was very much like any other rural station on the line. Staggered platforms and a tongue and groove timber building, similar to that at Pluckley, were erected in 1844.

Staplehurst Railway station

Goods facilities were placed on the London bound side in 1875, which included a coal depot and a through goods shed with four sidings. By 1885 they were complemented by more goods facilities on the coast bound side. The coal part of this yard remained right up to 1971, which was quite an achievement.

Staplehurst Railway Station

This new station building was erected in 1988 and the station was made fully accessible with the addition of this new footbridge with integrated lifts in 2008. the interior of the station building is clean and functional and during the morning peak it also has a refreshment kiosk.

staplehurst railway station

The entry and exit figures for 2019-2020 were 855 082

Staplehurst is a fairly modern station with little to show of its past, however a well-proportioned station building gives it a little character and the fully accessible platforms make it a functional place to catch a train. For the enthusiast the sight lines are very good, and it is fairly quiet, so videography should be ok.

Below is a video I shot for my ‘Along The Railway Line’ series in 2021 :

As always, thanks for reading, and if you can :

“Get out there, get on the railway and see where it takes you” ©