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)

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dunton_Green_Railway_Station_3.jpg

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 | Pluckley Railway Station

Pluckley Railway Station

A very charming rural station set in the heart of Kent, which is more that meets the eye.

A railway station has been in the area since 1842, but this current station opened in 1844. As with most small stations in this area it has a staggered platform design. The building here is not the original, but a rebuild done in 1885 and is a superb example of a south east railway structure. In fact it is the oldest station building in the country still in regular use, albeit only on weekday mornings.

Pluckley railway station

Pluckley had various sidings in its time, serving a coal yard and goods yard, the latter supplying horse manure. But the main purpose of the station yard was to supply the Pluckley tile and brickworks to the west of the station.

Many walks can be had from this station, and the areas rich history can be seen on an information board just outside the station building.

Entry and Exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 122 696

Although very unassuming at first, Pluckley railway station has a charm which lends itself to further exploration. The area around the station is steeped with history and the overall feel is that the station is loved by the community. I hope this continues, as it would be a shame to lose the old station building and the history which surrounds it.

A video I took in 2021 takes you on a tour of this station.

Top Ten Least Used Railway Stations In Kent : 6 | Dumpton Park

Opened in 1926, the station was opened to facilitate a reduction in lines between Ramsgate and Margate. The station was quite a lavish affair, identical to that at Broadstairs. The station platforms were reached by use of a covered walkway, which lead to a lift down to the platforms. The space for the lift can still be seen in this photograph:

In 1936, close to the station, the line down to Ramsgate harbour was re-opened. This was commonly known as the ‘Tunnel Railway’, and helped boost passenger numbers to Dumpton Park. However with its demise in 1965, the fate of Dumpton Park seemed to be sealed. I will cover the tunnel railway hopefully later this year (2021).

Once the Tunnel Railway closed, passenger numbers steadily dwindled at Dumpton Park. The station building was un-ceremonially demolished in the early 1970’s, and soon after the lift shaft and canopy roof over the bridge disappeared.

What is left today is a pretty sad mono-platform, only accessible by the steps off the footbridge. It does have an electronic ticket machine, posters and a help point, but all of the charm has gone. A housing estate now surrounds the entrance, which is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look.

Towards Ramsgate

Towards Broadstairs

Stopping passenger traffic is (at time of writing) class 375 Electric Multiple Units. There are various through trains throughout the day (mainly Class 395 ‘Javelin’s’). Freight is mostly non existent, with some engineering trains mainly during the weekend, if work is going on in the area.

A video from my YouTube channel is below, if you wish to view.

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Top Ten Least Used Railway Stations In Kent : 7 | Adisham

Adisham was opened in 1861 by the London, Chatham and Dover railway. The station building was a virtual replica to that found at Sole Street, with an all over white paint finish. Situated on Dover “Down” side of the line, it still sports its original and unusual Chimney vents, as can be seen below.

There was a small shelter put onto the London bound side. A goods shed was put to the south of the main building on the “Down” side, a structure which still stands today (in the middle to the right in the picture below), although it is now used as business premises.

A signal box of grand design was put on the “Up” side around 1878. Being of a timber construction, it was higher than the main building, and was quite an unusual design. Unfortunately it was removed in the early 2000’s, a casualty of the re-signalling of all the line.

The station used to be quite busy, being on the line which served many of the Kent Collieries. But with the closure of these in the late 1980’s, passenger traffic has substantially declined, but it still regularly commands passenger entry and exit numbers of between 25 and 27 thousand per year.

Saying that, here are the figures for Adisham. The station at time of writing gets 2 trains per hour in peak hours, and 1 train per hour off peak and at weekends. Freight or engineering trains are rarely seen. According to the ORR figures of 2018/2019 it had 27,600 exit and entry’s. Stopping services are provided by class 375 Electric Multiple Units.

A video about Adisham can be found on my YouTube channel, which you can view by clicking on the link below :

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Top Ten Least Used Railway Stations In Kent : 8 | East Farleigh

The station is situated on the Medway Valley Line, and was opened in 1844, with the current layout of two staggerd platforms, separated by a level crossing.

The goods shed once stood on the Maidstone “up” side of the station, opposite the Paddock Wood “down” side platform. The current car park being where this brick built shed once stood.

Access to both platforms can be made via the original South Eastern railway footbridge, which is still here and can be seen above.

A station building was opened on the Paddock Wood side in 1846, it being the first timber building built by the South Eastern Railway. The signal box arrived in 1892 next to the station building, and both at time of writing are still here.

Traffic on the line is both passenger and freight, the passenger traffic being formed of 3 car class 375 electric multiple units (at time of writing).

If you exit the station and go a short way down the hill, you will come to a bridge across the river Medway. Constructed around the 14th century, it is grade one listed and well worth a look.

The station at time of writing gets 2 trains per hour in the peak, and 1 train per hour off peak and at weekends. Freight is seen quite often, mainly on weekdays however. According to the ORR figures of 2018/2019 it had 35,742 exit and entry’s.

A video of this station is on my YouTube Channel, and is below if you wish to view.

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Top Ten Least Used Railway Stations in Kent 10 | Ashurst

Part of a new series on my YouTube channel, I visit all the top ten least used stations in Kent, starting with Ashurst.

Opened in 1888 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, the station is at time of writing operated by Southern, a subsidiary of Govia Thameslink.

It has a reasonable sized car park next to it, one of only a handful on this list, and the overall setting is very pleasant. Below you can see the view along the tracks towards London.

Here is a view towards Ukfield. The line is actually known as the Ukfield branch of the Oxted line. Class 171 Diesel Multiple Units operate on the line at the time of writing.

The station has the usual help points, dot matrix displays, and two wooden shelters. There is also an additional modern shelter on the London bound platform.

A very pleasant station, with good views for the enthusiast, however traffic is mainly passenger.

For a full overview of the station, please view the YouTube video below.

Ill blog again next week with mini overview of the next on the list. Many thanks for reading.

London Transport Museum Depot Open Day – September 2019

On sunday 29th September 2019, I visited the LTM Depot open day. The museum is in Acton, and can be reached on the Underground network via the Picadilly and District lines. The museum itself is a 5 minute walk across the road from the station.

The first thing to note as you approach the entrance was a small miniature railway which runs on event days such as this. Entrance to the site was very fluid, a quick check of my printed ticket and I was in.

You will see various large equipment from the underground network either side of you as you enter, and straight ahead there are rows of shelving stacked high to the roof with boxes. Stairs to the right of you take you up to a mezzanine level where on this day an interactive area was laid on for children. Great views can be had over the museum here, especially the tube stock.

Before you get to the actual tube trains, go up the stairs to your left. This will take you to an area which contains a fantastic amount of old signage, and various models used in planning. As seen in these photos, you can easily spend 15 minutes + up here.

Before you view the tube stock, have a look at the old equipment in front of them, old ticket machines and barriers, and signalling equipment.

The variety of tube stock here is amazing. Everything is well laid out, and you can even enter some of the old trains. The level of refurbishment is exceptional, and has quite a nostalgic feel.

To the extreme right of the tube stock is an area dedicated to buses. Again the level of care in refurbishing these is exceptional.

Outside there was an area to buy various food and drink, and a place to sit down. No food and drink is allowed in the museum for obvious reasons.

I came on a day which was all about the London Termini, and the lectures provided were excellent. I also went on an included tour of the small item store, which was fantastic and lasted around 20 minutes. You have to sign up for this on the day, but they were quite regular.

Overall I would recommend going to visit this museum during its open days, the amount of heritage equipment, stock and signage on display is astounding. They only open it on select dates, and more specific tours are held on Saturdays throughout the year. Follow the link below the video to see if anything interests you.

Below is a video which i shot on the day, which gives an overall view of the museum.

Here is the link to the depot website : https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/visit/museum-depot


Many thanks for reading, I’ll blog again soon.

London Termini – Liverpool Street

Liverpool street, from the Bishopsgate end

Once one of the busiest stations in London, Liverpool street has a very ornate interior much overlooked by its passengers. Having undergone many refurbishments in the years, the concourse now fills with natural light from the vast roof which spans it. Although now not as busy, the soon addition of the Elizabeth line may make this station a true hive of activity again.

A Brief History

London Liverpool Street was built to be the London terminus of the Eastern Counties Railway. Opened in 1874 with 10 platforms, two of which extended under the station forming a junction with the Metropolitan Railway.

Originally the buildings were 90ft high, with a spired clock tower. A hotel named “The Great Eastern” was built down the entire length of the new frontage. Many expansions came in the early years, which unfortunately created a myriad of entrance and exits. As well as this, the bridge used across the station was not wide enough and on two levels, which caused congestion and confusion for passengers wondering which part of the bridge they should be on.

The station is probably most famous for its role in welcoming children of the “Kindertransport”, an operation started in 1938 to bring children from the ever expanding Nazi Germany. The first children arrived on December 2nd 1938, and by September of the following year, almost 10,000 children would arrive into Liverpool Street, many of which landed at Harwich.

After being damaged in the Second World War, the station remained in a poor state until the 1960’s, when British Rail rebuilt and refurbished the station, giving it a new clock tower.

It was therefore a surprise that in 1974, British Rail would earmark the Liverpool Street station building to be demolished, and an underground terminus put in it’s place. Many campaigns were launched by eminent figures of the day, including the comedian Spike Milligan, to stop the bulldozers from destroying such a beautiful example of a London Terminus. Eventually after a few years, the tireless campaigning worked and Liverpool Street was saved.

A full refurbishment was again undertaken in the 1980s, with the train shed roof being fully repaired and restored. The main roof would follow in 1987. At this time a link would be established to the Cambridge line, enabling trains to terminate at Liverpool Street instead of Broad street. The entire work was finished in 1991, and the station was officially re-opened by the Queen.

Since 2013, the site has had many excavations in preparation for the Elizabeth Line. During one of these, a mass grave was found on the site of the “Bedlam” burial ground, dating back to the 17th Century. This lead to a full excavation of the area, recovering what is believed to be 3,000 bodies.

A quick view of the station today

Due to its complex nature, you could start anywhere at Liverpool street and still get great views. Howver for the sake of this quick walkthrough, we will start at the entrance at Hope Square in Liverpool Street.

Going through the gates, you will be greeted by the ‘Kindertransport’ statue in front of the glass fronted entrance. Take time at this statue to read the plaques and appreciate this significant event in history.

The ‘New’ Kindertransport Statue in Hope Square

If we now go through the entrance, you will gain the first look at the roof, with the concourse opening out below you. You are on the mezzanine level at this point, so take some time to look around you, admiring the columns which hold up the glass roof which is allowing natural light to flood in.

Looking left, you will see some arched windows, move toward these and then turn towards the concourse, so that you are looking straight down it. It is one of the best views of any London Terminus in my opinion, and a great photo if you can get it.

Move back along the mezzanine, a row of retail is ahead and to your right, but if you carry on down into a corridor, the exit to the bus station will eventally be on your left. Keep going down here for a very good view across the platforms.

A view across the platforms, note the abundance of highly decorated columns.

Once, you have seen the the platforms, with the fantastic train shed above, head back to the mezzanine level and turn left, so that you can see the arrival and departure board ahead of you, hanging above the concourse.

Once you get to the board, turn right and go underneath it, good views can be had of the concourse left and right here. At the other side, turn right and then left, you should see a rather large marble mural which reaches up toward the roof. This great marble structure is one of the best dedications to those who lost their lives during the First World War at any railway station. Below it are dedications to Captain Charles Fryatt and Sir Henry Wilson, both of whom were decorated in the Great War. Many other dedications and wreaths are normally to be found under these.

The First World War Memorial

Go back past the memorial and then past the departure board, and you should find on your right three brick reliefs. These depict a steam train, a ship and a scene involving coal being put into a firebox.

You will now see an exit which takes you out onto Bishopsgate. The former Great Eastern Hotel is to your left, and the original ballroom ceiling can be seen if you enter this building (which is now a major chain pub). Looking back towards the station you will see a glass canopy with escalators down to concourse level. This is framed with two brick columns, one with a clock tower. Also to be found here to your right is a very unusual metal totem with a London Underground roundel and the Liverpool Street name underneath.

Totem in Bishopsgate

Take the escalators down to the main concourse. Walk forward here and again admire the roof structure. Keep to your left here as you walk along. There are lots of places to sit here, and a set of escalators will take you down to the toilets. Go past these, keeping left until you almost reach the entrance to the Underground station.

You will then see another statue dedicated to the Kindertransport. This was the original one dedicated in 2003, and used to sit in Hope Square. When it was there it contained a glass box with actual artifacts from some of the children, with the standing girl only. When it was relocated however, a sitting boy was added and the glass box removed.

Kindertransport statue near Underground entrance

Moving past the Underground entrance, there is another exit ahead of you which takes you to an area with a low veiling and retail outlets. Eventually it leads to the Bus station.

London Liverpool Street is not the largest London Terminus, but this and Marylebone do keep the charm of the old railway, and although I have detailed a few hidden gems, but there are more (but that’s for another time…)

A view from the Liverpool Street end

You can see a short video of the trains at Liverpool Street on my YouTube channel below:


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London Waterloo Station Walkthrough

On my other YouTube channel, John Explores, I take a small walk through Waterloo Station.


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London Bridge re-signalling scheme 1970’s

Before the re-imagining of London Bridge station in the 2010’s, it was the subject of a huge re-signaling scheme in the mid 1970’s. The idea was to completely redesign the approach, especially across Borough Market Junction. This was a notorious bottleneck where trains from Charing Cross and Cannon Street, as well as approaching traffic from Kent and Sussex would almost always grind to a halt at peak times.

The solution was to create more throughput by using crossovers from Charing Cross and Cannon Street and using a new flyover at St Johns. Some terminal platforms were also connected to the Charing Cross lines in order to facilitate more throughput.

The entire area would be controlled via a massive new signal control room at London Bridge, which would mean the demise of at least 16 smaller signal boxes nearby.

Amazingly for such a large project, it was finished on time, at a cost of £21.5 million pounds in 1978. Below are some scans from a mini booklet produced by British Rail to commemorate the achievement.

I must thank Mr David Bonnett, who very kindly donated this leaflet and other materials to myself.


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