Re: Old East Kent railways and stations

"Peter Masson" <peter.masson1@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message

"Jonathan Stott" <03smj@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
I was browsing the out-of-copyright Ordnance Survey maps on, particularly around where I am
living right now (Canterbury). The maps are around 70 years old.

I noticed a number of stations and halts which have since disappeared,
including a halt at Westbere and a station at Upstreet (between Sturry
and Minster) on the Ashford and Ramsgate Branch. Does anyone know when
these stations closed?

The maps are particularly interesting - they show the now-closed
Canterbury and Whitsable (Crab and Winkle) Line and the Elham Valley
Line between Canterbury West and Folkestone.

Another thing that caught my eye was a mass of sidings at Ebbsfleet with
"Train Ferry Berths" labelled nearby. What wais the train ferry and
where did it go to (presumably somewhere on the continent)?

Also, there appears to be a halt just east of Folkestone at the Warren -
what was the point of this halt, seeing as it's not really conveniently
situated? I gather it closed fairly recently.

The halt at Westbere was Chislet Colliery Halt - opened in 1920 and closed
when the colliery closed (1970s?). The station at Upstreet was Grove Ferry
Upstreet, opened with the line in 1846 and closed in 1966, when the ferry
was replaced by a bridge..

The port at Ebbsfleet (near Sandwich, not to be confused with Ebbsfleet
International near Northfleet) was Richborough Port, developed in WW1 for
the war effort. After the war, the port installations continued to moulder
undisturbed, even through WW2, though there were proposals to use the port
for coal exports, which even resulted in a branch line off the East Kent
Light being built in 1925-28. Since WW2 the site of Richborough Port has
been developed with a power station and industrial estate (now mainly

Folkestone Warren Halt first opened in the Summer of 1886, when the SER
built a bridge across the line and 'put in a gate to encourage picnic
traffic.' Lord Radnor, the local landowner, made threats of legal action
trespass, and the halt closed at the end of that Summer. The halt was
open (Summer only) from 1908-1915 and again 1923-1939, though I too can't
see any point, unless there was 'picnic traffic'. The platforms and
nameboards were in situ at least in the 1980s (I haven't travelled the
for some time), presumably so that pw staff could hitch a lift to a rather
inaccessible location, though one which needs special attention because of
the danger of landslips, most notoriously in 1915 when the Halt moved 53
yards towards the sea.


There is a rather nice model of Grove Ferry which does the circuit down in
the SE, Jonathon- apparently there used to be a lavender distillery on the
opposite bank of the Stour, next to the Grove Ferry Inn, which is portrayed
on the model.
The remains of the halt at Folkestone Warren, along with a siding, remained
into the 1990s. At a lower level, there was a concrete batching plant which
had it's own narrow gauge system to carry the mixed concrete around the huge
concrete apron which serves as a 'beach'- this last saw use towards the end
of the 1980s, I believe.
There was another staff halt at Shakespere Cliff, which served a small group
of railway-owned cottages. The only other access to these was via some steps
cut into the cliff- latterly, the handrail posts on these steps were of
narrow-gauge rail, salvaged from the 1880s (?) Channel Tunnel works.


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