North Kent Line

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North Kent Line
Kent Railways.svg
The North Kent Line, shown with other railway lines in Kent.
Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater London
South East England
Termini London Charing Cross
London Cannon Street
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Southeastern
Depot(s) Slade Green
Grove Park
Rolling stock Class 375 "Electrostar"
Class 376 "Electrostar"
Class 395 "Javelin"
Class 465 "Networker"
Class 466 "Networker"
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 DC third rail
North Kent Line
South Eastern Main Line
Fast & Slow Lines to London Bridge
St Johns
Nunhead to Lewisham link
to London Victoria via Peckham Rye
Lewisham Vale junction
Lewisham Docklands Light Railway
Hayes Line
to Hayes via Catford Bridge
South Eastern Main Line
and Dartford Loop Line
Bexleyheath Line
Blackheath Tunnel
1681 yd 
1537 m 
Greenwich Line
to Cannon Street via Greenwich
Angerstein Wharf aggregates
Charlton Lane Crossing
Charlton Tunnel
154 yd 
141 m 
Mount Street Tunnel
121 yd 
111 m 
Dockyard Tunnel
121 yd 
111 m 
Woolwich Dockyard
Coleman Street Tunnel
89 yd 
81 m 
George IV Tunnel
238 yd 
218 m 
Calderwood Street Tunnel
58 yd 
53 m 
Cross Street Tunnel
134 yd 
123 m 
to Reading or Heathrow Terminal 4
Woolwich Arsenal Docklands Light Railway & Woolwich Crossrail
Docklands Light Railway
to Royal Arsenal
Plumstead Carriage Sidings (NR)
Church Manor Way Halt
Plumstead Carriage Sidings
Abbey Wood Crossrail
Crossrail boundary
Erith Pier
Slade Green
Bexleyheath Line
Slade Green Depot
River Cray
Dartford Loop Line
River Darent
Dartford Carriage Sidings
A282 Dartford Tunnel Approach
Stone Crossing
for Bluewater
Greenhithe Tunnel
253 yd 
231 m 
High Speed 1
to St Pancras
Ebbsfleet International
High Speed 1
to Channel Tunnel
Gravesend West Line
Milton Road Halt
Denton Halt
Milton Range Halt
Hoo Junction Staff Halt
Down platform
Hundred of Hoo Railway
to the Isle of Grain
Hoo Junction Staff Halt
Up platform
Hoo Junction Freight Yard
Higham and Strood Tunnels
3931 yd 
3595 m 
Strood (1st)(Old terminus)
Chatham Main Line
to London Victoria
Medway Valley Line
Rochester Bridge Junction
River Medway
Chatham Main Line
to Dover Priory and Ramsgate

The North Kent Line is a railway line which runs from Lewisham Vale junction[1][2] (at the country end of St Johns station) where it splits from the Southeastern Main Line to Rochester Bridge junction[3][4] (just south of Strood station), then links up with the Chatham Main Line.



The North Kent Line was the means by which the South Eastern Railway (SER) was able to connect its system to London at London Bridge. In 1846 the SER purchased the Thames and Medway Canal tunnel near Higham and laid railway tracks through it; in 1847 trains were working through from the Strood terminus, on the River Medway to Gravesend. From 30 July 1849 the line was extended, via Blackheath, to a junction with the London and Greenwich Railway at North Kent East Junction, near Deptford, and through trains were now working.


The line is electrified (750 V DC third rail). Electrification was initially to Dartford (6 June 1926) and was extended to Gillingham by World War Two.

The Route and Services

The North Kent Line is a high-frequency line, with all stations in the London area being served by at least 4 trains per hour, with Lewisham 14tph.

London Charing Cross to Gillingham 2tph fast, calling at Waterloo East, London Bridge fast to Lewisham (for Docklands Light Railway), Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal (for the Docklands Light Railway), Abbey Wood (Future interchange with Crossrail) fast to Dartford, then Greenhithe (for Bluewater), Gravesend then all stations to Gillingham.

London Cannon Street to Slade Green all stations via Greenwich 6tph, of which 2tph continue to Dartford, 2tph continue back to Cannon Street via Bexleyheath and Lewisham on the Bexleyheath line and 2tph to Cannon Street via Sidcup and Hither Green on the Dartford Loop Line.

London Cannon Street to Plumstead 2tph, Semi Fast calling at London Bridge, New Cross, Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal and Plumstead, this service does not call at St. Johns and Woolwich Dockyard.

Former services

From 1999–2002 there were semi-fast trains starting from Plumstead to London Victoria briefly resuming a 1980s service pattern. This service was for the Millennium Dome, the service called at, Woolwich Arsenal, Charlton, Blackheath, Lewisham, Peckham Rye then non-stop to London Victoria, there was also an early morning semi fast service to London Blackfriars from Dartford in the 1980s.

There were plans in 2003 to have a Plumstead to Clapham Junction cross south London service but it never came into fruition


Abbey Wood is to become the eastern terminal for Crossrail.


Train services working the Line today take the following route; the first ten miles (16 km) passes through many tunnels, included on the list:

The North Kent Line connects with the LCDR Chatham Main Line at Rochester Bridge Junction, about 200 m beyond Strood station. It totals some 30 miles (48 km) in length.

Service patterns

As of July 2015, the service pattern is:

Off-peak & Saturday:


Peak hour frequencies vary, with services from the Bexleyheath and Dartford loop lines also running to and from stations to Gillingham.


  1. Quail Map 5 – England South [page 3] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
  2. Network Rail (April 2001). Southern Zone Sectional Appendix. Module SO. p. 1/37 SO130.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
  3. Quail Map 5 – England South [page 7] Sept 2002 (Retrieved 25 December 2011)
  4. Network Rail (April 2001). Southern Zone Sectional Appendix. Module SO. p. 1/15 SO130.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Retrieved 25 December 2011)

External links