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The Chatham Main Line is a British railway line that runs from London Victoriamarker to Dover Priorymarker or Ramsgatemarker via the Medway Towns (of which Chathammarker is one, hence the name) and Bromleymarker. Some trains on the service also run from Bedfordmarker via London Blackfriarsmarker (connecting at Bromleymarker).

Services to Cannon Streetmarker follow the route as far as Chislehurst Junctionmarker where they diverge onto the Chislehurst line.

Services to Charing Crossmarker as well as some slow Cannon Street services run in parallel from Gillinghammarker to Rochestermarker, diverging once across the River Medway at Rochester Bridge Junction onto the North Kent Line via Gravesendmarker and Dartfordmarker.

A shuttle service operates on the Sheerness Line which joins at Sittingbournemarker.


Services on the Line are run by Southeastern.

After Bromleymarker (when heading towards London) the services can divert via the Catford Loop Line or remain on the main line (via Herne Hillmarker) to reach London Victoriamarker.

Services currently consist of stopping trains from Ramsgatemarker and Dover Priorymarker joining at Faversham and running fast from Chatham to Bromley South, then Victoria (with the odd stop at Rochester or Longfield or Meopham). A stopping service stops at all stops from Favershammarker to St Mary Craymarker and Bromley South then fast to London Victoria. Stations prior to Farningham Roadmarker (as coming from London Victoria) are served by stoppers on the Swanley to Ashford Line.

The opening of High Speed 1 will see the introduction of High Speed "Domestic Services" (CTRL-DS) to London St Pancrasmarker, and thus a significant remapping of services across Southeastern's network from December 2009.


The line was built by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, who were in competition with the South Eastern Railway (hence the duplication of stations in Kent). They subsequently built lines to Sevenoaks and Ashford (via Maidstone) from the Chatham Main Line.

The line was electrified (750v DC third rail) in a series of stages. Initially the new Southern Railway electrified the urban (within London) workings of the SECR in the 1920s. In July 1925 "South Eastern Electrification (Stage 1)" saw the line from Victoria to junction with the South Eastern Main line at Bickley, including the Catford Loop Line electrified. This was extend to outer suburban workings to Sevenoaks via Swanley (Bickley junction to Swanley) in two stages, reaching St Mary Cray in May 1934 and Swanley in January 1935. Full outer suburban electrification was achieved with the "Maidstone & Gillingham Electrification" scheme in July 1939, extending electrification from Swanley to Gillingham. Post war, under the BR's 1955 Modernisation plan, electrification was completed (Gillingham to Ramsgate and Dover) under "Kent Coast Electrification" stage 1 in 1959. At the same time the four track section between Shortlands and St Mary Cray junction was extended to Swanley Junction with a complete rebuilding of the St Mary Cray Junction. Two passing loops were added (to create a four-track section) between Rainham and Newington.


Image:2007-10-05 class 375 electrostar 8car near farningham road 01 jamie clarke.jpg|A Class 375, near Farningham RoadmarkerImage:ChathamStation2796.JPG| Car parking at Chatham railway stationmarker, the Maidstone Road bridge and the portal to the Chatham TunnelImage:GillinghamRail3975.JPG|A Class 375 in Gillinghammarker DepotImage:Croydon, Norwood & Woodside RJD 53.jpg|A 1908 Railway Clearing House map of Chatham Main Line and surrounding lines between Beckenham Jct and Herne HillImage:Streatham & Tulse Hill Hastings & St Leonards RJD 100.jpg|A 1914 Railway Clearing House map showing the two different routes of the Chatham Main Line in South London.Image:Dover, Folkestone & Tunbridge Wells RJD 33.jpg|A 1914 Railway Clearing House map of the end of the Dover branch of the Chatham Main Line.Image:Clapham Junction, Stewarts Lane, Lavender Hill & Longhedge RJD 17.jpg||A 1914 Railway Clearing House map of the line's final approaches to Victoria.


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