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Railways in Kent
The Medway Valley Line is the name given to the railway line linking Stroodmarker and the Medway Towns with Maidstone Westmarker and onward to Paddock Woodmarker. The section from Maidstone Westmarker to Paddock Woodmarker passes through some of Kent's most picturesque countryside along the narrower sections of the River Medway.

History

The line was built in two stages by the South Eastern Railway (SER). The first stage opened on the 25 September 1844 and was a branch off the SER's first main line that crossed Kent between the coast ports of Dover and Folkestone and the LBSCR's main line at Redhill. The junction was at Paddock Wood and followed the Medway Valley up to the county town of Maidstone that had been by passed by the new main line. 12 years later, on the 18 June 1856 the line was extended up the Medway Valley to the North Kent Line at Strood (which had opened in 1847). The SER merged with local rival London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) on the 1 January 1899 to form the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR). Post World War One, the railways were "grouped" and the SECR became part of Southern Railway.

It was designated by the Department for Transportmarker as a community rail service on 28 September 2007.

Infrastructure

Track

The line is double track throughout, with a maximum speed of 90mph.

Stations

Paddock Wood Stationmarker is the venue of the Hop Farm, a popular country show venue and tourist attraction.BeltringmarkerYaldingmarkerWateringburymarker

Signalling

During 2005, the signalling systems were upgraded, replacing the traditional semaphore signals with colour light signals.

Electrification

The line from Strood to Maidstone West was electrified (at 750 V DC third rail) by the Southern Railway, opening on 2 July 1939. The rest of the line from Paddock Wood to Maidstone West was electrified under stage 2 of Kent Coast electrification by BR's 1955 Modernisation Plan, opening to traffic on 18 June 1962.

Train Services

Services are operated by Southeastern.

Trains typically run a half-hourly service between Strood and Maidstone, and typically hourly through to Paddock Woodmarker. There is no longer a early morning service to London Bridge station|London Bridge]]. In the December 2009 Timetable change, Trains are due to continue to Tonbridge, rather than terminate at Paddock Wood.

Traction & Rolling Stock

The service uses Class 466 made up of 2-CEP Units, this is a big improvment from the old class 508 Trains which are now stored at Ashford Sidings.

References



Further reading

  • ISBN 1 85260 508 1


  • ISBN 0 7110 2807 9


External links




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