John Speller's Web Pages Cranbrook & Paddock Wood Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - SE&CR
Cranbrook & Paddock Wood Railway Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
The Weald of Kent Railway obtained an Act in 1864 to build a 9-mile railway from Paddock Wood to Cranbrook under the auspices of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway. The LC&DR went into bankruptcy in 1866 and nothing further was done until 1877 when the independent Cranbrook & Paddock Wood Railway to build a similar line to be worked by the South Eastern Railway. The powers were allowed to lapse and further Acts had to be obtained in 1882, 1887 and 1892 before the line was finally completed. The 1882 Act also authorized a 2-mile extension from Cranbrook to Hawkhurst. The line opened from Paddock Wood to Goudhurst on 1 October 1892, and from Goudhurst to Hawkhurst on 4 September 1893. The line was noteworthy for being the first railway engineered by the redoubtable Colonel H. F. Stephens, a mere youth of 22 who had just finished his apprenticeship with the Metropolitan Railway at the time he was appointed in 1890. It was originally intended to extend the line to Rye, which would have made it part of a through route from London to the coast, as well as adding to traffic on the Kent & East Sussex Railway, another of Col. Stephens' concerns. Alas, nothing came of these plans, and the line closed to traffic on 10 June 1961. Video footage of the last days of the Hawkhurst Branch may be seen here and here.
Map of the South Eastern Railway's Hawkhurst Branch and Connections
Branch train behind a Stirling Class "Q" 0-4-4 tank at Goudhurst station in a postcard view of around 1905. Note the lozenge-shaped target on the crossing gate
Flag-bedecked Cudworth "E-1" Class 2-4-0 locomotive No. 112 at Cranbrook on opening day, 1 October 1892
Horsmonden station in a postcard view of around 1905. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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