John Speller's Web Pages East Kent Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - SE&CR
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The East Kent Railway, the earliest constituent of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway, was incorporated by an Act of 4 August 1853 to build a line from the South Eastern Railway at Strood to Canterbury (avoiding the circuitous route via Reigate) to Canterbury, a distance of 29 miles 8 chains. There were to be branches to Faversham Quays, 3 miles 60 chains, and Chillan, 1 mile and 46 chains, making for a total of 30 miles, 34 chains. The first Chairman was George John Milles, 4th Baron Sondes (1794–1874). The first Secretary was George Frederick Holroyd. The Engineer was Joseph Cubitt (1811-1872).

On 19 March a contract was entered into with the The Contractor (who was for a time also a Director of the Company), Thomas Russell Crampton (1816–1888), to execute the line to Dover in three sections, viz.: Strood to Faversham, Faversham to Canterbury, and Canterbury to Dover; the first section to be completed within eighteen months from the date of the engineer's order to commence the works. By the terms of this contract the contractors agree for the first £200,000 expended upon the works of the line to receive payment, one-half in cash, and one-half in shares of the company at par. The contractors further agree to lease the line for 21 years after its completion, at the rate of 5 per cent. per annum, and half profits above 6 per cent., and also to pay interest half-yearly at the rate of 5 per cent. per annum, during construction, in accordance with which arrangement the first halfyearly payment of interest was made on 5th July, 1856. In 1858 the Contractor persuaded the company to purchase six 4-4-0ST “Sondes Class “ locomotives built to Crampton’s patent from R. and W. Hawthorn. This proved a disastrous mistake and the locomotives were of little use until rebuilt by Martley in 1865.

By an Act of 26 June 1855, the company obtained release of its deposit, on condition of expending the same on construction of the Medway Bridge. By another Act of July 16 1855 the company obtained power for the extension of the line from Canterbury to Dover, and to increase the share capital by £500,000, and the borrowing powers by £166,666. The line opened from Strood to Faversham on November 1857. On 1 August 1859 the company altered its name to the London, Chatham & Dover Railway. The branch line to Faversham Quays opened 12 April 1860 and the main line as far as Canterbury on 9 July 1860. The final sections to Dover Town and Dover Harbour opened respectively on 22 July 1861 and 1 November 1861. Planned links to the South Eastern Railway at Chillon and Canterbury were never built. Meanwhile, due to the lack of cooperation of the South Eastern Railway, the London, Chatham & Dover Railway abandoned its original plan to link up with the SER at Strood, and instead teamed up with the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway to gain access to Victoria station in London.
Map of the East Kent Railway. To enlarge click here
Teynham station, a typical East Kent building of plain appearance, shown in early Southern Railway days
Thomas Russell Crampton (1816–1888), Contractor, Director and Locomotive Supplier to the East Kent Railway
Postcard view of Gillingham Station (Kent) in around 1910
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