John Speller's Web Pages Gravesend Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - SE&CR
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The Gravesend Railway was authorized by an Act of 18 July 1881 to build a 5-mile double-track line from Pindham near Fawkham on the LC&DR main line to Gravesend West, with intermediate stations at Longfield, Southfleet and Rosherville Gardens. The South Eastern Railway opposed this, but there was never any serious competition with its own Gravesend line, which was shorter and more convenient. The line opened on 17 April 1886, the same day as the new Tilbury Dock, and there was a ferry service between Gravesend and Tilbury. Indeed, the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway hoped to build a tunnel under the Thames between Tilbury and Gravesend, but this never came to fruition. The line never produced enough traffic to be very profitable, especially after the closure of the Rosherville Pleasure Gardens in 1915, and in the 1930s the intermediate stations were reduced to the status of halts. On 3 August 1953 passenger service was withdrawn, followed by goods on 24 March 1968. The line was briefly reopened as far as Southfleet in 1972 to serve a coal depot, but again in 1976. Part of the track bed around Southfleet was subsequently used in 1998 for Part 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) to Waterloo International, but with the opening of Part 2 of the CTRL to St. Pancras International in 2007 this no longer sees much traffic. A video of the LC&DR Gravesend Branch in 1952 may be found here.
Map of the Gravesend West branch of the LC&DR
Remains of the LC&DR pier at Gravesend, 17 November 2007. Image Copyright Clem Rutter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license
Part 1 of CTRL used the abandoned Gravesend West branch between Fawkham and Southfleet. In this photograph this part of the route begins with the curve in the distance. Image Copyright Robin Webster and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License
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