John Speller's Web Pages Ashford, Canterbury, Ramsgate & Margate Branch (SER

John Speller's Web Pages - SE&CR
Ashford, Canterbury, Ramsgate & Margate Branch (SER) Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
The proposed South Eastern, Canterbury, Ramsgate & Sandwich Railway was intended to leave the South-Eastern Railway at Ashford, and pass, effecting a junction, by a branch, 16 chains long, with the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway, about 15 chains to the left of the depot at Canterbury. The main line, on leaving Canterbury, would have crossed a portion of Pegwell Bay and thence skirted the sea-shore to the Royal Harbour of Ramsgate. From there the Sandwich branch terminating on the right bank of the River Stour at Sandwich. The line was surveyed by the Irish Engineer Bewicke Blackburn (1811-1897), but though a Bill was introduced in the 1838 session of Parliament it was not proceeded with.

The next proposal was the South Eastern Railway’s Canterbury, Ramsgate, and Margate Branch. The Act for this was obtained by the South Eastern Company in 1844, the first portion, from Ashford to Canterbury, was opened on the 6 February 1846, and a further part, from Canterbury to Ramsgate, on 13 April 1846, and to Margate on 1 December 1846. Running for the greater part of its length along the valley of the River Stour, which was crossed five times between Ashford and Canterbury by bridges composed of trussed wooden girders. The branch commences by a sharp curve out of the main line at Ashford, and pursues a pretty direct north-eastern course, passing to the west of Wye, where there is a station, to Chilham, 6 miles from Canterbury. It was originally intended to carry new line through North Kent, but the Act obtained in 1846 only sanctioned the portion between the London and Greenwich Railway and Gravesend. From this point, trending a little more towards the east, the line proceeded to Canterbury, where it crossed St. Dunstan's Street upon the level in approaching the station, near the Cathedral, and effected a junction with the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway. From Canterbury the Ramsgate and Margate line proceeds in the same general direction, passing north of Fordwich and south of Chislet, near to which place is the Grove Ferry Station, and thence to Sarr, from which point a continuation to Margate was projected, but the Bill was lost in 1846. As a result, the extension to Margate, was a branch rather than a continuation of the line necessitating reversing at Ramsgate, a situation finally corrected by the Southern Railway building a new direct line which opened on 2 July 1926. A Bill for a branch from Canterbury to Dover was rejected in 1846. about 15 miles, and from Canterbury to Ramsgate about 15 miles 40 chains; and by the present circuitous route the distance from London to Canterbury is 82 miles, and to Ramsgate 97 miles 40 chains. Though originally intended for a single track, the line was been laid throughout with two.

Until 1967 a service operated between Margate and Birkenhead Woodside via Ashford, Redhill, Reading, Oxford, Birmingham Snow Hill and Shrewsbury. The trainset was provided on alternate days by the Southern Railway and the Great Western Railway. At Ashford a portion from Sandwich, Deal and Dover was attached or detached, and another from Brighton at Redhill.

The line was electrified on the 750V DC third rail system in 1961.
Map of the Ashford, Canterbury, Ramsgate & Margate Branch of the South Eastern Railway Railway
An early view of the South Eastern Railway's station at Ramsgate in around 1885
Postcard view of Chilham station in around 1910 with a Stirling "F" Class 4-4-0 heading a passenger train
Postcard view of Wye station in around 1905
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