John Speller's SER Maidstone Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - SE&CR
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The main line of the South Eastern Railway bypassed the county seat of Maidstone, and rail service to the town could not be allowed to wait for long. The South Eastern & Maidstone Railway was authorized by the South Eastern Railway (Additional Powers) Act of 1843 and opened for traffic on 25 September 1844. The Engineer was William Alexander Provis (1792-1870), who had been Telford's resident engineer during the construction of the Menai Straits Suspension Bridge. The branch was eleven-and-three-quarter miles long and ran from Paddock Wood (originally known as Maidstone Road) to Maidstone West. The line, which ran along the Medway River Valley, was gently graded and there were no major engineering works. It was originally a single track line, but was double-tracked in 1846. The line was extended further up the Medway Valley to the North Kent Line at Strood on 18 June 1856. The section between Paddock Wood and Maidstone West was electrified from 18 June 1962. Besides a frequent service to London Bridge, since 2011 there has been high-speed train service between Maidstone and St Pancras International.
Map of the South Eastern & Maidstone Railway
Wateringbury station and signal box, 9 July 2005. The signal box had been decommissioned, but the old Southern Railway semaphore signal remained in use, now electrically controlled. Image copyright Hywel Williams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Maidstone West station, 22 March 1958, with a Maunsell "N" Class 2-6-0 approaching with a goods train, while a Wainwright "H" Class 0-4-4T waits at the bay platform. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Maidstone West station showing the electric multiple unit trains currently in use on 6 October 2007. The main station building is believed to date from September 1846. Image courtesy of Hassocks5489 at en.wikipedia
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