Impermanent Ways, volume 13: Kent
Although the electrification of many routes and a healthy commuter traffic have seen the county of Kent lose far less lines than many others, the provision of some branch lines whose economics were highly questionable right from their construction, has led to some inevitable closures.
Before the amalgamation of the London Chatham & Dover Railway and the South Eastern Railway in 1899 competition between the two companies was particularly fierce, resulting in separate lines to towns such as Sevenoaks, Maidstone, Canterbury and Dover all of which established their own local clientele. This helps to explain why these competing lines have not generally suffered from the rationalisation of duplicated routes that has occurred elsewhere on the network.
There was of course some rationalisation, resulting in closures such as the lines to Gravesend West, Ramsgate Beach and Margate Sands, and some lines such as Ashford – Hastings survived the threat of closure under the Beeching proposals.
There were a couple of independent lines operated by the East Kent Railway and the Kent & East Sussex Railway, remnants of which are represented in today’s preserved lines, plus a surprising number of railways serving industrial concerns. These are all covered and depicted in the book’s many photos which together, with the usual mix of ephemera, make this volume in a popular series one not to be missed.
Softback, 104 pages, fully illustrated
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