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Westerham Branch

Dunton Green

The outside of Westerham station.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

The Westerham branch was built in 1881 by the Westerham Valley Railway Company from the South Eastern Main Line at Dunton Green to Westerham, with an intermediate station at Brasted. The branch was single track throughout, though provision was made for a double track line. At one time it was hoped to extend the line on to Oxted, though this never became a reality. The railway was worked by the South Eastern Railway from the opening on 7th July 1881, and was taken over by the larger company the following month, subsequently becoming part of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. In April 1906 a second halt was opened at Chevening, coinciding with the introduction of a steam railmotor service to compete with electric tramways. This was not a success and three or four years later the line reverted to steam locomotives. The Southern Railway tried again in 1936 using the steam railmotor that had performed so dismally on the Devil's Dyke branch, but this was even more of a failure than the earlier railmotors.

The branch was never doubled and suffered a decline in traffic as a result of road competition and high fares, was excluded from the Kent Coast Electrification plans of the mid-sixties and finally succumbed to closure with the last train running on 28th October 1961, probably the busiest day ever on the branch, the date of all bar the final the photographs on these pages.


Dunton Green

Dunton Green

H Class Nº31518 running into Dunton Green down main platform on the last day of operations on the Westerham Branch. Written on the smokebox and side tank is "Flyer 1891-1961"

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Dunton Green

The main line platforms of Dunton Green are on the right, branch platform on the left.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Dunton Green

The building on the island platform serving the up main line and the branch, with Q1 Class Nº33029 partly obscuring the building. On the smokebox is written "Westerham Flyer, Last". Did time run out for writing "Day"?

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Dunton Green

Another view of the branch platform, with the Signalbox in the background.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Dunton Green

Nº31518 and stock waiting in the run-round loop adjacent to the branch platform.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Dunton Gree

The H and the D1 together at Dunton Green. The H had worked the morning push-pull service whilst the D1 had alternated with the Q1 in the afternoon, using main line coaching stock.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas


Brasted Halt

Brasted Halt

Running into Brasted Halt, with its small goods yard to the left of the line.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Brasted Halt

View along Brasted Halt's platform, from the train. The wooden station building here was a smaller version of the one provided at Westerham.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Brasted Halt

View looking along Brasted Halt's platform from the other direction as the train departs.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas


Chevening Halt

Brasted Halt

View looking back at Chevening Halt's platform, from a departing train.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas


Westerham

Westerham itself was served by a single platform terminus with a run-round loop. The 70' long station building was of wooden construction, to minimize construction costs, under a slate roof, whilst a valenced canopy extended the full length of the building but no further along the platform. A small shed adjacent to the building was used for a bicycle store. On the opposite side of the station from the platform was a sizeable goods yard with two sidings, one of which ran through the 30' goods shed to terminate at an end-on dock platform. Locomotive facilities consisted of a single road wooden engine shed, a water tower and crane but with no turntable provided. Stevens & Sons provided the signalling and wooden Signalbox, which contained a thirteen lever frame. When a steam railmotor was introduced on the line in 1906 the engine shed became redundant but was not brought back into use when the steam railmotor was taken off the branch and was subsequently demolished a couple of decades later, though the foundations remained until the line's closure

Westerham

The platform, platform building with its short canopy and the run-round loop at Westerham.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

Westerham Signalbox on the left and an entrance to the goods yard on the right.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

A close-up of the Signalbox at Westerham.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

The water tower alongside the line at the end of the goods yard.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

The outside of the 30' goods shed.......

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

.....and the inside, complete with crane.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

Ringed shunt signal at an exit from the goods yard.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

Westerham's water crane.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

The hand-operated 5 ton goods yard crane, which is not about to lift the Rover 90 parked alongside!

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

With the signal off D1 class Nº31739 is about to pass the 25 mile post a quarter of a mile outside Westerham station.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

Westerham

A last look at Westerham station taken after closure but still intact. The shed for storing bicycles is clearly visible here. The line was the subject of an early preservation initiative but the M25 was, however, deemed more beneficial to the general public and large parts of the former branch are now buried beneath it.

photograph by Keith Harwood

This page was created 8 July 2010

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