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23rd January 2016

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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-17 00:36:17


23rd January 2016

Supplement to e-BLN 1249 BLN Pictorial 23 January 2016

In this issue of BLN Pictorial we look at the new station at Rochester, with thanks to our local member Nick Widdows who has very kindly provided a set of
pictures taken on Saturday 19 December 2015, soon after the new station opened (see BLN 1246.2171 and BLN 1247.2350). Situated on Corporation
Street, just south of the junction with Gas House Lane, the station cost £26M and replaces the 1892 London, Chatham and Dover Railway station some
500m to the south east, itself a relatively late addition to the line which opened in 1858 . All photos not otherwise attributed are © Nick Widdows, 2015.


The outside of the new station, looking north.

Ticket office

The 'gate line'

The tunnel - northern end is not yet open. A video of it being built and moved into place is at

Down platform 2

Up platform 1

The future loop platform 3 (not yet commissioned) - looking west

The Platform 3 buffer stops - looking east.

Platform 3 buffer stops - looking east. Following signalling changes the signal box will be demolished, which will
allow completion of the loop.

The old station on 19 December 2015

The new Rochester station is very close to the site of the South Eastern Railway's (SER) Rochester station, originally the only intermediate station on the
Chatham Extension, a short branch from Strood OA 20 July 1891. Admirably demonstrating the potential extravagance of competition, the SER's line ran
parallel and to the east of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway's (LCDR) line through Rochester, opened from Strood to Chatham on 29 March 1858, and
with relations between the SER and LCDR rather less than cordial, the SER had its own expensive bridge over the Medway.

In 1866 the LCDR became insolvent amid a financial scandal only revealed following the collapse of the bank Overend, Gurney & Co. The ramifications of
the insolvency and scandal are too complex to go into here, but among the results was the ruin of the reputation of LCDR director and leading railway
contractor Sir Morton Peto, and his business partner Edward Betts. The LCDR was refinanced and, along with the SER (also in an equally poor financial
state), staggered on independently until 1898. On 1 January 1899 the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Companies Joint Management Committee
(SE&CRCJMC) was established. This was an unusual arrangement between the SER and LCDR, which traded as the South Eastern & Chatham Railway and
retained both SER and LCDR boards of directors, who formed the Committee. Receipts were divided 59% SER, 41% LCDR. The new organisation was able
to take a constructive approach to the serving of south east England by interconnecting their routes, most notably by the complex junction connecting the
LCDR between Bickley and St Mary Cray with the SER between Chislehurst and Petts Wood. Another aspect was the elimination of duplicated facilities,

which led to the closure of most of the Chatham Extension,
along with the former SER Rochester station (renamed
Rochester Common on 1 July 1899 and Rochester Central in
December 1901) on 1 July 1911. The site became
Rochester's freight depot until the early 1990s. The track
layout was remodelled, with the LCDR line from Bromley
realigned to meet the Chatham Extension line from Strood,
just west of the Medway. The line then used the SER bridge
across the Medway before reverting to the LCDR alignment
through their Rochester station. As a result the LCDR bridge
was abandoned and lay derelict until the late 1960s when it
was rebuilt to take the eastbound carriageway of the rebuilt
A2, opening in 1970. The sketch map shows the
arrangement of passenger services immediately before
closure of the Chatham Extension. Detailed historical maps
can be found at,, and

A 1960s picture of the former LCDR Rochester Bridge station, CP 1 January 1917, on the west side of the Medway. The station building
remained until the late 1960s, and was then demolished in preparation for the widening of the A2 and the reconstruction of the LCDR
bridge. (Wikimedia user Lamberhurst (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons )

Rochester Retrospective : the old (ex-LCDR) Rochester station, closed after completion of service on 11 December 2015

Left : the cramped Up island platform, with insufficient room for two
people to pass within the safety line. Rebuilding or replacement was
clearly needed for safety reasons as well as to accommodate 12-car
trains. The old station took a maximum of 10 and the platforms could
not be lengthened.
(from http://www/, © Copyright Stacey Harris and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Right : the Up island platform looking towards Chatham. Alterations to
the station, now well over a century old, have separated the main
station building from the rest of the station.
(from http://www/, © Copyright Nigel Thompson and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Left : One of the most recent additions to Rochester's repertoire of EMUs,
a 'Javelin' high speed unit departing for London.
(from http://www/, © Copyright Pam Fray and licensed
for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Right : A class 375 entering the station on an Up train. The building
dominating this part of the skyline is Rochester's University for the
Creative Arts. Behind the train the railway curves to the left and passes
through a tunnel to reach Chatham station; the university building is
about half way between the two stations. The hill on which it stands
was the site of Fort Pitt, one of a series of forts built in the Napoleonic
era to protect Chatham's naval facilities from land-based attack from
the south.
(from http://www/,© Copyright Stephen Craven and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

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