Medway Valley Line

Medway Valley Line
Medway Valley Line

Railways in Kent
Type Suburban rail, Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Kent
South East England
Owner Network Rail
Rolling stock Class 466
Class 395
Class 465
Class 375
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge
[v · d · e]Medway Valley Line
Continuation backward
North Kent Line
Abbreviated in this map
Exit tunnel
To London Bridge and other London Termini
Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exKDSTr"
Strood Docks
Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exKDSTr"
Original Strood Station, later goods depot
Station on track
Straight track
line joins North Kent Line at North Kent Jct
Junction to left Unknown BSicon "ABZ3rg" Continuation to right
Rochester Bridge Jct To Chatham Main Line
Track turning from left Unknown BSicon "KRZu" Unknown BSicon "xABZ3rf" Unknown BSicon "exCONTl"
Former alignment to Rochester
Continuation to left Unknown BSicon "KRZu" Unknown BSicon "KRZu" Transverse track Continuation to right
High Speed 1
Continuation to left Track turning right Straight track
Chatham Main Line To Swanley and London Victoria
Station on track
Junction from left Non-passenger terminus from right
Cement works
Station on track
Unknown BSicon "eABZrg" Unknown BSicon "exSTRlg"
Straight track Unknown BSicon "exDST"
Cement works
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "eKRZu" Unknown BSicon "exSTRrf"
To quarry
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "eKRZu" Unknown BSicon "exABZq+l" Unknown BSicon "exCONTl"
Cement works
Unknown BSicon "eABZrg" Unknown BSicon "exSTRrf"
Unknown BSicon "exSTRrg" Unknown BSicon "eABZrf"
Unknown BSicon "exENDEe" Straight track
Cement works
Unknown BSicon "exKDSTl" Unknown BSicon "eKRZo" Unknown BSicon "exCONTl"
2ft 6in line to River Medway
Station on track
Station on track
New Hythe
Non-passenger terminus from left Junction to right
Aylesford newsprint
Station on track
Unknown BSicon "AKRZ-UKu"
Continuation to left Transverse track Unknown BSicon "KRZu" Unknown BSicon "WBRÜCKE1q" Station on transverse track Continuation to right
Swanley to Ashford (via Maidstone East) Line
Station on track
Maidstone Barracks
Enter and exit short tunnel
London Road Tunnel, 55 yards (50 m)
Station on track
Maidstone West
Unknown BSicon "eABZrg" Unknown BSicon "exKDSTr"
Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exWBRÜCKE1q" Unknown BSicon "exKDSTr"
Tovil Goods Yard
Unknown BSicon "eBHF"
Straight track
Station on track
East Farleigh
Unknown BSicon "eHST"
Teston Crossing Halt
Station on track
Station on track
Non-passenger terminus from left Junction to right
Gravel pit
Bridge over water
River Medway
Stop on track
Beltring & Branbridges Halt
Unknown BSicon "exKDSTl" Unknown BSicon "eABZrf"
Transfesa Depot
Continuation to left Station on transverse track Unknown BSicon "ABZ3rf" Unknown BSicon "eABZ3lg" Continuation to right
Paddock Wood SEML
Unknown BSicon "exCONTf"
Hawkhurst Branch Closed 10 June 1961

The Medway Valley Line is the name given to the railway line linking Strood and the Medway Towns with Maidstone West and onward to Paddock Wood, Tonbridge and London St Pancras International (peak only). The section from Maidstone West to Tonbridge passes through some of Kent's most picturesque countryside along the narrower sections of the River Medway.



The line was built in two stages by the South Eastern Railway (SER). The first stage opened on 25 September 1844 and was a branch off the SER's first main line that crossed Kent between the coast ports of Dover and Folkestone and the LBSCR's main line at Redhill. The junction was at Paddock Wood and followed the Medway Valley up to the county town of Maidstone that had been by passed by the new main line. Twelve years later, on 18 June 1856 the line was extended up the Medway Valley to the North Kent Line at Strood (which had opened in 1847). The SER merged with local rival London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) on 1 January 1899 to form the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR). Post World War One, the railways were "grouped" and the SECR became part of Southern Railway.

For a brief period in the 1990s some services were extended to Gillingham (Kent) via Rochester and Chatham. This involved reversing trains and switching tracks at Strood.

It was designated by the Department for Transport as a community rail service on 28 September 2007.



The line is double track throughout, with a maximum speed of 70 mph.


The line serves the following stations: Strood, Cuxton, Halling, Snodland, New Hythe, Aylesford, Maidstone Barracks, Maidstone West, East Farleigh, Wateringbury, Yalding, Beltring, Paddock Wood and Tonbridge


During 2005, the signalling systems were upgraded, replacing the traditional semaphore signals with colour light signals.


The line from Strood to Maidstone West was electrified (at 750 V DC third rail) by the Southern Railway, opening on 2 July 1939. The rest of the line from Paddock Wood to Maidstone West was electrified under Stage 2 of Kent Coast electrification by BR's 1955 Modernisation Plan, opening to traffic on 18 June 1962.

Train services

Class 466 EMU 466 009 at Maidstone West operating on the Medway Valley Line

Services are operated by Southeastern.

Trains typically run a half-hourly service between Strood and Maidstone, and typically hourly through to Paddock Wood. There is no longer an early morning service to London Bridge. Since the December 2009 timetable change, trains continue to Tonbridge rather than terminate at Paddock Wood.

Future services

On 18 March 2011, Southeastern announced the start of a new high speed service from Maidstone to St Pancras International via Strood on a trial basis.

A trial service commenced on 23 May 2011[1] and comes as a result of changes on the North Kent line to improve punctuality of existing services.

Vince Lucas, service delivery director said, “We’re pleased to be able to introduce this new service from Maidstone West to London. The new service will provide the people of Maidstone with an alternative way of getting into London each morning. It will also help improve the reliability and punctuality of services along the North Kent Line and the Sidcup line into London by reducing the number of trains running through the Rochester area, as experience has shown this is vulnerable to congestion and delays.”

The new service will consist of three departures from Maidstone West in the morning at 06.56, 07.26 and 07.56. The return journeys will depart St Pancras International at 17.14, 17.44 and 18.14. The new services will call at Strood, Gravesend, Stratford International and St Pancras International with journey times of approximately 50 minutes.

There will also be one service in the morning departing St Pancras International at 06.25 to Maidstone West. In the evening there is one service departing at 19.13 from Maidstone West to St Pancras International. Passengers will continue to be able to travel twice an hour from Maidstone West to St Pancras International in 59 minutes changing at Strood.

To introduce this new service, existing services to and from Rochester and Faversham will be diverted. To ensure that Rochester receives the same number of trains, the current Broadstairs services* will call additionally at Rochester. These services will be increased to 12 carriages to accommodate the additional passengers. More information can be found here

Traction and rolling stock

From Monday 3 October, services on this route were strengthened to four carriages until May 2012. This was done by joining two Class 466s together. Also, one of the three allocations is booked as a 465. This includes 465/0/1/2s only though.

465012 sits at Cuxton 4/10/11

From 23 May, Class 395s became regular peak only visitors to the Medway Valley Line, operating a new trial high speed service between Maidstone West and St. Pancras International via Strood.

Class Image Type Cars per set Top speed Number Operator Notes Built
mph km/h
Class 395 Javelin Unit 395008 at Ebbsfleet International.JPG EMU 6 140 (HS1) 100 (Mainline) 225 (HS1) 160 (Mainline) 29 Southeastern Peak time high speed services between Maidstone West and St.Pancras International 2007–2009
Class 375 375908 at London Bridge.jpg EMU 4/3 100 160 140 (112 in service) Southeastern Used on The Medway Valley Line when 466s not available or in ice/snow 1999–2005
Class 465 Networker Southeastern 465002 at Lewisham 22 February 2011.jpg EMU 4 75 121 147 Southeastern At least one 465 used for services on weekdays 1991–1994
Class 466 Networker 466022 new Southeastern livery.jpg EMU 2 75 121 43 Southeastern These units are regularly in operation on the line. 1993–1994


Further reading

  • R.V.J.Butt, (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Patrick Stephens Ltd.  ISBN 1 85260 508 1

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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