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The railways in Medway were developed mainly by two
- the South Eastern Railway (1836–1923);
- the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (1853–1923).
They worked together to serve Kent and south-east England from
1899 until 1923, when they were both incorporated into the Southern
Chatham, Gillingham (New Brompton) and Rainham stations were
opened in 1858 and Rochester was opened at its current location in
1892. Three tunnels had to be cut through the chalk at Fort Pitt
(428 yards), Chatham (297 yards) and Gillingham (897 yards) and two
bridges were built (one by each company) over the River Medway
between Rochester and Strood.
The line between Strood and Gravesend, (including the tunnel
between Higham and Strood), follows the course of the Thames and
Medway Canal, which was largely filled in to provide the bed of the
track in the 1840s and the complete line from London Bridge to
Strood was fully operational by 1849.
The South Eastern Railway opened the Hundred of Hoo railway line
in 1882, which terminated in a station at Port Victoria. This was
used regularly by Queen Victoria and other members of the royal
family when travelling to the continent but is now just a
single-tack goods line.
The line was electrified between Meopham and Gillingham in 1939
and between Gillingham and Ramsgate in 1959. The railways were
nationalised in 1948, becoming first British Railways then British
Rail, then privatised in 1994. Services in Medway are now operated
by Southeastern, part of Govia, a
partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis.
Find out about the latest phase of railway construction in Medway in the 21st
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