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London, Chatham and Dover Railway

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1868. Kendall's Pneumatic Brake and Inter-Communication Apparatus.
1892. Damage in the snow storm.

of Victoria Station, London.

The London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) was a railway company that operated in south-eastern England between 1859 and 1923 before grouping with three other companies to form the Southern Railway. Its lines ran through London and eastern/northern Kent, and formed a significant part of the Greater London commuter network. From the start the railway was in an impecunious position.

Although the Chatham, as it was always known, was subject to much criticism for its often lamentable carriage stock and poor punctuality, in two respects at least it was very good: it used the highly effective Westinghouse brake on its passenger stock, and the Sykes 'Lock and Block' system of signalling. It was actually a line with an excellent safety record.

For a small and indigent company the Chatham was lucky in its locomotive engineers. After a very patchy start, with a miscellany of Crampton engines and other oddities, it had two very competent engineers: William Martley and William Kirtley.

1853 The East Kent Railway was incorporated.

Construction was not fast; in March 1858 the section from Strood was opened as far as Faversham

1859 The East Kent Railway changed its name to the London, Chatham and Dover Railway.

1860 William Martley was appointed locomotive superintendent, and commissioned some very effective locomotives, notably the 0-4-2 well tanks of the 'Scotchmen' (1866) and 'Large Scotchmen' (1873) classes for the suburban services; and the 'Europa' class (1873) of 2-4-0s, which ran the mail trains to and from Dover, the line's crack service.

The Mid-Kent Railway was connected to the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway which provided the "Chatham" with a connection to Victoria Station.

On 1 November 1861 the route giving the railway access to London was opened. The whole of the line, including two bridges across the Thames, was constructed by Peto and Betts, in partnership with Mr. Crampton.

1863 The LCDR's Metropolitan Extensions from London Bridge to Victoria opened.

1864 The Blackfriars Bridge Railway Station was opened on the South side of the River Thames in London.

1874 William Kirtley came from the Midland Railway in 1874, following the death of Martley. He was the nephew of Matthew Kirtley, the Midland's famous locomotive superintendent. Kirtley produced a series of execllent designs, robust and good performers - the A series of 0-4-4 tanks for suburban services, the B series of 0-6-0 goods engines; the T class of shunting engines; the M series of 4-4-0 express passenger engines; and a final R series of enlarged 0-4-4 tanks. These, rather than Stirling's Ashford products, formed the basis for SE&CR development under Wainwright, not least because it was Robert Surtees from Longhedge who led design work for the successor organisation. The R series led to the SE&CR's R1 and subsequent H class; the Bs to the famous C class; and the Ms to the D and E classes, which in their rebuilt Maunsell form may have been the best British inside-cylinder 4-4-0s.

1875 See 1875 Number of Locomotives

1886 With the opening of the St. Paul's station on the North side of the River, the original passenger facility at Blackfriars could be closed and the station limited to being a freight depot.

1888 See Locomotive Stock June 1888

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Awarded Diploma of Honour for Railway Plant. [1]

1898 An arrangement was made with the South Eastern Railway for "an improved, efficient, and economical working of the competitive traffic", the new agreement taking affect from 1st January 1899. [2]. See South Eastern and Chatham Railway

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer of 2nd November 1894 p387
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908