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Folkestone Harbour

Folkestone Harbour was opened on 1st January 1849, and resited in 1850, at the end of a short (1 mile 25 chains, from 1850) branch from Folkestone Junction . It is still (October 2002) not officially closed as the official closure process has yet to be invoked. The last regular service (Connex from Victoria) ceased in May 2001, after which the branch was only used occasionally by VSOE. By the autumn of 2001 the state of the track had deteriorated so much (particularly at the lower end) that the branch was clipped out of use with the conductor rails de-energised. Subsequent use has been on an "as required" basis and has been just two Christmas dining trips by Hertfordshire Railtours. Because of the state of the track one line has been taken out of use and its track within the platform limits removed, the other track is worked as bi-directional with the conductor rail remaining dead.

 
Folkestone Harbour

photograph by James Kent

 
Never the busiest station in the land, in 1953/4 Folkestone Harbour had two trains a day, seven days a week that each connected with the ferries to Calais and in Summer 1959 four trains a day, seven days a week, connecting with three ferries. In each case one of these was the prestigious "Golden Arrow" service. What would those passengers think of the station today?
 
Folkestone Harbour As it was in days gone by. Ex-SER R1 class Nº31047 draws the Golden Arrow over Folkestone Harbour bridge some time in 1956, with an unknown R1 banking. The R1s were regularly employed on Folkestone Harbour duties, sometimes as many as three would be required to lift a train up the grade to Folkestone Junction. 31047 was the last of the R1s to remain in service, being withdrawn in March 1960 and scrapped the following month. Their duties at Folkestone Harbour were taken over by ex-GWR pannier tanks!

photograph by Mike Morant

 
"Minerva" was the final coach of the Golden Arrow seen here halfway up the grade from the Harbour to the Junction. Two R1s are banking, no doubt there is a third on the front.

photograph by Mike Morant

Folkestone Harbour
 
These are pictures of Folkestone Harbour station as it is today. This once-proud station, famous for the 1 in 30 incline up to Folkestone Junction that required the services of as many as four R1 tank engines, is soon to be gone from the railway map for ever and is reduced to a single road as can be seen below.
 
Folkestone Harbour The faded NSE running-in board still welcomes would-be travellers to the station!

photograph by James Kent

 
Looking towards the seaward end of the station......

photograph by James Kent

Folkestone Harbour
 
Folkestone Harbour .....and back towards the London end. Note the banner signal under the awning, needed due to the sharp curvature of the platform.

photograph by James Kent

 
Today's view from the London end of the station. The signal on the left still shows a red aspect, even though the running rails are no longer in situ, just the (dead) conductor rail!

photograph by James Kent

Folkestone Harbour
 
Folkestone Harbour The lack of canopy roof adds to the general air of dereliction.

photograph by James Kent

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This page was last updated 10 January 2004

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