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Pluckley

Pluckley Station, opened by the South Eastern Railway in December 1842, is approximately 5½ miles west of Ashford on the South Eastern Mainline and about 1¼ miles from the historic village it serves. It is the last surviving SER wayside station of this type surviving and one of the oldest station buildings in regular use in the UK.
 
Pluckley
Pluckley Station in 1874. The exterior of the building was substantially rebuilt by the SER in 1885,
retaining much of the original internal arrangement.

photograph from Ashford Library Railway Collection

 
The station had a goods yard to the east of the up platform to which was delivered horse manure, agricultural machinery, coal and perishables. Grain, hops, milk, horse feed and bricks from the adjacent brickworks went back to the capital. The brickworks had a private siding to the west of the down platform. Increases in road traffic led to the demise of these services in 1965. Parts of the now derelict brickworks and traces of the goods yard, including the base of the goods shed, survive, as does the station master's house built in 1888.
 
The station on the down platform, as seen from the station car park on 21st September 2008 with much SouthEastern "undercoat" in evidence. At one time there was a small shelter over the door, where the sign is today. Note the integral post box in front of the second car.  

photograph by Stephen Roffey

Pluckley
 
Pluckley The platforms were originally of the SER staggered type with a basic level crossing allowing access to the adjacent side. With the advent of the Phase II electrification a typically SR style concrete footbridge replaced this crossing in 1961. A tiny signal cabin, later replaced by a more substantial two-storey SER design box stood at the end of the up platform just beyond the bridge where the nondescript brick structure now stands, closure coming in December 1967.

photograph by Stephen Roffey

 
The typical off-peak service from the station comprises one train per hour to London Charing Cross and one train per hour to Ashford International. Dual-voltage Class 375/6 "Electrostar" unit No. 375601 is seen here on the approach to the up platform forming part of an  8-car Charing Cross service. During peak hours 12 coach trains call here, although the restricted length of the platforms means that the doors on the last four carriages do not open. 

photograph by Stephen Roffey

Pluckley
 
Pluckley has the reputation of being the most haunted village in England. In 1919 a Junior Clerk by the name of Edward Roberts was killed on the crossing as he went to collect tickets, though his ghost is not said to haunt the platforms of the station. Staff in the nineteenth century would likely have consisted of a Station Master, two Clerks, two Signalmen and a Platelayer with additional men to operate the goods yard which had a five ton hand crane. Today the station is only manned during peak hours.
 
Pluckley The station buildings as seen from the footbridge on September 21st 2008.

photograph by Stephen Roffey

 
The station seen from the up platform, 21st September 2008. Earlier photographs show tall brickwork chimneys at either end of the building, with a further pair integral to the roof as well as an annexe to this end of the station, all of which have now been removed - the integral chimneys having been removed as recently as 1988, when the roof was re-slated. Just visible at the far end is the down platform shelter which, while not original is in keeping with the rural nature of the station rather than a glorified bus stop. A rather incongruous concrete gents once stood there.

photograph by Stephen Roffey

Pluckley

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This page was created 26 October 2008

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