SEmG

Southern Named Trains
"Man of Kent"

The train name "Man of Kent" is slightly unusual in that it applied to more than one train! Originally used in 1954, the proliferation of trains bearing the name is said to have been to avoid having to move the carriage roof boards from one set of stock to another!

The train that started it all was the 4:10 pm from Charing Cross to Folkestone, Dover, Deal, Ramsgate and Margate and the corresponding up service that left Margate at 9:42 am. However, the coaches from the 9:42 am from Margate formed the 1:10 pm from Charing Cross to Folkestone, Dover, Deal, Ramsgate and Margate that also became a "Man of Kent" by dint of carrying the previous train's carriage roof boards. Similarly, the 12:40 pm from Margate, which provided the stock for the first-mentioned 4:10 pm train, also became a "Man of Kent" through carrying these carriage roof boards! These last two trains, however, were quite different in that the 4:10 pm and the 9:42 am ran non-stop between Waterloo East and Folkestone whilst the 1:10 pm and 12:40 pm were slower and made a number of additional stops.

 
Man of Kent The Man of Kentphotographed at London Bridge on 13th September 1958 with Bulleid light pacific Nº 34016 Bodmin in charge.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 
The 4:10 pm was the successor to a SER train that left Charing Cross about 4:30 pm and which gained, in 1898, six parlour cars. Two were first class with buffet, one second class and the remaining three were third class. By 1905 it was leaving at 4:28 pm and running via Cannon Street, which it left at 4:36 pm for a non-stop run to Folkestone Central, taking 1 hr 24 mins and arriving at 6:00 pm, then on to what was then Dover Town station at 6:15 pm. A portion was slipped at Ashford for intermediate stations between there and Dover. The return service left Dover at 8:05 am and Folkestone Central at 8:30 am from where it returned non-stop to Cannon Street and, finally, Charing Cross at 10:08 am.

By 1939 services to the Kent Coast generally were somewhat improved with fast trains at 9:15 and 11:15 am, 1:15, 4:15 and 7:15 pm from Charing Cross, the last two of which ran non-stop from Waterloo to Folkestone Central in 1 hr 17 mins. The trains were now all-corridor stock with a composite Pullman car and had been extended to Deal, Sandwich, Ramsgate and Margate. Reversing at Cannon Street was a thing of the past and Cannon Street now had its own fast train at 5:00 pm, running non-stop to Ashford, then on to Sandling Junction, Shorncliffe and Folkestone. These were about the best timings as after WWII journey times were longer and even when British Railways were speeding up schedules elsewhere, the basic Kent Coast timings were still slower than the pre-war ones. The introduction of the Hastings diesels meant another re-arrangement of the timetable with the fast coast trains leaving seven minutes earlier, at eight minutes past the hour which was then adjusted to ten minutes past the hour. The 4:10 pm down and 11:08 up "Man of Kent" timings were accelerated, however, to 1 hr 20 mins for the run between Waterloo and Folkestone but the others took between 1 hr 28 mins and 1 hr 32 mins. Pullman cars did not reappear after the war although buffet cars were added to most services. As always, loads increased and by the end of the 1950s the minimum loading was ten coaches with eleven being frequently required, sometimes twelve. The 80 minute schedule meant hard work for the engine but as the trains were now mainly worked by Bulleid light pacifics this was well within their capabilities, with the occasional Schools class 4-4-0, which were also up to the task, being used. The Kent Coast electrification saw the end of these services, none of which had managed to get back to the pre-war timings.

 
"Man of Kent" timing Charing Cross - Dover winter 1959/60
Monday to Saturday only pm pm
Charing Cross dep: 1:10 4:10
Waterloo arr: 1:12½ 4:12½
Waterloo dep: 1:13½ 4:13½
London Bridge pass: 1:16½ 4:16½
New Cross pass: 1:20½ 4:20½
Hither Green pass: 1:23½ 4:23½
Chiselhurst pass: 1:30 4:29
Orpington pass: 1:33 4:32
Sevenoaks pass: 1:43 4:41½
Tonbridge pass: 1:51 4:49
Paddock Wood pass: 1:57 4:54½
Ashford pass: 2:23 5:14
Shorncliffe arr: 2:40 -
Shorncliffe dep: 2:41 -
Folkestone Central arr: 2.43 5.30
Folkestone Central dep: 2.46 5.33
Dover Priory arr: 2:58 5:44

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This page was last updated 11 June 2005

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