Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Southern - Sevenoaks review 1


23/4/08 Swanley to Sevenoaks

Train: 10.26 South Croydon to Sevenoaks

Train Operating Company: South Eastern Trains

Weather Cloudy: raining

Traction used: Class 466 EMU 8 car unit


The line for Margate splits soon after Swanley station, which is a two-island platform station. It is a well-kept red brick station, with a large staircase at the eastern end. The four tracks go into a cutting as soon as we leave Swanley station and then the Sevenoaks line veers off to the southeast. We pass houses on the left and factories on the right before coming onto a viaduct high above more houses below. We then come into the countryside and go over the A20. The landscape becomes more hilly as we go into a cutting, and pass under the M25 before entering Eynsford tunnel. At the other end is another cutting and then we pass the old station of Lullingstone. There are views of hills with the odd farm on them and we go over another viaduct before we slow for Eynsford station. It has two very long platforms, which are joined by a concrete footbridge, but I can't see any shelters. We then enter another cutting before emerging into more fields with sheep grazing on them, whilst on the left there is some housing. It is quite hilly as we are passing through the North Downs of Kent. We then come to a stop at Shoreham Station, which has two bus stops and the original red brick station building, which has been converted into a private dwelling. There is a golf course on the right and then we enter a cutting, which has had its greenery recently cut back. The land flattens now with large detached houses spaced out on the left hand side as we come to a stop at Otford. This is a more up to date station, with a large car park (which is full) next to the platform. There is a large bus stop shelter on the east side, whilst on the west platform there is the original station building. This houses an accountants' office and on the platform is a refreshment kiosk. We go over the M26 before the line to Maidstone East and Ashford leaves us on the left. We then go past an industrial estate on the right hand side, as we reach the outskirts of Sevenoaks. We stop at Bat & Ball station, which is on a curve. It is named after a pub by the station, which is no longer standing. The station has a large building on the left and a large old shelter on the right, but there is no sign of a ticket office. We leave Bat & Ball station and seem to be in the countryside once more on the right hand side of the track at least, whilst there are still plenty of houses on the left. We enter another cutting before emerging onto an embankment with lots of semi-detached and detached houses below us on either side. We then join up with the main London to Dover line before entering a four platform Sevenoaks station, which is a very modern station, built of concrete, with no original station buildings in evidence. The one unusual feature is a large red British Rail logo perched high above the station. It is a busy station with trains going to London by two different routes as well as to Dover and Tunbridge Wells/Hastings.

Summary: Although some of the stations on this route are not in highly populated areas, there is still a large commuter base to London for this line to secure its long-term future. MC