Relatively simple East Kent rail idea?

If you stuck a double track chord (I think that’s what they’re called…) in just west of Canterbury between the Dover and Margate lines (see circle on left of map) you could run high speed trains from Ashford to Canterbury East (and then on to Dover on the standard tracks, should you wish, though there is presumably a good reason why they don’t go on from Faversham to Dover already). They’d already be slowing down to approach Canterbury so the junction wouldn’t be too disruptive.

Ashford - Canterbury East - Sandwich (click to embiggen)

In and of itself this might not add much value, but if the relatively short distance between Bekesbourne and Sandwich (around six miles I believe) were spanned – with possible intermediate stations at Wingham and Ash – then high speed or regular services could travel through to Sandwich and Deal, turning round there so as not to overload Dover. Deal used to be a terminus and is a wide-berth station, so probably has room for another platform/track in the middle I would think.

This would make an enormous improvement on journey times to Canterbury and London from Deal and Sandwich, and would provide train service to two intermediate towns and surrounding villages. Currently, from Sandwich it takes an astonishing 2hr20m to London on regular service and 1hr45m by high speed, as well as an hour to Canterbury (no direct train). There are a couple of HS trains which are direct in the early morning but even they clock in at 1hr30 and I suspect the line capacity after Dover might prevent running such a service all day. I’d estimate that a high speed train (56m London to Canterbury) would need a maximum of 20m more to reach Sandwich even on standard speed track (there are a few curves to take into account after Bekesbourne – this is just a suggested route and obviously hasn’t been surveyed or anything!).

Obviously an alternative would be to double the curve which links the Ramsgate-Canterbury and Ramsgate Sandwich lines at Minster, but the journey would be longer and again I imagine track capacity would be an issue (and there would be no benefit for intermediate towns). A further benefit of the method above would be to give the Sandwich-Deal area much simpler linkage with Faversham-Medway too.

Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

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