Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Elham Valley Railway

The Elham Valley Railway ran between Folkestone and Canterbury in the southeast United Kingdom. It was a product of competition between the South Eastern Railway and the London, Chatham & Dover Railway, as the two sought the railway traffic in the area. (Right of Way)

Unknown photographer via Pinterest. Etchinghill Railway Tunnel along the former route.
Built in 1887, it was just under 16 miles in length. As it ran primarily through rural areas throughout its life, it was never a successful operation.

According to Chris Rosindale, "Much of it can still be seen and walked on its route through the Elham Valley. This is a line which really should never have been built, it owed its existence to a fierce rivalry between the South Eastern Railway and the London, Chatham and Dover Railway over access to the Channel ports. It was built by one of the two companies as a blocking action to stop the other company from invading its 'territory.'

Barrie A.F. Clark's Rendition of Bishopsbourne Station, 1978


Nonetheless, the railway played a part in World War II, as it was transferred to the War Department, who retrofitted a large rail-mounted gun stationed to the line. After the conflict, the line passed back into civilian use, but the damage to the infrastructure was significant, and deemed too expensive to repair, as the area now was served by bus traffic. The line was closed in 1947.

Image: A rail gun along the EV Rwy during World War II.
A museum dedicated to its history, the Elham Valley Line Trust, lies immediately east of the right of way in Folkestone.

Thanks as always for reading!

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