Lullingstone railway station

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Template:Infobox UK disused station

Lullingstone railway station is an unopened station on the Maidstone East Line which was constructed to serve a proposed airport and expected residential development at Lullingstone near Eynsford in Kent. The station was never brought into use as the Second World War and subsequent post-war planning legislation put an end to the plans for the area. Largely demolished in 1955, the remains of the station are visible to the south of the Eynsford Tunnel.

History

During the 1920s and 1930s, London's suburbs expanded rapidly, leading to a period of unprecedented housebuilding. As new sites for development were sought out, so the Kemp Town Brewery Co. purchased a 5000-acre estate near the rural community of Lullingstone in Kent.Template:Sfn At the same time, the British government had been studying the future of air transport and airports in the London area and had decided that London would be served by four airports: the existing sites at Croydon and Heston, together with new airports at Fairlop and Lullingstone.

File:Lullingstone 001.JPG
Station entrance in January 2012.

In August 1936, it was reported in the Kentish Times that the Southern Railway were proposing to establish an aerodrome at Lullingstone which would be used by Imperial Airways.Template:Sfn<ref name="Southern Railway Bill">Template:Cite web</ref> The airport would be served by a new station on the Maidstone East Line, electrified between Template:Rws and Template:Rws in 1935,Template:Sfn which would be situated Template:Convert from Template:Rws.Template:Sfn<ref name="Southern Railway Bill"/> Although the proposal was abandoned by the Southern Railway, it was taken up by the Air Ministry which saw Lullingstone as the most suitable site for a fourth airport to serve the London metropolis. In March 1938, the Southern Railway announced its intention not to proceed with the airport.

File:Lullingstone railway station.JPG
Remains of access path in January 2012.

Plans had been drawn up by the Southern Railway for a substantial four-platform station situated immediately to the south of the Template:Convert Eynsford Tunnel.Template:Sfn Two platforms would serve the main line, with two others on a new branch line curving away to the west to reach the proposed airport.Template:Sfn The layout, which was nearly identical to Template:Rws, meant that only trains travelling south could access the airport branch.<ref name="KentRail">Template:Cite web</ref>Template:Sfn A footbridge would span the four platforms and also lead to a booking office and passenger facilities located above the platforms.Template:Sfn The official opening date of the station was scheduled for 2 April 1939.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn

By early 1939, the main line platforms and their ferro-concrete station buildings had been completed as well as steps leading up to a footbridge which would span the platforms.Template:Sfn Further work ceased upon the outbreak of the Second World War, although the station was shown, unserved, in public timetables.Template:Sfn It was shown in Bradshaw between July 1939 and June 1941 as served by trains, but with a note that the opening date would be announced.Template:Sfn From January 1942, the trains and note were removed but the station was still shown.Template:Sfn

As a result of the war and the failure of the airport to materialise, Lullingstone station was never brought into use and gradually became derelict.Template:SfnTemplate:SfnTemplate:Sfn The introduction of the post-war Green Belt Act put a halt to any potential residential development and the incomplete station, standing in the middle of fields, was useless.Template:SfnTemplate:SfnTemplate:Sfn It was mostly dismantled in 1955, leaving only the concrete supports for the platforms.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn The station canopy was removed and reerected in 1960 at Template:Rws.Template:Sfn

As at January 2012 substantial remains of the platforms and the abandoned concrete approach road remain.<ref name="KentRail"/>

Template:Historical Rail Start Template:Rail line Template:S-end

References

Notes

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Sources

Further reading

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