Charing Cross to Maidstone West service

Status
Not open for further replies.

frodshamfella

Established Member
Joined
25 Sep 2010
Messages
1,299
Location
Frodsham
Does anyone recall the peak hour services from Charing Cross to Maidstone West and Gillingham which divided at Strood ? From what I remember the service ran via Sidcup, certainly in the 80s, but im not sure when this through route stopped all together ? Interestingly I came across some headcodes for various routings. I was particularly interested with the Bexleyheath line, being my local line at the time. There were a few services to Gillingham (72/73) via Bexleyheath, more to Gravesend (74/75), the rest to Dartford/Barnehurst or Slade Green. However I noticed but there head code for Maidstone West via Bexleyheath too although this could have been the same as Gillingham. I only ever remember the Maidstone West services going via Sidcup, although I don't know how things were in the 60s or 70s, so maybe ?

Thanks

Carl
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Antman

Established Member
Joined
3 May 2013
Messages
6,597
Does anyone recall the peak hour services from Charing Cross to Maidstone West and Gillingham which divided at Strood ? From what I remember the service ran via Sidcup, certainly in the 80s, but im not sure when this through route stopped all together ? Interestingly I came across some headcodes for various routings. I was particularly interested with the Bexleyheath line, being my local line at the time. There were a few services to Gillingham (72/73) via Bexleyheath, more to Gravesend (74/75), the rest to Dartford/Barnehurst or Slade Green. However I noticed but there head code for Maidstone West via Bexleyheath too although this could have been the same as Gillingham. I only ever remember the Maidstone West services going via Sidcup, although I don't know how things were in the 60s or 70s, so maybe ?

Thanks

Carl

Yes, if I remember correctly it was fast from London Bridge to Sidcup and then all stations?
 

30907

Established Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
10,891
Location
Airedale
Does anyone recall the peak hour services from Charing Cross to Maidstone West and Gillingham which divided at Strood ? From what I remember the service ran via Sidcup, certainly in the 80s, but im not sure when this through route stopped all together ? Interestingly I came across some headcodes for various routings. I was particularly interested with the Bexleyheath line, being my local line at the time. There were a few services to Gillingham (72/73) via Bexleyheath, more to Gravesend (74/75), the rest to Dartford/Barnehurst or Slade Green. However I noticed but there head code for Maidstone West via Bexleyheath too although this could have been the same as Gillingham. I only ever remember the Maidstone West services going via Sidcup, although I don't know how things were in the 60s or 70s, so maybe ?

Thanks

Carl

I have a feeling through services ceased with the arrival of Networkers

Gravesend and Maidstone shared the headcode x4/x5 (74/5 via Bexleyheath).
Prior to the rebuild of London Bridge there wasn't a regular interval timetable in the peak, but the original SR electric service was via Greenwich. The North Kent (via Lewisham) routing and 30min offpeak interval came in with the London Bridge job IIRC.

The 1971 WTT shows the surviving through services to Maidstone W all via
Greenwich bar an odd evening train up via the Dartford Loop (Sidcup).
 

Busaholic

Established Member
Joined
7 Jun 2014
Messages
10,053
I worked near Maidstone West in the early 1980s and travelled from my home in Hither Green (for the first year) and then for a few months from Blackheath. I know I was travelling against the peak flow, but there were no through trains from London: you always had to change at Strood. I seem to remember the morning train from Blackheath went direct to Strood via Woolwich Arsenal, but otherwise there was a change at Dartford too.
 

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
5,997
Does anyone recall the peak hour services from Charing Cross to Maidstone West and Gillingham which divided at Strood ?
This was actually the principal North Kent electric service, not just peaks but hourly all day, from when the electrification was extended beyond Dartford in 1939 to these two points. The fleet of 2-HAL units 2601-77 was built to cover it. When the full Kent Coast electrification was introduced in 1961 it continued with the new 2-HAP units, generally 8 car trains, dividing at Strood into 4 each way. The trains ran however via Woolwich Arsenal, they were semi-fast to Dartford. They were like this as far as I recall through the 1960s and into the 1970s.

Here's a page from a 1950 timetable, it long stayed the same, showing the service departing Charing Cross at 42 minutes past each hour (use the + to increase size, and drag the pages around).

http://timetableworld.com/panojs.php?id=6&section_id=1744&type=L-R 2-6
 
Last edited:
Joined
7 Dec 2012
Messages
122
It is also worth bearing in mind that at one time Maidstone Barracks (station before Maidstone West coming from Strood for those unfamiliar with the railway geography in the area) had a train crew depot and berthing sidings. As a result of this Maidstone West would have been a rather obvious location for a terminating service especially in the rush hours.

Paul
 

eastwestdivide

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2009
Messages
2,069
Location
S Yorks, usually
Used to watch these services splitting at Strood in the late 70s, headcode 44 for Maidstone, 42 for Gillingham.
By that time, 10-EPB I think, with the rear 4 going to Maidstone.

The N Kent lines had "systematic" 2-digit headcodes. From memory:
First digit = which route to Dartford
4 Sidcup missing Lewisham
5 Sidcup via Lewisham
6 Lewisham-Woolwich
7 Bexleyheath
8 Greenwich

Second digit = destination, evens from Charing Cross, odds from Cannon St
0/1 Dartford
2/3 Gillingham or stations to Ramsgate
4/5 Gravesend or Maidstone
others for ones that turned back missing Dartford on the triangles just W of Dartford.

So 62 was Charing Cross-Lewisham-Woolwich-Gillingham or Ramsgate (the semi-fasts dating back to the Kent Coast electrification, currently up for replacement by Thameslink services)
50 was the typical off-peak CX-Dartford via Sidcup
42 was the peak-hours CX-Sidcup-Gillingham, with the 44 splitting from it at Strood for Maidstone.

I've got SEG headcode books from the period buried somewhere. There were headcodes available for all sorts of routes, but they weren't all necessarily in use on timetabled services, especially where there was a "system" like above.
 

30907

Established Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
10,891
Location
Airedale
Used to watch these services splitting at Strood in the late 70s, headcode 44 for Maidstone, 42 for Gillingham.
By that time, 10-EPB I think, with the rear 4 going to Maidstone.

The N Kent lines had "systematic" 2-digit headcodes. From memory:
First digit = which route to Dartford
4 Sidcup missing Lewisham
5 Sidcup via Lewisham
6 Lewisham-Woolwich
7 Bexleyheath
8 Greenwich

Second digit = destination, evens from Charing Cross, odds from Cannon St
0/1 Dartford
2/3 Gillingham or stations to Ramsgate
4/5 Gravesend or Maidstone
others for ones that turned back missing Dartford on the triangles just W of Dartford.

So 62 was Charing Cross-Lewisham-Woolwich-Gillingham or Ramsgate (the semi-fasts dating back to the Kent Coast electrification, currently up for replacement by Thameslink services)
50 was the typical off-peak CX-Dartford via Sidcup
42 was the peak-hours CX-Sidcup-Gillingham, with the 44 splitting from it at Strood for Maidstone.

I've got SEG headcode books from the period buried somewhere. There were headcodes available for all sorts of routes, but they weren't all necessarily in use on timetabled services, especially where there was a "system" like above.

To add to that: x8 and x9 were the two routes from Holborn/Blackfriars,
while 1x was via Grove Park and 2x and 3x were the two Mid Kent routes.
Except that Hastings diesels were 22 and 33 for some obscure reason.
And then lots of the numbers were duplicated on the Chatham lines, taking care that they didn't use the same bit of track!
 

frodshamfella

Established Member
Joined
25 Sep 2010
Messages
1,299
Location
Frodsham
To add to that: x8 and x9 were the two routes from Holborn/Blackfriars,
while 1x was via Grove Park and 2x and 3x were the two Mid Kent routes.
Except that Hastings diesels were 22 and 33 for some obscure reason.
And then lots of the numbers were duplicated on the Chatham lines, taking care that they didn't use the same bit of track!

Yes that true, I do remember head code 78 Holborn Viaduct or Blackfriars via Bexleyheath.
 

Dr Hoo

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2015
Messages
2,414
Location
Hope Valley
I well remember commuting on the through Medway Valley-Charing Cross peak trains in the early 1980s. They did indeed run via Sidcup.

Moved with work for a while but when I came back to the Medway Valley in the mid-1980s ISTR that the through trains had ceased. Certainly very much reduced.

It seems amazing now but revenue protection on suburban services operated by non-corridor EPB units was fundamentally based around staffed stations and manual barrier checks. No electronic barriers, TVMs, penalty fares and so forth.

Network SouthEast had the idea of adapting a few 2-car EPBs so that they were at least gangwayed within vehicle and the guard could swap between vehicles en route and despatch from either vehicle. These trains were ideal for the Medway Valley and Sheerness branch. We had enjoyed refurbished 4-CEP corridor units for a while but they were of course needed for the cheap-and-cheerful/nasty (depending on point of view) Hastings electrification.

Personally I find this sort of business development/passenger service stuff more interesting than headcodes.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
28,336
Location
Yorks
Network SouthEast had the idea of adapting a few 2-car EPBs so that they were at least gangwayed within vehicle and the guard could swap between vehicles en route and despatch from either vehicle. These trains were ideal for the Medway Valley and Sheerness branch. We had enjoyed refurbished 4-CEP corridor units for a while but they were of course needed for the cheap-and-cheerful/nasty (depending on point of view) Hastings electrification.

Personally I find this sort of business development/passenger service stuff more interesting than headcodes.

Having travelled the route from the Paddock Wood end a few times in the early 1990's, I found that CEP's seemed to be the norm at that time.
 

eastwestdivide

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2009
Messages
2,069
Location
S Yorks, usually
To add to that: x8 and x9 were the two routes from Holborn/Blackfriars,
while 1x was via Grove Park and 2x and 3x were the two Mid Kent routes.
Except that Hastings diesels were 22 and 33 for some obscure reason.
And then lots of the numbers were duplicated on the Chatham lines, taking care that they didn't use the same bit of track!

Thanks for that.
The explanation I've heard for the 22 and 33 (and other DEMU-operated routes) was that the "two-digits-the-same" codes were initially allocated to diesel routes to save the EMUs that still used stencil cut-out headcodes (like the 4-SUBs*) from carrying two of every stencilled digit. The DEMUs all had roller blind indicators from new.

*stencil headcodes like this:
4-SUB stencil.jpg
 

frodshamfella

Established Member
Joined
25 Sep 2010
Messages
1,299
Location
Frodsham
I well remember commuting on the through Medway Valley-Charing Cross peak trains in the early 1980s. They did indeed run via Sidcup.

Moved with work for a while but when I came back to the Medway Valley in the mid-1980s ISTR that the through trains had ceased. Certainly very much reduced.

It seems amazing now but revenue protection on suburban services operated by non-corridor EPB units was fundamentally based around staffed stations and manual barrier checks. No electronic barriers, TVMs, penalty fares and so forth.

Network SouthEast had the idea of adapting a few 2-car EPBs so that they were at least gangwayed within vehicle and the guard could swap between vehicles en route and despatch from either vehicle. These trains were ideal for the Medway Valley and Sheerness branch. We had enjoyed refurbished 4-CEP corridor units for a while but they were of course needed for the cheap-and-cheerful/nasty (depending on point of view) Hastings electrification.

Personally I find this sort of business development/passenger service stuff more interesting than headcodes.

Thanks for confirming this, my memory is still in tact !
 

frodshamfella

Established Member
Joined
25 Sep 2010
Messages
1,299
Location
Frodsham
Thinking of the 3 routes to Dartford, both the Bexleyheath and the Dartford Loop, had some semi-fast London series in the morning and evening peak, there were fast from Sidcup to Waterloo East, and Fast from Kidbrook to Waterloo East. I havent lived in the area for many years, but it looks like these have pretty much gone these days ? The Woolwich route had a semi fast all day to Gillingham, I remember when Abbey Wood was included on that service, I think its slower still now.
 

30907

Established Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
10,891
Location
Airedale
Thanks for that.
The explanation I've heard for the 22 and 33 (and other DEMU-operated routes) was that the "two-digits-the-same" codes were initially allocated to diesel routes to save the EMUs that still used stencil cut-out headcodes (like the 4-SUBs*) from carrying two of every stencilled digit. The DEMUs all had roller blind indicators from new.

*stencil headcodes like this:
View attachment 39601
Intriguing theory - I'd also thought it was deliberate differentiation of some sort. Only, on the SE 11 and 44-77 were emu routes and would have had postwar SUBs using numeral stencils.
 

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
5,997
The explanation I've heard for the 22 and 33 (and other DEMU-operated routes) was that the "two-digits-the-same" codes were initially allocated to diesel routes to save the EMUs that still used stencil cut-out headcodes (like the 4-SUBs*) from carrying two of every stencilled digit. The DEMUs all had roller blind indicators from new.
I have read that the start of the 1957 St Johns accident was that a Hastings Diesel, brand-new at the time, had been misdescribed (which seems a possibility if they had just changed the logic for the numbers) as a Hayes service and had come to a stand at Parks Bridge Junction while this was sorted out. The Hayes was behind it, and thus held at St Johns, and was struck by the steam service behind that.
 

Dr Hoo

Established Member
Joined
10 Nov 2015
Messages
2,414
Location
Hope Valley
I thought that the Lewisham/St John's collision was due to confusion over the rotary train describer which treated the Hastings diesel as a 'Main Line' electric, essentially 'repeating' a previous train such that the signaller was unaware that there was another train before the Hayes one. Although there was a confused attempt to check by telephone I was unaware that the headcode panel or number system was a relevant factor (or even visible in the thick fog).
 

30907

Established Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
10,891
Location
Airedale
I thought that the Lewisham/St John's collision was due to confusion over the rotary train describer which treated the Hastings diesel as a 'Main Line' electric, essentially 'repeating' a previous train such that the signaller was unaware that there was another train before the Hayes one. Although there was a confused attempt to check by telephone I was unaware that the headcode panel or number system was a relevant factor (or even visible in the thick fog).

That seems to be the thrust of the report on a skim-read.
 

eastwestdivide

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2009
Messages
2,069
Location
S Yorks, usually
Intriguing theory - I'd also thought it was deliberate differentiation of some sort. Only, on the SE 11 and 44-77 were emu routes and would have had postwar SUBs using numeral stencils.
11 and 44-77 might have become EMU route codes only after the SUBs moved away from the SED: The SEMG page here http://www.semgonline.com/headcodes/eheadcodes/eheadcodes03.html lists 1961 and 1981 codes - in the 1961 listings, 11 and 55 weren't in use, while 44, 66, 77 were routes to Hastings or New Romney, i.e. diesel routes.
I don't know when the SUBs disappeared from the SE division. I'd assumed that with the Kent Coast electrification in ~1961, it would make sense to have EPBs on the suburban services, which were compatible, and did, work in multiple with the Kent mainline stock, HAPs/CEPs.
Edit: according to http://extra.southernelectric.org.uk/features/historical-features/kentcoast.html , the 2HALs on the existing Gillingham/Maidstone/Sevenoaks electric services were replaced by 2HAPs at the time of the Kent Coast electrification.
 
Last edited:

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
5,997
The SUBs and HALs (ie all the pre-EPB electric stock) was indeed removed from the SED with the Kent electrification. Before then the electric stock was completely common user across the system, there were diagrams where a SUB set worked in all three divisions during one day. The 10 car SED scheme came along at the same time, there were no 2-car SUB units to form this, only 2-EPB units

I believe the only EPB stock "meant" to multiple with the HAPs, and thus the main line units, were the last of the BR-design 4-EPB units, which had main line gearing like the HAPs did. It's obviously an issue if you have a unit with a lesser maximum speed mixed in the middle of a formation.
 

eastwestdivide

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2009
Messages
2,069
Location
S Yorks, usually
The SUBs and HALs (ie all the pre-EPB electric stock) was indeed removed from the SED with the Kent electrification. Before then the electric stock was completely common user across the system, there were diagrams where a SUB set worked in all three divisions during one day. The 10 car SED scheme came along at the same time, there were no 2-car SUB units to form this, only 2-EPB units

I believe the only EPB stock "meant" to multiple with the HAPs, and thus the main line units, were the last of the BR-design 4-EPB units, which had main line gearing like the HAPs did. It's obviously an issue if you have a unit with a lesser maximum speed mixed in the middle of a formation.
Thanks for the dates on the SUB/HAL changeover.
On the EPB/HAP/CEP in multiple: I seem to recall that the SR classified multiple working compatibility by groups: ABCDE, of which D were suburban EP-braked units and E express EP-braked units, which were allowed to run together in multiple but with the proviso that you didn't exceed 75mph.
When I was spotting in Kent in late 70s early 80s, trains were mostly EPB multiples (all group D) or express unit multiples (all group E). But those express-geared 4EPBs turned up mixed into normal suburban workings, and in times of disruption and with empty workings, you could see D+E mixtures.
 

30907

Established Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
10,891
Location
Airedale
11 and 44-77 might have become EMU route codes only after the SUBs moved away from the SED: The SEMG page here http://www.semgonline.com/headcodes/eheadcodes/eheadcodes03.html lists 1961 and 1981 codes - in the 1961 listings, 11 and 55 weren't in use, while 44, 66, 77 were routes to Hastings or New Romney, i.e. diesel routes.

I stand corrected, not having realised that the system referred to by eastwestdivide didn't apply from the beginning of suburban numeral codes.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top