Did the SECR ever plan on quadrupling to Ashford?

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Sad Sprinter

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Just wondering, the LSWR and LBSCR both four tracked quite some distance away from Greater London, did the SER ever plan on doing the same? Would have been great for Eurostars to have a full four tracks from Petts Wood to Ashford.
 
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paul1609

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Just wondering, the LSWR and LBSCR both four tracked quite some distance away from Greater London, did the SER ever plan on doing the same? Would have been great for Eurostars to have a full four tracks from Petts Wood to Ashford.
Think it was a different mix of traffic in the southeast. As well as 4 tracks from Charing Cross to Orpington there was the opportunity to overtake at Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Paddock Wood, Headcorn, Ashford, Folkestone West. In practice I think that Eurostar was rarely held up by other trains in the country it was the run through South London.
 

Gloster

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Would there have been the need in SER days? Kent was still a predominately rural county well into the last century with little commuting to London. Nor was there much long distance traffic: there was some to the boats, but little else. Nor was there much in the way of industry as most of Kent’s heavy industry was along the Thames estuary.
 

Dr Hoo

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Would there have been the need in SER days? Kent was still a predominately rural county well into the last century with little commuting to London. Nor was there much long distance traffic: there was some to the boats, but little else. Nor was there much in the way of industry as most of Kent’s heavy industry was along the Thames estuary.
Quite! It wasn't until the electrification of the late 1950s and early 1960s that frequencies, speeds and passenger numbers really started to grow rapidly.

BR did, of course, extend quadrupling slightly. Bickley-Swanley, Rainham-Newington and Folkstone West-Central were all associated with the Kent electrification. (Not strictly related to Ashford, I suppose.)
 

Snow1964

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I think they considered 4 tracks, but couldn’t afford it.

But as already stated they did 4 track some stations from Tonbridge to Ashford. But traffic levels to channel ports never got high enough to link up any of these sections

There was never any realistic chance of boring a duplicate tunnel under North Downs though
 

yorksrob

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Yes, it's very heavily engineered between Orpington and Tonbridge. And don't forget, the SECR had the other main line via Chatham to spread the load.
 

paul1609

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Of course the route through Orpington was a cut off of the original route via Redhill. The quarry line on the Brighton Line was built principally so LBSCR trains didnt have to pass through Redhill which was under South Eastern Railway control.
 

steamybrian

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It appears that in places between Tonbridge and Paddock Wood sufficient land was purchased to widen to 4 tracks as the boundary fence is well back from the track. I will add that the loop at Headcorn was added in the 1930s not in SER days.
In the 1990s the line was increased to 4 tracks at Tonbridge from Barden Road bridge (near West Yard) to Lodge Oak Lane Bridge (adjacent to Post Office Sorting Office) . The loop at Cranmore was added.
 

30907

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Of course the route through Orpington was a cut off of the original route via Redhill. The quarry line on the Brighton Line was built principally so LBSCR trains didnt have to pass through Redhill which was under South Eastern Railway control.
Also worth mentioning that the Brighton main line was always busier than the SE. Post-electrification (60s) off peak services:
Sevenoaks-Tonbridge 3tph plus random boat trains (4 paths an hour IIRC but mostly unused).
Brighton main line 8-10tph as far as Three Bridges (2 of which were stoppers).
 
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