Railway Borough Green – Sevenoaks to Maidstone – June 1874

This piece below is taken from a news report on the opening of the railway line through Wrotham and Borough Green.

The Daily News, London Tuesday 2 June 1874

OPENING OF THE SEVENOAKS AND MAIDSTONE DISTRICT RAILWAY

Yesterday a short line of railway was opened between Sevenoaks and Maidstone, which gives a second direct railway communication between the metropolis and the latter town. The line was commenced so far back as 1865, but owing to certain unforeseen circumstances its progress was stopped, and its continuation was only taken up in April last year. The line is 15 1/2 miles in length, and has four stations between the terminal points of Maidstone and Sevenoaks, viz, Barming, Malling, Wrotham and Kemsing. The line now being fit for traffic. The principal persons connected with the undertaking determined to open it with a public ceremonial. Accordingly, a special train started from Maidstone yesterday, accompanied by Mr. J. Clifford, Mayor of Maidstone, and several members of the Corporation; Major Dickson, M.P., Director of the Maidstone and Sevenoaks Extension Company; Sir Sydney Waterlow M.P.; director of the London, Chatham and Dover &c., to inspect the new line. The new stations were decorated with flags and flowers and groups of sight-seers testified to the satisfaction felt on the appearance of the steam locomotive amongst them. The country through which the new line passes is very pretty, and will afford a pleasant mode of transit between the metropolis and Maidstone. On the return of the visitors to Maidstone, the company partook of an excellent dejeuner in the Corn Exchange, which was ornamented with flags and flowers. The principal street between the station and the place of meeting – Week-street- was like the Corn Exchange itself, richly decorated; indeed, the whole town bore the appearance of a general holiday. “Welcome to Maidstone,” “Success to the New Line,” and other welcoming mottoes, were frequent, and a Maidstone band received the visitors with “See the conquering hero comes.” The Mayor presided at the dejeuner, and the usual loyal and constitutional toasts having been drunk, the Chairman proposed “The Prosperity of the New Line,” which was responded to by Major Dickson, M.P., and Sir Sydney Waterlow, M.P. Major Dickson referred to the deficiency of railway facilities under which Maidstone laboured, and said that the first fruits of the energy of the directors of the new line was in a reduction in fares (from 16s. 6d. to 12s. 6d. on a return first-class fare). The new railway line was handed over to the London, Chatham and Dover Company and he trusted it would be a new starting-point in the prosperity of Maidstone. Sir S. Waterlow, M.P., contrasted the former position of the shareholders with their present one; but, favourable as that contrast was, he hoped that what had been done would only stimulate them to further exertions, and that this line would be the first section of a new line to the coast. (Cheers). He could only say that in his new position as one of the directors of the company, the town of Maidstone and its interests would not suffer in his hands.

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One response to “Railway Borough Green – Sevenoaks to Maidstone – June 1874

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London,_Chatham_and_Dover_Railway this page has some background, suggesting that the 1865 date might have been the start of financial problems.

    http://spellerweb.net/rhindex/UKRH/SECR/Sevenoaks.html
    The above is quite specific though I would guess that there is no line from Otley to Maidstone. If there is the HS2 is a bit late in the day.

    http://www.kentpast.co.uk/history%20of%20london%20chatham%20and%20dover%20railway.html
    A factual chronological breakdown above.

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