Written by: TrainSim-James
Built throughout the 19th Century as a means to connect the Bustling City of London to the thriving Medway Towns and the beautiful Kent Coast, the Chatham Main Line holds a unique history and has played host to some of the country’s most cutting edge and iconic third rail traction. Until the arrival of High Speed 1 the Chatham Main Line was the fastest way to get into London from the Medway Towns, and this classic line is coming soon to Train Simulator.
After being constructed by the rivaling South Eastern Railway and London Chatham & Dover Railway in the 1800s, the line from Dover to London Victoria was littered with duplicate stations across the line in an effort for each company to move more passengers than the other. Eventually neither company was in the lead and both ended up losing a lot of money, it was not until they combined into the South Eastern and Chatham Railway did things start to improve.
Electrification came to the Chatham Main Line in the 1930s and reached the coast by the end of the 1950s thanks to Southern Railway’s effort to provide a modern and reliable service throughout Kent, Sussex and beyond. The newly laid Third Rail saw the introduction of the classic ‘slam door’ era with various EMUs such as the Class 402, Class 411 and Class 423 dominating the Main Line. The old Mark 1 body design of the EMUs lasted well into the 2000s by which time there were being replaced with brand new Bombardier Class 375 as ordered by Connex South Eastern, ‘slam doors’ also shared part of the Chatham Main Line with Class 373 Eurostars when they operated between Waterloo and Fawkham Junction (situated between Longfield and Farningham Road).
In more recent years the Chatham Main Line has seen multiple developments to further increase capacity on the bustling line, the latest of which is the introduction of a brand new station at Rochester which features a fit-for-purpose, spacious ticket hall and platforms long enough to cope with 12 car trains during peak hours. Another development is the timetable, half-hourly semi-fast services take passengers from London Victoria to either Dover or Ramsgate, with several peak hour connections to Sheerness-on-Sea. There are also regular slower services which operate via the Catford Loop, this is performed by Class 465 Networkers. ■