Dartford Loop line

The Dartford Loop line opened on 1 September 1866. After leaving Pope Street station (later renamed New Eltham) the line passed to the country and nearly a mile north of Sidcup. The line then had to descend to sea level before reaching Dartford, forcing some heavy cutting between Sidcup and Bexley. When the line first opened the timetable gave eleven stopping trains per day, and one fast, in each direction. As professional people working in London began to move out from places like New Cross, the area south of Sidcup station (Longlands Road, Hatherley Crescent) became built up with villas.

 

At the outbreak of World War I munitions factories were set up around Crayford and Dartford, such as the Vickers-Maxim works which had its own private rail branch from the factory to two workshops. With a military hospital at Sidcup, ambulance trains became a feature, with casualties met at Sidcup station by ambulance cars.

 

After the war punctuality was poor as the engines were not suitable for stopping trains which were getting heavier at peak times. Trains would pass at barely more than walking pace. With electrification in 1926 came the conversion of trains and signalling which sped up the service.

 

The stations on the Dartford Loop line which are in the Bexley Borough are:

 

Sidcup - opened 1866 (a few weeks after line); extended ticket office 1888, rebuilt 1988

 

Albany Park - opened 1935, after the building of a new housing estate nearby

 

Bexley - opened 1866

 

Crayford - opened 1866, rebuilt 1969 and 2001

 

 

Source:

The Dartford Loop Line, by R. W. Kidner (Oakwood Press, 1966)

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