Station Name: BIDDENDEN


[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 15.5.1905
Location: On the west side of North Street (A274)
Company on opening: Kent & East Sussex Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.1.1954
Date closed completely: 4.1.1954
Company on closing: British Railways (Southern Region)
Present state: The station building and platforms are still extant and in private occupation
County: Kent
OS Grid Ref: TQ843408
Date of visit: March 1968, September 1975 & July 1976

Notes: (Brief history of the Kent & East Sussex Railway) The Rother Valley Railway was proposed in 1896 and was the first line to be built under the 1896 Light Railway Act that permitted lightly constructed lines to be built in rural areas. The line was engineered by Holman Stephens (later Colonel Stephens) who went on to build a number of light railways around the country. The first section between Robertsbridge and Tenterden (later renamed Rolvenden) opened on 2.4.1900. The line was extended to Tenterden Town in 1903 and Headcorn in 1905.

The line was renamed the Kent & East Sussex Railway was initially moderately profitable although the northern section was subsidised by the South Eastern & Chatham Railway. After WW1 there were heavy losses eventually leading to bankruptcy in 1931. The line had remained independent after the 1923 amalgamation and despite loss of revenue with many of its passengers switching to busses it continued to provide a valuable service, especially to the farming community, through the 1930's.

The line was nationalised in 1948 but despite improvements, passenger numbers continued to fall and during a typical week in 1953 only 118 passengers traveled on 90 trains, many of which ran empty. The end was inevitable with closure coming on 2 January 1954. The line was abandoned and the track lifted between Headcorn and Tenterden Town while the southern section remained open for goods traffic to Tenterden Town until 12.6.1961. The line also saw occasional passenger trains primarily for hop-pickers and ramblers during the summer.

Shortly after final closure a preservation society was formed but it was a further 13 years before trains returned to the line, the main stumbling block being the large number of road crossings. Eventually a compromise was agreed once the Society agreed to drop the section of line between Bodiam and Robertsbridge from the restoration proposal. The Kent & East Sussex Railway Company became a registered charity and work progressed quickly with the first section of restored line opening at Tenterden on 3.2.1974; this was extended to Wittisham Road in 1977, Northiam in 1990 and Bodiam in 2000.

Further Reading:
Kent and East Sussex Railway by Stephen Garrett - 1999 Oakwood Press ISBN: 0853615160
The Kent and East Sussex Railway by Matthew Beddall - 2000 Solo ISBN: 0953295230
The Kent and East Sussex Railway by Terry Gough - 1998 Past & Present ISBN 1858951496
Rails to Tenterden by J L Smith - 1967 Lens of Sutton

Web Sites:
Kent & East Sussex Railway Company (official web site)

Biddenden Station in March 1968
hoto by Nick Catford

Biddenden Station in 1952
Photo by J H Aston

Biddenden Station in a derelict state in 1962
Photo by John Smith





Click on thumbnail to enlarge

[Source: Nick Catford]

Home Page
Last updated: Sunday, 04-Jun-2017 09:44:09 CEST
© 1998-2005 Disused Stations