Station Name: BROOKLAND HALT

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 7.12.1881
Location: On the north side of Straight Lane (A259)
Company on opening: Lydd Railway Company
Date closed to passengers: 6.3.1967
Date closed completely: 6.3.1967
Company on closing: British Railways (Southern Region)
Present state: The down platform is extant along with the station building which is now a private residence. The up platform is also still extant although partially soil covered and heavily overgrown so it's difficult to see anything.
County: Kent
OS Grid Ref: TQ997264
Date of visit: May 1975, November and 3.1.2006

Notes: Brookland Station is between the villages of Brookland and Brenzett. Traffic was always light and although the station was originally provided with two platforms the passing loop and the down platform, which included the main station building, were taken out of use in 1921 when the signal box was closed. Although there were proposals to build a horse dock siding off the passing loop, this was never built and the station never carried any freight traffic.

Brookland was downgraded to 'halt' status and all the facilities were concentrated on the up platform which was provided with a waiting shelter. The level crossing was controlled from a small ground frame hut with a resident signal-porter who also sold tickets to the occasional traveler. This was eventually replaced with a new ticket office alongside the road.

Once devoid of track the former station building ion the down platform was converted into a private dwelling and sold in the 1930's

As the photographs show, very little has changed at Brookland in the last 30 years.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NEW ROMNEY & DUNGENESS BRANCH LINES
The Ashford - Hastings line opened on 13th February 1851 but was not profitable and gave little incentive for the South Eastern Railway to build a branch line across Romney Marsh. Following local pressure for a branch line serving Lydd and New Romney and the possibility of a new cross channel port being developed at Dungeness, a number of schemes were proposed. Although the Dungeness port was never built, the Lydd Railway Company obtained an Act on 8th April 1881 to build a line from the South Eastern Railway at Appledore to Dungeness, with a second act of 19th June 1882 authorising a further branch extending north along the coast to New Romney

The line opened to passengers between Appledore and Lydd on 7 December 1881, with freight services to Dungeness, until that too opened to passengers on April 1883. The only intermediate station was at Brookland. Although nominally independent, the service was provided by the South Eastern Railway and many of the Lydd Railway Company directors were prominent in the SER. The line had 12 level crossings in its 8 mile length.

The New Romney line opened on 19 June 1884 and some unusual workings were introduced with two branches being worked by one locomotive requiring some trains serving Dungeness to reverse back to Lydd Town before proceeding on to New Romney. This procedure was greatly simplified when push-pull trains were introduced.

In 1895 the local company was absorbed into the South Eastern Railway. With the Dungeness port scheme abandoned, the SER obtained powers in 1900 to extend their line to Hythe but this was never built.

Kitson steam railcars were introduced onto the line in 1906/7 and with the development of military ranges and a large army camp at Lydd, the line was well used until the end of WW1. Passenger numbers were now in decline although agricultural freight, including Romney Marsh sheep remained profitable. By the 1920's New Romney was served by 9 trains a day while Dungeness was relegated to 3.

With the increase in pleasure traffic in the 1930's and new residential and proposed holiday camp development along the coast, the Southern Railway received powers under the 1935 Southern Railway Act to realign the New Romney branch with a new junction one mile to the southeast with two new halts at Lydd-on-Sea and Greatstone-on-Sea; the new line opened
on 4 July 1937. At the same time the station at Lydd was renamed Lydd Town and passenger services to Dungeness was withdrawn, although the freight service was retained.

The line remained open with a reduced service during WW2 although an obvious target for enemy aircraft. A heavily armoured train was allocated to Ashford - Hastings - New Romney group of lines with regular patrols being undertaken.

Nationalisation in 1948 initially brought few changes but with competition from busses and the popularity of the motor car in the 1950's traffic continued to decline and economies were inevitable including the withdrawal of the Dungeness freight service in 1952 and the removal of the passing loop at Lydd-on-Sea.

In the early 1960's the line received a new use with the opening of Dungeness Nuclear Power Station in 1965. The passenger service was improved with steam being replaced by two-car diesel-electrics providing 11 trains a day in 1962; with most running through to Ashford. This new prosperity was not to last however and both the Ashford - Hastings line and with it the New Romney branch were proposed for closure in the 1963 Beeching Report. The goods services to New Romney was withdrawn in 1964 but the threat of closure was suspended until 1966 when the Minister of Transport announced that the passenger service on the New Romney branch would cease on 6th March 1967. The Ashford - Hastings line was however reprieved although some sections were eventually singled.

Goods services to Lydd continued until 1971 and the line was still in use for the removal of ballast aggregates and waste from Dungeness B nuclear power station. All track beyond Romney Junction has been lifted. The only passenger movements since closure have been occasional troop trains and railtours, the most recent being the Lydd Ranger Railtour on 13th March 2005.

Further reading: The New Romney Branch Line by Peter Harding. Published by the author in 1983 ISBN : 0952345889
Railways South East Volume 2 No 1 Winter 1989/90 ISSN 0953-0835
Branch Lines of the Southern Railway Volume 2 by George Reeve & Chris Hawkins - Wild Swan 1983 ISBN 906867 14 2 - Tickets from Michael Stewart, Route map drawn by Alan Young

Web sites: Railways in Kent, Southern E Group and KARE for pictures of nuclear waste trains

To see the other stations on the New Romney and Dungeness branches click on the station name: Appledore, Lydd Town, Lydd-on-Sea Halt, Greatstone-on-Sea Halt, New Romney & Littlestone-on-Sea and Dungeness


Brookland Station in the early 20th Century



Brookland Halt looking south in January 2006
P
hoto by Nick Catford

1960's

1963

1966

January 1967

1975

1975

1975

1982

1982

2006

2006

2006


2006

Click on thumbnail to enlarge



 

 

 

:[Source: Nick Catford]


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