[Source: Nick Catford]

Chevening Halt Gallery 2: 28 October 1961 - December 2015

A final day of service view of Chevening Halt, conveniently train-less as this provides an opportunity to describe the halt. The bridge had been rebuilt, for reasons unknown, in 1952 to the brick-and-concrete form seen above. As with the original brick-arched bridge it was built to accommodate double track and the superfluous part of the bridge can be seen behind the waiting shelter. it was normal practice with many a single-track branch being originally built to take double-track at a later date should the need arise. Although unconfirmed, rebuilding, as happened at Chevening, may have had a legal background connected with the Act by which the railway was originally built. In other words, rebuilding Chevening's bridge without double-track provision may have legally constituted a blocking of the right of way. Had the Westerham branch been doubled at any time subsequent to Chevening Halt opening, a widening of the cutting would have been required behind the platform. Some sources say the platform was rebuilt with concrete at the same time as the bridge but, as the above view shows, this claim is unclear. All that would appear to have happened is the platform surface being repaved with concrete slabs. The waiting shelter by this time appears to have been part wood, part concrete and with an asbestos roof. Unusually, it had a sliding door. Note that a proper set of steps was provided from the road. At many locations where halts were subsequently provided the arrangements were much cruder, often with just a dirt pathway and basic fencing on the side of the embankment. Chevening Halt was opened for use by steam rail-motors which were of single-unit formation, yet the platform could just about accommodate a two-carriage train. Whether the SE&CR intended to introduce rail-motor trailers or if the platform was extended after they were withdrawn in order to accommodate longer, conventional, trains
is not entirely clear.
Photo by Ian Nolan from his Flickr photostream

On 28 October 1961 Class H 0-4-4T No. 31518 heads Maunsell set No.610 away from Chevening Halt. The service was the 11.50 am ex Dunton Green, due Chevening at 11.52 and Westerham 12.01pm. Today the above scene is totally unrecognisable and where birds once sang, road transport now roars.
Photo by Ian Nolan from his Flickr photostream

Class H No.31518 and Maunsell set No.610 at Chevening on the final day of service, 28 October 1961. Quite what the relevance of the Union Flag to a railway closure was is hard to understand. The direction of the train is not recorded but it appears to be departing towards Westerham, i.e. with the locomotive leading. In all probability this was the final down push-and-pull service, the 1.50pm from Dunton Green departing from Chevening Halt at 1.52.
Photo by Tim Stephens

There would appear to be a rush at Chevening Halt as the push-and-pull train with flag-bedecked No.31518 waits at the platform. It is another view of the 1.52 departure for Westerham on the final day of service, 28 October 1961. Tickets from Chevening are believed to have been issued on the train so quite how the guard managed on the very short run to Dunton Green on a normal day, let alone the last day, takes some imagining. Fortunately, for the guard, traffic from Chevening was generally light.
Photo by David Pearson

On the final day of service, 28 October 1961, Class D1 4-4-0 No.31739 climbs away from Chevening Halt towards Brasted with set 277 which had been reduced from ten to seven coaches for the occasion. This train, plus the Bulleid Q1, had taken over from the push-and-pull train during the course of the day. Whilst views such as that above give the impression of a special railtour, especially with passengers leaning out, it should be remembered that the D1, Q1 and set 277 worked ordinary service trains on the branch on the final day.
Copyright photo from Colour Rail 71418

On the final day of the Westerham branch service, 28 October 1961, one operated by main line set 277 approaches Chevening Halt on its way to Dunton Green. The locomotive cannot be positively identified but it appears to be running tender-first, in which case it will be the D1, No.31739. The groups on the platform will mainly be enthusiasts while those up on the road will probably be local people watching the unusual spectacle of a main line train operating the branch service.
Photo by Chris-Knowles-Thomas from Southern E Group web site

This view from 1962 was taken a few months after closure. The rail surfaces have seemingly not yet oxidised but some litter lies on the track with some on the railheads. Most suggestive of post-closure is the absence of the nameboard: BR removed such fittings immediately after closure, although the lighting remains. Up on the road a group of youngsters is seen: no doubt the waiting shelter made a great place to hang-out. The sliding door of the shelter is just visible in this view, partly open.
Photo by Terry Tracey

A view looking south along Chevening Road at the site of the infilled railway cutting and bridge with one parapet still standing. Note the stepped top of the parapet; this was a fairly common feature when a road crossing a bridge was on a gradient. In the background the road appears to have been either temporarily diverted or a temporary site access road provided. The use of 50-gallon oil drums as bollards was once common and they were painted either black and white or, more usually, red and white. The track between Chevening and Dunton Green was lifted 'immediately afterwards'. As the Sevenoaks bypass opened in 1966 this seems likely and the photo probably dates from
late summer 1965.
Photo from John Mann collection

Looking towards Dunton Green from the edge of the infilled cutting at the same time as the view above. Note the smoke stains from locomotive exhausts on the bridge parapet. It is said the halt was simply buried in the cutting. Certainly, there would have been no reason to dismantle and remove it but the platform, being supported in wooden stilts, would have created a settlement problem if spoil was merely dumped on top of it. What is more likely to have happened was the demolition of the platform and waiting shelter with spoil dumped on top of the remains. Infilling of this cutting was the result of the Westerham branch preservationists being unable to raise the money required to build a new bridge required in connection with the then-proposed motorway construction. The sum required was not unreasonable and would equate, in 2016, to somewhere in the region of £490,714. Of course, for preservationists lacking the fundraising acumen which later groups became very skilled at a new bridge was a bill too far. It should also be remembered that the 1960s was an age long before many disused railways had their courses protected by legislation in case they should be required
again at a future date.
Photo from John Mann collection

Looking west at the site of the infilled cutting in August 1968 two years after the opening of the Sevenoaks bypass, which is seen here, and 11 years before the M25 first reached Sundridge.
Photo by Nick Catford

The site of Chevening Halt and infilled cutting, in the area of land directly ahead of the camera. This view in April 1974 is from Chevening Road and the dual-carriageway road is the A21 Sevenoaks bypass. Today, the M25 is behind the camera and the stretch of dual carriageway seen above is now classed as part of the M25 and becomes the A21 just beyond the A25 bridge in the left background. The road above was built as a major dual carriageway, but to the motorway standards of the time which would not have been much different. The relatively light traffic on the road above was fairly typical of the time.
Photo by Nick Catford

The site of Chevening Halt in April 2007. The Westerham branch ran from left to right. Part of the motorway system which today engulfs the area is just out of view to the right. The hub of the system is now Junction 5 of the M25 and is the point where the motorway turns northwards, going anticlockwise, towards Dartford Crossing. Junction 5 connects the M25 to the M26, which is a short ten mile east-west link to the M20 as well as to the A21 Sevenoaks bypass which runs due north-south. The location is also bisected by the relatively tranquil Chevening Road seen on the left.
Photo by Brian Halford

The site of the infilled cutting seen from the same viewpoint as the August 1968 picture above.
Photo by Nick Catford




[Source: Nick Catford]

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