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The History of Kent

Copyright Kent Past 2010

History of Canterbury Stations

Canterbury West

The railway first arrived in Canterbury on 3rd May 1830, with the opening of the
Canterbury and Whitstable Railway. In the years that followed it was beset by financial difficulties and eventually taken over by the South Eastern Railway. In April 1846, the SER extended the line to join its station at Canterbury West, which had opened two months previously, on 6 February 1846.

On 1 July 1889 the Elham Valley Railway opened between
Folkestone and Canterbury, where the run-in boards read 'Canterbury (SER) Change for Whitstable and Eltham Valley Line'.

The Whitstable branch closed to passenger traffic on 1 January 1931, and traffic from the Elham Valley Line into Canterbury ceased from 1 December 1940. Following the Kent Coast Electrification Scheme Phase 2 in 1960 electric services started on 9 October 1961. Freight services were withdrawn on 13 September 1965 and the central through tracks were removed later in 1979.

In 2010 the railway station was refurbished to improve the station's accessibility. The main change was a new footbridge allowing a step-free route between the station entrance and both platforms using two lifts. Other improvements include new tactile paving along the edge of the platform, new toilet facilities, new customer information screens and lighting, the redecoration of the ticket office and changes to the car park layout.


Canterbury East

As part of the
East Kent Railways, line from London to Dover it opened a station in Canterbury on 9th July 1860, which remained a terminus until the completion of the line on 22nd July, the following year. By 1860, the EKR had changed its name to the London, Chatham and Dover Railway.

A large goods yard was established, with its own platform, goods shed, turntables and a warehouse served by its own track, although this building was demolished at the turn of the century. The remaining sidings were taken up in the 1970's.


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