10th February 2020 · Boat Train Routes through Kent since the 1890s:

Presenter: Brian Stephenson

In sharp contrast to Brian Garvin’s presentation in January featuring steam behind the Iron Curtain, our meeting on 10th February stayed much nearer home for Brian Stephenson’s presentation “Boat Train Routes through Kent since the 1890s”. Prior to the formation of the South Eastern and Chatham Joint Committee, the South Eastern Railway and the London Chatham and Dover Railway each had their own services between London and the Channel Ports, with the SER running from and to Charing Cross via Tonbridge and the LCDR from and to Victoria via Chatham. After the grouping of 1923 the Southern Railway concentrated its Continental traffic on Victoria Station. Brian explained that this presentation was less of a historical account than a random selection of images of the locomotives and rolling stock that could be seen on these routes during this period, both his own, and drawn from the Rail Archive Stephenson Collection. Consequently we saw a mixture of elegant 4-4-0s of various classes including B1, D and D1, E and E1, L and L1, M3 and ‘Schools’, followed by “King Arthur” 4-6-0s and Bulleid pacifics. The late 1950s and 1960s took us on to B.R. Mark 1 electric multiple units before closing the twentieth century with Eurostar. Brian closed his presentation with construction of the Continental Main Line, subsequently known as HS1, and the latest Eurostar trains.