Westerham Branch Line Trackbed Tour

£7.00

This little branch line was destined to become another preservation success story in the early 1960s, until the powers that be decided to build the M25 motorway along a sizable section of it. Much energy and private finance went into the Westerham Valley Association in an attempt to keep it open with a mixture of commuter and tourist traffic. Sadly, this was not to be and the sections of track bed that escaped being buried under the motorway now remain in short, truncated sections.

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Description

This little branch line was destined to become another preservation success story in the early 1960s, until the powers that be decided to build the M25 motorway along a sizable section of it. Much energy and private finance went into the Westerham Valley Association in an attempt to keep it open with a mixture of commuter and tourist traffic. Sadly, this was not to be and the sections of track bed that escaped being buried under the motorway now remain in short, truncated sections.

The aim of this film was to travel the track bed as faithfully as possible on foot, starting at the eastern end at Dunton Green station. Trains still stop at Dunton Green on the line between Sevenoaks and Orpington, but the branch heading west from here to Westerham has been disused since 1961.

Views around Dunton Green station are taken in, showing the course of travel of the branch line and descending through the subway that still runs under it. Further west, a railway bridge is travelled under, carrying the main road through Dunton Green, before emerging into countryside where an overgrown track bed is followed. Various relics of the railway are seen on the way to Chevening Halt, as are far reaching views of the North Downs that would have been enjoyed by rail travellers in times gone by.

The cutting which was willfully filled in by Kent County Council, containing Chevening Halt is viewed and the positions of the station entry steps and missing bridge are pointed out.

Moving west again, the track bed is regained right next to junction 5 of the motorway and travelled a short distance before it is covered by the road. Views from two motorway bridges are used to show the course of the track along the motorway before reaching Brasted station (changed to Brasted Halt from 1955).

The motorway covers the track bed at Brasted station, but the site remains accessible, albeit without the station building. A view from Station Road shows the access road to the station and entrance to the station master’s house, which still exists as a private residence. Right next to an incredibly noisy westbound hard shoulder, the site of the station building is shown as is the goods and coal yard.

Another move west shows the track bed diverging south of the M25 and an overgrown, tree-lined embankment is followed as far as Beggar’s Lane. Crossing Beggar’s Lane, the course of the track is followed across a field, before being covered by back garden extensions on the outskirts of Westerham.

Arriving at Westerham, the slim remaining evidence of the terminus is taken in, including the site of the station building and drop off area, the position of The Crown hotel and the base of the five tonne yard crane.

Thereafter, a lunatic journey is made on the westbound M25 with a camera attached to the roof of a car to the show the course of the track from a motorist’s viewpoint, showing the site of Brasted station among others.

Includes constant, well-informed commentary, reference to a vintage map and a slide show of stills taken during filming.

Additional information

Year

2016

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