This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Sheerness line" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Sheerness line
Swale station, with the Sheppey Crossing (l) and Kingsferry Bridge (r)
OwnerNetwork Rail
South East England
TypeSuburban rail, Heavy rail
SystemNational Rail
Rolling stockClass 375
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Operating speed75 mph (121 km/h)
Route map

(Click to expand)
Sheerness-on-Sea railway station
Sheerness-on-Sea railway station
The Kingsferry Bridge
The Kingsferry Bridge

The Sheerness line is located in Kent, England, and connects Sheerness-on-Sea on the Isle of Sheppey with Sittingbourne on the mainland, and with the Chatham Main Line for trains towards London, Ramsgate or Dover Priory. It opened on 19 July 1860.


The Sheerness branch line opened on 19 July 1860,[1] from Sittingbourne to, at first, a station in the Blue Town area of Sheerness, close to the southern edge of the Royal Navy dockyard. In 1883 a further station was added at Sheerness-on-Sea, accessed by a reversing curve from the original station, which was renamed Sheerness Dockyard. At this time, all trains had to run first to the Dockyard station, then reverse (after the engine had changed ends) to Sheerness-on-Sea, and vice versa for the return journey. The original line was built by the independent Sittingbourne and Sheerness Railway company, and taken over by the London, Chatham & Dover Railway (LC&DR) in 1876. After 1899, it was run by the South Eastern & Chatham Railway, formed by the working union of the LC&DR with the South Eastern Railway.

In 1902 the so-called Navy Tram Road was constructed from the Dockyard station into HM Dockyard for the transfer of good wagons. In 1922 a direct line to Sheerness-on-Sea station was built, bypassing the older station, from which date all passenger trains ran to the newer station, and the Dockyard station was used only by goods trains. Sheerness-on-Sea station remains open, but the Dockyard station was closed to all traffic in about 1968. Its site is now occupied by sidings serving Sheerness Steel, but the former Navy Tram Road still exists. The Royal Navy dockyard closed in 1961, but the rail link was kept in the belief it would continue to serve the new commercial docks on the former Navy site.[2][3]

The line was electrified by British Railways on 15 June 1959 as part of the "Kent Coast electrification" in the 1955 Modernisation Plan.[4]

Accidents and incidents

Train services

Train services on the line are operated by Southeastern. From December 2019, 3 car Class 375/3 Electrostars have operated on the line, replacing 2 car Class 466 units.[9]

Sheppey Light Railway

Main article: Sheppey Light Railway

There was a branch line from Queenborough to Leysdown, opened in 1901 and closed 1950 - see the Sheppey Light Railway.


Media related to Sheerness Line at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ White 1976, p. 93.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (July 1993). Branch Lines Around Sheerness. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-873-793-16-2.[figure needed]
  3. ^ Gray, Adrian (1984). The London, Chatham & Dover Railway. Meresborough Books. ISBN 0905270-886.[page needed]
  4. ^ "Branch to Sheerness". Railway Magazine. Vol. 128 no. 971. March 1982. p. 112. ISSN 0033-8923.
  5. ^ Bradley, D.L. (March 1979) [1960]. The Locomotive History of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway (2nd ed.). London: RCTS. p. 55. ISBN 0-901115-47-9. OCLC 59838998.
  6. ^ "King's Ferry Bridge seriously damaged". The Times (43217). London. 18 December 1922. col A, p. 9.
  7. ^ Kidner, R. W. (1985). Southern Railway Halts. Survey and Gazetteer. Headington, Oxford: The Oakwood Press. p. 56. ISBN 0-85361-321-4.
  8. ^ Moody, G. T. (1979) [1957]. Southern Electric 1909-1979 (Fifth ed.). Shepperton: Ian Allan Ltd. p. 212. ISBN 0-7110-0924-4.
  9. ^ Nurden, John (12 December 2019). "Santa to ride new Sheppey trains this Saturday". KentOnline. KM Group. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  • White, H.P. (1976). Forgotten Railways : Vol 6 – South-East England. David & Charles. ISBN 0-946537-37-2.