South Eastern Main Line

The South Eastern Main Line is a railway line in Britain. It connects London and the county of Kent and the ports on the English Channel. The suburb and express trains on this route are operated by the Southeastern Society; these operate in London from the train stations Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Cannon Street and London Bridge. In Ashford, there is a connection to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link to the Euro Tunnel.


Was built, the route through the South Eastern Railway (SER ), which was in competition with the London, Chatham and Dover Railway ( LCDR ). The SER was awarded in 1836 by the Parliament granted the concession to build a line from London Bridge via East Croydon, Redhill, Tonbridge, Ashford and Folkestone to Dover.

Between London and Redhill, the SER shared the route of the Brighton Main Line of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. The Parliament had insisted that south of the capital, only a single line was needed. The SER trains had thus drive a long detour. Parliament's decision ignored the fact that since antiquity a direct road link London - Dover existed and that had also been elected a possible direct lines for other important rail projects. A Zugspassagier to Dover had 35 more kilometers to cover than by stagecoach.

The main line reached Ashford on December 1 1842 the outskirts of Folkestone on 28 June 1843 Dover on 7 February 1844. In 1845 the SER replaced its main operating Workshop of New Cross in London to Ashford.

Due to the competition with the LCDR, which had the direct running Chatham Main Line built, the SER built a very costly connection via Sevenoaks and Orpington through the North Downs, with two long for those days terms tunnels at Knockholt. This 39 km long "Hot Line " reached Chislehurst on 1 July 1865., The opening of the section to Sevenoaks was delayed until March 2, 1868. On May 1, 1868, finally, the section was opened to Tonbridge. 1899 merged the SER and the LCDR to the South Eastern and Chatham Railway ( SECR ), which brought about a simplification of the railway tracks in Ashford and Dover with it.

The resulting 1923 Southern Railway electrified the route with 660 V AC and busbars. In July 1925, the electrical operating from London Victoria to Orpington from was taken. 1926 follow the section of Charing Cross and Cannon Street via London Bridge to Orpington. In January 1935, the electric trains finally reached Sevenoaks.

After the Second World War, the government continued the British Rail electrification. This was completed in June 1961. At the same time we increased the voltage on the entire southeastern route network to 750 V.

In 1994 the opening of the Euro tunnel, whose northern portal is located at Cheriton near Folkestone. Since there was no high-speed railway on British soil at this time, drove the Euro Star trains after leaving the tunnel on the South Eastern Main Line to Ashford and reached London via Maidstone. Since September 2003, the international high-speed trains on the High Speed ​​One.