Falconwood

 

The architecture employed here confirms that the station is a contemporary of Albany Park. Falconwood was opened by the Southern Railway on 1st January 1936, just over half a year after its counterpart on the Dartford Loop Line. Later stations such as these came into existence as a result of the urban sprawl instigated by the SR’s policy to electrify ex-SE&CR suburban lines. However, when Falconwood came into use, significant residential development had not yet taken place in the immediate area, although the railway company had foreseen it. Fairly swiftly afterwards, the construction of council-owned housing estates ensued. The station was literally a mirror image of the layout at Albany Park, and the characteristics of the line here were also similar, the route lying within a cutting. The main station building was of the SR’s typical robust, but austere, square brick architecture, being just one-storey in height and lacking the refinement witnessed in previous companies' structures. Positioned on the ‘’up’’ side, it again followed the Albany Park format by residing at forty-five degrees to, and at a level above, the running lines. Linking the main building with the two 540-foot platforms was an 80-foot long enclosed riveted metal footbridge, complete with glazing and demonstrating a pitched roof. The prefabricated concrete platform surfaces were well protected, each being host to 100-foot long upward-slanting riveted canopies. In addition to the canopies, diminutive waiting rooms were also provided at the Dartford end of each platform. Being a then new station on an electrified line, it is by no means surprising that traditional features such as a goods yard or timber-built signal box were not in evidence. Interestingly, the ‘’modern’’ theme was emphasised further by the SR’s decision to install colour aspect lights at the western and eastern ends of the ‘’up’’ and ‘’down’’ platforms respectively, despite the whole route being worked by mechanical signal cabins operating semaphores.
 
Existing as a comparatively modern station, Falconwood, like Albany Park, has avoided the many changes implemented at other sites over the years. Of significance, however, was the damage sustained by the waiting shelter at the ''country'' end of the ''down'' platform in August 1944, caused by the explosion of a V1 Flying Bomb. Fortunately for Falconwood, the station came off lightly during such attacks, compared with the site at Charlton. During 1954, the platforms were lengthened at their western ends with prefabricated concrete, in preparation for ten-car electric formations. It would appear that the ''down'' side waiting shelter, severely damaged in 1944, was repaired at this time. The commissioning of the Dartford Panel in November 1970 saw the colour aspect lights at Falconwood modernised, bringing them into line with those then newly installed examples at other stations along the route. At this time, reversal of trains here was made possible with the insertion of a trailing crossover at the Dartford end of the platforms, and although metal lampposts replaced concrete examples during the same decade, the station remained little changed. Ticket barriers appeared within the main building during 2001, but excepting this and the other aforementioned minor alterations, Falconwood is still faithful to its 1936 guise.

 

In 2000, the scope of the Ashford Panel was increased, and in July of that year, it began taking over the functions of the Dartford Panel, full completion coming in the following year. As part of the re-signalling scheme, the 1970-installed crossover at Falconwood was removed, leaving the crossover at Kidbrooke as the sole one between New Cross and Barnehurst.

 

With thanks to Peter Greenhow for providing additional information concerning the additional platform waiting rooms, and the 2000 re-signalling.

 


 

Falconwood is certainly worth comparing with Albany Park, just seven months separating the

two stations' opening dates. The canopies here remain in good condition, but the footbridge has

become partially exposed with the loss of its glazing. This London-bound view from 2nd August

2006 shows the 1954 concrete platform extensions in the background - the station building is

hidden behind the trees at top left. David Glasspool

 


 

Three examples of this architecture came into existence along the North Kent routes. Falconwood

and Albany Park have already been mentioned, but such a structure also came into use during the

same era at Barnehurst, during partial modernisation of the latter. David Glasspool

 


 

An eastward view from 2nd August 2006 reveals that the trailing crossover just beyond the

platform ends, has now gone. The footbridge's connection with the station building can just

be seen disappearing into the vegetation, on the right. David Glasspool

 


 

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