The station opened with the Bexleyheath line between Perry Street Junction (Slade Green) and Blackheath on 1st May 1895. Excepting Barnehurst, all stations which opened with the route were built to virtually the same layout and design. These comprised an identical main clapboard building with an arched canopy (see Paddock Wood), and a diminutive timber shelter with an interesting curved roof, presumably designed in sympathy with the arched canopy of the primary structure. A pattern here is also worth noting: all main station buildings were located on the ''up'' side and the goods yards only consisted of sidings - none were opened, nor later gained a goods shed, this structure having been a common feature along the original North Kent Line via Woolwich, to Strood. At Welling, facilities merely consisted of a single coal siding trailing off the ''down'' line, terminating behind the platform. At the Dartford end of the ''up'' side was located an all-timber signal box erected by the contractor ‘’McKenzie & Holland’’. This company provided the signalling for the entire Bexleyheath route, and was also responsible for partial signalling of the Dartford Loop Line via Sidcup. As per usual at the stations which opened in 1895, no footbridge was provided at Welling, a foot crossing at track level instead being suffice.
The Bexleyheath Line changed much under Southern Railway ownership, such alterations being direct resultants of the company's electrification of all North Kent routes on 6th June 1926. The station underwent major modernisation in 1931 when the main clapboard building was replaced by a single-storey red-brick structure, but unlike that at nearby Bexleyheath, the delightful timber waiting shelter on the ''down'' side was retained. A footbridge was erected in 1924, again to the same design as that at Well Hall and Bexleyheath, and its insertion into the general layout was somewhat interesting. Rather than simply positioning the bridge to the west of the main building, the SR has seemingly taken passenger convenience into account by having the stair well immediately adjacent to the building entrance. On the ''up'' side, this provides the interesting spectacle of the bridge's stair flight descending through the roof of the canopy. What electrification did do was cut journey times to and from the capital by a significant amount. This allowed people to move out of London and further into the surrounding countryside (as it was back then), which saw an upsurge in house building on the London / Kent border. Homes radiated from the stations and such population increases were certainly good news for Welling goods traffic: the yard was doubled to a pair of sidings to meet the sudden demand for increased coal loads.
During June 1954, the platforms were lengthened with BR (SR) concrete castings at both ends of the layout for the acceptance of ten-car EPB formations. With these extensions came concrete bracket lamp posts, a unique feature of the Southern Region. The station lost its goods sidings a number of years earlier than its Well Hall and Bexleyheath counterparts, the yard going out of use at the end of 1962, the demand for coal having drastically declined. The much reduced coal traffic still in existence in the area was now handled by road. Advancements in technology saw the commissioning of the then new Dartford Panel on 1st November 1970, which saw the replacement of mechanical signal boxes and semaphore signals on all North Kent routes.
A westward view from 23rd March 2006 shows the station building, footbridge and, on the right,
the timber shelter with the curved roof. The layout here is more or less identical to that at
Bexleyheath, although Welling has been lucky enough to retain its characterful shelter.
This classic eastward view from about 1967 reveals a number of interesting
features. The most prominent is the single semaphore signal post, which went
out of use on 1st November 1970 with the commissioning of colour aspect lights
and the Dartford Panel. Beyond the signal can still be seen the loading gauge,
which lost the rails underneath in 1962. One of Bulleid's 4DD Class is seen
approaching the platforms on a Dartford to Cannon Street service. The last
4DD service ran on 1st October 1971. Also note in this picture the 1954
concrete platform extensions. Tom Burnham
After the total withdrawal of the EPB units in 1995, Class 465 / 466 ''Networker'' units became
the staple diet on all North Kent routes. No. 465159 is seen at Welling on 23rd March 2006.
Return to Index
Return to the Kent Rail Homepage or alternatively, check for Updates.
Website & Copyright information - Links - Contact the Webmaster
All content is copyright © David Glasspool