The Kent Corridor
section east of Abbey Wood was dropped in November 2004, based on the North Kent
Line already being near full capacity. Up to four Crossrail trains per hour in
each direction were planned on the stretch to Ebbsfleet. However, concerns were
raised over the reliability of the service, given that Crossrail would have to
share the same tracks as the existing North Kent Line trains. If there were any
delays on this part of the line, it would affect all services running through
the Central Area, particularly in the peak time, when 24 trains per hour in each
direction were proposed. Great Western and Great Eastern corridors were
different in nature to that of Kent, whereby Crossrail trains would be "prime
That is not necessarily the end of Crossrail services reaching Kent proper. On 14th October 2009, the Secretary of State for Transport issued a "Safeguarding Directive" for the route from Abbey Wood to Hoo Junction (three miles east of Gravesend). This ensures that any part of this stretch of line is not redeveloped in a way which would prevent an extension of Crossrail in the future. Gravesend was seen as a more natural place than Ebbsfleet to terminate services, and Hoo Junction would provide overnight stabling for the stock. Between Slade Green and Dartford, quadrupling of the line was seen as a way to eliminate conflicting train movements, should any extension take place.
The provision of a completely new station at Abbey Wood was given formal approval in October 2013. A "high-level" main building, straddling the platforms, is to be built at the eastern end of the layout, facing onto the elevated "Harrow Manor Way". Covered stairs and lifts will take passengers down to platform level. Two island platforms will sit within the four track layout, one dedicated to Crossrail trains, the other to North Kent Line services. A covered footbridge will be constructed midway down the platforms, allowing interchange between the routes without passengers having to trek all the way to the main building. Naturally, overhead catenary masts will sprout from the island serving Crossrail trains; the North Kent surface is destined to receive a glazed v-shaped canopy.
Alterations began in summer 2013, with the extension of both platforms at their western ends using timber. From 18th November of the same year, the station car park behind the "up" platform was closed and subsequently commandeered by machinery and building materials. It was planned for the car park site to house a temporary station, allowing the existing complex to be closed for demolition, and this was scheduled to open in summer 2014.
Over the weekend of 14th/15th June 2014, the "up" line west of the station was partially re-laid on a new alignment; trains started running over this section from the following Monday. The original section of "up" track, now cut-off, remained in situ until being lifted during a subsequent set of engineering works over the weekend of 12th/13th July 2014.
1st July 2014
All station structures in this westward view are to be demolished. The footbridge here was erected in 1977, its components having been salvaged from Blackfriars station during the rebuilding of the latter. © David Glasspool
1st July 2014
This was formerly the ''up'' side car park. The area is planned to accommodate an interim station whilst rebuilding works on the existing site are undertaken. In the distance of this westward view can again be seen the Victorian houses which are to be pulled down. © David Glasspool
14th August 2014
Passengers are seen disembarking from a Cannon Street to Slade Green service in this London-bound view (formed by Class 376 No. 376007). The existing footbridge is dwarfed by the framework of the new structure behind. © David Glasspool
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