Albany Park

The coming of the North Kent Lines certainly saw the populations of the locations they served increase, but a colossal amount of housing development was instigated by the Southern Railway's electrification of the routes on 6th June 1926. Consequently, a number of new and separate localities consisting of £450 houses (£21,475 at 2006 prices) began appearing on the map, Albany Park being one of these. The SR opened a station to serve this area on 7th July 1935, by which time the economical clapboard policy of the SER had for long been just a memory. The station architecture of the 1930s SR era was certainly robust, perhaps grossly austere at times, but such designs were usually hugely practical for the capacity in which they were intended to function. The line at Albany Park was situated deep in a cutting, which necessitated the main station building to be detached from the 520-foot long platforms. It was located on the ''down'' side, rotated at forty-five degrees to the running lines and solidly built in brick, but purely functional and of no architectural merit. Footbridge provision here was good, for this was fully enclosed to give excellent protection from the elements. Furthermore, it was still built to a fairly pleasing design, with a pitched roof and windows (it can be compared favourably against the enclosed footbridge monstrosity which became part of the 1970s London Bridge station). The canopies here were again typically Southern, demonstrating the upward sloping valances usually associated with those stations opened or rebuilt by the company during this era. A signal box was located at the Dartford end of the ''up'' platform, but since this came on the scene several decades after other signal boxes on the route, its design was wholly untraditional. Like the main building, it was constructed from brown-brick to a square design and was just one storey high, having opened on the same date as the station.

The station has changed very little over the years, and all major structures excepting the signal box are still in existence, partly due to the modern and simple architecture implemented, which has made it a simple stop to upkeep and preserve. The signal box closed with all other mechanical cabins on the North Kent Lines on 1st November 1970, when the Dartford Panel and its associated colour light signals were implemented, marking the end of semaphores. Previously, in April 1955, the platforms had been extended at their London ends with BR (S) concrete cast supports to accept ten-vehicle EPB unit formations. The original platform lengths had been prefabricated concrete from the outset - this was produced by the Southern Railway within its own concrete works at Exmouth Junction. Metal lamp posts arrived during the 1970s, replacing concrete bracket lamps, but station repaints and name board design alterations have been the only recurring changes since then. The covered footbridge received an internal modification in 2004, which saw a line of palisade fencing installed within it (very unusual to have this type of barricade within a structure), splitting the bridge into two separate walkways. This allowed the footbridge to be opened up for general public usage (which it had been anyway, before the installation of ticket barriers), whilst protecting the platforms from those not intending to travel.

23rd March 2006

This London-bound view illustrates well the general layout. This relatively simply-designed station usually seems to present a spruce appearance. The enclosed footbridge and angled canopies are prominent in this view. In the foreground is the original prefabricated concrete of 1935, whilst beyond the footbridge is the platform extension of 1955. © David Glasspool

23rd March 2006

The basic station building is positioned at street level, above the platforms. The Southern Railway utilised this same basic design when modifying Barnehurst and building Falconwood. The latter and Albany Park are near enough carbon copies of each other and only a year separates the two, Falconwood being opened on 1st January 1936. © David Glasspool