Kent Rail

Smart's Crossing


This was one of three rural level crossings situated along the 2¾-mile section of line between Rainham and Gillingham. Smart's Crossing was a block post located ½-mile northwest of the station at the former, but appears to have come into use around 35 years later than the line. Ordnance Survey Maps dated 1894, and those of older vintage, do not mark the location of the site, but surveys from 1896 onwards record a ‘’Smart’s Crossing’’. This provides a fairly strong indication of when the crossing came into use, although Ordnance Survey Maps cannot always be relied on for complete accuracy of railway alterations.

At the crossing existed a quaint timber signal hut, situated on the ‘’up’’ side of the line, which comprised tongue-and-groove planks, a hipped slated roof, and a shallow brick base. Accompanying the hut was a generous two-storey-high house for the Crossing Keeper. This was built to a standard design and virtually identical houses could once be found at neighbouring crossings along the line. Indeed, one such structure can still be seen 1½-miles east of Teynham, at Stone Crossing (not to be confused with that on the North Kent Line between Dartford and Greenhithe).


The demise of such charming level crossings began with the Kent Coast Electrification Scheme, which relegated their signal boxes from block posts to simply controlling the crossing gates. The 7¾-mile stretch of line between Gillingham and Western Junction (Sittingbourne) was switched over to colour light operation at 00:50 on 26th April 1959, which included the commissioning of a new power box at Rainham. Smart's Crossing signal box remained in use beyond this time, again purely for moving the gates, and appears to have finally been abolished in about 1973, when a footbridge was erected over the tracks. Both the signal cabin and Crossing Keeper's house were demolished and a house now occupies the site.


Gillingham to Rainham: Level Crossings

Gillingham to Rainham: Level Crossings. Drawn by David Glasspool

Smart's Crossing

Smarts Crossing

The diminutive cabin at Smart's Crossing is seen shortly before demolition (note the lack of apostrophe on the nameboard). Behind is the former Crossing Keeper's house which, along with the cabin, has long since gone. These structures were located on the ''up'' side of the line - to the left is Rainham; to the right Gillingham. © Roger Goodrum


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