The start of building work at the colliery in Snowdown was marked by the turning of the first sod on 5th January 1907. By the 15th of the following month, boiler construction, the making of a chimney shaft, and the laying of a siding that connected with the adjacent rails of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SE&CR) had been completed (ref: The Dover Express and East Kent News, 15th February 1907). The first goods train arrived in that siding on 8th April 1907:



An interesting event took place at Snowdown Colliery, near Nonington, on Monday [8th April] last, when, amid the enthusiastic cheering of the men and the detonations from a salute of fog signals, the first goods train was triumphantly brought into the siding, which, at last, has been completed. [Dover Express and East Kent News, 12th April 1907]

Sinking at Snowdown commenced on 27th March 1907 and, by 27th of the following month, the first shaft was 18-feet in diameter and 200-feet deep (ref: Dover Express and East Kent News, 3rd May 1907). As of November 1913, a second shaft had reached 1,600-feet, a third shaft 1,744-feet, and it was reported that coal was being raised in very satisfactory quantities (ref: The Whitstable Times and Tankerton Press, 1st November 1913). Additionally, cottages for miners were in the progress of construction, as was a railway station:

The erection of the workmen's cottages, adjacent to the colliery, is proceeding rapidly and in a few weeks’ time several of them will be ready for occupation.

The halt at Snowdown is being pushed on with as rapidly as possible, one platform being already in position. [The Dover and County Chronicle, 6th December 1913]

By the end of December 1913, the station was ready for the start of a then new timetable comprised of trains dedicated to miners:


The South Eastern and Chatham Railway announce, that, commencing January 1st, 1914 and every weekday until further notice, the undermentioned special trains (Third Class only) will run for the conveyance of miners and workmen only:-

arr. (a.m.) dep. (a.m.)
Dover Priory ..... ..... ..... 4:45
Kearsney ..... ..... ..... 4:50 4:51
Lydden Halt ..... ..... ..... 4:56 4:57
Shepherdswell ..... ..... ..... 5:02 5:03
Snowdown Halt ..... ..... ..... 5:08 5:09
Adisham ..... ..... ..... 5:14

arr. (p.m.) dep. (p.m.)
Dover Priory ..... ..... ..... 12:50
Kearsney ..... ..... ..... 12:55 12:56
Lydden Halt ..... ..... ..... 1:01 1:02
Shepherdswell ..... ..... ..... 1:07 1:08
Snowdown Halt ..... ..... ..... 1:13 1:!4
Adisham ..... ..... ..... 1:19

Not Saturdays arr. (p.m.) dep. (p.m.)
Dover Priory ..... ..... ..... 8:45
Kearsney ..... ..... ..... 8:50 8:51
Lydden Halt ..... ..... ..... 8:56 8:57
Shepherdswell ..... ..... ..... 9:02 9:03
Snowdown Halt ..... ..... ..... 9:08 9:09
Adisham ..... ..... ..... 9:14

arr. (a.m.) dep. (a.m.)
Adisham ..... ..... ..... 6:22
Snowdown Halt ..... ..... ..... 6:27 6:30
Shepherdswell ..... ..... ..... 6:35 7:09
Lydden Halt ..... ..... ..... 7:05 7:07
Kearsney ..... ..... ..... 7:12 7:13
Dover Priory ..... ..... ..... 7:18

Saturdays Only arr. (a.m.) dep. (a.m.)
Adisham ..... ..... ..... 1:40
Snowdown Halt ..... ..... ..... 1:45 1:46
Shepherdswell ..... ..... ..... 1:51 1:52
Lydden Halt ..... ..... ..... 1:57 1:58
Kearsney ..... ..... ..... 2:03 2:04
Dover Priory ..... ..... ..... 2:09

Not Saturdays arr. (a.m.) dep. (a.m.) arr. (a.m.) dep. (a.m.)
Adisham 2:42 10:40
Snowdown Halt 2:47 2:49 10:45 10:46
Shepherdswell 2:54 2:55 10:51 10:53
Lydden Halt 3:00 3:01 10:57 10:58
Kearsney 3:06 3:07 11:03 11:04
Dover Priory 3:12 11:09

Tickets at specially reduced Fares and available only by the above trains, will be issued to miners and workmen connected with the Collieries (subject to the conditions printed upon the back of the ticket) as under:-

[The Dover Express and East Kent News, 2nd January 1914]

The station was called "Snowdown Halt" from the outset and comprised a pair of timber platforms situated either side of the double track line, located about eight miles from Canterbury (East). Each platform was host to a waiting shelter of the same material, complete with wraparound sides, windows, and an overhanging backward-sloping roof.

In The Dover Express and East Kent News on 22nd October 1926, it was reported that the Southern Railway (SR) was considering closing Snowdown Halt and Adisham stations. Reportedly, the plan was to replace both by a station in the colliery village of Aylesham. Platforms there did come into use on 1st July 1928, but Adisham and Snowdown Halt remained open. At the latter, the SR introduced an improved Saturday service in late 1927:


The Southern Railway are arranging that three more trains are to call at Snowdown Halt on Saturdays, beginning December 3rd, which is becoming an increasingly important station in the development of Aylesham. The 1.37 p.m. Dover Priory to Victoria, and the 9.20 p.m. Dover Priory to Canterbury East, will additionally call at Snowdown, whilst the 3.6 p.m. Faversham to Dover Priory, will also all at Snowdown. [The Dover Express and East Kent News, 11th November 1927]

By 1927, the station had become "Snowdown and Nonington Halt" (ref: Bartholomew’s Gazetteer of the British Isles, Seventh Edition, 1927), reflecting the parish within which it was situated. On Tuesday, 13th March 1928, the station’s existing method of illumination, oil lamps, were replaced with electric lighting powered by the adjacent colliery (ref: The Dover Express and East Kent News, 16th March 1928).

In 1949, a telephone booth was opened at Snowdown and Nonington Halt, and the parapets of the railway bridge rebuilt (ref: The Dover Express and East Kent News (Parish Council Notes), 8th April 1949). In the following year, a complaint was made by Nonington Parish Council to British Railways, stating that the platforms at the halt were dangerous to passengers due to their low height. The Railway Executive responded that there was no immediate alterations that could be made before a complete overhaul of the platforms that was due within the following two years (ref: The Dover Express and East Kent News, 13th October 1950). Your author’s observations of period photographs revealed that the "up" platform had been replaced by mid-March 1954 by a prefabricated concrete structure; however, the "down" platform remained in its original timber form. The latter was eventually rebuilt into a concrete structure in 1958 in conjunction with Phase 1 of the Kent Coast Electrification Scheme. Concrete bracket lampposts were erected on both platforms at this time, and the "up" platform — which dated from the early 1950s — was extended at its southern end using the same material.

From 7th October 1962, Snowdown and Nonington Halt was closed on Sundays (ref: Kentish Express, 5th October 1962). Effective from 14th April 1969, staff were withdrawn from the station (ref: The Railway Magazine, May 1969). Passengers starting their journeys at this station were asked to pay their fares at their destinations and were informed that season tickets were available from Canterbury East and Dover Priory, or any other open station they usually travelled to. The "Halt" suffix was dropped as part of British Rail’s (BR) network-wide discontinuation of this word for station names on the commencement of the summer timetable on 5th May 1969 (ref: RCTS’ The Railway Observer, June 1969). "Nonington" was still given as part of the station’s name in BR's Southeast London and Kent passenger timetable dated 8th May 1978 to 13th May 1979.

Today, the station is known as plain "Snowdown". The platforms appear not to have been extended since the alterations made during the 1950s, the concrete surfaces on both sides being about 550-feet in length. Based on your author’s observations from a passing train in March 2022, the final touches were being put on new glazed waiting shelters on both platforms.

July 1976

A 4-CEP is seen approaching with a Dover Western Docks to Victoria via Chatham and Herne Hill service in this southward view, which shows the ends of the 1950s concrete platforms and a run-in board displaying the previous name, "Snowdown & Nonington". In the left distance can be seen the signal box that was situated adjacent to the exchange sidings with the colliery, the latter of which closed in October 1987. © David Glasspool Collection

12th February 2005

A northward view towards Canterbury shows the road bridge that provides passage between the platforms, which had its parapets rebuilt in 1949. Based on photographs, the framework of the waiting shelters appears to predate the phased rebuilding of the station in the 1950s, but the corrugated cladding is from that decade. In the right upper background can be seen the pitched roof of one of the colliery buildings, this of which was formerly the site’s engine shed. © David Glasspool