Few visitors who today walk along the quiet platforms at Folkestone Harbour station, or venture further out to the lighthouse, can have any idea of how the entire area once functioned as a vital link with the Continent and a cohesive commercial operation.
Rails across the Harbour tells the story of the Folkestone Harbour branch railway, its station and pier while also exploring the engines, trains and cross-Channel ships with which it was associated throughout the period of its operational existence.
The South Eastern Railway purchased the derelict and bankrupt harbour in 1843 and made great attempts to improve and develop its basic infrastructure. Although undergoing great change throughout the years, the harbour remained in railway ownership until 1984 before the opening of the Channel Tunnel inevitably led to its demise and eventual closure in 2001. The branch line lingered rather longer and survived as a siding until 2014.
Now under the ownership of The Folkestone Harbour Company, the harbour, station and pier have been totally refurbished as part of the town's ongoing regeneration project.