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Published by: Crecy Publishing Limited
Author: Kevin Robertson

The Southern Way Special No 18: 60 Years of the Kent Coast Electrification


Following the hiatus in railway improvements resulting from the Second World War and its aftermath, the late 1950s saw work start on the Kent Coast Electrification scheme. As well as continuing the programme of main-line electrification started by the Southern Railway in the 1930s, this project represented a number of 'firsts' - the first to employ main line multiple-units built to BR Mark 1 designs; the first to use a higher line voltage of 750 against the 660 of earlier schemes, and the first to see the complete replacement of steam haulage on freight workings by new electric and diesel locomotives. As with the earlier Southern Railway schemes, the new services brought reduced journey times and greatly increased connectivity, leading to increases in passenger numbers and new housing development as commuters moved further out.