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Folkestone Harbour Station


History:
Folkestone Harbour Station provided a rail connection for boat trains from London which connected with the ferry services to Calais and Boulogne.

A short 1 in 30 gradient branch line was built in 1844 leaving the main line at Folkestone Junction to serve Folkestone Harbour's Inner Harbour. By 1848 a swing bridge was constructed to allow the line to reach the present terminus (Outer Harbour). The line was electrified at the same time as the main line during the Kent Coast Electrification - Stage 2 in 1961, and passenger trains were formed of Electric Multiple Units. Freight services were withdrawn in 1968.

In 1994, the opening of the Channel Tunnel led to the majority of ferry operators moving to other ports in the South East, with the result that only two services per day were arriving at Folkestone Harbour, to connect with the Hoverspeed SeaCat services. When these were moved to Ramsgate, the station closed to ordinary rail traffic in 2001 and singled.

Until 2009, Venice Simplon Orient Express operated two scheduled services per week to Folkestone Harbour on its London to Paris route, which ran on Thursdays and Sunday between March and November when the British Pullman service terminated there. Passengers were transferred by coach to the Eurotunnel terminal, where they joined a Eurotunnel

Shuttle to Calais to pick up the Orient Express in France. These services together with special charter trains were the only services useing the station. The last train to use the station was BR Standard Class 7, No: 70013, Oliver Cromwell on a charter train on 14 March 2009.

On 20 March 2009, Network Rail announced they had begun the formal process to close the line and station on cost grounds, having redeveloped Folkestone West with new waiting facilities for the VSOE passengers. However, up to August 2010, the closure process had not proceeded past the statutory 'mothballing' stage, making the railway still officially operational. This is to allow protracted negotiations between all interested parties to run their full course to ensure the optimum benefits for the Folkestone Harbour statutory port area and to fully investigate heritage, conservation and other planning issues pertaining to the Shepway District as a whole.

Today the station provides access for the end of the pier via the former footbridge for those who like to fish or look at big waves...