Southeastern

08 Sep 2017

175 years of Headcorn Railway Station

175 years of Headcorn Railway Station: Helen Whately MP and David Wornham

Southeastern celebrated Headcorn station’s 175th birthday with Helen Whately, MP Faversham and Mid Kent.

The event also featured a photographic exhibition of the station’s long history and a chance for passengers to travel to Leeds Castle on a heritage Pullman carriage.

Along with Helen Whately MP, other guests who attended the celebrations included representatives from Kent County and Maidstone District Council and Headcorn Parish Council, as well as local rail enthusiasts.

Over the past 175 years, the station has been vital to connecting communities in Kent and the South East. Today, Headcorn station is used by over 600,000 passengers each year, and still provides a vital link between Kent destinations and central London.  

Helen Whately, MP said:

"It's amazing to think how much has changed since the first steam engine roared into Headcorn Station - perhaps scaring horses and overturning carts. It must have been an extraordinary sight, and a huge change for the village.

"During the Second World War soldiers stopped at Headcorn, some on their way to fight on the continent, and locals handed out food and drink. Now train travel is a part of everyday life, vital for commuters and for attracting visitors to the village.

"I was delighted to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the station. It was a great chance to reflect on Headcorn's heritage and discuss the future of rail services - how they can be improved and how the station can be made more accessible - with Southeastern staff. Happy birthday Headcorn."

David Wornham, Passenger Services Director, Southeastern said:

“This is a very special day for Headcorn station and its staff as we celebrate its long 175 year history and heritage. The current station is only one of many that has visibly benefited from our £70 million investment across the Southeastern network. For example, train punctuality through Headcorn has improved in recent months and we are also encouraged by the improved passenger satisfaction noted in this summer’s national survey results.”

Contact information

Neil Kernohan

neil.kernohan@southeasternrailway.co.uk

Notes to editors

Headcorn station was opened on 31 August 1842 as part of the extension of the South Eastern Railway’s main line from Tonbridge. The line reached Ashford by December 1842, Folkestone by December 1843 and Dover in February 1844. The current station was rebuilt and reopened in 1989 by the former MP for Maidstone, Anne Widdecombe.

Attendees at the anniversary event on Friday 8 September:

  • Helen Whately MP - Member of Parliament for Faversham and Mid-Kent
  • Cllr Shellina Prendergast - Kent County and Maidstone District Councillor
  • Cllr Bridget Dungey - Headcorn Parish Councillor
  • Cllr Caroline James - Headcorn Parish Councillor
  • Cllr Simon Evenden - Headcorn Parish Councillor
  • David Wornham -  Passenger Services Director, Southeastern
  • Chris Vinson - Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Southeastern
  • Marie Northfield - Area Manager, Southeastern
  • Jim Wells - Station Manager, Southeastern
  • Tom Miles - Administrator, Southeastern

Representatives from the Kent and East Sussex heritage railway – which runs from Tenterden to Bodiam – also hosted a stall with pictures and memorabilia.

Here is their website https://www.kesr.org.uk/

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