Urban Archive: Folkestone - The Folkestone Harbour Branch Line

Until it was closed in 2001, the Folkestone Harbour station served the bustling Folkestone port, situated at the end of the Harbour Branch Line which connected the port to the South Eastern main line. This line was mainly used by tourists travelling to mainland Europe as it allowed them to travel directly from London to the ferry services that would take them across to Calais and Boulogne. Unfortunately, Ferry services from Folkestone fell into decline with the nearby port in Dover expanding so successfully and eventually ceased to operate. Since the closure of the port and then subsequently the harbour station, the Harbour Branch line has sat abandoned and unused, forming a deep division between two parts of Folkestone. Interestingly, the bridge and the rail line existed before the majority of buildings that now surround it, meaning that this division was accidentally built into the town. 

In recent months, interest in the site has grown, and Network Rail have been working to clean it up and make it more presentable, and they’ve done a great job so far. Although final plans are still developing and remain a mystery to all of us, yesterday I was able to visit and walk the tracks with the Urban Room Folkestone team, collecting the research for my Urban Archive: Folkestone project.

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