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of Victoria Station, London.
The London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) was a railway company that operated in south-eastern England between 1859 and 1923 before grouping with three other companies to form the Southern Railway. Its lines ran through London and eastern/northern Kent, and formed a significant part of the Greater London commuter network. From the start the railway was in an impecunious position.
Although the Chatham, as it was always known, was subject to much criticism for its often lamentable carriage stock and poor punctuality, in two respects at least it was very good: it used the highly effective Westinghouse brake on its passenger stock, and the Sykes 'Lock and Block' system of signalling. It was actually a line with an excellent safety record.
For a small and indigent company the Chatham was lucky in its locomotive engineers. After a very patchy start, with a miscellany of Crampton engines and other oddities, it had two very competent engineers: William Martley and William Kirtley.
1853 The London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company was incorporated.
1859 the East Kent Railway changed its name to the London, Chatham and Dover Railway.
1860 William Martley was appointed in 1860, and commissioned some very effective performers, notably the 0-4-2 well tanks of the 'Scotchmen' (1866) and 'Large Scotchmen' (1873) classes for the suburban services; and the 'Europa' class (1873) of 2-4-0s, which ran the mail trains to and from Dover, the Chatham's crack service.
On 1 November 1861 the route giving the railway access to London was opened.
1874 William Kirtley came from the Midland Railway in 1874, following the death of Martley. He was the nephew of Matthew Kirtley, the Midland's famous locomotive superintendent. Kirtley produced a series of execllent designs, robust and good performers - the A series of 0-4-4 tanks for suburban services, the B series of 0-6-0 goods engines; the T class of shunting engines; the M series of 4-4-0 express passenger engines; and a final R series of enlarged 0-4-4 tanks. These, rather than Stirling's Ashford products, formed the basis for SE&CR development under Wainwright, not least because it was Robert Surtees from Longhedge who led design work for the successor organisation. The R series led to the SE&CR's R1 and subsequent H class; the Bs to the famous C class; and the Ms to the D and E classes, which in their rebuilt Maunsell form may have been the best British inside-cylinder 4-4-0s.
1875 See 1875 Number of Locomotives
1888 See Locomotive Stock June 1888
1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Awarded Diploma of Honour for Railway Plant.