HDL Medway Cracker railtour

Saturday 6 December 2003

This page last modified on Sunday 7 December 2003

This page refers to a railtour which has now taken place. All information is left here for interest only! A news article has been created that contains a photo of this tour.


Our pre-Christmas excursion this year provides an opportunity to visit various locations in north Kent for sightseeing, Christmas shopping, or a ride on a steam train.

First we travel from Hastings via Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge, stopping to pick up at most of our usual stations. From London Bridge we run via Lewisham, Eltham, Dartford and Gravesend to the Medway Towns where we stop to set down at Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham. Our train then traverses the branch line to and from Sheerness-on-Sea before terminating at Sittingbourne.

In Rochester there is the castle and cathedral to visit; the Dickens Festival will also be taking place. Chatham offers opportunities for Christmas shopping. The other option is to travel through to Sittingbourne where it will be possible to ride on the narrow-gauge Sittingbourne and Kemsley steam railway. There are frequent local trains (or buses) between these locations during the day, for which the appropriate additional fare must be paid at the time.

Our train returns from Sittingbourne in the late afternoon, picking up at Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester before travelling via Sole Street, Swanley and Chislehurst into Charing Cross. After a brief halt, we cover the complete route through to Hastings; this is probably one of the last-ever chances to do so by DEMU!

Owing to the fact that our train must stop at the end of the platform at Charing Cross (away from the covered section), it will be restricted to the bare six-car unit. Whilst we regret not being able to run to a more ambitious destination on this trip, we are pleased that we will have this last opportunity to run under the wing of Connex, with whom HDL has always enjoyed an excellent relationship.

We are particularly proud of the party atmosphere on our excursions at this time of the year. There will be Christmas decorations in the train, and a mince pie and glass of wine will be offered to each of our passengers on the way home!


These are the finalised timings for the railtour, as received from Network Rail.

Hastings depart 0810
St. Leonards (Warrior Square) 0814
Battle 0827
Etchingham 0839
Tunbridge Wells 0858
Tonbridge 0912
Sevenoaks depart 0925
London Bridge platform 3 due 0951
London Bridge platform 3 depart 1012
Rochester due 1117
Chatham due 1121
Gillingham due 1126
Sheerness-on-sea due 1205
Sheerness-on-sea depart 1211
Sittingbourne due 1237
Sittingbourne depart 1630
Gillingham depart 1645
Chatham depart 1649
Rochester depart 1653
Charing Cross platform 6 due 1744
Charing Cross platform 6 depart 1805
Sevenoaks due 1839
Tonbridge 1849
Tunbridge Wells 1900
Etchingham 1918
Battle 1930
St. Leonards (Warrior Square) 1942
Hastings due 1947


Fares for return travel to all destinations

Club Class

Travel at a seat with a table, with refreshments provided throughout the trip plus a meal with wine on the way home. Seating is likely to be in a DEMU trailer coach; payment of the additional £5 supplement assures travel in Tunbridge Wells power car.

Power Cars

A £5 supplement should be added to individual (not bay) fares for travel in power cars: Tunbridge Wells (Club Class), or Mountfield (Standard Class). Capacity is limited.

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway

Tickets for the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway are available at £4 each. Please state clearly the number of people wishing to take up this option.


Our train includes a Buffet Car; a selection of hot & cold snacks and drinks will be available throughout the day at reasonable prices. There will also be a trolley service.


Smoking is not permitted in any part of our train.

Latest information: 6 December 2003

Tour virtually full!

There are very few seats left anywhere on the train; those that do remain unbooked at present are mostly aisle seats.


Bookings have now closed and the tour has taken place.