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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

Dover Marine Station

In 1860 the South Eastern Railway started running trains onto  the Admiralty Pier to connect with their cross-Channel steamers.  Their rival the London Chatham and Dover Railway started using  the pier in 1864.  There was little protection on the narrow  platform and in stormy weather passengers and trains alike got  soaked by waves breaking over the pier. What was needed was a purpose build station, with a roof! In 1909 work started on reclaiming the land on which to build  the Marine Station. The Admiralty Pier was built in a curve and a  wall was constructed a short distance from the pier, straight  across the curve to the original, pre-extension pier head. The  area between the wall and the pier was reclaimed using chalk  quarried from the cliffs.   The magnificent Marine Station had just been completed in 1914  when the First World War broke out, so its first passengers were  troops on their way to Flanders and the sick and wounded  returning from the front. In recognition of the part it played in  war transport, the war memorial of the South Eastern &  Chatham Railway was placed there rather than at one of the  large London termini.   The Marine Station opened to civilian Continental traffic in  January 1920 with a full passenger service by February 1922. As  well as the constant stream of ordinary boat trains carrying  passengers to and from the continent, the station also saw  special services such as the luxury Pullman train Golden Arrow.  Also before the advent of safe, reliable air travel, Dover was the  port of entry for most VIPs from the continent, with the Marine  Station welcoming European royalty and heads of state. The Station played its part in Second World War handling the  hundreds of special trains for the Dunkirk evacuation and  suffering much bomb and shell damage.   After the war passenger services returned but as the car ferry  services increased the number rail passengers crossing the  channel fell. In 1994 the Marine Station closed to rail traffic and in 1996,  after a major refurbishment, re-opened as Dover’s new Cruise  Liner Terminal.  
Widening the Admiralty Pier, 1912.  The site of the Marine Station under construction. A boat train waiting at at the Marine Station, 1920. The Marine Station in the 1920s. Shell damage to the Marine Station, 1944.  During the penultimate shelling attack on Dover, on 25th September, the Marine Station was hit several times. A train leaving the Marine Station heading towards Dover Priory in the 1950s. The South Eastern and Chatham Railway war memorial.  In recognition of the part the Marine Station played in war transport, the war memorial was placed there rather than at one of the large London termini. Back to Railway Index