Lock and Key of the Kingdom

Dover Priory Station

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Image:  Dover Priory Station c.1876.
Dover Priory Station c.1876.
The overall roof of the original station can be seen at the extreme left of the picture. Next to this are the carriage shed and engine shed.

The Priory Station was opened on 22 July 1861 by the London Chatham and Dover Railway as the temporary terminus of their line from London. On 1 November 1861 it became a through station when the tunnel connecting it with the Harbour Station opened. Originally called Dover Town it was renamed Dover Priory in July 1863, taking its name from the nearby remains of St Martinís Priory. The name Dover Town was then taken by the South Eastern Railway for their original terminus.

As built, Dover Priory had an overall roof covering the platforms and was provided with goods, carriage and engine sheds. Passenger services for the town were consolidated at the Priory Station in 1927 when the old Harbour Station was closed (the Town Station had closed to civilian traffic in October 1914). The engine shed was closed in 1928 when a new shed near the old Town Station was opened. In 1932 the station was rebuilt in the modern style of the Southern Railway.

During the Second World War the station saw much traffic including the evacuation of the children of Dover in June 1940. It had the dubious honour of being the victim of the first shell to hit the town, which destroyed the passenger footbridge on 11 September 1940.

Since the war the station has seen a large increase in cross-Channel passenger traffic as the Eastern Docks hasdeveloped. With no rail connection to the Eastern Docks, shuttle buses to there, and the Hoverport, provide a connection for rail passengers. In 1994 the Priory Station became Doverís only railway station when the Marine Station closed.

In July 2006 it was announced that after several years of campaigning Dover will have Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) services into London. The Department for Transport said hourly high-speed services would run between Dover Priory and London St Pancras from December 2009. Journeys from the Kent coast into the capital will take just over an hour.

Twenty-nine Hitachi class 395 trains, with a top speed of 140mph (225km/h), will operate on the CTRL. Network Rail will undertake improvements to the Shakespeare Tunnel near Dover to make it safe for the Hitachi trains to use.

In August 2006 major renovations started at the station. Including the refurbishment of the station building, booking hall and toilet facilities, and planned improvements to the external circulation for vehicles. There were also works to improve port interchange facilities, signs for pedestrians and CCTV coverage in the waiting areas.

The new service was introduced in December 2009 with a Dover Priory to London St Pancras journey time of 69 minutes.

Image:  Dover Priory Station 1930.
Dover Priory Station 1930.
The engine and carriage sheds have been demolished prior to the rebuilding of the station but the overall roof remains.

Dover Priory Station 1932.
The new station has been completed.




Image:  Shakespeare Cliff.transparent