Archive for August 30th, 2008

11th hour for Folkestone Harbour line

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Folkestone Harbour and its railway,
photo The Remembrance Line

The Folkestone Harbour Company, unhappy with their untidy commercial port, want to carry out a few improvements. Replacing the current facilities with a marina would do wonders for property values. 1,400 waterfront flats should bring in a tidy sum, while the construction of new college would demonstrate the company’s social responsibility credentials. Of course, the harbour railway, currently used by the Venice – Simplon Orient Express, would have to go, but it would be replaced by a new road offering a fast route to the marina.

The Remembrance Line campaign is being launched this Sunday in order to fight for the future of the line. The campaign organisers face a David versus Goliath struggle against developers who will be in very good standing with the local planning authorities. Yet, it is not impossible to win such a battle. Dyspozytor was involved in a similar struggle to save a railway against powerful commercial interests and that line is now one of the most successful heritage lines in the South of England. Do the campaigners understand the magnitude of the battle that they are taking on and are they really prepared to give the forthcoming battle their all? Only time will tell.

From the Remembrance line website:

Once again Folkestone’s history is under threat as developers plan to demolish the Harbour Railway Station, the Station Masters House, Signal Box and Viaduct in order to build a Marina, University and at least 1,400 houses.

Our campaign is seeking to retain this entire unique example of our engineering heritage as an operational entity as well as providing a practical, working link with the Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE) and other train operators around the country through access to Network Rail’s national rail system.

In time we also aim to provide trains from London to link with a cross-channel service from Folkestone, visiting battle-sites and other places of interest in France , linking with Maritime and other Continental Railway Groups.

For over 165 years, the railway and harbour has served many thousands of travellers both to and from the Continent and millions of service personnel in two World Wars. It provided jobs for local people and could still do so. A fully working harbour and railway would definitely promote regeneration of the area and benefit all those who live and work in Folkestone, so removing the divide that currently exists.

Expert views have indicated that there is a potential of 100,000 to 250,000 visitors per annum who would follow in the footsteps of their forefathers, visiting the railway, a major, iconic “Leaving for War” memorial, a “Front-line Folkestone” and crossing the channel museum, the restored canteen and an upgraded Road of Remembrance.

Please join The Association today to save this important part of South Eastern England’s Heritage and history from loss through sweeping development. The early days of steam made Folkestone famous in Queen Victoria’s reign and through two World Wars when thousands of service men and women passed through Folkestone Harbour Station en route for France. We invite you to join the Remembrance Line Association and help us achieve our goal.

The public media and press launch of The Remembrance Line takes place at the Grand Hotel Folkestone, on Sunday 31st August from 2:00 pm.

Further information: