11th hour for Folkestone Harbour line


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:

12 Responses to “11th hour for Folkestone Harbour line”

  1. kerry whitewood Says:

    why is it that their is always a underdog cause to be fought against progress ,
    surely first and foremost the views of the residents who live in the area who when given a choice between the masterplan and alternative projects voted by over 95% for dehann,s vision . the line you fight too keep is a transport link installed in a era when folkestone was the most direct route to europe.
    in folkestone we have a road of remembarence to rember those troops who passed this way too serve there country . maybe the people who campaign for this line could admit that they are the same people who travel here to photograph steam trains that pass down the line once a week its not about remembering thoose who passed this way .its about trainspotters standing on bridges sniffing steam trains let the past go and move on

  2. patrick nairne Says:

    If you would like to see the railway incorporated into any re-development plan, please sign the petition at:


  3. Richard Moffatt Says:

    Wasn’t aware that The Remembrance Line was such an underdog. If you knew the alternative choice at the the time of the vote-Atilla the Hun would have had my vote!

    Apart from that Kerry you are so wrong. On the board of the Remembrance Line Association are: a professional environmental campaigner; a former town councilor; a professional artist; a railway technician; a proffesional military historian and a local resident – all of them Folkestone ratepayers – and all of them appalled by by a ‘masterplan’ which is suited to a ‘master race’ and nothing to do with Folkestone people. There is nothing whimsical going on here. They are for preserving and conserving the railway and it’s poigniant wartime connections. They are fighting to protect the destruction of what is intrinsically Folkestone. This is not some kind of mealy mouthed nimby group.

    Why not join us? Folkestone deserves your backing.

  4. Richard Says:

    Who voted over 95% for the Master Plan, certainly not the people who live in that area of Folkestone. There has been no debate, responsibility for managing Folkestone has been handed to Roger De Haan on a plate by Shepway District Council. There has been no consultation with the people of Folkestone. The Master Plan is beginning to fall apart, it is too expensive, speculative and is not a plan but an idea. An idea that is being questioned by the developers who have failed to invest and there is a problem with traffic flows and movements as well as service such as sewage, water, electricity etc.

    The Master Plan would be an environmental disaster with increased traffic on roads that cannot cope. Even if the branch line was to be removed there remains problems with the two roundabouts. There are morning and daytime traffic jams in Folkestone since the ASDA store opened with traffic backing up along Shellons Street, Grace Hill and Tontine Street. Can you imagine what a thousand extra cars will cause, excluding tourists and university staff and students.

    Council members are beginning to question the viability of the Master Plan and it would appear De Haan has had to go back to the drawing board. The Master Plan and Creative Quarter was not to benefit Folkestone it was to improve the approach to a piece of Development Land using government and local authority money and increase the value of the harbour and seafront sites and squeeze several thousand flats onto a small piece of land and make a rich man and his family even richer, or should that be a rich man and his many wives and kids

    Like the Creative Quarter the Master Plan was a flop before it was put on paper.

  5. michelle Says:

    Richard I agree. Do you remember about 20 or so years ago, they had planned to do the same? There were models and meetings and promises of jobs and loads more. Nothing ever came of that either.
    It is a total farce. The Sunday market, JG’s funfair, and weather you loved it or hated it, I believe it was very good for Folkestone; it brought people, money and jobs. Folkestone harbour used to be such a buzzing place, now you will be lucky to see anything with it’s over grown and un kept gardens,
    It’s not a nice place to visit now at all.
    I remember when I was at school, for my history exam no less I had to look into and write an essay on the history of Folkestone. Most of Folkestone’s history is being destroyed, I loved learning about the history of my home town and it will always be a special place to me, but I see it now and hardly recognize the place. I understand change may be good, but destruction is certainly not.
    I believe in what you are trying to do and I have told my entire family and friends about your petition and asked them to sign it, but I think we both want this for different reasons, however I wish you all the luck in the world.

  6. Tim Collier Says:

    Hope the campaign is going ok. I have just visited Land’s End and seen what badly thought out development can result in.

    In Folkestone there is the opportunity to develop a historical facility around / incorporating the existing station, with marina for small boats on the inner or the larger seaward side.

    The idea of demolishing the Railway is surely just 1950s / 1960s regressive thinking ??

    I am a member of the R L Association already, but wish you all every success, and you may forward this message to Planners / Councillors etc if you think it will help.

    Timothy J L Collier

  7. John Ball Says:

    Most redevelopment schemes have got nothing to do with enhancing the community. They generally involve private wealth generation by inflating property prices and anything public is usually commercial entertainment. If public money can be sucked in, so much more profit and less risk for the developer.

    Usually this is accompanied by a cavalier attitude to public rights of way. Heaven forbid that these should obstruct private profit! Where you once walked freely as of right, you will in future only go if you pass muster with unaccountable security goons who will eject you if you don’t look like a good spender.

    Good old rip-off Britain.

  8. Jim Taylor Says:

    I have just visited Folkestone and was very sad to see the run down state of the harbour area and the station. It seems to me that with a little more vision and a little less greed on the part of the developers a development could take place which satisfies all parties. That is the retention of the railway and station for use as a tourist attraction and the
    marina developed in the inner and/or outer harbour.

    Add to this the development of new homes and businesses around the harbour and sea front areas and new life would be breathed into the area.

    Railways are a big tourist draw and can sustain other developments (see for example Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway, or the South Devon Railway at Torquay) they can also help to retain the historical significance of an area.

    Jim Taylor

  9. george porter Says:

    When I was a child we always went to Folkstone from London and loved and enjoyed our holidays there. Since growing up and living in Folkstone and Dover over the past 20 years or more, sadly I have seen both go down hill. There is not much to see or do any more. many shops in Guildhall St. and Tontine St. have gone and are standing empty. Folkstone market on the sea front is no more. All amusement facilities near the beach have gone: cafés, the boating pool and others. What is wrong with Folkstone Council? Why have they let it all go? It’s disgusting, shame on the council.

  10. RONALD DUTT Says:


  11. RONALD DUTT Says:


  12. RONALD DUTT Says:

    What is going to happen to Folkstone Harbour Station? Can it be reopened? It will be a shame if it stays closed. It is part of Folkstone’s heritage.

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