Colhapper 1969
  • Location: Colhapper, Kent
  • Operator: British Rail
  • Constructed: 1865
  • Station Code: CH
  • Platforms: 2
  • Status: Open

Colhapper railway station is a large station, built by the South Eastern Railway in 1865. Having been frequently visited by engines from the railway in the past, it is now the current southern terminus station of the Dark Railway.


The station was constructed by the South Eastern Railway in 1865, serving the large city of Colhapper, Kent. The station is located on the SER's secondary route from Barbourne to Market Leyborough, where it rejoins another SER line to London.

Colhapper serves as an important connection point for the railways in the area, being situated between several junctions and interconnecting railway lines, all originally built by the SER. The station was particularly busy because of this, with many relief services arriving and departing from the station via the Barbourne and Market Leborough mainline, and the connections to Horton Junction and Galen Junction. Because of this, a large motive power depot was built just to the west of the station to service locomotives and rolling stock.

In 1923, the station, along with the Barbourne and Market Leyborough lines, were absorbed into the Southern Railway, causing the station to become even busier, with relief and secondary services utilising the station's through lines to ease congestion on the mainlines to the east of Colhapper. It was during this period that Dark Railway services sometimes terminated at Colhapper on busy days, and by extension, several services continued to Galen Junction for exchange traffic to ease congestion during the summer months.

After the war, in 1948, the station passed into the ownership of British Railways, when things took a turn for the worse for Colhapper's station. Passenger services became more and more sporadic with several trains that called at the station either being re-routed or bypassing the station on the through lines. Freight traffic also declined steadily, with the main sources of traffic being from Soma, Merecombe and Barbourne. By 1960, the station was beginning to look rather run down and uncared for.

In 1968, the railway line north of Galen Junction (to Market Leyborough) was closed and lifted by British Rail, along with the intermediate station at Raxas Heath, as it was classed as a duplicate line. This affected traffic at Colhapper greatly, as passenger services from Barbourne were being routed via Horton Junction, using the triangle west of Colhapper to achieve this. At this stage, passenger services were reduced to shuttles between Colhapper and Horton, and passenger trains to Galen Junction had been withdrawn, with this line being reduced to freight only. Because of all this, the old through lines (a vital and strategical feature of the station) were ripped up, and passenger services were cut down even more, with only one shuttle an hour to Horton.

In 1970, British Rail finally decided to let go of the line north of Colhapper to Galen Junction, a big problem for the Dark Railway. However, Mr Dark as adamant, and persuaded British Rail to sell the land and line between the two stations to him. Thus, beginning in 1970, the Dark Railway began running services to Colhapper at long last: a dream fulfilled for Mr Dark. Ownership of the railway line, land, infrastructure and part of Colhapper station itself (mainly Platform 1 and th goods shed) thus transferred to the Dark Railway, meaning that, once again, the railway has an interchange with British Rail.

Layout and FacilitiesEdit

When originally built, the station has two long main platforms and two bay platforms, with two avoiding loops between the main platforms. The two bay platforms (one on the west side of the station, and one on the east side) were converted into goods sidings in 1943 (west) and 1956 (east). In 1968, the two avoiding lines were reduced to one, which now acts as a run round loop for locomotive hauled services. This avoider had been removed entirely by the time services from the Dark Railway started running to the station. A run-round loop was relaid in 1971.

Passenger and freight facilities in recent times have been reduced by British Rail, coinciding with the cancellation of passenger services of the line northbound towards Galen Junction, which, as of 1969, is now retained as a connection to the Dark Railway. There is a large station building on the northside platform, and the grand footbridge remains in operation at present.

The once large motive power depot at Colhapper has been run down over the years, once being a well maintainted shed for steam traction. It was converted for use as a diesel storage depot in the early 1960's, but no longer has a permeanant allocation of locomotives, with most services southbound now being operated by diesel multiple units. By 1970, the MPD had been demolished. The following year, a new MPD was constructed for use by the Dark Railway locomotives.

As of 1969, the station sees one service an hour from Horton. Passenger traffic from the Dark Railway began again in 1970, with multiple services an hour terminating at Colhapper.

Accidents and IncidentsEdit

  • In October 1971, a British Rail diesel multiple unit's brakes failed as it was entering the station, causing it to roll through the station and onto the Dark Railway's running line. Noone was injured in the incident.


The Dark Railway SeriesEdit




  • Colhapper's name is similar to (and a play on) the word "Kolhapur", which is the name of both an Indian city and a British steam locomotive, Stanier Jubilee No. 45593, which is now preserved at Tyseley Locomotive Works.
  • Prior to becoming part of the line in series 7, Colhapper was the most frequent location seen in the series that was not actually located on the Dark Railway itself.
Locations on The Dark Railway
ColhapperGalen JunctionAxleyLake (closed)WalschurchUpwayManston ForeMerecombeSomaMerecombe Gasworks (closed)Merecombe Industrial Estate (closed)
Motive Power Depots
Colhapper ShedGalen Junction Shed (closed)Merecombe Shed
Points of Interest
Galen Junction Railway MuseumCaracus Smash LtdWalschurch ViaductUpway BankGasworks Tunnel Incline (closed)