Screenshot Dark Railway 51.08191-0.94758 16-02-30
Upway Bank
  • Location: Upway, Kent
  • Operator: Dark Railway
  • Constructed: 1894
  • Length: 1 1/3 Mile
  • Max Gradient: 1in57
  • Tracks: 2
  • Status: Operational

Upway Bank is a formidable gradient on the Dark Railway. The base of the incline starts at Upway Station , whilst the summit of the bank is roughly 1/4 mile from Manston Fore Station .


The incline was built out of necessity to connect Upway to Merecombe, the ultimate goal of the Dark Railway when construction began. Blasting of the rocky hills began early in 1894, which changed the scenery here dramatically. To compensate, a new plantation of fir trees were planted on the opposite side of the line. 

This incline caused problems from day one of operations on the line, as the very first train (hauled by Theo and Otto) failed on this hill, causing it to be rescued by another engine. Since then, more powerful engines have had to be brought to the railway in order to tackle this steep incline, and banking assstance is still often required for heavy passenger and freight services climbing north.


Screenshot Dark Railway 51.10024-0.96969 16-06-51

The summit of Upway Bank. Here, we see visiting locomotive No 53802 reaching the summit with a van train in June 1962.

For journeys ascending the incline, trains start at the foot of the hill at Upway station. From here, the line curves north east and begins to climb from level until reaching a gradient of 1in57, one of the steepest inclines on the railway. The bank is then perfectly straight for just over a mile, before reaching a road bridge, where the line curves north.

The summit of the line is reached in a rocky cutting about one quarter of a mile from Manston Fore Station. For most of the journey, the line is boardered by cliffsides and fir forests.

Appearances Edit

The Dark Railway Series

Trivia Edit

  • Upway Bank is one of the most talked about places on the Railway. Indeed, it certainly causes the most trouble for northbound services, as a banking engine or pilot engine is often needed on this section of line, as seen in the very first episode of TDRS.
  • Upway bank is named after the real "Upwey Bank" on the south west main line, in Weymouth, Dorset.