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GJ 1969
Galen Junction
  • Location: Galen Moor, Colhapper, Kent.
  • Operator: Dark Railway
  • Constructed: 1892
  • Station Code: GJ
  • Platforms: 4
  • Status: Open

Galen Junction railway station is the historic southern terminus of the Dark Railway . It is located on the edge of Galen Moor, and a small hamlet has begun to grow around the station as of 1970.

HistoryEdit

The original station was constructed in November 1892 by the South Eastern Railway, as an interchange station with the Dark Railway, which had built it's line from Soma and Axley to connect with the SER.

At first, there was a simple interchange here for mineral traffic from Soma, when the site was known as "Soma Interchange". However, once passenger workings were timetabled, the SER, in association with the DR, built a simple bay platform between the two networks so that passengers could change trains. The layout was expanded to three platforms in 1896, so that "down" SER services could interchange with the Dark Railway. The new station was named "Galen Junction", after the moorlands nearby.

At this station, Dark Railway services terminated in the lengthy bay platform, though at the time, permission was granted for the engines to "run round" their trains via the SER mainline tracks, due to the lack of a proper run round loop for the bay platform. However, after a horrific accident in 1911 (see below), the station was completely rebuilt and moved slightly to the north, with provisions made to keep both railways separated from eachother. A new runround loop was built on the DR's bay platform to prevent this kind of accident happening again. Alas, unfortunately, just two years later, a similar incident occured, when a shunting move went wrong, and another express collided with an engine, this time, a tank engine. From that point, signalman and engine crews were more dilligent of their duties when shunting or running round at the station.

In 1925, the station was rennovated, with Southern Railway furniture installed, including lamps and benches. A new waiting room was also installed that year, as was a small canopy for rainy days. The station was extensively rebuilt in 1956 to it's now familiar layout, with a larger canopy, larger waiting room and new footbridges installed.

In 1969, British Rail decided to withdraw passenger services to the station, resulting in the Dark Railway also withdrawing passenger services here as well. The station was not demolished, however, as the railway's manager, Otthaniel Dark, hoped to see it reopen in the future. By the end of the year, the newly formed Dark Railway Preservation Society achieved this ambition by restoring the station to a functional state, and it is now open.

During the autumn of 1969, Galen Junction lost it's shed complex after an explosion destroyed it, along with three of the railway's locomotives. There are no immediate plans to rebuild a shed complex here.

In 1970, the station and trackwork around the site was rebuilt, due to the opening of the new extension to Colhapper. This included the creation of a fourth platform, and realigning the railway lines so that the Dark Railway's running lines ran through (what was once) the mainline platforms (Platforms 2 and 3), with platform 1 being retained and a new platform 4 being constructed alongside platform 3 (as a move of intent to possibly rebuild the railway line to Raxas Heath and Market Leyborough).

Layout and FacilitiesEdit

The station was originally built with two platform faces on an island platform, but was expanded to three platforms to serve the "down" line on the other side of the station. The station connects the Dark Railway with the ex-SER line to the south end of the station, allowing services from the south to run right through the station towards Merecombe. Services coming from the north have to reverse here in order to reach Merecombe.

In 1969, British Rail withdrew passenger services to Galen Junction, downgrading the line from there to Colhapper as freight only (as certain freight trains still run onto the mainline from Soma, Walschurch and Merecombe). They also ripped up the railway line through platform 3, and part of the line through platform 2. The bay platform, however, remains in use for special events on the DR.

As of 1970, an extensive rebuild of the station expanded the amount of platforms in use to four, with a new bay platform being added to the east of the station, alongside platform 3. The running lines have also been realigned due to the extension to Colhapper and the expected increase of traffic at this station.

To the west side of the station was the yard and sheds, where rolling stock and locomotives were stabled up until 1969, when the MPD closed after an explosion destroyed it. Several sidings survive, as does the fuelling points for the locomotives, though most engines are now refuelled at Merecombe.

To the south of the station are two long freight loops, where goods trains are stabled. As of 1970, the old shed at the end of this loop has been leased to the DRPS, and is used to maintain their engine, No 5, and their various items of rolling stock and memorabillia. There is no longer a connection to the "mainline" at the south end of the loop, as it is mainly used now for demonstration goods trains and brakevan rides by the DRPS.

To the east is a large events field which is sometimes used by the DRPS for special events and as a makeshift car park, however, this land may be further developed in the 1970s.

Accidents and IncidentsEdit

  • In 1911, whilst running around it's train using the mainline tracks (due to lack of a rounaround loop on the original station layout), on-loan LB&SCR "B1" No 220 "Hampden" was hit from behind by the 14:20 Barbourne to Market Leyborough express service, which had not slowed sufficiently for a red signal. No 220 was lifted from the rails due to the force of the collision, mounting the station platform and crushing several innocent bystanders in the process. 56 passengers on the express train were killed when the coaches telescoped into eachother. The driver and fireman were killed instantly, as was the driver of the express engine. Fireman Pearce survived the initial collision, but was hospitalised for three weeks before succumbing to his wounds. This was one of the worst accidents to occur on the railway
  • In 1913, a collision occurred between a late running express service (being hauled by a pair of LBSCR 2-2-2's on loan to the SE&CR) and the DR's recently purchased tank engine, an A1 class named "Cheapside". The tank engine was wrecked beyond economical repair, and damage was caused to the station itself, which was closed for three weeks whilst repairs were completed. The driver of the tank engine survived, but the fireman did not, who was forcibly ejected from the cab in the accident. It was found that the driver had erronously moved too far forward whilst shunting, therefore derailing and straying into the path of the express train.
  • In 1969, the shed complex at Galen Junction exploded, causing major damage to the sheds and destroying three of the railway's locomotives (Nos D2992, D8198 and 47407). It was first thought that the explosion had been caused by hot ashes igniting a leaking fuel tanker, but it was later discovered that dynamite from Soma Quarry had been stolen and used to purposely blow up the complex in an act of vandalism by persons unknown.

AppearancesEdit

The Dark Railway SeriesEdit

Episodes:

TriviaEdit

  • Galen Junction is essentially an interchange station, and therefore, does not serve a town, village or hamlet, though there are plans to develop the land around the station for housing in future by the local council.
  • The station itself closed for a brief period during 1969 when British Rail withdrew regular passenger services to the station and railway. However, by the end of the year, the station had been reopened for use at special events.
Locations on The Dark Railway
Stations
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)

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