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Written by Jonathan Makepeace - 11 Aug 2007
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Location notes
The single track branch line from Hoo Junction to Grain and Thamesport is on the Hoo Peninsula in North Kent. Hoo Junction is on the line between Gravesend and Strood. The Hoo Peninsula is an area of great contrast: isolated marshland and mudflats, farms and orchards, power stations and a container port. For bird spotters there are several RSPB nature reserves. There are also connections with Charles Dickens, for example the church at Cooling was the inspiration for the opening scenes in Great Expectations.
Railway type and traffic
This is a freight only branch with services running Monday to Friday only, with very occasional weekend passenger excursions or Serco test trains. There is roughly one train per hour throughout the length of the line. Current workings include DB Schenker and GB Railfreight ballast from Foster Yeoman's terminal at Grain where an 08 shunter is normally resident; DB Schenker spoil workings to Grain; Freightliner workings to and from Thamesport and a intermodal service to Thamesport.
Link to Real Time Trains
RTT Link Grain Branch, Church Street
This link should be close to the location, but may not be the actual location so please check the page. This link will take you to what is happening 'around now'. Dates and times can be changed at the top of the page.
Environment
The level crossing at Church Street can only be reached by a public footpath across a normally muddy field usually containing livestock. Open marshland with very little cover.
Road directions
From the A289 heading towards the Medway tunnel take the B2000 towards Cliffe. After about 1 km take the second left (Lower Rochester Road) towards Lower Higham. At the crossroads by the pub in Lower Higham turn right into Church Street and continue until the end of the road and park by the church in Church Street. The footpath continues from the end of the road across the field to the railway line.

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Grain Branch, Church Street map co-ordinates
Parking
Seems to be safe and quiet although the roads are narrow. Park by the letterbox by the church in Church Street.
Public transport
There is a half hourly service to Higham station.

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Amenities
There are no amenities at all the closest being Higham where there is both a sandwich and fish and chip shop. There is also a pub in Lower Higham.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Grain Branch, Church Street

Googly map
Streetmap links
Grain Branch, Church Street general view map
Grain Branch, Church Street close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Grain Branch, Church Street



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Photographic notes
The line runs from west to east so trains can be photographed at most times of the day usually from the south side of the line. However because of the vegetation most shots will be pretty much front end on.

The line is a challenge for photographers being largely flat (bring stepladders!), much line side vegetation and a proliferation of electricity pylons at some locations. Also for the majority of trains one is shooting into the light with biggest challenge being the evening Fastline Class 56 service to Thamesport which is only possible to photograph on the branch in midsummer.


General views - All photographs © Jonathan Makepeace unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking east


Fig 1 - Looking east


Fig 2 - Looking west


Fig 2 - Looking west


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