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Written by Jonathan Makepeace - 14 Aug 2007
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Location notes
This spot approximately mid way between the sites of Beluncle and Middle Stoke halts both closed in 1961.
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, Stoke Road
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
A very quiet but exposed location with no shelter - warm clothing is recommended.
Road directions
Take the A228 towards Grain and before crossing the Grain Branch turn right at the roundabout towards Kingsnorth Power Station (Roper's Lane). Take the first left at the T-junction and then first left again after Beluncle Farm into Stoke Road. Cross over the Grain branch and continue for about 2 km until the road reaches a sharp left hand bend where it meets the railway. Just beyond the bend is rough track on the right leading down to the railway line.

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Grain Branch, Stoke Road map co-ordinates
Parking
You can park by the electricity pylon provided the fly tippers have left any space.
Public transport
There is the Arriva 191 and 796 bus service to Grain via Allhallows-on-Sea, roughly one bus per hour on weekdays. You will need to get off at Lower Stoke and walk the rest of the way.

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Amenities
There is a pub in Middle Stoke with further amenities, including public toilets, over 2 km away in Lower Stoke.
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, Stoke Road

Googly map
Streetmap links
Grain Branch, Stoke Road general view map
Grain Branch, Stoke Road close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Grain Branch, Stoke Road



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Photographic notes
The line runs roughly 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 and pylons you may need to explore a bit to find a good view and try experimenting with different focal length lenses.
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 south west


Fig 1 - Looking south west


Fig 2 - Looking west


Fig 2 - Looking west


Fig 3 - Looking north west


Fig 3 - Looking north west


Fig 4 - Looking north east


Fig 4 - Looking north east


Fig 5 - Looking north



Fig 5 - Looking north


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