The coming of the railway

By this time the country was in the grip of railway fever, canals were yesterday’s means of transport, the railway was the fashionable way to travel. The canal company decided their only option was to build a railway link alongside the canal; the only drawback to this was the tunnel.

The scheme went ahead. In the tunnel a single track railway was laid using trestles in the water with the track laid on top thus allowing safe use of the tunnel for both trains and barges. It was the only example of this form of construction in a tunnel in the country.

The new Gravesend and Rochester Railway and Canal Company ran its first train on 10 February 1845. A year later the line was bought by the south Eastern Rail Company and its first task was to fill in the waterway in the tunnel, thus cutting the canal into two sections.