Falconwood Station, 2008
|Rolling stock||British Rail Class 376|
British Rail Class 465
British Rail Class 466
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC third rail|
The Bexleyheath Line runs for 8 miles (13 km) from Lewisham to Dartford in Kent. It separates from the North Kent Line just to the east of Blackheath Station, and rejoins the same line just South of Slade Green in Dartford.
The line was first proposed in 1881, when Squire Jones, of East Wickham, organised a petition to persuade South Eastern Railway to build a railway to Bexleyheath. This led to the formation, on 20 August 1883, of the Bexley Heath Railway Company, led by railway engineer Alfred Bean (owner of Danson House), composed of local land-owners seeking to raise the value of their land for housing development. The company secured an Act of Parliament to build the line in 1883, routed via Lee. However, this was followed by disputes between the two companies, and disagreements over the final route, and in 1887 another act was passed authorising the construction of a line along a new route, via Blackheath, including the construction of a 1.6 km tunnel at the eastern entrance to Blackheath station. The project subsequently fell into financial difficulties, and it was not until 1891 that work on the line finally commenced, with the construction contact awarded to a Mr Rigby.
After yet another delay due to a landslide at Blackheath in 1894, the Bexleyheath Line was finally opened on 1 May 1895, running 12 trains per day to and from Charing Cross. The opening day was marked by a brass band marching from Bexleyheath to Barnehurst stations, before returning by train. Shareholders of the new line included: Charles Beadle, a coal and corn merchant; George Mence Smith, oil trader and hardware store owner; and Alfred Bean. However, the company soon went into bankruptcy, and in 1900 the South Eastern Railway – which had previously refused to build a line to serve the area between the two lines – was forced to take over.
The line originally included five stations: Kidbrooke, Eltham Well Hall, Welling, Bexleyheath and Barnehurst, all rudimentary wooden structures. A more elaborate station was opened at Eltham Park in 1908 to cater for first-class ticket holders from the Eltham Park Estate. The line was electrified with the other South Eastern and Chatham Railway local routes to Dartford on 6 June 1926 by Southern Railway. Having initially been built to serve very rural areas, Well Hall, Welling, Bexleyheath and Barnehurst were rebuilt in 1932 to cater for the huge suburban expansion into the area of the 1930s, and Falconwood was added in 1936.
On 11 June 1972, a train derailed on a sharp curve at Eltham Well Hall station, resulting in 5 deaths and 126 injuries.
Kidbrooke station was rebuilt in the 1970s as a glass and concrete structure. In 1985 the new Eltham railway station replaced the two existing stations serving Eltham, Well Hall station and Shooters Hill & Eltham Park station. The change coincided with the opening of the Rochester Relief Road which forms part of the A2 road.
In the 2010s there were multiple landslips on the line, including one which closed the line for at least a week from 11 February 2019. The Bexleyheath line is due to temporarily close between 15 and 23 January 2020. This is to allow for rail improvement works to prevent further landslips in the Barnehurst area of the line.
The Monday-Saturday off-peak service is:
- 2 tph between London Charing Cross and Dartford calling at all stations except St Johns and New Cross
- 2 tph between London Victoria and Gravesend calling at all stations to Dartford, then Greenhithe and Gravesend
- 2 tph between London Cannon Street and Barnehurst calling at all stations. This service returns to Cannon Street calling at all stations via Woolwich Arsenal and Greenwich
The Sunday service is:
- "The Bexleyheath Line". Bexley.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- "Bexley Heath Railway". National Archives.
- "Danson House". Bexley.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- "Bexleyheath Line". Bexley Historical Society. Archived from the original on 4 December 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- "The Growth of the Southern Electric Group". Southern Electric Group. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- "Report on the Derailment that occurred on 11 June 1972 at Eltham (Well Hall) Station" (PDF).
- "Domesday Reloaded". BBC.
- "Station Name: ELTHAM PARK".
- News Shopper https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/17425704.no-southeastern-trains-through-bexleyheath-after-landslip/
- Network Rail https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/south-east/kent-and-south-east-london-railway-upgrade-plan/bexleyheath-line-closures/
-  Southeastern May 2019