Southfleet Coal Tippler by Bob Poole
Shortly after the opening of the then Associated Portland Cement Companies New Bevans cement works at Northfleet in 1970 it was decided to convert the rotary kilns to coal firing. To do this, works were put in hand to re-open part of the former LCDR West Street branch as far as the yard of the closed Southfleet and Springhead station to allow coal trains entry from the Victoria to Chatham main line at Fawkham junction.
A new road “Foxhounds Way” was also constructed to allow coal lorries access to the works via the Swanscombe – Bean road.
Coal shipments commenced from the Nottinghamshire coal field in December 1970, the usual motive power being Class 45 Peak diesel electric locomotives, a rare visitor to North Kent (Quite often the trains had a Class 47 attached when I was working at Stewarts Lane – Colin Yarlett).
Shunting the coal wagons around the run round loop and head shunt arrangement was the responsibility of the sites resident diesel shunter. Once the wagons had been relieved of their loads, the coal passed along a series of conveyors where it was stored in storage silos awaiting loading into lorries for onward transit.
With the opening of the rail spur from the North Kent Line into the cement works from Northfleet station in 1976, the site closed. Looking at the area today (2011) no trace remains of this once substantial building.