SEmG

Southern Named Trains
"Thanet/Kentish Belle"

Once again was a train that had origins in another that ran many years previously. The first all-Pullman train to run in Kent was the "Thanet Pullman Limited", an all first class train introduced by the SECR on 10 July 1921 that ran on summer Sundays only. Leaving Victoria at 10:10 am it ran non-stop to Margate West in 90 minutes, then called at Broadstairs before finally terminating at Ramsgate Harbour. The return service left Ramsgate at 5:30 pm and with the same calls en route arrived back at Victoria at 7:15 pm. The train continued in Southern Railway days but saw declining traffic and ceased to run as a train in its own right on 30 September 1928, and as a combined service on 30 June 1939.
 
The Pullman "Thanet Belle", behind an unidentified Bulleid light pacific, which ran from 31 May 1948 between Victoria and Ramsgate via Margate until it was renamed as the "Kentish Belle" in 1951.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Thanet Belle
 
The "Thanet Belle" was introduced by the infant British Railways on 31 May 1948 and ran from Victoria via Chatham to Ramsgate during the summer months only. Then for 1951 three coaches were detached at Faversham and ran through to Canterbury East, precipitating a change of name to "Kentish Belle". This Canterbury portion was not well used, however, and ceased to run after just one season, though the name of the train did not revert to "Thanet Belle" once this portion was withdrawn. 1958 saw the last full summer before the electrification of the Kent Coast lines, and also saw the last season of "Kentish Belle" services. The train regularly consisted of ten Pullman cars and had the Bulleid light pacifics as its motive power.
 
"Kentish Belle" timing Victoria - Ramsgate summer 1953
  Sun-Fri Sat
  am am
Victoria dep: 11:35 7:55
Whitstable & Tankerton 12:55 9:22
Herne Bay 1:04 9:32
Margate 1:20 9:53
Broadstairs 1:32 10:05
Ramsgate 1:38 10:13

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This page was last updated 26 April 2005

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