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The “hidden” train from the Woolwich line direct to Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs and more

Ever looked up at platform destination boards on the Greenwich line and seen a train to Ramsgate, Margate and Herne Bay and wondered what that was all about?

If so, then what you’ve seen listed is a little known train that runs over the summer months direct from Greenwich, Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal and Abbey Wood to Ramsgate.

It’s one of the few trains (the only?) that still does the old fast calling pattern of Greenwich, Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal and Abbey Wood.

From there it calls at Kent stations up to Gillingham where it continues along the north Kent coast.

There’s only one a day on weekdays, which leaves Greenwich at 09:14, Charlton at 09:20, Woolwich Arsenal at 09:27 and Abbey Wood at 09:33.

A trip from Woolwich to Whitstable takes 1 hour 23 minutes.

EDIT: Thanks to readers who have pointed out there’s two on Saturdays that stop at more stations such as Plumstead, Erith and Belvedere. One departs Cannon Street at 08:32 and another an hour later at 09:32. On Sundays there’s one train that leaves Cannon Street at 09:35.


Over the summer you can get a return ticket from any Southeastern London station to Whitstable, Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate for £20 buying at any time. That’s off-peak on a weekday or anytime on a weekend. Kids are £1.

I’d recommend a trip to Margate which has improved a great deal over the past decade with the renovation of Dreamland amongst other areas.

I can’t believe this almost comes across as a Southeastern advert given the poor service suffered over the years, but I figured some people may find this little known link useful.

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  1. Jon

    This runs at the weekend (twice on Saturday I think) with a slightly slower calling pattern including Plumstead et al.

  2. Christopher

    FOND memories of all the packed ‘special’ trains that in the 1950’s & 1960’s used to go to Margate/Ramsgate and, north of the river, Southend. Lots on summer Sundays. I’m feeling very nostalgic…..!

    • Steve

      We us to call it the holiday special. I would go to the beach for the day with my packed lunch during my school holidays. Hmmm. Happy days

  3. Charles Calthrop

    Ah, I have fond memories of the Margate run in the early 80s from Woolwich. I may have to look into this – thank you

  4. anonymous201486

    I went to Margate a couple of years’ ago as I was a child when I last went. This could account for my disappointment as I did the dreary walk from the station to the beach front. It was a hot day and I struggled to make it as far as the gallery. Nice sandy beach though.

    • Comment by post author


      When I was there much refurbishment underway in many places so worth another trip.

      • Jon

        Yes, indeed.

        I’d recommend Broadstairs for a beach trip, but Margate’s Dreamland is well worth a visit. There are now a few hipster eating places as well. Haven’t tried the Tate yet.

  5. Denzil

    thanks so much for this. What are the frequency / times of trains heading from Margate to Woolwich please?

  6. Plumstead Resident

    I never knew that service existed! Thanks.

    It looks like there isn’t a direct return train in the afternoon/evening?

    • Jon

      Not on a weekday, but there are 2x evening returns on Saturdays and one on Sundays.

  7. this is great for me as my parents are in the process of re-locating to Ramsgate. Could you advise what time the trains come back from Ramsgate / Margate to Woolwich please?!

  8. GreenwichRes

    That’s a shame, the earlier direct train isn’t included in the £20 return deal.

  9. Woolwich Common babe

    What week day does this service run?

  10. Jennifer

    What dates do they run? I’m new to the area, what a fabulous tip!

  11. Robbie

    It has GONE!! Will it come back next summer? I took the train from Greenwich to Ramsgate last week. Great journey. Any reason for this suburban train to run this route?? It’s a long way for a Networker to go. Is it for a service at the Ramsgate depot???

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