Ashford locomotive works was built by the South Eastern Railway on a new 185 acre (75 Ha) site in 1847. By 1850 over 150 houses had been built for staff ( called Alfred Town by the railway but Newtown by everybody else ).
The works employed about 600 people in 1851 but this had increased to about 950 people by 1861, and around 1300 by 1882. A carriage and wagon works opened on an adjacent 32 aces (13 Ha) site in 1850.
Ashford built and serviced locomotives and wagons until well after the nationalisation of the railways to form British Railways in 1948. Between 1847 – 1962, the site was known as the Ashford Railway Works.
The locomotive works eventually closed on 16th June 1962. The wagon works continued for a further 2 decades. It became one of British Rail Engineering Limited main wagon works, but as trade declined, primarily the construction of wagons for export market, it operated on an ever decreasing scale until 1982.
The existing buildings are in a state of disrepair. Through working proactively with Historic England and Ashford Borough Council, the redevelopment will retain the listed buildings, safe-guard their long term future and incorporate their industrial heritage into the design of the project.