In 1845 a railway line was proposed from St Leonards to Ashford via Rye by the Brighton, Lewis and Hastings Railway Company. At the same time the South Eastern Railway that ran trains from London through to Ashford proposed a line from Headcorn to Hastings. The Government at the time thought it would be beneficial to have a Railway Line near the coast, so supported the St Leonards to Ashford route but decided that South Eastern Railway should build and operate the route.
The line and stations opened on February 13th 1851 as part of the South Eastern Railway, with Appledore Station actually being in the Parish of Kenardington. In later years, when Parish boundary changes took place Appledore Station then came within the Parish of Appledore. The station building was designed by William Tress in the Italianate style. The Station Platforms were staggered as was common practice on the South Eastern Railway, this allowed for a foot crossing across the tracks between the platforms.
In 1853 ‘The Man of Kent Railway Tavern’ was built on the opposite side of the road to the Station between the road and the waterway, Appledore side of the railway line. It is still shown in this location on a map of 1879. It was renamed ‘The Railway Hotel’ when the building was extended in 1895 (this may be when it was rebuilt on the opposite side of the road).
In April 1881 the Lydd Railway Company were authorised to build a railway from Appledore to Lydd. The new railway line opened in December 1881 for passengers to Lydd but also continued to Dungeness for the purposes of freight. In July 1882 authorisation was given for the line to be extended from Lydd to New Romney and also for a Railway Line to be built north from Appledore Station through Tenterden to Headcorn (this was never built). In June 1884 the extension to New Romney opened to passengers and for freight.
In 1899 the South Eastern Railway and the London Chatham and Dover Railway merged to become the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. In 1923 the S.E.& C.R. was amalgamated with other Railway Companies to form the Southern Railway. On 1st January 1948 the whole of the Railways were nationalised and the Southern Railway became the Southern Region of British Railways.
A map of 1907 shows Appledore Station as having a Signal Box on the down side (Hastings direction) approximately half way between the Hastings end of the platform and the line to New Romney. On the down platform there are two buildings, one with a large canopy consisted of a Ladies Waiting Room and Toilet, General Waiting Room and an external Gents Urinal, the other building is shown as a Roader Shed with a Store behind it.
Also shown on the downside is the Gate Keepers Lodge (Cottage) next to the Level Crossing.
The Roaders Shed still existed in 1929 but was not there by 1950.
On the up side the map shows the Goods Shed and Platform Canopy, Station Building , Gents Toilet (that was added in 1860), Staff Hut at the Ashford end of the platform and the Gate Keepers Hut (on the opposite side of the track to the Gate Keepers Lodge).
On the 27th June 1954 the Signal Box was replaced with a new Signal Box, still on the down side but located adjacent to the Level Crossing (see photo). the new Signal Box had a Gate Wheel that enabled the Signalman to open the gates, thus making the Gatekeeper redundant.