Kent and East Sussex Railway

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Kent and East Sussex Railway
Rolvenden locomotive yard - geograph.org.uk - 389974.jpg
Rolvenden locomotive yard
Commercial operations
Name British Rail
Built by Kent and East Sussex Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Opened Freight: 26 March 1900
Passenger: 2 April 1900
Closed Passengers 4 January 1954
Freight 12 June 1961
Preservation history
1974 Partial re-opening
1977 K&ESR extends, Wittersham Road is re-opened
1990 Northiam re-opened
2000 Bodiam re-opened

The Kent & East Sussex Railway (K&ESR) refers to both an historical private railway company in Kent and Sussex in England, as well as a heritage railway currently running on part of the route of the historical company.

Historical company[edit]

Kent and East Sussex Railway
Authorised line to Maidstone (not built)
Headcorn/ SEML (Junction shown as originally constructed)
Headcorn Junction (K&ESR) 21½ miles (34.6 km)
River Sherway
United Dairies, Headcorn
Frittenden Road 19 miles (31 km)
Biddenden 17½ miles (28.2 km)
A274
High Halden Road
High Halden Road 15¾ miles (25.4 km)
A262
Shoreham Lane (31 yards)
Grange Road
Tenterden St. Michael's 14½ miles (23.3 km)
Proposed line to Appledore (Kent) (not built)
Tenterden Town 13½ miles (21.7 km)
Station Road
Cranbrook Road
Authorised line to Cranbrook (not built)
A28
Rolvenden 12 miles (19 km)
Newmill Channel
Wittersham Road 9½ miles (15.3 km)
Maytham Road
Hexden Channel
River Rother, Kent / East Sussex
Authorised line to Rye (not built)
A268
Northiam 7 miles (11 km)
Dixter Halt 5¼ miles (8.5 km)
Mill ditch
Castle Hill
Bodiam (for Staplecross) 3½ miles (5.6 km)
Junction Road Halt (for Hawkhurst) 2½ miles (4 km)
B2244
River Rother
Salehurst Halt 1¼ miles (2km)
A21Robertsbridge bypass
Northbridge Street (Old A21)
Robertsbridge Mill / Northbridge Street
River Rother
Rother Valley Railway
0 miles (0 km). Authorised line to Pevensey (not built)
Robertsbridge/ Hastings Line
The Kent and East Sussex Railway, shown with other railway lines in Kent and East Sussex.
A 1914 Railway Clearing House map of both ends of the Kent and East Sussex Railway.

Background[edit]

By the mid nineteenth century, Tenterden was in the middle of a triangle of railway lines. The South Eastern Railway had opened its line from Redhill to Tonbridge on 12 July 1841. The line was opened as far as Headcorn on 31 August 1842 and to Ashford on 1 December 1843. The South Eastern Railway opened its line from Ashford to Hastings on 13 February 1851.[1]

The third part of the triangle was the line between Tonbridge and Hastings which had opened as far as Tunbridge Wells on 24 November 1846, Robertsbridge on 1 September 1851, Battle on 1 January 1852 and to St Leonards on 1 February 1852. Running powers over the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway's line to Hastings having been negotiated.[1]

The Ashford - Hastings line had originally been promoted to run via Headcorn and Tenterden, but Parliament preferred the more southerly route. In 1855, a proposed railway from Headcorn via Cranbrook to Tenterden failed to obtain its Act of Parliament. In 1864, a proposed railway from Paddock Wood via Cranbrook and Tenterden to Hythe (the Weald of Kent Railway) also failed to obtain its Act of Parliament. A proposed roadside tramway from Headcorn to Tenterden suffered the same fate in 1882. In 1877, the Cranbrook and Paddock Wood Railway was incorporated, and powers obtained to build the northern section of the Weald of Kent Railway to transport agricultural produce and livestock from low lying land adjacent to Wittersham Road to a better mainline connection. Powers were obtained in 1882 to extend the line to Hawkhurst. The line opened to Goudhurst in 1892 and Hawkhurst in 1893.[2]

The Tenterden Railway was the next to be proposed, running from Maidstone to Hastings via Headcorn, Tenterden, and Appledore. The section from Headcorn to Appledore was authorised in 1892, and agreement was reached in 1896 with the South Eastern Railway over the operation of the line. In 1898, the proposal was abandoned in favour of extending the Cranbrook and Paddock Wood railway to Tenterden and Appledore. This was abandoned in 1899 as too expensive to construct and the South Eastern Railway again backed the Tenterden Railway, but no work was done and powers to construct the line lapsed in 1901.[3]

With the passing of the Light Railways Act 1896 a group of citizens of Tenterden, led by Sir Myles Fenton proposed a railway from Robertsbridge to Tenterden - the Rother Valley Railway. Assent was granted to construct the line under the Act. The contract for the construction of the line was won by London and Scottish Contract Corporation, who sub-contracted the work to Godfrey and Siddelow. The work was overseen by Holman F Stephens, who was appointed General Manager in 1899 and Managing Director in 1900.[3]

Opening and growth[edit]

The Light Railways Act 1896 allowed for cheaper construction methods in return for a speed restriction. The line was authorised to be built with 56 pounds per yard (27.8 kg/m) rails but was actually built with 60 pounds per yard (29.8 kg/m) rails. Speed was to be limited to 15 miles per hour (24 km/h), but under the terms of the Act was soon raised to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h). The line was opened for freight between Robertsbridge and Rolvenden on 26 March 1900, and to passenger traffic on 2 April 1900. A wind pump was provided at Robertsbridge to supply water for locomotives. The original Tenterden station, later renamed Rolvenden was some 2 miles (3.2 km) from the town. The first train departed at 7:30 am, carrying some 60 passengers. The lukewarm reception being partly because of the distance of the station from the town, and partly due to fears that the opening of the light railway from Robertsbridge would prevent a more heavily engineered line being built from Headcorn.[4]

With the abandonment by the South Eastern Railway of plans to build the Cranbrook to Appledore line, the scheme was adopted by the Rother Valley Railway. Opposition from the South Eastern Railway meant that the Tenterden to Appledore section was dropped. Authorisation was received in December 1899 to build the Cranbrook and Tenterden Light Railway from Cranbrook via Benenden to the Tenterden terminus of the Rother Valley Railway, and to extend further into the town of Tenterden itself. A proposal was promoted in 1900 to build a line from Robertsbridge to Pevensey, which was to be worked by the Rother Valley Railway. The East Sussex Light Railway was authorised in 1901. This was a line from Northiam to Rye. Only the section from the original Tenterden terminus to Tenterden Town was actually built of all these schemes.[5]

Tenterden Town station shortly after opening, windpump extreme right

The extension to Tenterden Town opened on 15 April 1903.[6] The original Tenterden station was renamed Rolvenden on this date. 312 schoolchildren were carried on the first train from Rolvenden to Tenterden, along with Sir Myles Fenton, Holman F Stephens, and other dignitaries. The South Eastern and Chatham Railway, seeking to relieve themselves from building the Tenterden Railway, entered into an agreement with the Rother Valley Railway for the latter to build and operate the line from Tenterden to Headcorn. The South Eastern and Chatham Railway agreed to make up any operating losses in exchange for an option to purchase the line at any time within the next 21 years from the date of opening. The option was not exercised. A windpump was provided at the Headcorn end of the station. It supplied a water tower located at the Robertsbridge end of the station. In 1904, the Rother Valley Railway changed its name to the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway.

Headcorn Junction as originally constructed

The line from Tenterden to Headcorn opened to traffic on 15 May 1905. A wind pump was provided just outside Headcorn Junction to supply water for the locomotives. In 1904, the Headcorn & Maidstone Junction Light Railway was authorised. This line would have run from Headcorn via Sutton Valence to Tovil, where running powers over part of the Medway Valley Line would have allowed access to Maidstone. Only the section from Tovil to Tovil Goods was ever built.[7] The original junction at Headcorn was on the Ashford side of the station. Headcorn was remodelled by the Southern Railway in 1930 to provide two through roads and the junction was then moved to the Tonbridge side of the station.[6]

On the outbreak of war in 1914, the K&ESR came under Government control, as did most railways at the time. It was released from Government control in 1921, and £1,487 in compensation was paid. The K&ESR was not included in the Grouping of the railways into the Big Four in 1923, and continued its independent existence.[8]

Grouping and decline[edit]

By 1924, the section from Tenterden to Headcorn was operating at a loss. Correspondence with the Southern Railway in 1930 led to Sir Herbert Walker stating that there was no chance of the line making a profit, and that even if passenger services were withdrawn, it was doubtful whether the receipts from freight traffic would cover operating expenses. It should be noted that the Southern Railway were liable to make up any operating losses, as the successor to the South Eastern and Chatham Railway under the terms of the Act of Parliament for the construction of that section of line.[9]

In 1931, Colonel Stephens died, and the management of the K&ESR came under the control of William Henry Austen, who had been assistant to Stephens for a number of years. In 1932, Austen was appointed Official Receiver for the line. He entered into negotiations with the Southern Railway aimed at disposing of worn out stock and obtaining serviceable replacements. One batch of stock disposed of was valued at £855, but realised only £6 10s 0d. In 1935, the K&ESR purchased a 2 ton Bedford LQ lorry, and another was purchased in 1936. In that year, the first of the locomotives hired from the Southern Railway arrived on the line, this was P Class No. 1556.[10] The whole line was relaid with 60 pounds per yard (29.8 kg/m) rails in 1939.[6]

When war broke out in 1939, the K&ESR again came under Government control, being placed under the Railway Operating Division of the Royal Engineers. Rail mounted guns were stationed at Rolvenden and Wittersham. The line was an alternative supply route to the south coast, and relieved some of the pressure on Ashford. Components for Operation Pluto were conveyed along the line. With the increase in price for scrap metal during the war, most of the lines surplus stock was scrapped. On 1 January 1948, the line became part of British Railways, Southern Region on nationalisation.[11]

British Railways[edit]

Notice of closure, 1953

Upon nationalisation, one of the surviving two locomotives and all but the newest rolling stock were scrapped. Ex South Eastern and Chatham Railway birdcage carriages were put into service on the line, supplementing the ex London and South Western Railway carriages. Mixed trains continued to run, but were now provided with a brake van. The line continued to be run as two sections. It was proposed to double the line. This was not done, but the line was again relaid to a higher standard using rails salvaged from the Elham Valley Railway. All ticket stock was withdrawn and new tickets were printed and staffing of stations was increased. This was not accompanied by an increase in passengers, and regular passenger services ceased: the final passenger train ran on 2 January 1954. It was the 5:50 pm from Robertsbridge to Headcorn, composed of six corridor coaches which had been specially brought from Ashford for the occasion. Motive power was Terriers 32655 leading and 32678 at the rear. 32655 was replaced by O1 31064 and 32678 banked the train to St Michael's. The two Terriers then ran back to Robertsbridge with a carriage between them to reduce the weight on the bridges. Double-heading was prohibited between Rolvenden and Robertsbridge.[12]

Two freight trains a day were run, with hop-pickers' specials running until 1958. There was occasional passenger traffic in the form of railtours. In 1957, Drewry diesel locomotive 11220 was successfully tried on the line, and it and 11223 were the regular locomotives for the final years of operation. In 1958, Hastings Diesel Electric Multiple Unit number 1002 underwent load tests between Bodiam and Northiam - the only time one of these units visited the line prior to the preservation era. The final passenger train over the line before closure was a Locomotive Club of Great Britain railtour on 11 June 1961. The line closed the following day apart from a short stretch at Robertsbridge serving Hodson's Flower Mill, which became a private siding.[13] This final section of the line closed on 1 January 1970.[14]

Operation[edit]

The Kent & East Sussex Light Railway was operated as two separate sections, Robertsbridge - Tenterden Town and Tenterden Town - Headcorn. The extension to Headcorn had been built with heavier rails than the Robertsbridge - Rolvenden section, and thus had a higher axle loading allowing the use of heavier locomotives. The section between Tenterden Town and Headcorn was largely paralleled by roads, and was open to competition from road transport. Although the Rother Valley Railway and the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway originally ran separate passenger and freight trains, by the 1920s mixed trains were the norm. The first railbus was introduced in 1923. Although these were light and economical to run, they did not provide much in the way of passenger comfort.[15]

Between 1928 and 1933 a through coach was added to the 5:15 pm from Cannon Street to Hastings, which was detached at Robertsbridge and worked on to Tenterden. In the hop-picking season, special trains were run to bring the hop-pickers down from London. One such train in 1936 is recorded as having consisted of four Southern Railway bogie carriages, two K&ESR six-wheeled carriages and a van. The train was hauled by the ex LSWR Saddletank No 4. The K&ESR's own stock was generally confined to that system. The Southern Railway refused permission for some of the K&ESRs carriages to be taken to Lydd in 1947 citing safety reasons. The carriages were required for use in the filming of The Loves of Joanna Godden.[16]

Tickets were usually issued on the trains, although the K&ESR did not acquire any corridor carriages until 1944. The tickets were printed at Rolvenden. Tickets for other lines under Colonel Stephens' control were also printed here.[12]

Accidents[edit]

  • In 1916, Hesperus was derailed when the locomotive ploughed into a snow drift.[17]
  • No 7 was derailed at an unknown date.[19]
  • On Saturday 26 March 1949 Terrier 32678 was derailed between Northiam and the Rother Bridge working the 5.50pm from Bexhill West. A month passed before 32678 was recovered.[20]
  • In May 1983, Manning Wardle 'Charwelton' was derailed between Wittersham Road and Rolvenden causing damage to approximately 100 yards of track and to the locomotive's axle boxes.[citation needed]

Preservation[edit]

Preservation history[edit]

Preservation activities began immediately. But due to difficulties in obtaining the necessary Light Railway (Transfer) Order, it was 1974 before the line partially reopened as a heritage steam railway between Tenterden and Rolvenden. Extensions followed, notably to Wittersham Road in 1977 and Northiam in 1990; then to Bodiam in 2000, and an extra mile extension to the site of Junction Road halt in 2011.

The preserved railway has had a tempestuous history, with two financial crises and major disputes between the volunteer group and their elected board of directors/trustees. In the late 1990s, the company was almost bankrupted but avoided administration due to an error in the bank's loan agreement. The financial position has since improved.

Recently the railway has increasingly had to rely on paid employees to secure its continued operation, and as with most heritage railways, has relied on special events days to boost income.

The railway has suffered from the legacy of Colonel Stephens' cheap and poor construction of the permanent way; thus the preserved railway has sought to update permanent way features, e.g. by renewal of culverts and embankments.

In 1990, the railway had to remove 200 metres of embankment damaged by badgers, which were gassed to reduce the problem. There are some problems of subsidence outside Rolvenden, which often requires speed restrictions to avoid further damage to the line's foundations. But most of the permanent way between Northiam and Bodiam has now been rebuilt to modern standards.

The line today[edit]

The line today is a tourist attraction in the South East of England. It offers an 11½-mile (17 km) ride through the Rother Valley in vintage and British Railways coaches usually hauled by a steam locomotive, although some off peak services are operated by diesel multiple unit.

The preserved line currently runs (a total distance of 11½ miles) from Tenterden Town station to Bodiam (within sight of the National Trust's Bodiam Castle), with an extra mile of track to the Junction Road station site (though there are currently no plans to re-open for alighting).

Tenterden Town Station is the main headquarters for the heritage railway, where a book and gift shop can be found - selling Thomas the Tank Engine gifts, the Carriage and Wagon Department and a cafe that was once the Maidstone & District Motor Services Ltd bus station building from Maidstone, Kent. The Railway emphasises the Colonel Stephens connection as a major factor of its utilitarian heritage. The locomotive works is located at Rolvenden station and has a viewing platform overlooking the works yard and a selection of former inter-modal shipping containers used for equipment storage. Themed events are run through the year. Some are connected with local history and the Railway whilst, as on other heritage lines, Thomas the Tank Engine and Santa Specials provide a commercial underpinning to the Company's activities. Railway Experience Days are also offered.

Colonel Stephens Railway Museum[edit]

Situated at Tenterden is the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum. This houses a number of exhibits including as a wax dummy of the Colonel, telling the story of the man himself and of his railways. This is a popular exhibit amongst children visiting the museum, many of whom delight in the collection of old railway magazines and timetables.

Rother Valley Railway[edit]

Main article: Rother Valley Railway

At Robertsbridge, a separate railway preservation effort has been set up by the Rother Valley Railway. It has the aim to restore track and services east from the main line railway station to Bodiam.

By 2013, much of the site had been cleared and is currently undergoing major redevelopment including new track and a new station. Future developments are to include a carriage shed and signalbox.

Plans exist for the extension, but this has been hampered by the A21 trunk road crossing the trackbed, the need for some very expensive bridge works and the necessity to purchase the route from landowners. Some landowners have also been naturally resistant to selling agricultural land for railway development and the plans to reinstate a level crossing has caused local controversy.

At the beginning of 2009 about 750 yards (690 m) of former trackbed was purchased from just west of Bodiam station to within 150 yards (140 m) yards of the site of Junction Road Halt. Work began on restoration and by April of that year the track was laid for engineers train to use or for stock storage. In 2010 a further 150yds of trackbed was obtained and track was laid to the site of Junction Road Halt adjacent to the B2244 (formerly the A229). The first advertised passenger service over this section ran on the weekend of 19/20 March 2011, although services are currently restricted to occasional gala days only.

By end of 2013, the track had been laid from the newly built platform at Robersbridge all the way to Northbridge Street over five newly rebuilt bridges & during 2013 the first steam trains ran along this line since it was closed. Carriage siding points and points to the original bay platform have been installed.

Rolling stock[edit]

The independent company[edit]

Steam Locomotives[edit]

Owned by the Rother Valley Railway and/or the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway.

Origin Wheel
arrangement
Class Notes Photograph
Hawthorn Leslie 2-4-0T No 1 Tenterden. Works number 2420/1899. Bought new for the opening of the line. Withdrawn for overhaul in 1938, scrapped in 1941.[21]
Hawthorn Leslie 2-4-0T No 2 Northiam. Works number 2421/1899. Bought new for the opening of the line. Loaned in 1917 to the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway, returned in 1918. Loaned in 1923 to the East Kent Light Railway, returned in 1930. In 1937, Northiam starred in Oh, Mr Porter!, filmed on the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway.[21] Last ran on 22 August 1938[22] and scrapped in 1941.[21]
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSC) 0-6-0T A1 (Terrier) No 3 Bodiam. Ex LBSC No 70 Poplar.Built in 1872. Purchased second hand in 1901. Withdrawn in 1931 but returned to service in 1933 using parts cannibalised from No 5 Rolvenden. Appeared in the film The Loves of Joanna Godden, filmed at Lydd in 1947.[16] Rebuilt to A1X in 1943[6] To British Railways upon nationalisation in 1948. Withdrawn in 1963 and purchased for use on the heritage K&ESR.[16]
Hawthorn Leslie 0-8-0T No 4 Hecate. Works number 2587/1904. Purchased new in 1904. Loaned to the East Kent Light Railway from 1917 to 1919 to work at Tilmanstone Colliery. At 53 tons she was too heavy for the lightly laid section from Robertsbridge to Rolvenden and was used occasionally on the northern section. To the Southern Railway in 1932 in exchange for another locomotive and two boilers. Scrapped in 1950. 949 Hecate Eastleigh 1950.jpg
London and South Western Railway (LSWR) 0-6-0ST Saddleback No 4. Built by Beyer Peacock, Works number 1596/1876. Ex LSWR No 335 and 0335. Obtained in 1932, scrapped in 1948.[23]
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway 0-6-0T A1X (Terrier) No 5 Rolvenden. Ex LBSC No 71 Wapping. Purchased second hand in 1905. Withdrawn in 1932, cannibalised in 1933 and scrapped in 1938.[24]
London and South Western Railway 0-6-0 Ilfracombe Goods No 7 Rother. Ex LSWR No 282, 349 and 0349. Built by Beyer Peacock. Works number 1208/1873. Purchased second hand in 1910 and scrapped in 1939.[25]
Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST No 8 Hesperus. Works number 630/1876.[6] Ex Ringing Rock of the North Pembroke & Fishguard Railway and Great Western Railway No 1380. Purchased second hand in 1914. Nameplates went to a locomotive on the Hundred of Manhood & Selsey Tramway.[17] Last run on 17 March 1939[22] and scrapped in 1941.[17]
London and South Western Railway 0-6-0 Ilfracombe Goods No 9 Juno. Ex LSWR No 284 and 0284. Built by Beyer Peacock. Works number 1210/1873. Purchased second hand in 1914. Dismantled in 1935 and scrapped in 1939.[17]

Note:

The order of scrapping of the locomotives was 7, 5, 6 (steam railcar), 1, 9, 2 and 8.[6]

Railcars[edit]

Owned by the Rother Valley Railway and/or the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway.

Origin Engine Notes Photograph
R Y Pickering, Wishaw Steam Purchased new in 1905. Originally numbered 16 in carriage stock list, later renumbered 6 in the locomotive stock list. Saw little service, withdrawn by 1930 and scrapped in 1941.[15]
Wolseley-Siddeley Petrol Built as a Wolseley Siddeley motor car. Fitted with flanged wheels and tested on the Kent & East Sussex Railway. Fitted with a body similar to those used on buses and sent to the Hundred of Manhood and Selsey Tramway and then to the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway. Body later affixed to Gazelle to build an inspection saloon and eventually was turned into a lineside hut on the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway.[15]
Ford Petrol A pair of railcars. Purchased in 1923 from Edmonds of Thetford. Bodywork by Eton Coachworks, Cringleford. Scrapped c1934.[15]
Ford Petrol A pair of railcars. Hire purchased in 1924 from Edmonds of Thetford. Bodywork by Eton Coachworks, Cringleford.[15] Last worked on 27 August 1937[22] and scrapped in 1941.[15]
Shefflex Lorries Ltd, Tinsley Petrol A pair of railcars, purchased in 1930. Originally numbered 3 but later renumbered 2.[15] Last ran on 8 March 1938[22] and scrapped in 1941.[15]

Hired or loaned locomotives[edit]

Hired or loaned to the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway.

Origin Wheel
arrangement
Class Notes Photograph
London and South Western Railway (LSWR) 0-6-0ST 0330 Ex LSWR No 0127. Purchased by the East Kent Light Railway in 1926. Delivered to Rolvenden and used on the line before delivery to the East Kent Light Railway.[26]
London and South Western Railway (LSWR) 0-6-0ST 0330 Southern Railway No 3334 loaned to the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway in 1938 when No 4 was sent to Ashford Works for repairs.[26]
South Eastern and Chatham Railway 0-6-0T P Southern Railway No. 1556 was loaned to the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway from 1938-38, No. 1325 was loaned in 1946 and No. 1555 was loaned in 1947.[6]
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway 0-6-0T A1X (Terrier) Southern Railway No. 2655 was loaned from 1939–45, 2678 was loaned in 1940.[6] Nos. 2640 and 2659 were loaned to the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway at various dates between 1936 and 1947.[26]
London and South Western Railway 0-6-0 0395 Southern Railway No 3440 was loaned to the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway in 1940.[6]
South Eastern and Chatham Railway 0-6-0 O1 Southern Railway No. 1426 was loaned to the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway in 1943.[6] Nos. 1248, 1370 and 1373 were loaned to the Kent & East Sussex railway at various dates between 1936 and 1947.[26]
Great Western Railway 0-6-0 Dean Goods War Department Nos WD195, WD196 and WD197 were used on the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway between 1941 and 1943 when rail mounted rocket guns were stationed at Rolvenden and Wittersham.[26]

Passenger stock[edit]

Owned by the Rother Valley Railway and/or the Kent and East Sussex Light Railway.

Origin Number Type Notes Photograph
Hurst Nelson Ltd 1 to 4 4-wheel third Four third class four wheel carriages were purchased new in 1901 for the opening of the line. Bodies used to create bogie carriages in 1906.[27]
Hurst Nelson Ltd 5, 6 4-wheel first Two first class four wheel carriages were purchased new in 1901 for the opening of the line. Bodies used to create bogie carriages in 1906.[27]
R Y Pickering 1 Brake third Built in 1906 using the bodies of two of the Hurst Nelson carriages on a new underframe. Scrapped in 1948.[27]
R Y Pickering 4 Brake composite Built in 1906 using the bodies of two of the Hurst Nelson carriages on a new underframe. Scrapped in 1948.[27]
R Y Pickering 6 Third Built in 1906 using the bodies of two of the Hurst Neslon carriages on a new underframe. Sold for scrap on 25 May 1944.[27]
Great Eastern Railway 4-wheel brake third. Purchased second hand in 1901. Two compartments plus brake. May have carried No. 2. Duckets later removed and used as a full brake at some point, with handles removed from the doors to the passenger compartments.[27]
Great Eastern Railway 4-wheel brake third Purchased second hand in 1901. Three compartments plus brake. May have carried No. 3. Thought to have become No. 17 on the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway in the early 1920s.[27]
Great Eastern Railway 4-wheel first Purchased second hand in 1901. Four compartments. May have carried No. 5.[27]
Hurst Nelson 7, 8 4-wheel brake Supplied new in 1901 for the opening of the line. Could be used on either passenger or freight trains.[28]
London and South Western Railway 9 6-wheel brake third Purchased second hand in 1905. Scrapped in the 1930s.[28]
London and South Western Railway 10 4-wheel saloon Built in 1848 by the London and South Western railway for Queen Victoria. Exhibited at The Great Exhibition of 1851, Hyde Park. Used as a director's saloon and later as a first class carriage. Sold to the Southern Railway in 1936. Body sold for use as a summerhouse and survived until 1964.[28]
North London Railway ? and 15 4-wheel brake Purchased second hand by 1906. One probably carried a number between 11 and 14. No 15 was scrapped in 1948.[28]
R Y Pickering 17 Brake composite Purchased new in 1904, seated 46. Used at the opening of the East Kent Light Railway in 1912 and inaugurated passenger services on that line in 1916. Scrapped in 1948.[28]
R Y Pickering 18 Third Purchased new in 1904, seated 48. Sold in 1909 to the Woolmer Instructional Military Railway where it lasted until 1940.[28]
Robert Young Pickering 19 Brake third Purchased new in 1904, seated 32. Sold in 1909 to the Woolmer Instructional Military Railway where it lasted until 1940.[28]
17 Sold for scrap on 25 May 1944.
London and South Western Railway 18 4-wheel third Purchased second hand in 1909. May have been a brake vehicle.[28]
London and South Western Railway 19 4-wheel brake third Purchased second hand in 1909. Scrapped in 1948.[28]
Great Eastern Railway 20 4-wheel brake third Purchased second hand in 1906. Two compartment brake third. Still in regular use in the 1930s. Body later used as a shed on a farm where it survived until 1964.[28]
Great Eastern Railway 21 4-wheel brake third Purchased second hand in 1906. Three compartment brake third. Still in regular use in the 1930s. Body later used as a shed on a farm where it survived until 1964.[28]
Great Eastern Railway 22 4-wheel compsosite. Purchased second hand in 1906. Built as a first class carriage. Still in regular use in the 1930s.[28]
Southern Railway 2 Brake third Purchased second hand in 1932. Built by the London and South Western Railway in 1892 as No. 962, a 42 feet (12.80 m) long seven compartment third. Converted c1909 to a five compartment brake third. Renumbered 1934 in 1912 and again renumbered 2640 in 1923. Scrapped in 1941.[28]
Southern Railway 3 Brake composite Purchased second hand in 1932. Built by the London and South Western Railway in 1892 as a 45 feet (13.72 m)} tri-composite numbered 486. converted in 1909 to a brake composite. Renumbered 3550 in 1912 and again renumbered to 6413 in 1923. Scrapped in 1948.[28]
Southern Railway 4 Brake third Acquired in 1936. Built by the London and South Western Railway Ex Southern Railway No. 2684. Scrapped in 1948.[29]
Southern Railway 5 Brake third Acquired in 1936. Built by the London and South Western Railway. Ex Southern Railway No. 2714. Scrapped in 1948.[29]
Southern Railway 1 Corridor brake third. Acquired during the Second World War. Built by London and South Western Railway. To British Railways on nationalisation and remained in service on the line.[30]
Southern Railway 6 Corridor brake third Acquired during the Second World War. Built by London and South Western Railway. To British Railways on nationalisation and remained in service on the line.[30]
Southern Railway 2 Corridor brake third Acquired in 1947. Built by London and South Western Railway. To British Railways on nationalisation and remained in service on the line.[30]

Freight Stock[edit]

Owned by the Rother Valley Railway and/or the Kent and East Sussex Light Railway.

Origin Number Type Notes Photograph
Hurst Nelson Ltd 1 to 10 Open wagon Ten open wagons were purchased new from Hurst Nelson. Further wagons were hired from Hurst Nelson between 1911 and 1919. Some of the original ten wagons were hired to the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway between 1927 and 1929. Wagons 1 to 6 had been scrapped by 1940, and only two of the other four were still existing in 1946. Other open wagons were acquired second-hand from the Southern Railway. These had curved ends.[30]
12, also 4 with numbers unknown Cattle truck Four cattle trucks were purchased in 1904, and another was purchased in 1928. Three of the five were scrapped in 1935, and a fourth, No. 12 was scrapped in 1944. The fifth passed to British Railways on nationalisation.[30]
Great Western Railway 24 Brake van In 1906, the K&ESR purchased a Great Western Railway brake van which reputedly dated from 1877. It was scrapped in 1944.[30]
Midland Railway 6-wheel hand operated crane An 1877-built six-wheel hand operated crane and match truck were purchased c1919.[30]
RVR No 1 4-wheel hand operated crane In 1904, a 4-wheel hand operated crane was purchased from R Y Pickering and delivered numbered R.V.R No. 1. An open wagon was converted to form the match truck for this vehicle.[30]

Non-rail vehicles[edit]

The K&ESR owned a number of non-rail vehicles, one of which survives today.

  • Horse Bus - built in 1902 by W J Mercer, Tenterden Carriage Works. Operated under contract by William Hook & Son until the firm ceased trading in 1916. Then operated by the K&ESR until withdrawn in 1924 and stored. Became British Railways property on nationalisation.[31] Now an exhibit at the National Railway Museum, York.[32]
  • Horse-drawn van and two drays. The K&ESR acquired a horse-drawn van and two drays in 1916. These were withdrawn in the mid-1930s.[31]

British Railways[edit]

These locomotives worked on the line between 1948 and 1961.

Origin Wheel
arrangement
Class Notes Photograph
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway 0-6-0T A1 (Terrier) No. DS 680[33]
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway 0-6-0T A1X (Terrier) Nos. DS377, 32636, 32640, 32641, 32644, 32655, 32659, 32662, 32670 and 32678.[33] Martello by the water tower.JPG
South Eastern and Chatham Railway 0-6-0 O1 Nos. 31048, 31064, 31065, 31370, 31390 and 31434[33] 65 SECR O1 class 2.jpg
London and South Western Railway 0-6-0 0395 No. 30576[33]
British Railways 0-6-0D 04 Nos. 11220 and 11223.[33] D2298 at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre 2.jpg

Heritage[edit]

For details and history of rolling stock on the line since preservation, see Rolling stock of the Kent & East Sussex Railway (heritage).

Twinning[edit]

The Kent & East Sussex Railway is twinned with the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme, a preserved railway in France. K&ESR locomotives have made visits to the CFBS.

Culture and media[edit]

In the 1924 book A Parcel of Kent by F J Harvey Darton, the railway described is clearly based on the Kent & East Sussex Railway. The railway also appears in the 1940 book Ember Lane by Sheila Kaye-Smith where it is titled the Sussex Border Railway.[34] The Kent & East Sussex Railway is the subject of the poem Farmer's Train[35] by Hugh Bevan,[36] illustrated by Rowland Emett,[34] and published in Punch issue dated 3 June 1946.[36]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Garrett, S R (March 1980). The Kent & East Sussex Railway (Revised ed.). Tarrant Hinton: The Oakwood Press. 

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kidner, R W (1977). The South Eastern & Chatham Railway. Tarrant Hinton: The Oakwood Press. pp. 5–10. 
  2. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b Garrett 1980, p. 6.
  4. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 7.
  5. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 8.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kidner, R W. Standard Gauge Light Railways (4th ed.). Lingfield: Oakwood Press. pp. 2–3. 
  7. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 9.
  8. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 16.
  9. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 17.
  10. ^ a b Garrett 1980, p. 18.
  11. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 19.
  12. ^ a b Garrett 1980, p. 23.
  13. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 21.
  14. ^ Rose, Neil (1984). Kent & East Sussex Railway Stockbook. Tenterden: Colonel Stephens Publications. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h Garrett 1980, p. 29.
  16. ^ a b c Garrett 1980, p. 25.
  17. ^ a b c d Garrett 1980, p. 27.
  18. ^ "Accident at Junction Road". Stephens Museum. Retrieved 18 January 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 24-25.
  20. ^ Mr P D Shaw (ed.). The Tenterden Terrier No.76. pp. 40–42. 
  21. ^ a b c Garrett 1980, p. 24.
  22. ^ a b c d "Hirings and Firings by Stephen Garrett". The Terrier Trust. Retrieved 28 April 2009. 
  23. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 27-28.
  24. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 26.
  25. ^ Garrett 1980, p. 26-27.
  26. ^ a b c d e Garrett 1980, p. 28.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h Garrett 1980, p. 30.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Garrett 1980, p. 31.
  29. ^ a b Garrett 1980, p. 32.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h Garrett 1980, p. 33.
  31. ^ a b c "The Horse Bus". Stephens museum. Retrieved 14 May 2009. [dead link]
  32. ^ "Miniature Locomotives and Large Exhibits". National Railway Museum. Retrieved 14 May 2009. 
  33. ^ a b c d e Garrett 1980, p. 20.
  34. ^ a b Garrett, Stephen (1987). The Kent and East Sussex Railway (Second ed.). Headington: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-334-6. 
  35. ^ Farmer's Train
  36. ^ a b "The Farmer's Train". monologues.co.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2009.