Cranbrook and Tenterden Light Railway

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Cranbrook and Tenterden Light Railway
Arrow Blue Left 001.svg to Headcorn. Tenterden Town
Tenterden. To RobertsbridgeArrow Blue Right 001.svg
Sissinghurst Road
Cranbrook Town
Hartley Tunnel 40 feet (12 m)
Arrow Blue Left 001.svgTo Paddock Wood
Cranbrook / Hawkhurst
Lines built
Lines authorised but not built

The Cranbrook and Tenterden Light Railway was a railway line which was to have linked the Hawkhurst Branch Line with the Rother Valley Railway in Kent. Although it received authorisation for its construction, only a short section of it was ever built. This section is open today as part of the Kent and East Sussex Railway.


With the opening of the railway between Tonbridge and Ashford in 1842; The railway between Ashford and Hastings in 1851, and the railway between Tonbridge and Hastings in stages between 1845 and 1853, a large tract of the High Weald in Kent and East Sussex was left devoid of railways. In 1892, a railway was opened to Goudhurst. It was extended to Hawkhurst the following year.[1] The South Eastern Railway (SER) planned a line to link Cranbrook, Tenterden and Ashford. These plans were abandoned by the SER but were taken up by the Rother Valley Railway (RVR) in November 1898 and promoted as the Cranbrook, Tenterden & Ashford Light Railway. The SER opposed the section of line from Tenterden to Ashford and this was dropped by the RVR. Construction of the Cranbrook & Tenterden Light Railway was authorised in December 1899.[2]

In 1900, the RVR opened as far as a station at Rolvenden, which was then known as Tenterden.[3] The only part of the Cranbrook and Tenterden Light Railway ever built was the section between the original Tenterden station and Tenterden Town.[4] This opened to traffic on 15 April 1903.[3] On 4 January 1954, this section of line closed to passengers along with the rest of the K&ESR. It remained open for freight until 12 June 1961 when the remaining section of the K&ESR closed, apart from a short section at Robertsbridge. On 3 February 1974, the section of line between Tenterden Town and Rolvenden reopened as part of the preserved K&ESR.[2]


Tenterden Town station c1900, the only station on the Cranbrook and Tenterden Light Railway to be built

The line to Hawkhurst had bypassed the town of Cranbrook, with Cranbrook station being located in Hartley, almost 2 miles (3.2 km) from the town.[1] The Cranbrook and Tenterden Light Railway would have commenced from a junction just to the north of Cranbrook station, heading in a generally north easterly direction to Cranbrook Town station, and then turning south easterly to serve Sissinghurst Road station and Benenden station, after which the line turned east to serve Rolvenden station and joining the Rother Valley Railway via a triangular junction between Tenterden and Tenterden Town stations.[4] The line from the junction with the RVR to Tenterden Town station included a climb at 1 in 50. Although only this 1 12 miles (2.4 km) long section was built, the line was shown on maps included in the Kent & East Sussex Light Railway's Annual Reports until 1934.[2]


  1. ^ a b Harding, Peter A. (1998) [1982]. The Hawkhurst Branch Line. Woking: Peter A. Harding. pp. 4, 5. ISBN 0-9523458-3-8. OCLC 42005158. 
  2. ^ a b c Garrett, S.D. (1980). The Kent & East Sussex Railway (Locomotion Papers No. 56). Usk, Mon.: The Oakwood Press. pp. 7–9, 14, 20, 36. 
  3. ^ a b Kidner, R W. Standard Gauge Light Railways (4th ed.). Lingfield: Oakwood Press. pp. 2–3. 
  4. ^ a b "Opening up the Weald". Stephens Museum. Retrieved 10 June 2011.