Davington Light Railway

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Coordinates: 51°19′05″N 0°53′06″E / 51.318°N 0.885°E / 51.318; 0.885

Davington Light Railway
Locale England
Dates of operation 1916–1919
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge
Length 3 miles (4.8 km)
Headquarters Davington

The Davington Light Railway was a narrow gauge railway built to serve the armaments factories near Davington, in Kent, England. It ran between Davington and Uplees.


The main reason the line was built was to transport workers from Davington, near Faversham to the factories of the Cotton Powder Company and the Explosives Loading Company, located between Uplees and Harty Ferry.

The carriages were all open sided, with curtains to keep the weather out. As well as the terminus stations, there was also a halt at Oare. Separate trains were provided for men and women, on account of the coarse language the men used.[1]

Freight was also carried, including acid, coal, cotton, detonators, mines and shells.[2] Four wagons from the Davington Light Railway were purchased by Colonel Stephens for use on the Rye and Camber Tramway.[3]

The line closed at the end of World War I, and the line and its equipment were sold by auction. During World War II, the tunnel at Oare was used as an air raid shelter.[2] The station sites at Davington and Uplees have been obliterated by development, but the route of the trackbed at Oare can be traced, and the tunnel under the road at Oare still exists.[1]


Number Builder Wheel Arrangement Date built Works number Notes
1 Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST 1916 1914 Sold after the railway closed; exported to Brazil
2 Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST 1916 1915 Sold after the railway closed; exported to Brazil. Was used at Imbituba Docks.
3 Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST 1916 1916 Sold after the railway closed; exported to Brazil. Was used at Imbituba Docks.

One of the locomotives is believed to be still in existence. Often quoted as works number 1916, the actual locomotive would appear to be works number 1915, carrying the worksplate of its sister.[4]


According to Taylor,[5] the gauge was 3 ft 3 in (990 mm) but some other sources give 1 metre. The exact gauge will probably never be known.

The Davington Light Railway was built to the gauge that was already in use at the explosives factories. The first locomotive there was a German-built Deutz petrol locomotive, delivered just before the start of World War I. Possibly this was of 1 metre gauge and the track was built to fit it. The Deutz locomotive was later supplemented by five Ruston Proctor petrol/paraffin locomotives, one of which is owned by the Vale of Rheidol Railway and stored at Aberystwyth, where it is shown as ex-Cotton Powder Company Ruston Proctor 4wPM, works no 51168 of 1916. It was built to gauge 3’ 3 3⁄8” which equates to 1 metre gauge.


  1. ^ a b "Davington Light Railway". Faversham.org. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  2. ^ a b "The Davington Light Railway". Underground Kent. Archived from the original on 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  3. ^ "The Camber Tramway Wagons". The Colonel Stephens Museum. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  4. ^ "Survey of steam locomotives spotted outside the North East of Brazil. January 2002.". Eddie Edmunson. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  5. ^ Taylor, M. Minter, see sources


  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (2000). Kent Narrow Gauge. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-901706-45-1. 
  • Taylor, M. Minter (1968). The Davington Light Railway (Locomotion Papers No. 40 ed.). The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-002-9. 

See also[edit]