East Kent Railway (heritage)

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East Kent Railway (heritage)
EKR Eythorne.png
NS687 sits at Eythorne railway station behind the old Selling signal box as a bus leaves for the Dover Transport Museum during a joint event in 2015.
Locale Kent, England
Kent Railways.svg
Commercial operations
Built by Colonel Stephens
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Owned by East Kent Railway Trust
Operated by East Kent Railway Trust
Length 2.4 miles (3.9 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
Opened 1911
Closed 1988
Preservation history
Headquarters Shepherdswell
East Kent Light Railway
Kent Coast Line
to Ramsgate
Richboro Port(built but never opened)
River Stour
Kent Coast Line
to Dover Priory
Sandwich Road
Roman Road
Poison Cross
Woodnesborough
Hammill Colliery
Ash Town
Eastry
Staple
Eastry South
Wingham Colliery
Knowlton
Wingham Town
Tilmanstone Colliery Halt
Wingham (Canterbury Road)
Tilmanstone Colliery
Eythorne Heritage railway
Guilford Colliery
Golgotha Tunnel (477 yards)
Chatham Main Line
to Canterbury East
Former main line connection
Shepherdswell (EKLR) Heritage railway
Shepherds Well
Chatham Main Line
to Dover Priory

The East Kent Railway (EKR) is a heritage railway in Kent, England. It is located at Shepherdswell station on the London to Dover Priory direct mainline. The line was constructed between 1911 and 1917 to serve the Kent Coalfields. See East Kent Light Railway for details of the original lines.[1] The Kent Collieries were mostly a failure with only Tilmanstone on the line producing any viable commercial coal and commercial traffic over the line. The line is operated by heritage diesel locomotives. It is home to a collection of heritage diesel locomotives, Diesel Multiple Units DMU, DEMU and an electric multiple units including an in service British Rail Class 404 built in the 1930s.

At Shepherdswell, there is a cafe, a large 15-acre (6.1 ha) woodland area with walking routes, a 5 in (127 mm) gauge miniature railway, a 7 14 in (184 mm) gauge woodland miniature railway, a model railway and a small museum.

At Eythorne, there is a small cafe in a General Utility Van built by BR that used to carry elephants. The old Selling Signal Box is also here with a history of the East Kent Railway both past and present inside. Eythorne Station plays host to a variety of features on special event days.

The railway holds special events throughout the year, ranging from railway enthusiast events to beer festivals along with family fun weekends.

On the line there is Golgotha Tunnel (situated between Shepherdswell and Eythorne), 477 yards (436 m) long, making it the eighth longest tunnel on a UK Heritage Railway in Preservation. The tunnel was built in typical Colonel Stephens style by building double track portals but only excavating a single track internally to save money.[2]

Rolling stock[edit]

Steam Locomotives[edit]

  • Avonside 0-6-0ST No. 2004 'St. Dunstan'. Previously Located at British Coal Snowdown. Awaiting cosmetic restoration for static display purposes.

Diesel Locomotives[edit]

  • Vanguard 0-4-0 No. 01543. Previously used at MOD Kineton. Arrived May 2016. In Service.
  • Vanguard 0-4-0 No. 01546. Previously used at MOD Kineton. Arrived April 2016. In Service.
  • Class 08 0-6-0 No. 08676. Ex EWS, Privately owned. Arrived October 2016. In Service.
  • Fowler 0-4-0DM No. 416002 'Snowdown'. Previously located at British Coal Snowdown. In Service. (Privately Owned)
  • Ruston 0-6-0DH LSSH No. AD427 'The Buffs' and 'The Royal Engineers 9th Field Squadron'. Works No. 466616. In service. (Privately owned)
  • English Electric 0-6-0DH No. D1197 'Richborough Castle'. Out of use due to engine problems.
  • Dutch 08 0-6-0 No. NS687. Owned by MiddlePeak Railways[3][4] on loan to EKR. Out of service with pre-delivery electrical problems.

Diesel Multiple Units[edit]

  • BR Class 108 nos. 51562 and 51922. Arrived in 2014 on loan from the National Railway Museum.[5]
  • BR 2H DEMU no. 205001. In Service, on passenger trains, and restoration to BR Blue livery. Can be seen being worked on during running days.[6][7]

Electric stock[edit]

  • 4-COR 3142. One driving coach in operational use, the other under restoration.[8]
  • VEP DTC Vehicle 76875, Ex 3545. Under restoration at contractors premises - Delivery due early 2017.[9]

Hauled coaches[edit]

  • LMS Brake Corridor Third 5793, in use as Model Railway Coach. (Privately Owned)[10]
  • LMS Gangwayed Full Brake 31361. In use as Museum and open space vehicle.[11]
  • BR Mk.1 Brake Second 43140 (under-frame only), In use as Rail Carrier.[12]
  • BR Mk.1 Tourist Second Open 4682. (Privately Owned - Sold Moving Early 2017).[13]
  • BR Mk.2 Tourist Second Open 5220. (In Static Use)[14]
  • BR Mk.2 Brake First Corridor 14123. (In Service)[15]
  • BR Mk.2 Restaurant First Open 1215. (In Service - Privately Owned)[16]

There is also a wide variety of wagons at Shepherdswell.

The EKR today as a Heritage Railway[edit]

A preservation group was formed in 1987 to preserve part of the abandoned line as far as the old coal mine at Tilmanstone. By 1989 a majority of the lineside vegetation had been cleared and by 1995 the first heritage train was run.

Following the reopening of the railway, a new platform was constructed on the site of the former equivalent at Eythorne and the former signalbox from Selling was moved to the northern end of the platform in the mid 1990s. The railway also owns the Barham Signal Box from the closed Elham Valley Line which houses a detailed mural painting of the old East Kent Railway route, this can be found at Shepherdswell.

The EKR operates on most Sundays and Bank Holidays between April and September and selected Saturdays in mid summer.

The EKR also owns an extensive ancient woodland known at "The Knees".[17] The railway uses the knees as an educational resource, woodland walks - the bluebells in spring are a popular attraction and for special events such as halloween.

The railway hosts other groups, including the Southern Electric Group , "EKR Trolleybus Group and the 427 Locomotive Group.

The railway hosts two apprenticeship schemes for Permanent Way and Civil Engineering training.

Unit 205 001 (1101) before preservation, seen at London Bridge
St Dunstan at the East Kent Railway in protective paint awaiting cosmetic restoration

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°11′50″N 1°15′8″E / 51.19722°N 1.25222°E / 51.19722; 1.25222