Author Topic: Kent and East Sussex Railway  (Read 15068 times)

marcus

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Kent and East Sussex Railway
« on: July 12, 2012, 05:59:55 PM »
Goggo kindly invited me to join him on a visit to Bath at the weekend, but Squeak needed cheering up and it was her son's birthday as well as mine so I had a long weekend with her in Kent. On Sunday we went for an afternoon drive and ended up at Tenterden so a brief visit to the Kent and East Sussex Railway and its museum seemed like a great idea as we both like trains.

Sadly we had just missed the last train to Bodiam Castle so that will have to wait for another day, but we had tea and a good look around the station and small museum, and the period look and atmosphere there is really nice. Squeak bought me a lovely model of a Scammell Scarab in the station shop:


They have some lovely old rolling stock, including Pullman coaches, cranes and other items of interest. We had not much time, but apparently you can visit the maintenance sheds and other places along the line.

The small museum chronicles the life and work of Colonel Stehens who ran KESR and 15 other Light Railways, clearly an exceptionally dedicated and hard working person. Lots of photos, models and railway items to see, and at the end the extraordinary loco Gazelle, originally used by the Shropshire and Mongomeryshire Light Railway for small numbers of customers: just SIX, who had to stand on the floor behind the driver. After complaints they extended the sides and made a roof over the rear of the floor and installed two seats. Later they added a screen for the driver with two portholes, and then they bought an old horse-drawn tram wagon and converted it to railway use for greater passenger comfort. I think this must be one of the world's most whimsical and charming trains, and in 1948 Punch magazine commissioned the brilliant Roland Emett to do a series of drawings of branch lines and he visited the S&MLR where he saw Gazelle and the odd coach, and many of his cartoons, automata and especially the Oystercreek and Far Twttering Railway which he made for the Festival of Britain. Emett aslo made The Breakfast Machine for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and many other fantastic whimsical creations.

Gazelle is thought to be the world's smallest preserved standard gauge loco.





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marcus

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2012, 06:25:49 PM »
While I was on-line researching Gazelle last night I found this website, with lots of superb photographs of a wide variety of locos of all ages,  and 2nd from bottom is a nice shot of Gazelle as she is now, the museum is small so it is not easy to get a great photo of her there. The roof and heightened walls over the passenger standing area have now been removed.

Also present in the photos are some Hunslett locos, so a real Micro Car connection there as they made Scootacars. Look too for the wonderfully daft Spooner's Boat about 2/3 of the way down.

http://tomsrailwayadventures.weebly.com/nrm-york-railfest-2012-5th-and-6th-june.html


Also see www.kesr.org.uk
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Big Al

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2012, 06:45:34 PM »
My fav is still Prince. Will he be returned to service for his 150th anniversary? So many childhood memories of being pulled up into Snowdonia by a pretty and hard working little loco. A MIcro loco and could yet return to being the oldest working original loco in the world. Pity he is to small to do full line work any more on the two lines he was made for so he is no longer 'an important engine' in Fat Controller's eyes.
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marcus

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2012, 06:58:47 PM »
When I went on a climbing and camping "holiday" in Snowdonia we ignored the train but did see it in the distance, and we avoided the easy climb up which most people know. We climbed up Snowdon the tough way: 3ft crawling up the steep scree slopes for every 2ft sliding back down. VERY tough, but fortunately it was too windy to go via the terrifying Crib Gogh "knife edge" route. Later we went past the site of the Ffestiniog Railway, but it was closed down. That's my only experience of Welsh railways!
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richard

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2012, 07:31:45 PM »
Ffestiniog railway closed down ? do you mean closed ? it's very much open a great line that climbs right up from the beach through terrific views into the slate mining areas of Blaenau Ffestiniog - theres lovely

by the way great idea , off topic , as i and i suppose others sometimes get annoyed by how much is already " off topic " so at least we know now and can seek it out or not   now try and find a place for big al  :D
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marcus

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2012, 08:01:47 PM »
It was when I went there perhaps 1974 much of it was closed but a new campaign to re-open it had started and I have always wanted to go back and see it.

In the great "On The Rails" TV series with Mark Williams there is a section about Ffestiniog which was HUGELY influential around the world as no-one else had yet made a proper narrow gauge railway. It was the model for Rhodesian railways and lots of railways USA.

I personally don't mind a bit of amusing thread drift now and again but I understand that some don't, but also plenty of people here like other cars, motor bikes, mopeds in cabbage fields etc., so I thought "why not ask?". Glad you like it, and as you say, those that do not don't have to!
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Big Al

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2012, 08:10:49 AM »
'74 the only bit that was open was probably across the Cob. It was around then they opened up to Tan y bwlich, which was the terminus for some time due to the need for The Deviation to gain hieght and pass round the track bed flooded for the Trysfaned power station. This produced the longest court proceedings in GB against the National Grid for damages which the railway eventually won, opening the way to Blaneau. Apologies for spelling, I struggle with English and Welsh is not on the Smellcheque.

Now a visit offers the chance to see Fairlie, double Fairlie, Garret and I forget the other multiple, as well as quite a few more traditional designed small locos within two lines joined at the hip. Bung in an old car and B & B and a great long weekend's holiday at least. Better still rent a cottage overlooking Llanfair near Harlech for a week and enjoy one of the best vistas round the country. I still think the castle is one of the best too, it is moulded onto its uplifted promontory with such purpose as to put off attack before you have even started. The railways would be a great partner in a big MIcrocar event as they like to have publicity to pull in new visitors.
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Big Al

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2012, 08:17:49 AM »
Ffestiniog railway closed down ? do you mean closed ? it's very much open a great line that climbs right up from the beach through terrific views into the slate mining areas of Blaenau Ffestiniog - theres lovely

by the way great idea , off topic , as i and i suppose others sometimes get annoyed by how much is already " off topic " so at least we know now and can seek it out or not   now try and find a place for big al  :D

Is this the 'out of date confections' area as opposed to 'off Topic'?
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marcus

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2012, 09:22:13 AM »
The Fezheads play at Swanage Blues Festival every Spring and Autumn, starting with a lunch-time set at Bankses Arms Hotel, then strolling down to the station at the end of the pub's garden, with a great view of the picturesque ruins of Corfe Castle, then take the steam train into Swanage for more drunkeness and debauchery. Standard gauge rail, and sometimes some failry big locos, like West Country/Battle of Britain "Spam Cans". Commuting between gigs on a steam railway is a VERY civilised way to earn a crust!
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marcus

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2012, 09:29:31 AM »
I looked at the Ffestiniog site:

http://www.festrail.co.uk/fr_history_1.htm?mn=14&sm=14-0

I seem to remember hiking through Beddgelert (Sp?) and I think that's where we saw the track bed and heard rumours that the line might one day be re-opened. Yup, Fairlies and Garrats are amazing locos and blazed a small trail across the world, opening up railways in places thought impossible.

I know what you mean about Welsh spelling Al, Ffestiniog runs near the River Dwyryd.No offence to Welsh, but to a non-speaker the language looks like the result of monkeys on a typewriter! Just imagine if John Lennon had been born and raised a few miles further South, he would have sung "Ddychmygu there's no heaven, it's easy if you try..."
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richard

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2012, 05:07:10 PM »
this will bring out the sons of glyndawr and they will burn your house down my fave welsh words - tacsi , ambiwlans , bac pacio ,bikio - i saw the sign nim parcio bikio ,  tatws ! OMG that last one  :D
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marcus

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2012, 05:27:30 PM »
Ah, taters! That one took me a while to figure!
Wherever you go in Wales you see signs saying "Creoso in Cymru", but it does not mean Creosote for sale!
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richard

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2012, 05:41:29 PM »
welcome to wales ! i did notice in north wales , where i work a lot , for the jubilee there was bunting everywhere , throughout the towns and villages - but no red , white and  blue in sight . it was all red , white and green !!
outside of a dog a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read .Groucho Marx 1895-1977

marcus

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2012, 05:50:10 PM »
Good for them!

Have you ever been to Llandudno, Dickie? I know you are pretty close. Is it a nice place to visit and stay a couple of days? I am starting to feel a wish to visit Wales again and check out Ffestiniog, the Orme Cable Car and cable tram, plus other places. I have played gigs 3 times in the Tommy Cooper Marquee at the Big Cheese Festival in Caerfili (beside the castle) but other than that have not spent any real time in Wales since 1974.
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richard

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Re: Kent and East Sussex Railway
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2012, 06:19:39 PM »
lovely place . havent stayed there for many a year - very genteel and favoured by the elderly nowadays - you should fit in fine . ;D
outside of a dog a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read .Groucho Marx 1895-1977