The East Kent Railway (Kindle)
The Line That Ran to Nowhere
The East Kent Railway was one of Britain's less well known light railways. A part of the Colonel Stephens group of lines, the East Kent Railway was meant to open up the newly discovered Kent coal field and help to make its shareholders wealthy. However, things took a different turn when the projected collieries along the line did not materialise the way the promoters had first envisaged.
The only colliery to produce quantities of coal was Tilmanstone, near Shepherdswell, which opened in 1912. Other pits were started along the formation of the line from Shepherdswell to Wingham, but in these cases only the surface buildings or test shafts were constructed before the work was abandoned. This was largely due to flooding and the poor calorific quality of East Kent coal, which had to be mixed with other coal to be effectively used.
There were four collieries completed in Kent, the East Kent Railway only served one of them and this together with the other three lasted until the latter part of the 20th century.
The railway operated a loss making passenger service to Wingham and for a few years to Sandwich Road halt on the line to Richborough Port line. However, the service to Wingham Canterbury Road came to an end in October 1948, after British Railways had taken control.
The East Kent Railway lasted through two world wars and was nationalised in 1948, becoming part of the Southern Region of British Railways, before closing to traffic in 1984 during the coal strike.
"This book is recommended as an extensive photographic record of this outpost of the Colonel Stephens’ empire."Martin Shill, Industrial Railway Society
"This book is highly recommended and should find a place on the bookshelves of all lovers of Britain’s light railways."West Somerset Railway Association
"Your reviewer visited the EKR on one occasion, when it was still hauling coal, and has always had a great liking for minor railways, particularly the Colonel Stephens lines. Thus, he enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with similar railway interests and tastes."Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Winter 2021-22
"This largely pictorial volume is a pleasant browse."The Society of Model and Experimental Engineers Journal - December 21
"A good reference work for modellers and useful to the very general reader. It is nevertheless welcome as a rare addition to the East Kent Railway’s rather limited canon."Tenterden Terrier (Col. Stephens Railway Museum)
"The author’s good personal knowledge of the route and conversations with former employees are put to good use in the captions to images garnered from wide variety of well-known photographers."Steam World, December 2021
Featured inRVR-The Phoenix No 97 Autumn 2021
Featured inRother Valley Railway members magazine - Autumn 2021
Scott-Morgan’s latest description is refreshing and a pleasure to indulge, allowing the reader to follow more clearly the details of its short history in the early 1900s to closure and current success as a partly preserved railway at the present day.Tenterden Terrier
The book’s greatest achievement is undoubtedly the inclusion of many photographs and detailed descriptions. About half of those shown have not been published before so will provide a renewed source of interest to followers of Colonel Stephens’ Railways.
"Exploring a classic railway".Heritage Railway Magazine
This book will take you back to the sometimes busy, often chaotic and grimy days of the line that oozed Colonel Stephens' character.
Featured inBranch Line News members magazine. Issue No: 1382 dated 7th August 2021
"This great book is jammed pack with superb photos."The Colonel Stephens Magazine no 144
Featured inEast Kent Railway News Issue No 133
This isn't trying to be a definitive work on the history of this fascinating railway, but rather provide a good overview through well presented and informatively captioned pictures, and it does that very well. It's an easy book to read or just flick through, enjoying the photos and learning about the quaint and minimalist railway that once ran through a quiet corner of Kent.Michael's Model Railways
Read the full review here
The new series of ‘Light Railway Profiles’ from Pen and Sword starts with a brief history of this interesting railway which mainly covered the Kent coalfields in the eastern part of the county and contains probably more photographs of the whole setup than there has ever been in one publication before. Highly recommended.Peter Harding, Branch Line & Light Railway Publications
An interesting volume covering this forgotten railway. It provides a good overview with some nice black and white photographs that give a good flavour of the lineJames Simmonds