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The East Kent Railway (ePub)

The Line That Ran to Nowhere

Transport Photographic eBooks Trains and Railways

By John Scott-Morgan
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Light Railway Profiles
File Size: 24.1 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781526726865
eBook Released: 30th April 2021

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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.

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About John Scott-Morgan

John Scott-Morgan has been writing about light railways for forty five years, he has written some of the definitive books on light railway subjects, including about the Colonel Stephens group of lines.


This volume covers the East Kent Railway, a line that was meant to open up the Kent Coal Field, which did not come up to the expectations of the promoters and investors.


John Scott-Morgan has written thirty eight books on railways over the last half a century, covering subjects as diverse as first generation diesel traction and main line subjects, such as the London Transport Red Panniers and Branch Lines in Kent, however its light railways that the author often returns to, as this is one of his main areas of research.


He lives in Woking in Surrey, where he continues with his writing and railway historical studies.

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