Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway

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Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway
Place England
Terminus Sittingbourne
Commercial Operations
Name Bowaters Paper Railway
Built by Edward Lloyd Ltd.
Gauge 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)
Preserved Operations
Operated by Locomotive Club of Great Britain
Stations 3
Length 3½ miles
Gauge 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)
Commercial History
Opened 1908
Closed 1969
Preservation History
1970 Opening of Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway
Map of the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway

The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway in Kent is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge heritage railway that operates from Sittingbourne to the banks of The Swale. The line was formerly owned by Bowaters, the paper making firm, and was used to carry raw materials and finished products between Ridham Dock and the company's two mills, one at Sittingbourne and the other at Kemsley.


In 1905, the horse-drawn tramway operating around the paper mill was upgraded to steam operation with the purchase of two steam locomotives - Premier and Leader - which are celebrating their 100th birthday in 2005. Other locomotives were bought for use on the railway as the network expanded (see the website for more information).

In the 1960s a time and motion study was undertaken by the owners, Bowaters UK, and the railway was deemed to be more expensive than road transport and was closed. However, Bowaters UK offered the main line, some of the locos and rolling stock of the railway to the Locomotive Club of Great Britain for preservation as a tourist railway. Other locomotives and rolling stock were sold to the Great Whipsnade Railway and the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway.


The railway is now operated by the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway and operates over almost two miles of the original main line from Sittingbourne Viaduct station to Kemsley Down station. It crosses one of the first and longest reinforced concrete viaducts in the world between Sittingbourne Viaduct and Milton Regis Halt stations.

The main fleet of locomotives worked the railway before it was preserved. "Barton Hall" was the first new arrival on the railway in over 25 years on long term loan. In June 2006 the railway are attempting to purchase this locomotive.

Trains run every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from Easter to the end of September. There's an annual beer festival (with live music and hundreds of real ales), a model rail day, events at Easter and Christmas, an end of season gala weekend and other events throughout the season.


Name Builder Type Works Number Built Notes
Alpha W.G. Bagnall 0-6-2T 1932
Leader Kerr Stuart 0-4-2ST 1905
Melior Kerr Stuart 0-4-2ST 1924
Premier Kerr Stuart 0-4-2ST 1905
Superb W.G. Bagnall 0-6-2T 1922
Triumph W.G. Bagnall 0-6-2T 1934
Unique W.G. Bagnall 2-4-0F 1924 A rare narrow gauge fireless locomotive. Now on static display at Kemsley Down station
Victor Hudson Hunslet 4wDM 1953

See also

External links

Railway museums and heritage railways in England


Amerton • Appleby Frodingham • Avon Valley • Battlefield Line • Bideford and Instow • Bluebell • Bodmin and Wenford • Bowes • Bredgar and Wormshill • Bristol Harbour • Bure Valley • Cambrian (Society) • Cambrian (Trust) • Chasewater • Chinnor and Princes Risborough • Cholsey and Wallingford • Churnet Valley • Cleethorpes Coast • Colne Valley • Dartmoor • Dean Forest • Derwent Valley • East Kent • East Lancashire • East Somerset • Ecclesbourne Valley • Eden Valley • Elsecar • Embsay and Bolton Abbey • Epping Ongar • Foxfield • Gloucestershire Warwickshire • Great Central • Great Whipsnade • Helston • Hythe Pier • Isle of Wight • Keighley and Worth Valley • Kent and East Sussex • Kirklees Light • Lakeside and Haverthwaite • Lappa Valley • Launceston • Lavender Line • Leighton Buzzard • Llewellyn's Miniature • Lincolnshire Wolds • Lynton and Barnstaple • Mid-Hants "Watercress" Line • Mid-Norfolk • Mid-Suffolk • Middleton • Midland • Nene Valley • North Gloucestershire • North Norfolk • North Tyneside • North Yorkshire Moors • Northampton & Lamport • Northamptonshire Ironstone • Paignton and Dartmouth • Peak Rail • Perrygrove • Plym Valley • Ravenglass and Eskdale • Ribble • Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch • Rudyard Lake • Rushden, Higham & Wellingborough • Seaton Tramway • Severn Valley • Sittingbourne & Kemsley • South Devon • South Tynedale • Spa Valley • Steeple Grange • Swanage • Swindon and Cricklade • Tanfield • Telford • Volk's Electric • Weardale • Wells and Walsingham • Wensleydale • West Somerset • Wisbech and March "Bramleyline" • Yaxham

Centres and Museums:

Barrow Hill Engine Shed • Birmingham Museum • Bressingham Steam Museum • Buckinghamshire Centre • Coventry Centre • Darlington Centre and Museum • Didcot Centre • East Anglian Museum • Mangapps Museum • Moseley Trust • National Museum, York • Rutland Museum • Shildon Museum • Swindon Steam Museum • The Railway Age, Crewe • Walthamstow Pump House

Heritage Railways:

England • Scotland • Wales • Northern Ireland • Isle of Man • Channel Islands