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Sittingbourne and Kemsly Light Railway


September 02

Having spent the morning at the Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway this railway offers a bit of a contrast.

2ft 6in (762mm) Gauge

The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway is the preserved southern half of the former Bowater's Railway built to move the raw materials for paper making and also the finished products around the mill at Sittingbourne.

There is no public access at Kemsley so the journey starts at Sittingbourne. Immediately you leave the station the railway runs on to a long concrete viaduct. I am sure structural engineers regularly inspect this long viaduct so I wouldn't suggest you do.

 

Have faith in there judgement.

Along the whole route runs steam pipes which at regular intervals rise in to the air to form an expansion loop. There are also steam leaks which keep the industrial roots of this line alive.

At the far end of the line you get time to explore the engine sheds at Kemsley.

Numerous engines are stored here, unfortunately more seem to be none runners than runners.

I have not written about the history as you will find numerous pictures and articles on this line onthe internet.
On our visit this loco gave a good ride. Its wheel arrangement presumably can negotiate tight radius corners.
Unlike the Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway is a charity run by volenteers. What has been saved and preserved is to be admired.

But this is not a nice glossy and clean railway. I presume it is run on a shoe string budget and there is little money for finishes. The rolling stock is tatty and has a DIY feel to it.

Kemsley has the feel of a prison compound and to make matters worse, on the day we visited the sun was hot making the creeks next to the site absolutely stink. When I mean stink I mean really stink. We were told it was the mud in the creek and not sewage so if this is true, it might be worth checking wind directions and tides before a visitl.

 






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