East Kent Light Railway
Kent CT15 7PD
The East Kent Light Railway (EKLR) is entirely run by volunteers whose aim is to preserve the last remaining part of the Kent Coalfields line.
Because it is run by volunteers this railway has limited running days so please visit the official website to check on operational days and times. The EKLR is easily accessible from London via the South-Eastern Trains network.
Diesel & Electric Multiple Unit
This is a diesel and electric multiple unit heritage railway although there is one steam engine awaiting restoration. They have an Avonside 0-6-0ST No. 2004 'St. Dunstan' previously located at British Coal Snowdown.
Heritage trains currently run from Shepherdswell to Eythorne, a round trip of 4 miles (6 km). The EKR makes up for its short running distance with some terrific extras. At Shepherswell Station there is a superb model railway operating in a restored railway carriage and a miniature railway offering free rides. Both stations have excellent facilities.
The EKR runs special event days, some in conjunction with the Dover Transport Museum at Whitfield, Dover. These are great family days out and are flagged on their website.
Shepherdswell Station has
- Model Railway
Walmer Model Railway Club has set up 4 different layouts which include -N and OO guauges, a rare G scale indoor set and Hands On Thomas. The layout is beautifully detailed with illuminated buildings and street lamps. The restored LMS Stanier Model Railway carriage is open to the public on all running days.
- Miniature Railway
Rides can be taken on the 5 inch (127 mm) gauge raised Miniature Railway. The track leaves the newly painted station with its nostalgic old posters, curves around trees and back to the station. Subject to adverse weather conditions, rides are available on all running days.
- Visitor Centre
How many other visitor centres have you seen in a restored signal box? Not many I imagine. Built in 1887 this beautiful signal box served Barham Station on the Elham Valley Line until its closure in 1947.
Inside the box you can see the original ground frame levers, station benches and clock as well as information boards detailing the history of the East Kent Light Railway from its formation in 1911 to its closure in 1948. Paintings and models of the railway in its heyday are on display as well as 'Albert' the porter in period railway costume. Well worth visiting to discover the history of this industrial line.
History of the EKLR
The East Kent Railway was constructed between 1911 and 1917 to serve the growing number of coal mines that were being sunk in the East Kent area. It was built to light rail standards by the famous engineer Colonel H F Stephens (also responsible for the Kent & East Sussex Railway at Tenterden).
With the collapse of the various coal mining ventures the railway was starved of revenue and this led to its closure following nationalisation in 1948. However, the section from Shepherdswell to Tilmanstone colliery remained operational until the miners’ strike of 1984. The colliery itself reopened for a short while but eventually ceased production in 1986. Inevitably, closure of the line followed in 1987.
The preservation society was formed in 1985 with the intention of preserving the remaining section of line. It was an immense task clearing the tangle of shrubs, trees and other vegetation that had reclaimed the railway since closure.
Since then the EKLR has transformed the station area and its environs at Shepherdswell, building a replica of the original station building and platform. In 1993 the Light Railway Order was obtained to allow regular passenger trains to run on the East Kent Light Railway after an absence of over forty years. The railway now has all the facilities necessary to run a successful operation.
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here: External Link
Free parking at both stations and Disabled toilets at Eythorne
Visitor Centre at Shepherdswell is not accessible due to steps
- Shepherdswell Station has a viewing area, toilets, shop, static Buffet carriages, picnic area and free car park.
- Eythorn Station has Disabled Access Toilets, Tea Bar and Shop, Renovated 'Selling' Signal Box and free Car Park.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1304 832 042
East Kent Light Railway External Link
- By Train from London
South-Eastern Trains operate an hourly service every Sunday from London St Pancras Domestic station, Medway towns Faversham, Canterbury and Dover. Shepherdswell station (EKLR interchange station) is about 1 hours 40 minutes travel time from London St Pancras.
For information, times and tickets, please go to Web: National Rail/ Enquiries External Link
Take the turning at the traffic lights sign posted for Shepherdswell, continue down this road into the village, you will pass a shop on your left, go over the railway bridge and take the next left sign posted for the EKLR.
- By car from the A256 between Sandwich and Whitfield
Take the turning for Eythorne at the roundabout on the section between Tilmanstone and Whitfield. Continue along this road through the village of Eythorne, further along this road you will go over a level crossing, continue for about 400 yards (365 metres) and turn right sign posted for the EKLR.
The EKLR station is adjacent to the main line railway station car park.
Google Maps - East Kent Light Railway