Colonel Stephens 150
12th May 2018
On 12th May we shall be commemorating the birth of Colonel H F Stephens 150 years ago.
Visitors to the railway on this date will receive a commemorative “Edmondson” style ticket and information about Col H F Stephens, the pioneer behind the K&ESR and many other light railways across the country.
As part of this commemoration we will be running “Mixed Trains" on selected days during the 2018 season, starting with 12th May.
Col. Holman Fred Stephens was well known for his eccentric methods of cutting costs, which was why he adopted a practice of running Mixed Trains. These trains included a carriage for passengers (very often a single carriage was sufficient for the few passengers travelling) together with a small number of goods wagons or vans. Journey times were often protracted, due to the need to shunt wagons onto or from the train at each station - it was not unusual for passengers to find that they had been shunted into the goods yard along with the cattle truck!
The re-introduction of mixed trains on todays K&ESR will recreate how they looked in the heyday of the K&ESR - but without protracted shunting at intermediate stations! A variety of our historic vintage carriages and wagons will be hauled by “Terrier” locomotive number 32678, an engine regularly used for such trains in the early part of the last century. A three train service will be in operation, with 'mixed' trains on services departing from Tenterden at 12:15pm and 2:30pm.
We are pleased to be welcoming the Colonel Stephens Society for a visit on this date together with a small ceremony to mark the recent signing of a new hire agreement with our close friends at the Terrier Trust during the day - this secures the use of Terrier locomotives 32670 and 32678 on the Kent & East Sussex Railway. Free entry to the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum will be available for those wishing to learn more about this fascinating pioneer and his eclectic collection of light railways. The replica Ford Railmotor will be on static display outside our Carriage and Wagon restoration workshop.