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Kent & East Sussex Railway

Members E-Newsletter No.7, March 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of your e-newsletter.


Given the time of year and weather this is never an easy event to get right. However the ticket sales budget was passed on Monday 13th February and the final figures for the event were:

Ticket sales: 26% over budget

Visitor numbers 32% over budget

Shop sales 37% over budget

Catering sales 26% over budget

Making a welcome visit to Thomas was the Hastings Miniature Railway providing an interesting and popular alternative to our standard gauge experience.


Congratulations to our Commercial Department for generating exceptional business and a big thank you to all staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to make this Day Out with Thomas event such a success.


1st April: Flying Scotsman comes to the K&ESR - it's no joke!

Bricks Britannia is an exhibition of stunning models, created solely from LEGO® bricks, charting the history of Britain from the Neolithic Stonehenge to the supersonic Concorde. Featuring over 30 models created by Bright Bricks (as featured in Channel 4’s Inside Lego at Christmas) and using hundreds of thousands of LEGO bricks, Bricks Britannia opens on April 1st and is open on every operating day until the 4th May.

The centrepiece of this amazing exhibition will be an eight metre long model of Flying Scotsman, the world’s most famous steam locomotive, and three Pullman carriages. 

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There will be a trail for children to follow and submit answers to win a prize and some opportunities to brick-build within the exhibition. To further enhance the educational theme there will be a “workshop” available to take part in on-board the trains. Customers can purchase the bricks to make a locomotive and Pullman coach and we will provide the support to assist them in making their own exclusive K&ESR LEGO train to take home! Entry to the exhibition is free within the price of a TravelCard, so this is only available to our railway customers. Book online at

We're making regular posts on social media, counting down to the event, so please share these as much as possible. We’d like to continue the success of Thomas to get the season off to a really good start. We are so excited to be the first venue to host this exhibition and the first Heritage Railway to have an event which has professionally prepared LEGO attractions. We’d really like to make this exciting event as successful as possible and we will be delighted to hear from as many of you as possible who are prepared to help cover the various turns on site and on the train! 

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We want your news!

Events, achievements, developments and activities, on the railway.

Email your text & pictures to [email protected]

 Carriage & Wagon Department

No sooner had the diesels received their repaint and left the shed than it was back to business as usual. The Pullman kitchen car has received some much needed remedial work ready for the season.

Amongst the jobs is the renewal of the kitchen ceiling, resulting in a big clean-up needed to bring the kitchen back into operation.

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The Maunsell NBO seen in last months newsletter is receiving, in addition to its new roof canvas, a much-needed body overhaul. This includes the fitting of insulation, as we have included in all recently outshopped vehicles. The interior of this coach is exceptional in quality and will attract a premium upon its return to traffic.

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 Secondary Catering Outlet

As soon as Thomas had departed, the "temporary" marquee that has been such a feature of events for the last 15 years was removed & Dave Stubbs commenced the construction of a brick plinth, on which the new building will stand. Dave needs help to keep the job moving forward and will be working on various days over the next few weeks - email if you're able to offer help.



ARIES will enter the C&W shed, ready for the Members Day on the 18th March, and for the next phase of work on its restoration to revenue earning service. Members of the ARIES project team will be on hand to discuss this interesting project.

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The initial stage will be to start dismantling the former kitchen area of the vehicle. This will allow us to determine the extent of the work required to the timber framing as a result of decay and the need to reposition windows to suit the revised seating layout. There will be much to do with most of the initial work requiring little or no experience, just plenty of enthusiasm. If you feel you would like to join us on this exciting project, please let us know on the day or e-mail John Wheller or Andy Hopper and you will be made most welcome.

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Steam Locomotives

Members of the 4253 restoration team are now getting excited as they watch Dick Beckett finish work on the very last axle box. It is expected that the engine will be back on its wheels in a matter of weeks



Robin Dyce
We are sorry to report that Robin Dyce passed away on the 11th February, just a few days after his triple heart bypass operation. The funeral will take place at Tunbridge Wells Crematorium on Tuesday 21st March at 12.15pm. Further details will be published in the members area of the K&ESR website. A larger than life character, Robin lived for the railway and Bodiam Station in particular. This is a huge shock for our railway family and our thoughts and best wishes go to his family at this difficult time.

Mick Hoad
It is with great sadness that we have learned of the sudden death of Mick Hoad, who was a Station Master and Booking Clerk at Northiam and Bodiam Stations. Further details will be published in the members area of the K&ESR website.

Brian Gooch
Sadly we must also report the passing of Brian Gooch at the William Harvey Hospital on 25th January. Brian was known to many as a staunch supporter and volunteer on the Wealden Pullman for many years and he will be greatly missed. Our sympathies and thoughts go out to Meg and her family at this very sad time.

 Can you help us?

In both this newsletter and the Tenterden Terrier are contained regular appeals for help. Many of these are for long-term projects that require attendance at the railway, but there's also often a need for short-term specialist assistance that can be undertaken from home, at your own pace. Do you have skills, perhaps gained in your professional life, that could help your railway prosper? The answer is we simply don't know!

With this in mind, we've created a skills database where you can register your abilities. There's absolutely no commitment to anything when registering - if we subsequently contact you for help, you're quite at liberty to accept or decline, no questions asked. A topical example of the help we currently need is that of an illustrator - we need a new, friendly, colourful, map produced for the next edition of the K&ESR Guidebook. Any offers?

 Dates for your Diary

Sunday 5th March

Day Out with Thomas post-event meeting. Tenterden Station Buffet 10:30. All welcome.

Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th March


Rolvenden level crossing replacement. Please note A28 will be closed for the whole weekend at Rolvenden Station. Rolvenden shed and yard will be  CLOSED  over the weekend of 11th and 12th March whilst the whole site is under control of the crossing renewal project team. A timelapse camera will capture the work & the footage will be shown on our Facebook page & KESR website when completed.

The A28 Rolvenden Road / Rolvenden Hill will be closed in the vicinity of Rolvenden Level Crossing. The closure starts from Saturday 11th March 2017 at 5.00 am, continuing through until the night of Sunday 12 March, with the road re-opened as soon as works have been completed and it is safe to do so.

The alternative route is via A28 Rolvenden Hill, B2086 Regent Street, Benenden Road, Rolvenden Road, The Street, New Pond Road, Goddard’s Green Road, Benenden Road, Tenterden Road (Biddenden), Cranbrook Road and A28 Rolvenden Road. There will be a signed alternative route for pedestrians using nearby footpaths. Access to the remainder of A28 Rolvenden Road / Rolvenden Hill continues from either direction up to where the road is closed, but there will be no through access during these works.

These works are weather dependent, and if adverse conditions prevent them being fully completed within the planned dates, the duration may need to be extended or some works re-scheduled. There is a possibility that the works may over-run for various reasons including adverse weather conditions or unforeseen engineering difficulties.The Kent County Council Highway Helpline phone number is 03000 418181

Saturday 11th March

Annual Footplate Staff Meeting Zion Baptist Church at 14:00. All footplate staff should attend for the issue of new documents, an important briefing, an update on Mutual Improvement Classes and other departmental matters. There will also be an open discussion forum.

Saturday 11th March

Annual Wealden Pullman staff gathering & quiz 7.30pm, Station Refreshment Rooms, Tenterden. All staff are welcome - not just those who work inside the train

Friday 17th March

The first Real Ale Train of the season - help always needed.  Contact: André Freeman or Helen Douglas

Saturday 18th March

Members Day. All members welcome plus bring a friend who may be interested in membership/volunteering opportunities. Gates open 10:30 at Tenterden. Tours of Carriage and Wagon Dept, with an opportunity to see more about the ARIES Project which will be in the workshop; signalbox tours; footplate rides in platform. Model railway open; Rother Valley Railway on hand to discuss the Robertsbridge project; Membership and Volunteer recruitment on site; buffet open for light refreshments. Opportunity to hear about our future plans from the management

At 2pm, a train hauled by the superbly refurbished Class 14 diesel (with Charwelton on the rear) and containing recently overhauled TSO64, will depart for Bodiam. The train will stop at Rolvenden to view progress with 4253.

Sun 19th and Sat 25th March

Incident Training will take place between Tenterden and Rolvenden to allow staff to familiarise themselves with the revised failed train changes to the Rule Book following the removal of detonators. There will be two sessions on each day starting at Rolvenden training room. Session 1 starts 10:00 Session 2 starts 14:00 Max participants for each session is 10. To avoid overcrowding email Pete Salmon

Saturday, 25th March

Annual Staff & Volunteer Evening at the Zion Baptist Chapel, Tenterden 6.30 pm for 7.00 pm. Find out the latest developments on the railway and what is going to happen this season. This is your chance to have your say. Food & refreshments will be available after the meeting, provided by the railway’s Catering Department. Donations towards the cost of this food would be appreciated!

It's your railway!

Working members can view news, meeting minutes & other information at any time on the staff pages of the K&ESR website – if you’re not yet registered for access, it’s an easy process at

We hope you have found this e-newsletter useful and informative. We cannot possibly cover all that is happening on the railway, but your feedback, news and pictures are always welcome. Email us at: [email protected] 

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Kent & East Sussex Railway

Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE

Registered charity 262481

Day Out With Thomas ™ Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends ™ Based on The Railway Series by The Reverend W. Awdry. © 2016 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, Thomas & Friends and Day Out With Thomas are trademarks of Gullane (Thomas) Limited. © 2016 HIT Entertainment Limited.