Tenterden - Northiam - Bodiam
Kent & East Sussex Railway

Keeping the Kent & East Sussex Railway at its best is an expensive business...

We are immensely proud of our team of dedicated volunteers and very grateful for the invaluable support they provide. Whilst the income from operating our trains goes some way to cover our fixed costs, donations remain an essential element of our income in order to ensure that we are here both in the short term and for the enjoyment of future generations.

Read on to find out more about the many ways in which you can support the K&ESR: from help for specific projects shown below; how a general donation can support the railway; to supporting us by buying items for us from our Amazon wish list!

    • The Heritage Buildings Fund

      Preserving the railway’s precious buildings

      A grant of £21,000 has enabled the Kent & East Sussex Railway to establish a new Heritage Buildings Fund to help safeguard our most historic and invaluable buildings and secure their future.

      First priorities

      The fund’s first priorities are vital restoration work to two iconic structures: the weatherboarded Tenterden Town station building (housing the booking office, ticket hall and gift shop) and the former Chilham signal box (also situated at the station).

      Built respectively in 1903 and 1895, these two iconic, mainly wooden, structures have so far withstood the ravages of both time and weather but are now showing signs of significant decay which could become irreversible if not tackled soon.

      Appeal target

      The initial generous £21,000 grant has been awarded to the K&ESR by a charitable trust which quietly directs some of its grant making to charities protecting precious heritage assets. However, with early estimates indicating that the full restoration costs could easily exceed £40,000, we are seeking to raise a further £25,000 to ensure all necessary work can be undertaken within the next 12 months.


      We have secured two prominent Tenterden figures as Patrons: former Mayor of Tenterden and Coronation-appointed Baron of the Cinque Ports, Tenterden, John Crawford, and current Mayor of Tenterden, Cllr Sue Ferguson, who is also a local business owner. Both shown here with K&ESR General Manager, Robin Coombes (left)

      K&ESR General Manager Robin Coombes, Mayor of Tenterden Cllr Sue Ferguson and Baron of the Cinque Ports, Tenterden, John Crawford

      Make a donation

      • Donations can be made by making a single payment or creating a regular standing order through CAF Donate which, if you are a UK tax payer, will also enable the K&ESR to collect Gift Aid
      • By sending a cheque made payable to ‘Kent & East Sussex Railway’ to K&ESR, Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE. Please write 'HBF' on the reverse of your cheque. Download the appeal leaflet or the Gift Aid form
      • By texting HERITAGE to 70480 for a £20 donation (texts will be charged at your standard message rate)

      Business support

      A suite of business support packages has also been created, offering specific benefits:

      Bronze - £1K

      Four freedom tickets on the railway to enjoy a day at K&ESR on any operating day of their choice (excluding special events such as Santa). If the donor wishes, on one leg of the journey they can be joined by a Trustee to explain more about the history of the line and its operation as a living museum.

      Silver - £3K

      Two complimentary tickets to dine on the Wealden Pullman Sunday Lunch service at a date of your choice (dates subject to availability), or two complimentary tickets for a ‘Behind the Scenes’ exploration of the railway and its operations in the company of a K&ESR guide.

      Gold - £5K

      Exclusive use of the historic Family Saloon for up to 12 people on a suitable operating train. Travel ‘Downton Abbey’ style in the splendour of this turn-of-the-twentieth-century carriage.

    • Guests will be accompanied by a steward and served Prosecco (or non-alcoholic beverages if preferred) and canapés during the 21-mile return trip between Tenterden and Bodiam.

      All donors – individual and businesses – who donate at least £1k will be recognised on a donor wall outside one of the station buildings as a lasting reminder of their generosity and contribution to maintaining these historic structures. They will also be mentioned in publicity material about the progress of the Appeal.

      To enquire about the three special donation packages, please email: fundraising@kesr.org.uk

      Donations from businesses – including for these packages - need to made direct to the Kent & East Sussex Railway Company Limited (Account No 00010228, sort code 40-52-40) by BACS, quoting ‘Heritage Buildings Fund’ as a payment reference.


      Some complex restoration work will have to be undertaken by specialist external contractors, but the conservation plan allows for some tasks to be undertaken by volunteers. Anyone interested in offering their skills and time should email: infrastructure@kesr.org.uk

    • 20 for 20 - The GWR Railcar Appeal

      GWR RailcarWe need your help to raise £20,000 to complete the restoration of this historic vehicle so that it can, once more, play a leading role at the K&ESR and join the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of K&ESR reopening in 2024. With your support, we can ensure this important part of railway history will continue to give pleasure to visitors for years to come.

      20 for 20 Appeal

      Securing the future of the Wealden Pullman

      Interior of Kitchen Car 1987

      We're working on an ambitious investment programme to enhance and secure the future of the Wealden Pullman dining train - and we need your help!

      The first stage of the project has now been successfully completed - entry into service of our new Kitchen Car. The kitchen lies at the heart of the Wealden Pullman dining train. Our previous kitchen car 'Diana' had served us well, but after 41 years in traffic - and over 750,000 meals - it was time for an upgrade! The new kitchen has been designed to take advantage of the latest technology, providing a far better working environment for our team of dedicated volunteers. It also provides improved access to the trains dining carriage 'Theodora' for wheelchair user customers.

    • Aries
      Pullman Car Aries in the formation of the 'Golden Arrow' at Dover Western Docks Station

      But we're not stopping there! The next phase will be to provide shelter from the weather for our precious Pullman Cars - now approaching their 100th Birthday. Further stages are the restoration of marquetry panelling in Theodora and the restoration of 'Aries', the very last Pullman Car to have been built at the Pullman Car Company workshops at Preston Park, Brighton.

      Help secure the future of the Wealden Pullman


      Did you know that whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be raising free donations for the Kent & East Sussex Railway with easyfundraising?

      There are over 4,000 shops and sites on board ready to make a donation – including eBay, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, Booking.com and M&S – and it won’t cost you a penny extra to help us raise funds.

      All you need to do is:

      1. Go to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/kesr/?utm_campaign=raise-more and join for free.

      2. Every time you shop online, go to easyfundraising first to find the site you want and start shopping.

      3. After you’ve checked out, the retailer will make a donation to Kent & East Sussex Railway at no extra cost to you whatsoever!

      There are no catches or hidden charges and we're really grateful for your donations.

      Thank you for your support.

      General Donations

      If you'd like to make a single or recurring general donation, of any size, to support the K&ESR's historical and educational work, you can do so via our Charities Aid Foundation donation page:

      Donate online today

      Gifts and Legacies

      • Do you have a happy memory of the Kent and East Sussex Railway or even of railways in general?
      • Do you appreciate the effort that has been put into preserving the K&ESR?
      • Do you want to ensure your legacy makes a difference and provides enjoyment to generations to come?

      Whatever your reason, leaving money to the Railway through your will means the restoration, enhancement and development of the K&ESR can be achieved. It is also tax efficient! Legacies to the K&ESR charity are exempt from tax - usually this also benefits others you name in your will.

      The Kent & East Sussex Railway is a not for profit historical and educational charity (Registered Charity No. 262481) with the objectives of preserving the line between Tenterden and Robertsbridge as an example of rural light railway.

      How to remember the K&ESR in your Will

      If you have already made a will, it is straightforward to add a codicil that modifies an existing will. An example of wording you can use is shown here

      What can I leave to the K&ESR?

      There are three types of legacy:

      • Residuary: the whole of the estate, or a percentage of it after other specific gifts and expenses have been made. This allows for the legacy value to be maintained in real terms. An example of wording you can use is shown here
      • Pecuniary: a specific sum of money, such as £1,000. An example of wording you can use is shown here
      • Specific Gift: eg, property, an item of value, or shares. An example of wording you can use is shown here

      In addition, as you no longer have to buy an annuity when you retire, the capital remaining in a pension fund can be distributed as you wish. It is not considered to be part of your estate and is not covered by your will. You should specify how this asset is dealt with by a nomination form or “letter of wishes”. If you die after the age of 75 there is normally a tax charge that can be up to 45% but if you specify the Kent and East Sussex Railway charity as the beneficiary this will not apply.

      Specifying how the money will be spent

      Terrier at BodiamWe would prefer that any money left to the K&ESR is made without restriction. This allows the trustees to allocate the funds where they are most needed. Legacies are not used for day to day operations, they are set aside for projects that will enhance the Railway in accordance with our charitable aims. If a project is specified in a will, but then either does not proceed or is completed before you die, the restricted funds are not usable. We are happy for you to state a wish for how the money is to be used as a rider to your will so we know what your intentions are without being unduly restrictive. If you have a specific request, then please contact legacy@kesr.org.uk and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.

      Memorial Garden and Commemoration Services

      Memorial GardenIf you or your loved ones have the Kent & East Sussex Railway close to your heart, you might like to consider a personal plaque in our Memorial Garden.

      Created at Northiam Station, adjacent to the track, this is a tranquil, appropriate spot to remember those who have had a particularly special relationship with the railway.

      For a donation, the ashes of your loved one can be scattered in our Memorial Garden as a unique resting place. You may also wish to purchase a commemorative plaque* as a permanent feature which will be fixed to a special railway sleeper wall within the garden.

      Plaque*The plaques, as illustrated, are made of very robust, rigid plastic which will be engraved with the wording of your choice. The plaques measure approximately 8 inches x 6 inches.

      We can provide a range of catered packages for commemorative events. Please contact legacy@kesr.org.uk to discuss your requirements.

      Further information

      If you prefer to make a donation by posting a cheque to us, if you're a UK taxpayer you can Gift Aid your donation by completing & enclosing a declaration - download a single or multiple donation form.

      Send your donations or enquiries to us at The Fundraising Manager, Kent & East Sussex Railway, Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden TN30 6HE or email legacy@kesr.org.uk

      Thank you for your kind support


      ¹Texts cost your donation amount plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about the work and fundraising of the Kent & East Sussex Railway via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to donate but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text KESRNOINFO followed by a space and the donation amount e.g to donate £5 send KESRNOINFO 5 to 70085

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