Kent and East Sussex Railway

Some of our most frequently asked questions…..

Many of our most frequently asked questions are shown below, but if you still need some assistance please contact us

What extra measures are you taking to keep us safe during COVID?

We have implemented the following Control Measures:

  • Enhanced cleaning regimes. We clean & sanitise carriages regularly.
  • Hand Sanitiser stations are provided.
  • Increased ventilation in trains
  • Contactless payments preferred

Visitor responsibilities

We ask for your cooperation and that you follow Government guidance:

If you are feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 you and members of your party must not visit the railway. In such circumstances, if you have already purchased tickets their value will be transferred to a K&ESR Gift Card.

Please scan in using the QR code posters displayed at stations when you arrive.

Please wash your hands regularly, especially before boarding and after leaving the train. Hand Sanitiser is provided at strategic locations around the railway, although you may wish to bring your own. Please limit your movement around the train by remaining in your seats where possible.

COVID-19 spreads through the air by droplets and aerosols that are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person. Whilst wearing a face covering is not now mandatory, for the benefit of all, we recommend a face covering is worn when in any building, railway carriage or busy enclosed space. Face coverings are available if you forget or lose your own.

Please dispose of all litter responsibly in the waste bins provided at stations. There will also be a disposal bag in your compartment for any litter.

Our staff will open carriage windows & we suggest that they remain open wherever possible.

If you or someone in your party is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you were to catch COVID-19, you may wish to think particularly carefully about visiting and any additional precautions you might wish to continue to take. You may for example wish to limit close contact with those you do not usually meet, in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. We understand you may have concerns and decide not to travel with us. In such circumstances, if you have already purchased tickets, their value will be transferred to a K&ESR Gift Card. Please visit our Terms & Conditions

We ask that all visitors show respect to each other, our volunteers and these guidelines.

Which engine will be in use when I come?

The locomotive rota is created once engines have returned back to the loco shed and they have been examined for their fitness to run. It is difficult to predict therefore what loco may be in use on any one day, but our helpful Customer Service assistants (01580 765155) will be pleased to advise which engine is sitting next to them that day!

What’s happening about the Robertsbridge extension?

The K&ESR is the registered charity that owns and operates the line between Tenterden and Bodiam.

The Rother Valley Railway is a separate organisation setup to rebuild the line between Bodiam and Robertsbridge. The RVR have made much progress in the project and you can find out the latest news by visiting their website at

What age range are child tickets?

Child tickets are available for 3-15 year olds on most trains. For certain special events, such as ‘Santa Specials’ and a ‘Day Out with Thomas®‘, child ticket validity may be different – please check the event page. The evening Wealden Pullman is unsuitable for children and Sunday Lunch services are unsuitable for children under the age of five.

Tickets aren’t available online for today – are you fully booked?

Subject to availability, tickets are available online until midnight on the day preceding. If capacity remains, tickets will be available from the Ticket Office at the station, right up until just a few minutes before departure – don’t be late!

I use a wheelchair – will I be able to get on the train?

Our facilities have been carefully designed with the mobility impaired visitor in mind. We are proud to boast a specially designed coach called Petros, which is fitted with ramped wheelchair access, wide aisles, moveable seating and an accessible toilet. Petros is included in many of our trains, but please do get in touch with us if you need assistance.

Some of our other carriages have ramped access too and there is full wheelchair access to the Shop and Colonel Stephens Railway Museum at Tenterden Town Station.

We recommend that visitors with special needs or specific requirements telephone our Booking Office (01580 765155) for friendly assistance: accommodation may be reserved by telephone on any train service at no additional cost.

Do steam locos operate the timetable every day?

Some trains consist of heritage diesel powered stock. These trains are marked accordingly in our timetables and our volunteers make every effort to run to the timetable as advertised. Heritage steam engines can be unpredictable however. If a loco breaks down we will always do our best to provide a replacement service, but this may be diesel hauled as it takes many hours to raise steam on another loco. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions

During long periods of hot weather, we may need to add a diesel engine to a steam service so that it does not have to work as hard, reducing the risk of a lineside fire. During extreme hot weather we may be required to replace steam locos with diesel haulage to prevent the risk of fire. Follow us on social media (links at the top of this page) for the latest updates.

Can we take bicycles or buggies on the train?

When our standard timetabled trains are running to Bodiam, a small number of bikes can often be accommodated in the Guards Van without charge. You are welcome to put collapsible buggies in the Guards Van, but they cannot be accommodated at your seat. During Special Events we often provide a Buggy Park as there’s no room on the trains, but please check the relevant event page for details.

Can we bring our dog?

We welcome dogs when operating our standard timetables to Bodiam. However during Special Events restrictions may apply, so please check the relevant event page for details.

Please note that dogs (except for registered assistance dogs) are not permitted in the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum or in catering areas. Please ensure that your dog is kept under control on a short lead at all times. For the benefit of all visitors, dogs must not be allowed to climb on the seats or tables.

Can I travel in a First Class carriage?

First Class accommodation is available on some trains for a small supplement payable to the Ticket Inspector onboard the train.

Can I look round the engine shed?

Our locomotive engineering workshop at Rolvenden Station is not normally open to visitors, but there is a free-entry viewing gallery available. Organised tours of the loco works are available as part of our popular Behind the Scenes tours.

Our Carriage & Wagon workshop is at Tenterden and is also available for viewing as part of the Behind the Scenes tour.

Can I film the trains?

We welcome you to photograph our railway – why not share your images with us on our social media pages? There are a few simple rules to observe so that you remain safe:

  • Never go into non-public areas or onto the railway track
  • Do not lean out of the train when it’s moving
  • If you’re crossing the line at a public footpath crossing, take care of uneven surfaces and cross directly – don’t linger

Drones can provide some stunning images, but they should not be used within 50m of a person, vehicle, building or structure, or overhead groups of people at any height. Read the simple guidance HERE

For all commercial photography and filming of the K&ESR, take a look at our Film Location services

Can I come into the station if I don’t want to travel?

When our usual trains to Bodiam are running, a Ticket or Platform ticket provides access to the station facilities and can be purchased at the Booking Office. During some special events we are unable to provide Platform tickets.

Are you really all volunteers?

The vast majority of our staff are volunteers. We have a small number of paid staff, but most of these volunteer too! We welcome help from people of all backgrounds, but you do need to join as a member of the K&ESR first

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