Kent and East Sussex Railway


Happy driver looking forward to seeing you againWe are delighted to advise that the K&ESR will reopen to visitors on Saturday 22nd May 2021.

We’re working hard to make sure that travelling with us remains as safe as possible – but fun too! We’re keeping the number of people we welcome each day low and to help us to achieve that, we’re asking everyone to book online in advance.

We’ll be operating return journey steam trains between Tenterden & Bodiam only. We recommend that you pre-book your tickets online at least 24 hours in advance, as availability is strictly limited. If capacity remains available, tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis at Tenterden Town Ticket Office – card payment only please.

Trains won’t be stopping at Rolvenden, Wittersham Road or Northiam Stations (and these stations will remain closed to visitors). The train will remain at Bodiam Station for approximately 15 minutes, giving time to buy some snacks at the station and visit the loo before returning to Tenterden.

There are tickets for individuals (limited availability) and family groups: our Family Return Journey tickets are available for groups of two or up to four or eight* people travelling together and are valid for one return journey, by the same train, between Tenterden – Bodiam & return.

We’re proud to have been granted the Visit England “We’re Good to Go”  Industry Standard mark, demonstrating that we have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, have Risk Assessments in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.

Visit England We're Good to Go logo

Our trains

There are three steam hauled departures each operating day to choose from:

  • The first leaves Tenterden at 10:40am and arrives at Bodiam at 11:27am. It then departs Bodiam at approximately 11:43am, arriving back in Tenterden at 12:32pm.
  • The second departure leaves Tenterden at 1:15pm, arrives at Bodiam at 2:02pm, before departing at approximately 2:18pm, arriving back in Tenterden at 3:07pm.
  • The last departure* leaves Tenterden at 3:35pm, arrives at Bodiam at 4:21pm, before departing at approximately 4:40pm, arriving back in Tenterden at 5:30pm.

Tickets are valid for one return journey by the same train.

*The 3:35pm departure does not operate on 26th and 27th May.

There are two types of seating styles available to book:

Open plan carriages – suitable for individuals and a family of 2 or 4 people

These open plan style carriages offer seating around a table. To ensure you feel socially distanced safe, we’ve blocked the seats adjacent and behind out of use, as shown by the red dots in the drawing below. These carriages have an onboard toilet accessible during the journey, although we’re suggesting everyone remains seated where possible. Family Return Journey tickets are £36 for a family of up to 2 people or £49 for a family of up to 4 people travelling together. Please note that social distancing between groups of seats is always applied as shown below.

We also have a limited number of individual tickets available at £19.50, whilst our accessible carriage ‘Petros’ provides wheelchair friendly spaces suitable for a user & up to 3 accompanying family members.

Open Plan Carriage layoutOpen plan carriage interior

Family Private Compartments – suitable for up to 6 people

These old fashioned style compartment carriages provide your family group with its own exclusive use space throughout the journey. Because these compartments are physically segregated, there’s no access to onboard toilets during the journey, although there are of course toilets at our stations.  A family group of less than six people – perhaps you prefer a little more space or exclusivity – may also book these compartments. Family Private Compartment Return Journey Tickets are £89.

*NOTE: These compartments are designed to seat up to 8 people. There is currently a legal limit on the number of people who you don’t live with that you are able to meet. When meeting with people you don’t live with, you can socialise in groups of up to 6. If you book a compartment you must declare that either your group numbers six or fewer or, if your group consists of 7 or 8 people, you must declare that you all live together, in the same household.

Vintage Compartment suitable for up to 8 people

Keep it simple, keep it safe

We’re asking for everyone’s help by following the simple safety measures we’ve put in place. These measures include:

  • Limiting the number of visitors we welcome each day
  • Asking all visitors to pre-book online
  • Protective screening at the Ticket Office
  • Card payments only, no cash accepted
  • Managed entrance routes
  • Hand sanitiser points at strategic locations
  • Catering outlets offer takeaway snacks only
  • Supporting the use of face coverings
  • Supporting the NHS Test & Trace scheme


  1. Can I visit the K&ESR?
    Tenterden Town station is open to pre-booked visitors. If you arrive without an advance booking, admission may be available if capacity permits. We strongly recommend that all visitors pre-book their visit via the links above.
  2. What precautions is the K&ESR taking?
    The safety and welfare of our visitors, staff and volunteers is our top priority and we are taking every measure to ensure this. We continue to limit visitor numbers to ensure physical distancing and that everyone has a great experience with us.
    The following measures have also been put in place:
    • Protective screening at the Ticket Office
    • Increased intensity and frequency of cleaning on our trains and stations
    • Online & Card payments only, no cash accepted
    • Floor markings at the Ticket Office entrance & museum
    • Signage to remind everyone of physical distancing and hand washing guidelines
    • Hand sanitising points available at strategic locations
    • Refreshment outlets offer takeaway snack options only. You’re welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy on the train or at station picnic benches.
    • The children’s play area remains closed
    • We support the NHS Test and Trace scheme – if you’re visiting us but don’t have a booking, please scan in and out via the displayed posters.
    • Regular cleaning & sanitisation carried out. We’re using Zoono on all contact surfaces, as used on the national rail network.
  3. Do I need to wear a face covering?
    Government regulations require the wearing of a face covering when using public transport, when visiting the railway museum, or when in buildings, unless: for children under the age of 11; you are unable to wear a face covering for health reasons; you are eating or drinking; to take medication; you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate. If you do not have a face covering, disposable masks will be available for purchase on arrival.
  4. Are there discounts on admission?
    The K&ESR is a registered charity that relies on the support of our members, donors and visitors to enable us to continue our work. Whilst the vast majority of our staff are volunteers, it still costs around £2 million each year to operate the railway. Although our admission prices barely cover the cost of operating our trains, we’re keen to ensure we make the K&ESR a welcoming and affordable place to visit. We offer a range of memberships which offer great value – join online HERE
  5. Is there any reason why I should not visit?
    We respectfully ask that everyone take responsibility for their own health before visiting. Please do not visit if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have any underlying health conditions that might put you at risk. It is your responsibility to make the right choice for yourself and others around you. Please follow the government guidance you should not visit to meet with friends or relatives from outside your household/support bubble if you reside in a COVID tier 2 area; you should not visit if you reside in a tier 3 area
  6. How are your refreshment outlets minimising risk?
    We are operating a takeaway snack service only. In order to maintain safe physical distancing, the following measures have been put in place:
    • Queues are managed
    • Waste must be disposed of in the bins provided
    • Outdoor tables are 2m apart and cannot be moved to create larger tables
  7. Can I book my ticket on arrival?
    In order that we can safely manage the number of people visiting each day, we strongly recommend that everyone books their tickets in advance. If capacity remains available on the day, tickets may be available from Tenterden Town Station Booking Office – card payments only are accepted and you will need to supply your contact details for NHS Test & Trace purposes.
  8. What about child tickets?
    Children under 3 years of age that don’t require a seat go free and need not be included within the 2, 4 or Family Private Compartment for 6 capacities – so for example, a Family of one adult, one teenager and one baby in arms would be fine with a Family 2 Ticket. To ensure we can maintain social distancing, everyone, including children, requiring their own seat must be included within the booking total capacity.
  9. I have a K&ESR Gift Card – how can I book a ticket?
    If you’ve a K&ESR Gift Card that you’d like to use in payment for a booking, do get in touch with us via [email protected] and we’ll gladly make the booking for you. Please remember to bring the Gift Card with you when you visit us so that we may take the balance due. If you don’t have the Gift Card with you, you’ll need to pay using a debit or credit card.
  10. Can I bring my dog?
    You’re welcome to bring your dog – they’re part of the family and we know they’re just as keen to get out & about as everyone else! Dogs go free on these trains, but please help us by ensuring they remain under control within your seating area – and please never allow them to sit on the seats.
  11. Can I buy a ticket for just one person?
    We have limited availability of individual tickets on a first come, first served basis. We strongly recommend that you book in advance to avoid disappointment
  12. Can I visit if I am a member of the K&ESR?
    In recognition of their support, we are providing opportunities for members to visit, as detailed in our regular Members e-newsletters. Members should pre-book here – note that the ticket is valid for up to 4 people travelling together where at least one person must be a current member. These tickets do not decrement your membership complimentary travel entitlement. Alternatively, contact us via [email protected] and we’ll gladly make a booking for you using any free travel entitlement you have as part of your membership benefits. However you choose to book, you must remember to bring your valid K&ESR Membership Card with you to validate your booking: no card = no travel! If you would like to take out membership of the K&ESR, please click HERE
  13. Does the K&ESR still need financial help?
    As a registered educational charity, we rely on the support of our members, donors and visitors. This remains an exceptionally challenging time and we have experienced a huge loss of income over the last year and continue to face financial challenges as a result of the need to restrict visitor numbers.
    We are extremely grateful to our everyone who has been so very kind & supportive. We understand these are uncertain times for everyone and are very grateful for any support offered, no matter how big or small – ourKeep Us on Track Appealis seeking to raise £100,000 – if you are able to help, please donate, join as a member HERE, or purchase a Gift Card. Thank you for your kind support!
  14. Is the Gift Shop open?
    Our Tenterden station Gift Shop will be open when trains operate and has a social distancing one-way system. We also have an online shop where you may purchase a K&ESR Gift Card.
  15. Is the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum open?
    Entry to the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum is free of charge when trains are operating. A social distancing one-way system is in place and face coverings must be worn. If you are not travelling on our trains, you must scan in using the NHS Test & Trace app or complete a paper form.
  16. Is there wheelchair accommodation on the train?
    Although we’re currently unable to provide blue badge parking in the station forecourt, visitors may be dropped off and collected at the station entrance & vehicles parked in the main car park. ‘Petros‘ is included in our trains whenever possible – to check for current availability click here
  17. Can I use the train to visit Bodiam Castle?
    Bodiam Castle has limited entry capacity & the National Trust have an advance booking system in place for admission. We hope to be able to resume our discounted entry arrangements with the National Trust is due course, but we are currently unable to offer the option to break journeys at Bodiam or other intermediate stations.
  18. Have another question?
    Please contact us via [email protected] if you have any questions that have not been answered in our FAQs. We’re sorry that we’re unable to respond to telephone calls currently.


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