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East Kent Railway


RCD’s Overview

The East Kent Railway is an interesting former industrial railway that once served the Kent coalfield. Indeed it is one of very few reminders today of the existence of the coal industry in Kent. It was built under the guidance of the famous Colonel Stephens as a light railway. A short heritage line, its trains are hauled by small industrial diesel locomotives, occasional multiple units, and Pacers. Easy to reach by car from the East Kent coast. 

The support group is the 'East Kent Railway Trust' (see 'Information on the Suport Group' below).


Happening This Month on the Railway

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Shepherdswell to Eythorne (East Kent) 

Principal Visitor Centre:

Shepherdswell station (CT15 7PD)

Period of Operation*

- Late March to October (Sundays and most Bank Holidays)

[* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Diesel at present

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Predominantly small diesel locomotives and Pacers

Length of Line:

2 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour

Number of trains per day:

4 in each direction

Number of Stations:

2 stations


Adult: £9. Concession: £5. Child: £5. Family: £25

Time to allow for Visit:

2 hours





Picnic/Play areas:


Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

Limited parking available at Shepherdswell station


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- None currently advertised 

Event Trains:

- Santa by Train: Late November and December 

Principal Galas:

- None currently advertised



Email:                                                                     Use contact box on railway website

Telephone:                                                           01304 832042


Social Media:                                              

                                                                                Also on Twitter


Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The heritage railway runs along part of the East Kent Light Railway, built by Colonel Stephens to serve the Kent coalfields. The line ran from Shepherdswell to Wingham (Canterbury Road) Station with a branch to Richborough Port. The line included a number of branches to serve mines. Only Tilmanstone colliery was successful, and the line from there to Shepherdswell remained open for freight until 1986. Tilmanstone colliery is just north of Eythorne Station, and a preservation group was established at the time of closure with the intent of operating the line from there to Shepherdswell as a heritage railway.  The heritage line opened in 1987.


Principal Aspiration

Restoration of its Heritage DEMU Class 205 unit.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

Peckett Steam Locomotive - No. 2087 (under overhaul, completion expected 2024)


Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU/EMU:

(1) BR Class 08 shunter - 08676

(2) BR Class 08 shunter - 08865

(3) Ruston& Hornsby 0-6-0 shunter - ‘The Buffs' No.427

(4) Thomas Hill Vanguard shunter - 01530

(5) Heritage DEMU Class 205 - No. 1101

(6) Heritage EMU 4 COR - No. 3142

(7) Pacer DMU - 142017 and 142036


Under Overhaul:

(1) Thomas Hill Vanguard shunter - 01543

(2) BR EMU VOP - 3905


Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- Avonside 0-6-0 'St Dunstan'

- English Electric 0-6-0DH - 'Richborough Castle'

- Fowler 0-4-0DM - 'Snowdown'

-  BR Class 08 shunter - 08799



Name of Support Group:

East Kent Railway Trust

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £20 Senior: £16 Junior: £12 Life: £230


Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Quarterly Magazine, ‘EKR News’


What They Say About Volunteering:              

Volunteers follow a short induction programme before starting work at the EKRT. Volunteers work (and are trained) in all areas of the railway including Engineering, Site Work, Catering, Retail, Events, Publicity, Train Service Operations and more.


How to Volunteer:                              Go to and scroll to the bottom of the page for information on volunteering


How to Donate:                                 Go to


How to Join:                            


WHY JOIN: Help the railway restore its heritage 205 DEMU unit.


Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Traditional Railway Societies:

- Industrial Railway Society

- Colonel Stephens Society

- South East and Chatham Railway Society

Model Railway Clubs:

- Folkestone, Hythe and District Model Railway Club

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