East Kent Railway (heritage)
EKR Eythorne.png
NS687 sits at Eythorne behind the old Selling signal box as a bus leaves for the Dover Transport Museum during a joint event in 2015.
LocaleKent, England
Kent Railways.svg
Commercial operations
Built byColonel Stephens
Original gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Owned byEast Kent Railway Trust
Operated byEast Kent Railway Trust
Length2.4 miles (3.9 km)
Preserved gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
Preservation history
East Kent Light Railway
Richboro Port
(never opened)
Sandwich Road
Roman Road
Poison Cross
Hammill Colliery
Ash Town
Wingham Colliery
Wingham Town
Wingham (Canterbury Road)
Extension to Canterbury
Eastry South
Tilmanstone Colliery Halt
Tilmanstone Colliery
Eythorne East Kent Railway (heritage)
Guilford Colliery
Golgotha Tunnel (
477 yd
436 m
Former main line connection
Shepherdswell East Kent Railway (heritage)
Shepherds Well National Rail

The East Kent Railway (EKR) is a heritage railway in Kent, England. It is located at Shepherdswell station on the London to Dover Priory direct mainline. The line was constructed between 1911 and 1917 to serve the Kent Coalfields. See East Kent Light Railway for details of the original lines.[1] The Kent Collieries were mostly a failure with only Tilmanstone on the line producing any viable commercial coal and commercial traffic over the line. The line is operated by heritage diesel locomotives. It is home to a collection of heritage diesel locomotives, Diesel Multiple Units DMU, DEMU and electric multiple units including an in service British Rail Class 404 built in the 1930s.

At Shepherdswell, there is a cafe, a large 15-acre (6.1 ha) woodland area with walking routes, a 5 in (127 mm) gauge miniature railway, a 7+14 in (184 mm) gauge woodland miniature railway, a model railway and a small museum.

At Eythorne, there is a small cafe in a General Utility Van built by BR that used to carry elephants. The old Selling Signal Box is also here with a history of the East Kent Railway both past and present inside. Eythorne Station plays host to a variety of features on special event days.

The railway holds special events throughout the year, ranging from railway enthusiast events to beer festivals along with family fun weekends.

On the line there is Golgotha Tunnel (situated between Shepherdswell and Eythorne), 477 yards (436 m) long, making it the eighth longest tunnel on a UK Heritage Railway in Preservation. The tunnel was built in typical Colonel Stephens style by building double track portals but only excavating a single track internally to save money.[2]

Rolling stock

Steam Locomotives

Diesel Locomotives

Diesel Multiple Units

Electric stock

Hauled coaches

There is also a wide variety of wagons at Shepherdswell.

The EKR today as a Heritage Railway

A preservation group was formed in 1987 to preserve part of the abandoned line as far as the old coal mine at Tilmanstone. By 1989 a majority of the lineside vegetation had been cleared and by 1995 the first heritage train was run.

Following the reopening of the railway, a new platform was constructed on the site of the former equivalent at Eythorne and the former signalbox from Selling was moved to the northern end of the platform in the mid 1990s. The railway also owns the Barham Signal Box from the closed Elham Valley Line which houses a detailed mural painting of the old East Kent Railway route, this can be found at Shepherdswell.

The EKR operates on most Sundays and Bank Holidays between April and September and selected Saturdays in mid summer.

The EKR also owns an extensive ancient woodland known as "The Knees".[21] The railway uses The Knees as an educational resource, woodland walks - the bluebells in spring are a popular attraction and for special events such as halloween.

The railway hosts other groups, including the Southern Electric Group, EKR Trolleybus Group and the 427 Locomotive Group and recently the Network SouthEast Railway Society as they have moved their Museum Container.

The railway hosts two apprenticeship schemes for Permanent Way and Civil Engineering training.

Unit 205 001 (1101) before preservation, seen at London Bridge
Unit 205 001 (1101) before preservation, seen at London Bridge
St Dunstan at the East Kent Railway in protective paint awaiting cosmetic restoration
St Dunstan at the East Kent Railway in protective paint awaiting cosmetic restoration


  1. ^ See also, Beddall, Matthew, "The East Kent Light Railway" (1998)(ISBN 0953295206).
  2. ^ "Golgotha Tunnel – Subterranea Britannica".
  3. ^ "BR 60100 SR DEMU Class 205 DMBSO ("Hampshire" Unit) built 1957". Archived from the original on 9 April 2014.
  4. ^ "BR 60800 SR DEMU Class 205 Driving Trailer: "Hampshire" Unit built 1957". Archived from the original on 9 April 2014.
  5. ^ "SR 11187 'Portsmouth' 4-COR driving motor brake third saloon built 1938".
  6. ^ "SR 11161 Driving Motor Brake Third Open built 1937".
  7. ^ "BR 76875 Driving Trailer Composite of Class 423/0 4-VEP EMU built 1973".
  8. ^ "BR 76397 4-VEP EMU Driving Trailer built 1968".
  9. ^ "BR 76398 4-VEP EMU Driving Trailer built 1968".
  10. ^ "BR 70904 TSO centre car of 4-VEP EMU Set built 1968".
  11. ^ "BR 62385 Motor Brake Second of 4-CIG EMU Set built 1970".
  12. ^ "The Suburban Electric Railway Association - Class 457 DMSO 67300".
  13. ^ "LMS 5793 Brake Corridor Third built 1936". Archived from the original on 9 April 2014.
  14. ^ "BR 80785 Mk 1 Gangwayed Full Brake built 1955".
  15. ^ "BR 43140 Mk 1 Brake Second (underframe only) built 1954". Archived from the original on 9 April 2014.
  16. ^ "BR 14123 Mk 2c Brake Corridor First built 1969". Archived from the original on 9 April 2014.
  17. ^ "BR 3377 Mk 2f Open First (later Buffet First)". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Pullman SECR 43 Sapphire Parlour First built 1910".
  19. ^ "Pullman SECR 99 Padua Pullman Parlour First built 1920".
  20. ^ "Pullman SECR 102 Rosalind Pullman Kitchen First built 1921".
  21. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Coordinates: 51°11′50″N 1°15′8″E / 51.19722°N 1.25222°E / 51.19722; 1.25222