The East Kent Railway was opened in 1912 to connect the new collieries to the main line at Shepherdswell and to the sea at Port Richborough. The stretch of line from Eythorne to Guilford Colliery enabled work to continue on the shafts through the winter months when Singledge Lane became impassable.
Very little remains to show where this line once ran. A short stretch of the cutting on the south-east side of the Coldred-Eythorne road near Coldred Court Farm still exists, with a line of trees marking the course of the line for some distance either side of the road.
This photograph shows a short section of the cutting looking east from the road, towards Guilford Colliery. The pictures below, from original paintings by a local artist, shows how the railway might have looked when it was in full operation after the WW1.
Click here for paintings of the E.K.R. by a local artist
The photograph below shows the view looking back across the same fields from where the bridge at the top right of the painting once stood. The row of trees marks where the line once ran.
The other stretch of line connecting Tilmanstone Colliery to the Dover - London main line at Shepherdswell (Sibertswold) has been partially reopened by a group of enthusiasts as a tourist attraction. The line ends abruptly where the bridge used to span the Shepherdswell to Tilmanstone road between Eythorne and Tilmanstone Colliery.
The E.K.R. looking back from Tilmanstone Colliery towards Eythorne. The bridge over the road was demolished for safety reasons.
The view in the opposite direction from the same vantage point. This is where the line used to enter Tilmanstone Colliery. Only the gravel bed still remains to mark the course of the line.
The line started from Shepherdswell, from where it travelled in a north-easterly direction through a tunnel to Eythorne Halt. Here, two single-track lines branched off: one wound its way south, skirting round the western side of Coldred to Guilford Colliery; the other looped into Tilmanstone Colliery before re-joining the line between Eythorne and Shingleton Farm.
The main line turned north from Eythorne to another halt adjoining the road from Elvington to Tilmanstone Colliery. From here it turned slightly to the east, the next stop being at Shingleton Farm, on the road from Betteshanger village to Chillenden.
Continuing in the same direction, the line followed Gore Lane to Eastry, where another halt was situated near the Union Workhouse. A little further on at Gore Halt, the line divided: one branch continued north-east to a halt at the junction with the Woodnesborough and Staple roads, the other turned north-west to a halt at what is now called Wood Ash.
The eastern branch continued in a north-easterly direction to Buckland Farm, where it turned north before crossing the old Roman road from Woodnesborough to Sandwich, where there was another halt. From there it continued north through Great Poulders Farm to the Sandwich-Ash road, where the main line terminated at a halt midway between Sandwich and Each End. A single-track line continued north before turning east to cross the road and the main Sandwich-Ramsgate line just south of Richborough Castle.
The western branch continued in a north-westerly direction to Ash Halt, from where it turned south-west to another halt on the Ash-Staple road. At this point, the line turned west to a halt at Dambridge Farm, just below Wingham Colliery. Two further halts in the village of Wingham, on the Adisham road and the Brambling road, completed the line. The level crossing gate on the south side of the Brambling road is now the entrance to a garden centre.
For more information on the history of the East Kent Railway and for details of events, services and membership of the preservation society, visit the EKR website, but don't forget to bookmark this site before you go!
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