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It's `Mega May' at the Kent & East Sussex Railway!


26 April 2023

It's ‘Mega May' at the Kent & East Sussex Railway!

Packed programme includes Coronation celebration, ‘Steam Up' festival and return of popular 1940s weekend

They say the best things come in three's and that's certainly the case at the Kent & East Sussex Railway (K&ESR) this May. No less than three major events are taking place with a very special ‘little and large show' as the railway's smallest engine shares the stage with its largest ever locomotive visitor.

Coronation celebrations

The K&ESR will be celebrating the King's Coronation with a three-day event:The Best of British(Saturday 6 - Monday 8 May). Visitors can come dressed as their favourite Royal - past or present - for a prize; pose for a selfie with the King; collect a crown or flag, then hop on board the King Charles III special with a free Coronation Activity Sheet to keep everyone entertained. Before travelling, there's a display of British cars and bikes to admire and a children's funfair on the concourse at Tenterden. Feeling hungry? Then pop into the Station Tea Room to enjoy a differentclassic British food option each day:Sausage Saturday, Delicious Desserts on Monday and what could be more British than a Sunday Roast!

Steam UpFestival

The late May Bank holiday weekend (Sat 27 - Mon 29 May) bringsSteam Up, the railway's first steam festival since before the pandemic and its largest showcase for many years.

Leading the heritage line-up will be Battle of Britain locomotive 257 Squadron, the biggest engine ever to ride the line in one of its last appearances in Kent before it returns to the Spa Valley Railway in June. In contrast. the railway's smallest locomotive ‘Marcia' will also be in action for a true ‘little and large' experience! There will also be a top roster of other steam and diesel engines, including much loved ‘Swiftsure', ‘Sapper' and newly returned to the rails ‘Hastings'.

And the highlights don't stop there:

  • Go further:A new intensive timetable will see trains running beyond Bodiam to Junction Road for the first time in many years, followingseveral months of clearance, fencing, and trackwork, undertaken in collaboration with the Rother Valley Railway Company.Although no longer a station, in its heyday Junction Road was the traditional stop for hop pickers making the annual pilgrimage from London to Kent.

  • All change!  Two trains will be working on one platform at Tenterden while at Northiam both platforms will be in use, giving passengers the novel experience of changing trains to travel to Bodiam and Junction Road. There will also be a shuttle service to enable passengers to visit the Rolvenden Locomotive Works.
  • Access all areas.Both the Tenterden Carriage & Wagon Workshop and the Rolvenden Works will be opening their doors throughout the weekend - locations not normally open to the public. At Tenterden this will provide a rare opportunity to see the impressive restoration work being undertaken on GWR Diesel Railcar W20 and to chat with the K&ESR volunteers involved. At Rolvenden, visitors can see several locomotives under repair, including the Ford Diesel, 4253 and USA TankNo 65. Elegant and much-loved Terriers ‘Poplar' and ‘Knowle' will also be on display. Members of the K&ESR volunteer engineering team will be on hand throughout to answer questions and explain what it takes to maintain these beautiful and historic machines.
  • Fun for all the family.There will be plenty of non-train activities to enjoy, witha miniature railway* at Northiam, children's fun fair rides* and traction engines at Rolvenden and Northiam, plus displays of classic cars and 1960s scooters at Tenterden, where platform tickets will also be available for those not planning to travel. The Tenterden Tea Room, Gift Shop and Museum will be open and there will also be an extended tea room offer at Northiam station with home-made cakes to enjoy.

1940s Weekend

Miss Peggy Rose                     Look out for Viv the Spiv!

Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May sees the welcome return of the railway's popular 1940s Weekend: two days
of pure nostalgia, recreating the sights, sounds and fashions of the ‘40s with trains leaving every 45 minutes (8 departures each day).

With entertainment at both Tenterden and Bodiam, visitors can fullyimmerse themselves in the ‘40s atmosphere created by re-enactors, authentic dance performances and musicians, plus period vehicles, displays, food demonstrations and even hairstyling. They will also need to keep a look out for the notorious 'Viv the Spiv' with his black-market goods!

A limited number of Platform-only tickets will also be available on the day to enjoy the ‘40s vibe and station entertainments: £6.00 for adults and £4.00 for children at Tenterden station or £4.00 for adults and £2.00 children at Bodiam station. Platform tickets are refundable against train tickets if you decide to travel.

Due to likely high demand for all these events, advance booking is highly recommended. Walk-up ticket prices will be higher for all events.

So, to make the most of ‘Mega May', more information, to book and save.


Notes to editors:

*The miniature railwayand children's funfair rides are weather dependent and are not included in train or platform ticket prices. A separate daily wrist band for the children's funfair can be purchased on arrival.
Photo of Marcia and 257 Squadron by Pete Salmon/KESR.

For press enquiriesplease contact:-

Alison Miles, Press Officer  /  07900 691116

Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE