Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway

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Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway Ltd, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2DZ.

In 1905, the horse-drawn tramway operating around the Bowaters paper mill was upgraded to steam operation with the purchase of two steam locomotives, Premier and Leader. Other locomotives were bought for use on the railway as the network expanded.

In the 1960s a time and motion study was undertaken by the owners, Bowaters UK, and the railway was deemed to be more expensive than road transport and was closed. However, Bowaters UK offered the main line, some of the locos and rolling stock of the railway to the Locomotive Club of Great Britain for preservation as a tourist railway. Other locomotives and rolling stock were sold to the Great Whipsnade Railway and the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway.

The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway in Kent is now a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge heritage railway that operates from Sittingbourne to the banks of The Swale. The line was formerly owned by Bowaters, the paper making firm, and was used to carry raw materials and finished products between Ridham Dock and the company's two mills, one at Sittingbourne and the other at Kemsley.

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