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Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by lynbarn, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. lynbarn

    lynbarn Member

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    Hi chaps I have been sent this, so I don't know if anyone else has had a copy as well, this is not spam but sadly very true, I am off for the weekend to see a 2ft gauge 2-6-2 baldwin working (I hope) so I will report back next week.

    Regards

    Colin Rainsbury

    Please Discuss




    The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, in Kent, UK, is fighting
    for its survival beyond 29th January 2009.

    Our Landlords, M-Real (a Finnish paper manufacturer) are in the
    process of selling the land on which the Railway operates.

    We have bid to purchase the land but our initial bid was turned down
    by the board of M-Real.

    We have since re-bid but we are very concerned that M-Real and Swale
    Borough Council have produced a report, over the last few years,
    that shows the area around Milton Creek which is to be levelled in
    favour of housing and retail/restaurants. This includes the site of
    Sittingbourne Viaduct station and the historic concrete railway
    viaduct to Milton Regis Halt.

    As a result, the Railway has launched its SOS Campaign (Save Our
    SKLR) and we urge everyone to send emails of support to
    info@sklr.net, leave a message on our Facebook page or write to the
    Railway (PO Box 300, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2DZ). Further
    information and a poster to download can be found at our website
    http://www.sklr.net

    If the Railway can't be saved - the preservation movement will lose
    over 100 years of railway history. We can't believe, almost 40 years
    after the Railway was donated to the preservation movement, that we
    are fighting for its survival.

    Please support us.

    Paul
    Press Officer
    Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway
    Registered Charity No. 1057079

    PS I'm sorry if you have received this message on multiple groups -
    I'm trying to spread the word, not spamming.
     
  2. Bongoharry

    Bongoharry Member

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  3. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    I heard it really struggles with visitor numbers? In which case i suspect that buying the railway's land would be little more than a stay of execution (especially if they had to borrow heavily to fund it) - with its historical context demolished and redeveloped it might be much better to find somewhere with more scope for tourists and which is happier to accomadate them. Like i said, a shame but if thats the most realistic way of keeping the collection together then it needs to be pursued now rather than be dismissed out of hand until its too late.

    Chris
     
  4. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    There are two sides to the coin. We went there and I enjoyed every minute, friendly staff, unique locos and we were really made welcome.

    The wife on the other hand just said 'I don't know any other family that would pay for a train ride in that mess'...

    Unfortunatley I have a nasty feeling which side of the coin Joe Public sees.
     
  5. michaelh

    michaelh Part of the furniture

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    Tend to agree - they've been struggling for 40 years (to quote their own website) maybe time to call it a day and re-locate. Perhaps the developers would assist with those costs if it expedited things for them.
     
  6. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    Can anyone think of likely abandoned trackbeds not too distant from the S&K?
    As you say - maybe the developers would help in acquiring somewhere...??
     
  7. Nowhere could replace bowaters viaduct not even a replica!!
     
  8. Bernard

    Bernard New Member

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    Don't suppose it's even feasable to even consider it now a days, but I use to have a chalet at Leysdown on Sheppey and the remains of the old platform were still there near one of the pubs at the end of the long gone railway from Sheerness.
    I often sat there with my pint wondering what it was like when the trains were there. If only!!!
    Cheers Bernard
     
  9. P&JR

    P&JR Well-Known Member

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    What happened to PRESERVATION?!?!

    The SKLR is a unique piece of our railway history, it won't be the SKLR if it is 'moved'!

    Sure it's not in a scenic area but it is the original railway running original stock, how many other places do you get that? (yes Fes and Tal will say so but they have many others too) Is it not also England's only 2ft 6in line?

    Don't even let the thought of relocation go anywhere near the developers fight it all the way, please!
     
  10. michaelh

    michaelh Part of the furniture

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    Yeah - but they've been struggling for 40 years - what is going to change that?
     
  11. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy the railway and the unique location and experience of the viaduct. If you rely on 'preservation' then you would find there is only the money for a small section of viaduct and possibly one working loco coming out once in a while for enthusiast days and charter workings.

    To keep things going it requires families to spend their money on days out. With the massive range of options on offer those that are less attractive as family destinations will suffer. Darwin strikes again.

    Us railway folk are very good at spending other people's money but when it comes to digging deep the queue waiting to subscribe quickly falls away... I wonder why?!
     
  12. Anthony Coulls

    Anthony Coulls Well-Known Member

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    Had a great afternoon there last month during the Beer Festival - didn't know it was on! Yes, they admit to struggling, but at least they admit it. There are many other lines who might also be described as struggling, but in Industrial Archaeology terms, the SKLR is the Bowes of the South. I noticed pelnty of volunteers and younger members, also their website is good, along with the magazine and guidebook. Very enthusiastic, please do support them - yes, it's not the prettiest, but in atmosphere - it is unique.
     
  13. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

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    Saw what I took from the livery to be "Ivor the engine" on the M25 today heading there for the weekend.
     
  14. howardw-s

    howardw-s New Member

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    If it was 'Ivor' it was standard gauge and off to the K&ESR for repairs under contract - he arrived at Rolvenden on Wednesday evening as I was preparing No 65 for an evening driving course.
     
  15. DougR

    DougR New Member

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    Don't you think that the fact that these dedicated people have been doing this for 40 years and are still willing
    to fight for their railway earns them enough respect for us to support them. 40 years is as long as most of our
    premier preserved railways and longer than most others. The SKLR is a well organised self contained outfit who are
    largely ignored by press and enthusiasts alike. Surely when they need us most we should help.

    how many lines apart from the golden few don't struggle, (and those few are usually the beneficiaries of the attention of the railway press)they are not asking us to turn around their fortunes just for our support to be allowed to continue struggling to run their line if they want to.
     
  16. lynbarn

    lynbarn Member

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    The Gala Weekend (27 & 28th September) may be our last chance to play trains, which will be leaving Sittingbourne Viaduct station regularly from 11am on both days.

    Going on the Sunday if anyone else cares to join me either on the railway or may be a pub in Sittingbourne

    Regards

    Lynbarn
     
  17. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    I dont think its as simple as that. I have respect for railways that are prepared to make sacrifices for the benefit of the lines future, and realise that change is neccesary - to be honest, i've never been given the impression the SKLR is doing well, and perhaps that is understandable given the dire potential for tourism in the area. However, if they have not brought the land they operate on, and are unable to pay a competitive price for it, then it just underlines how unsustainable it is.

    While the argument for staying on the original line is historical context, industrial decay is not a context that will appeal to anyone but die-hard enthusiasts and given they have never owned the surrounding land and buildings its redevelopment is hardly a surprise.

    While i do respect what the working members have achieved, trying to get by this latest hurdle is not going to make the lines future any better, in fact it could make it much much worse - simply, to keep this important collection of rolling stock together they need to looking into moving somewhere which will make the railway a success.

    Of course this is entirely up to the members and im not trying to tell them what they should do, but i feel very strongly that while it wont be easy or cheap to move, i dont think there is anything to suggest the area will attract more tourists, or that preserved railways wont become ever more expensive to run. I just hope serious consideration is given to all the options available.

    Chris
     
  18. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

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    I don't think they ever had that option.

    My understanding is they were only ever offered a lease on the facilities.

    Potentially the area might actually be more attractive post redevelopment given the removal of the paper mill.

    Having said that I am as guilty as many others in having not visited since the late 1970's:

    http://simon71.fotopic.net/c909443_1.html

    despite it being relatively close.
     
  19. Hunslets Finest

    Hunslets Finest Well-Known Member

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    Talking of the gala I am tempted to visit this year as I haven't been for a couple of years. Does anyone know if any freights are running and what chance of a night shoot at the shed??

    Thanks,
     
  20. triassic

    triassic Member

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    Probably time for a reality check there boys. Sad as it is, if the Council aren`t behind it, flogging a few car stickers aren`t gonna save it.
    Far better to sell off what they don`t need and have a very serious look for a new site or someone else they can work with (Chatham Naval Base springs to mind) and with the money they have raised establish a top notch small railway, rather than a big scale unviable one.
    No chance I guess of getting the viaduct listed?
    Sorry to sound unhelpful but this is the real world and much as I would like to see it survive as is, ringing tills and local authourity support are what will make or break any business whether Heritage Railway or Primark!!
     

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