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Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway

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

  1. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Sounds a sensible pragmatic way forward.
     
  2. papagolfjuliet

    papagolfjuliet New Member

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    That's the Davington Light Railway, yes?
     
  3. Bongoharry

    Bongoharry New Member

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    Wrong!

    It is by no means certain that the SKLR have to move until every legal angle has been explored. Please let's keep the 'move to..'. suggestions out of this thread.
     
  4. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's the style, think positive.
    Came down on the Sunday. A cracking day on a cracking little railway. My mates said it far exceeded their expectations. Friendly and helpful staff with an obvious passion for their railway.
    A big up to the crews on the d/h ecs for the volcanic start away from Milton Halt - superb sound recording. =D> Amazing what a well timed donation to the fighting fund can achieve. :smt002
     
  5. Bongoharry

    Bongoharry New Member

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    Thank you! It's the only way... I certainly didn't feel it was my last ride on the line.

    The owners have a valuable development plot at Sittingborune and a working mill at Kemsley. The line does not interfere with either - so what are they goijng to gain? The land which the line is on cannot be developed in any way.

    M-real's e-mail is... info@m-real.com

    and the website has a contact page at...

    http://www.m-real.com/wps/portal/OneWeb ... b/Contacts

    Maybe we could start lobbying the company on the sklr's behalf?
     
  6. timmydunn

    timmydunn Member

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    Oh for goodness' sake, please do read things properly before stressing out, Bongo.

    I've no wish to be at odds with you or anyone, nor am I being negative; I had a thoroughly good time and have donated towards their fighting fund. I said "perhaps they should..." and have certainly not wasted time by musing on any alternative locations. I'm sure they have some excellent plans in mind with the right people in the right places. I did also enjoy your video of yesterday.

    I would however suggest that you contact the railway with letters of support and donations rather than lobbying the landlords directly; the last thing the railway needs is a rush of pleading/angry/demanding/questioning emails to M-REAL from us passionate but nutty and well-meaning enthusiasts. Far better to let them pursue their current official channels, rather than disrupt it by interjections. I've had to do a lot of patching-up and infuriating diplomacy in the past when well-meaning contributors stick their two penny worth in at the critical moment of negotiations in acquiring items for museums and preservation bodies.

    I have a pretty good idea that we haven't heard or smelled the last of the SKLR just yet; the railway world never ceases to surprise.

    I personally am looking forward to the day when I can travel in an open wagon the length of the line behind "Unique" - the fireless loco - and if that isn't optimistic, I don't know what is.
     
  7. Bongoharry

    Bongoharry New Member

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    No wish to pick an argument timmydunn but that's how you finished your post, not 'let's not be beaten'! I do take your previous positive points and agree fully with you.

    I wonder if M-Real actually know anything about the line they are proposing closing - my messages to them have been informative and encouraging. Direct action now is in my view a good move - no point writing to them if the line actually does close.

    Glad you enjoyed the video - have now uploaded a better quality version including the train someone else has filmed the line from on the back wagon, it's 4x the file size and hopefully plays better... http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=8OkBIW-CzKA.
     
  8. ipod

    ipod New Member

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    Have the SKR requested that outsiders engage in this "direct action"?

    It sounds a bit dangerous to me.... If the council are now on side, they can potentially make the land worthless for M-Real.
     
  9. Bongoharry

    Bongoharry New Member

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    No request from the SKLR, but equally no request that no-one does as I suggest.

    My point is that the company are based in Finland and don't understand how much the railway means to people over here. Their profiting from seling the closed mill site in Sittingbourne is fine but combining the closure of the line makes no sense - it is on the other side of the road and forms no part of the development area.
     
  10. ipod

    ipod New Member

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    I do see where you are coming from but the local authority could protect the trackbed from any form of develpment which would render it worthless.
     
  11. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well I managed a trip on the line on a bogie flat on Sunday and that was rather fun. A refreshing change from the norm.
     
  12. Bongoharry

    Bongoharry New Member

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    OK - let's lobby the councils!
     
  13. timmydunn

    timmydunn Member

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    The council are now fully briefed on the railway, and when I chatted to the Mayor and the team briefly on Saturday they seemed positive that they would do all that they could.

    Direct action, whilst well-meant at this point is potentially a very dangerous game to play. The SKLR on http://www.sklr.net have told people what it is that they require, and that is donations and messages of support to info@sklr.net . If they wanted us to lobby the landlords or council, they would have requested that we did so. I would suggest that the game we play is on the railway's terms.
     
  14. timmydunn

    timmydunn Member

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  15. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Don't know if there's any connection, but see:

    http://indigopublicaffairs.wordpress.com/?target=_top


    n the by-elections held on 25 September to Swale borough council, Sheppey First! lost both of the seats it was defending. Minster Cliffs ward went to the Conservatives, while Sheerness East ward went to Labour.
     
  16. Anthony Coulls

    Anthony Coulls Member

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    Popping in to mother ship today, noticed a SKLR campaign poster on the main notice board inside Control - and I didn't put it there! =D>
     
  17. MANTAMAN

    MANTAMAN New Member

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    Just some observations- i couldn't get to the gala this year due to illness but i went last year for my first visit to the line and enjoyed myself immensely.

    One aspect i realy loved which may seem trivial to some is the open coach,thought that was just the bees knees standing in the end of that next to the loco.

    There is a good selection of stock and artifacts to keep the enthuiast happy all day,certainly worth a visit.

    One problem i see is the non-enthuiast,Accessing the railway is not that easy and the 'scenary' isn't picturesque and i pressume that revenue from the 'ordinary' public is necessary to keep the line going.

    Woudn't it be wonerfull if the re-development of the area could include the railway,in other words persuade the developers that they wouldn't be losing out on much by not developing what must relatively be a thin strip of land the railway occupies,perhaps even provide good access with a new car park.

    I do hope the S&KLR survives where it is after all it is part of this countries heritage.

    If the S&KLR do get thier marching orders then the stock could be used to re-build the Rye & Camber tramway,yes,OK,dreaming again,just getting my coat.....
     
  18. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    I realise that the site is closely linked to the rolling stock, but even as an enthusiast, I was really unimpressed by my last visit:

    * Station difficult to find
    * Very rough journey (loose couplings? track alignment?) with hard uncomfortable seats
    * Views from the train window were of steaming pipelines or industrial estates.
    * Poor food in the cafe, and the cafe/shed area smelt like it was next to a sewage works - or was this part of the industrial "experience"?!

    These are really not going to get the general public to visit or return to the line. And visits by enthusiasts are hardly going pay for the upkeep of the line, let alone the concrete viaduct.

    Maybe a new site would be the best thing ...

    Richard
     
  19. steamybrian

    steamybrian New Member

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    Whilst it is debatable point but I will never visit the S & K. again The hardened enthusiasts who like the industrial scene may enjoy it but 95% of visitors to heritage railways are families and ordinary tourists (not enthusiasts). Many years ago I took two friends to the S&K and for the same reasons that "Richards" has quoted they vowed never to return again-
    Poor location, por signposting ,hidden away along a narrow road between the mills, steep wooden steps to reach Sittingbourne station (wot- no disabled access!), rough train riding, en route could only see thick lineside vegetation, pipes, factories with the occasional view of smelly mud flats. On arrival at Kemsley was met with smell of sewage ,a collection of wooden huts including the buffet serving poor quality refreshments which overlooked awful smelly mud flats at low tide.
    Whilst the members have done a grand job in preserving the line in difficult circumstances but it is not my scene.
    At some time in the future the concrete viaduct will require major expenditure for it to continue carrying trains.
    Why not relocate to somewhere with better scenery and serve a more useful transport link. I have studied a number of locations in the South East and suggest-
    RYE AND CAMBER
    1. It is a similiar length and the original railway closed in 1939 was narrow gauge (3 feet).
    2. Most of the original trackbed is still extant but with plenty of undeveloped land in the vicinity should any minor deviations from the original route be required. The intermediate station (Golf Links), was when recently seen, not only still standing complete but the original track was still in position....!
    3. There are no major civil engineering works or major bridges required and the route is level. A quick survey suggests only require one small undertrack bridge over a drainage ditch and no overtrack bridges.
    4. The railway would take a shorter route than than the rather circuitous road therefore journey time would be comparable.
    5. The original site of the terminus at Rye is still undeveloped but if not available there is still plenty of undeveloped land nearby.
    At Camber the terminus could be in the sand dunes next to western car park opposite Pontins holiday camp.

    There are bound to be discussions on this.
     
  20. RGCorris

    RGCorris New Member

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    If you read my article on the Rye & Camber in Narrow Gauge World a few years ago, you would know that the golf club is adamantly opposed to the line being relaid, which effectively scuppers any chance of doing so.

    Yes, the S&K rolling stock would be nice somewhere else - but the whole point of the S&K is that it is a preserved industrial railway, not a tourist line, and of historical value and interest for that reason. In fact if they revamped it so that it started at the end of the viaduct (as they were forced to for a while previously) and developed proper facilities there, and at the other end extended it along the waterfront (which is scenically attractive at least when the tide is in - and at other times if you find mud flats interesting !) then it might work better as a tourist railway, without losing its raison d'etre in the process.

    Moving it anywhere else would create another Great Whipsnade Railway - nice to visit but of minimal historic interest.

    Richard
     

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