Sittingbourne’s Steam Railway is an industrial heritage railway which operates between Sittingbourne Retail Park and Kemsley Paper Mill using the original steam locomotives, coaches and wagons. Trains have operated over this route since 1905 and the very first steam locomotive ‘Premier’ re-entered service in May 2022. The second locomotive ‘Leader’ retired from service the same weekend.
The quirky narrow-gauge railway (2ft 6in between the rails) used to link Sittingbourne Paper Mill (now Morrison’s supermarket and adjacent housing estate) to Kemsley Paper Mill (Britain’s largest) and Ridham Dock on the banks of the Swale Estuary. Since 1969, the Railway has been preserved between Sittingbourne Viaduct and Kemsley Down stations. The Railway is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway this year.
The first section of the two-mile journey from Sittingbourne Viaduct, heads out of town on a century-old reinforced concrete viaduct, then passes through Milton Creek Country Park and across Church Marshes before arriving at Kemsley Down station, within Kemsley Paper Mill and on the banks of Milton Creek.
The 2023 Season starts in April and runs through to the las weekend in September. Trains are running every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday throughout this period, and additionally on Wednesdays in August. There are also two additional 'Special Timetables' on 24-25 July and 30 September-1 October.
There are two main timetables in operation:
The Railway has step-free access from the car park to the platform at Sittingbourne Viaduct and from the platform to the rest of the site at Kemsley Down, however, there is still a step to board the train – check the website for the accessibility statement. There are accessible toilets at both stations.
2023 Fares are:
The Railway is also part of the Wheels of Time project, linking museums across Kent with an activity to earn an exclusive badge for each site. It’s free and for children aged 5 to 11, find out more at www.wheelsoftime.uk
2022 Fares are:
Check SKLR website for the latest timetable information