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Sunday 13th May 2018

Arrive at Tenterden Town Station-KESR from 9.00 for replica railmotor rides and visit to carriage sheds nearby. Vintage buses to Robertsbridge to arrive at Tenterden 11.00 for 11.30 sharp departure to Robertsbridge Station (RVR), we will have a slow ride to Robertsbridge and may be able to stop at a house named “Hillside” in Robertsbridge where HFS stayed in a room when it was needed we will then carry on to Robertsbridge RVR Station.


Itinerary Members Weekend


Friday 11th May 2018

Arrive at Shepherdswell Station at EKR by 13.30 (train to leave at 14.00) Cream Teas to be served at Eythorne Station, we are informed by EKR that the round trip will take around 2 hours and there may be time for a guided tour of the many new facilities at Shepherdswell on return to the station.



Saturday 12th May 2018

Arrive at Zion Baptist Church Hall, 69 High Street, Tenterden TN30 6BB by 10.15, tea & coffee will be available. The Museum and Station car park will be open from 9am. AGM to start at 10.30, the hall is booked from 10.00-12 midday, it is suggested members park in KESR Tenterden Station Car Park and walk back to hall in the High Street opposite Station Road.


From 12.15 to 12.55 (or earlier if meeting finished before 12.00) after walking back to Tenterden Town Station from the Hall you will have time to have a look round, or visit the museum or grab a coffee in the station cafe, or you will also be able to take a ride on the replica railmotor which will be running up & down the Pullman Dock behind the platform, but you will need to be back on the station platform by 13.00 to catch the 13.15 to Bodiam arriving at 14.18 . (Ploughman’s Lunch to be served on route-capacity 60-so book early)


Return Journey to Tenterden leaves at Bodiam at 15.28, so you will have time to look around, visit the Edith Cavell Van and perhaps walk down to the Castle but remember to back at Bodiam by 15.15 for the 15.28 Vintage Train back to Tenterden The Vintage train will include MET Coach 353 (Ex WC&PR as their no 7) so this is a rare opportunity to ride on a genuine Stephen’s vehicle if there are too many wishing to travel in this carriage we will arrange a swap during the journey so everyone has a chance, also included in this train will be the SER family saloon amongst others. A Mixed Train so characteristic of lines run by Stephen’s will leave Tenterden Town Station at 16.45 returning at around 18.30 to Tenterden, there may be an extra charge for this rare opportunity.

The replica Ford Railmotor, built by CSS member, the late Colin Shutt will be running all weekend. All visitors to the railway will be able to ride on it if they wish.

Arrive at Robertsbridge RVR Station at 12.15 teas and coffees to also be served on arrival, then there will be a tour of the station and the newly built facilities and there is a planned walk along the line for those that wish to go. It’s then back on Vintage buses at 13.45 for a quicker journey back to The Hub Restaurant at Bodiam for Sunday Lunch to be served around 14.00. At 15.30 those that wish to, may take the optional Track and Footpath walk from Bodiam along the track towards Salehurst with a possible walk along the section of track recently acquired and a possible visit to Salehurst Church, where there is a memorial to a KESR railwayman, if time permits. Those walking will be collected around 16.30-17.00 and those that wish to can remain at Bodiam and then can come onto Salehurst by the vintage buses later. They will collect those walking and return us all to Tenterden to pick up our cars for around 17.30.

Holman F Stephens - Light Railway Pioneer 150th Anniversary Commemorations in 2018

• 13-14th January 2018 CMRA Model Railway Exhibition at The Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre.


• 28th January 2018 Bristol GOG Group Show at The University of West of the England (UWE) from 10.00-16.00 we will have a small table with desktop displays & our CSS leaflets which will be next to L&B’s table


• 17th February 2018 Tonbridge Model Railway Club Exhibition, The Angel Centre, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1SF from 10.00-16.00 againwe will have a small table with desktop banners and leaflets on display.


• 7th April 2018 Wessex NG South Model Railway Show, Eastleigh CSS stand and layout based on planned but never built extension to the East Kent Railway


• 5th May 2018 Gunnislake/Bere Alston Cornwall, a day to commemorate 50 years of the closure of the PD&SWJR/LSWR mainline from Bere Alston to Okehampton, with emphasis on the survival of the Tamar Valley Line as a passenger line.


• 11/12/13th May 2018 Colonel Stephens Society AGM & Members Weekend. Friday 11th May-A ride on the EKR with Cream Teas, train to leave around 2pm from Shepherdswell Station. Saturday 12th May-AGM 10am-12 midday followed by a guided tour of the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum at Tenderden, then there will be a return journey on the KESR and it is hoped that a ride on the replica Ford Model Railmotor may be possible. Sunday 13th May- Vintage bus rides from Tenterden to Robertsbridge an extensive platform tour of their newly built station and site with a possible walk along the line-teas & coffees supplied. Then we will take buses to The Hub for Sunday Lunch at around 2pm. Afterwards it is planned that we will have a walk along the new extension which is not far from The Hub Restaurant. Vintage Buses will take members back to Tenterden about 4-5pm.


• 26-27th May 2018 RVR Supporters’ Association’s Model Railway Show with a Colonel Stephens theme at Robertsbridge.


• September 2018 Telford Guildex Exhibition 2018. 0 gauge Colonel- inspired model railway layout ‘St.Martin’s Wharf’ by Bob Alderman. This layout is to be featured in the Railway Modeller, June 2018 edition.























We are hoping to organise a meeting of Colonel enthusiasts to come together on the Colonel’s birthdate on 31th October 2018, venue and details to be announced when finalised


Dana Wiffen/Publicity Officer-Colonel Stephen’s Society

Email: Cold Blow Crescent-Bexley, Kent DA5 2DS





The option to pay your subs by BACS direct to our account is available, and has been for a few years.

I notice however this option has been missed off this year’s renewal invite form-our apologies.


The details you need are


Colonel Stephens Society

Sort Code 30-94-85

a/c number 00287489


You MUST enter your membership number (and name if space allows) when

making the transfer otherwise we may not be able to locate you on our

membership records.


Thank you.


Nigel Bird













Colonel Stephens Railway Museum Survey: the Results


Members will recall that a survey form was included in the spring issue of The Colonel. The intention was to help planning the future development of the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum at Tenterden. The concept was prompted by the thought that members of our society, committed as they are to perpetuating the memory of Holman F Stephens and his works, would be more likely than most to participate enthusiastically in such a survey. If successful, it might have been the prototype for a bigger survey in the future.


Response rate

When the survey closed on 26th April (we continued, a bit like the Referendum website to accept entries for a little while after the announced deadline), we had received 31responses. The total membership at that point was 392, so the percentage return was only 7.9 – rather disappointing, given that all members had to do was to fill in a simple form and post it (admittedly with their own stamp). Alternatively, those with the appropriate equipment could have scanned it, completed it and sent it in without further ado.


Past visits

The first question asked whether the member had visited the Museum and, if so,

was it within the last two years or 5 years? Ten had visited within the last two years, 14 said within the last 5years, three said longer ago, while 4 said never. So 87% of those responding had visited the Museum within the last few years, while 13% said they had not visited at all.


Future visits

Plans to visit in the future were the subject of the second question. Members were asked if they expected to visit during 2016, in the following 5 years, never or never again. It was also possible to answer ‘don’t know’. Eight members (26%) planned to visit this year and 12 (39%) within the following 5 years. Encouragingly, no one said they did not intend to visit or visit again. However 11 said that they did not know.


Reasons for not visiting

Of those who said that they did not expect to visit, 11 cited the distance they would have to travel as the reason. Two said that lack of time was the reason.

One member said that the fact that the Museum closed during the winter was the reason. It was pleasing that no one cited lack of interest. Distances from Tenterden included Guernsey, Ludlow, Cardiff and Peterborough. Those who lived nearer cited mobility problems. While one said that the lack of a good west to east road from West Sussex to Kent, coupled with his age, limited his visits. Another said: “I was favourably impressed with the Museum, though I find Colonel Stephens and his doings historically fascinating, the K&ES is not one of my favourite preserved lines. Frankly I’m not a big fan of Kent.” Ah, well!


How good are the displays

Those who had visited the Museum were asked to rate on a scale of 1-5 (1= high, 5 = low) how well they thought the displays in the Museum present the story of the life of Colonel Stephens and his railways. 17 (63%) gave them the highest rating, 7 (26%) rated them at 2, while one rated them at 3 and another one rated them at only 4. None gave the lowest rating. One said that it was thoughtfully laid out. Another said: “ Love the Museum, nearly always buy a railway book from the foyer. I joined the Colonel Stephens Society after seeing the Museum. Keep developing it and keep selling books.” Another rated it as 2 on the grounds that “there is always room for improvement”. One member said: “Good on some lines, but not all”. True, but that reflects what we’ve been able to collect.


Are you willing to help?

The final question asked members if they were interested in helping the Museum and, if so, what they would be able to help with. Fifteen replied that they would not. All of them cited distance as the limiting factor. Disappointingly, nine did not answer this one. However two said they would be willing to help if ways could be found to do so remotely. There was one big success; one member did volunteer to help and has since been recruited as a Museum Attendant. Another took the initiative to send an email to ‘Broadcasting House’, the BBC Radio 4 Sunday morning programme, to nominate the Museum to feature in the small museums series they were running. So far, they haven’t taken up the idea.


So, overall there was a disappointing response rate, but those who did respond seemed to rate the museum highly, even though many could not visit often or volunteer to help. Well, it was worth a try.


I would like to acknowledge the help of Peter Southgate in preparation of this report. Because of the low response rate and the small numbers involved please treat the percentages with a pinch of salt. Admission to the Museum is now free to all, so you can bring friends and family – even if they don’t have much time. Researchers can make use of the archives and extensive photographic collection on application to Brian Janes, the Curator. The Museum is always keen to acquire more artefacts, documents and photographs that relate to the Colonel and the railways associated with him. Contact the museum at; Tenterden Town station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE o1580 765155


Ross Shimmon





The Society for enthusiasts of the light and narrow gauge railways of Colonel Holman F Stephens



3 June 2015

For Immediate Release





The 30th anniversary of the birth of the Colonel Stephens Society was marked during our now traditional Members’ Weekend in May. We usually visit a railway with a strong connection with the Colonel. This year we toured the route of the long-closed North Devon & Cornwall Junction Railway, which once ran between Halwill Junction and Torrington, stopping off at points of interest, including the remains of several stations and halts. It was the last railway engineered by the Colonel, opening in 1925 and operated by the Southern Railway. Regular passenger services were withdrawn in 1965.


To mark our anniversary, we decided to award founder member, Jon Clarke, Honorary Membership, only the third such award in the Society’s history.


Over the years, we have made modest donations to several projects to preserve and restore relics of the lines of the light railway pioneer Colonel Holman F Stephens. This year, at the Society’s AGM held in Barnstaple, a decision was made to contribute towards the re-creation, by Colin Shutt, of a Ford rail lorry as once used on the Colonel’s Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Railway.


We spent the following day at the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. Members were so impressed with the restoration work that, although the line was not directly associated with the Colonel, the committee decided at a special meeting held on the platform at Chelfham to make a contribution to the cost of making new doors for the station.


Further information:

Ross Shimmon, Publicity Officer: 01795 533137


A photographic record of the weekend appears on our website at:


Notes for editors:

We have contributed to a number of restoration projects, including:

•The restoration of a Ryde Pier Drewry tram

•The re-creation of a Ford railmotor

•The restoration of KESR’s Terrier No.3 Bodiam

•The restoration of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway’s Russell

•The creation of a mannequin of Colonel Stephens for the Colonel Stephens Museum at Tenterden

•The restoration of the Shrewsbury Abbey Foregate station by the Shrewsbury Railway Heritage Trust

•The restoration of the Ashover Light Railway’s Planet diesel shunter Ashover


A full list appears on our website at:


We continue to provide modest donations to projects with a strong connection to the railways of Colonel Stephens. Projects seeking support should contact our Secretary: David Powell, ‘Gateways’, Bledlow Road, Saunderton, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 9NG.


Colonel Holman Fred Stephens was born in 1868 and died in 1931, while resident at the Lord Warden Hotel, Dover. He was a promoter, engineer, locomotive superintendent and director of light railways. He was connected in one or more of these capacities with 17 such railways, both standard and narrow gauge, in England and Wales. His office was in Tonbridge, Kent.



The latest issue of 'Heritage Railway' (No.192, published on 31st July), includes a 2-page article on the Selsey Tramway, by Geoff Courtney, who seems to have 'discovered' it while on holiday! The four photos are all very familiar, but it's nice to see this line featured.

Ross Shimmon

Publicity Officer, CSS. 

You may remember that one of the beneficiaries from donations in memory of CSS member Robin Fielding

was the CSR Museum. The money was put towards the purchase of a works plate from 'Sankey' of

the Edge Hill Light Railway.

Here is a picture of the plate and the plaque.

WANTED: Tyer's No.7


The Colonel Stephens Railway Museum is seeking to acquire, by purchase or long term loan, a Tyer's No.7 electric tablet instrument as used for single-line working.

The museum is not interested in acquiring the much more common Tyer's No.6.

If you have a No.7, or know where one might be available, please contact Philip Shaw at