Loco's and Rolling Stock

A Summary of Kent & East Sussex Locomotives and Rolling Stock

The story of the locomotives and rolling stock of the K&ESR is often presented as a chaotic mix of second-hand stock acquired as and when needed but this was never true.

The prime determinant of provision of stock was traffic requirements. All trains except railmotors were run as mixed trains for economy reasons, and small locomotives meant that coaches must be light with high capacity. Stock acquisitions and changes made during the existence of the line were quite logical and fall into six main phases.

•New stock acquired at opening together with some second-hand locomotives and stock to cope as the business became established when finance was short.

•Adaptation of coaches to cope with changes in ticket issuing brought about by discussions with the Board of Trade.

•New stock acquired for extensions

•Second-hand stock bought to meet the Board’s, for its time advanced, decision in 1910 to steam heat trains, with consequent disposals and alterations.

•Ford and Shefflex Railmotors to supplement services.

•Replacements, renewals and locomotive hirings in the 1930s.

Throughout Stephens’ time there was a propensity to operate carriages as fixed sets of three to four 4 and 6 wheeled carriages; this was broken for a brief period when the Pickering bogies were in operation for they seem to have operated in pairs except, presumably, for high days and holidays. As the LSWR coaches with steam heating became available they were formed into a set and the 1905 GER coaches (Nos 20-22) were converted to a steam-heated set which stayed together throughout the Stephens’ years.


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