SVR 70000 Britannia. Credit Langton Photography

On Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd June 2024

At Kent and East Sussex Railway & Rother Valley Railway, robertsbridge

  • Guest locos will be operating passenger services between Tenterden and Bodiam  – further details coming soon!
  • Bodiam and Robertsbridge will be linked by a Heritage bus service (exclusively for K&ESR Freedom ticket holders).
  • The line between Robertsbridge Junction & Northbridge Street will be open for first time in 11 years, with shuttles operated by locomotive ‘Britannia’
  • Timetables and further details about the Gala will be announced in due course here and on the KESR 50th Anniversary Gala page and social media.
  • If you would like to attend the Gala with a trade stand please email
SR 2-6-0 - U CLASS NO. 31806. On loan from Swanage Railway, sponsored by Rapido Trains
SR 2-6-0 – U CLASS NO. 31806. On loan from Swanage Railway, sponsored by Rapido Trains. Photo Credit Andrew PM Wright.

Three guest locos are expected at Tenterden for the weekend spectacular. As agreements are still being finalised, details are still under wraps, but their identities will be announced in the coming weeks.

The original official opening ceremony by the then MP for Ashford, RH William (later Lord) Deedes, will also be recreated before the departure of the first train by current Ashford MP, Damian Green.

In addition to lots of action on the rails, areas of the K&ESR not normally accessible to the public will be open for tours and there will be a full programme of on-station entertainment, representing the last five decades.

Connecting to Robertsbridge

SVR 70000 Britannia. Credit Langton Photography
SVR 70000 Britannia. Credit Langton Photography

The Gala weekend will not only celebrate the achievements of the last 50 years of the railway, but will also look forward to its next chapter, in collaboration with the Rother Valley Railway – which is preparing to start the groundwork for restoration of the line between Robertsbridge and Bodiam.

K&ESR Gala tickets will enable visitors to travel to and from Robertsbridge via a heritage bus service from Bodiam Station. Using the same ticket visitors can then ride the shuttle train service, hauled by special guest locomotive BR Standard Class 7 Locomotive No 70000 Britannia, between Robertsbridge Junction and Northbridge Street: a stretch of line that has not been in operation since 2013.

Please note that regrettably there is currently no ramped access to the platform at Robertsbridge, as the station is still under construction, and there are no disabled facilities on the vintage bus or the Northbridge Street shuttle services.

Robertsbridge Junction will host displays about the plans to rebuild the line and the chance to see the restored turntable from Hither Green.