This week (27th February – 5th March 2023)
This weekend is a Kemsley Down-based Work Weekend
The Railway is closed until Good Friday (7th April) but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything going on!
This time of year we hold our fortnightly Winter Work Weekends.
This weekend we will be working as follows:
- Saturday & Sunday 10am to 4pm at Kemsley Down – Loco Engineering, Carriage & Wagon, rebuilding the back wall of the café, moving artefacts from the old to new museum and hundreds of other jobs.
Kemsley Down station is located in Kemsley paper mill so if you are coming along (and you are most welcome to!) we will be working from 10am until 4pm. Please park in the paper mill car park (ME10 2TD) by 10am, alternatively, we can pick you up from Sittingbourne National Rail or Sittingbourne Viaduct stations – if you would like to attend please send an email to email@example.com so arrangements can be made. On Saturday, there will be a car leaving Sittingbourne Viaduct at 10am so book your place now!
Bring a packed lunch – there should be tea and coffee available. Please wear layers of clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
You will need to be a member to work on the Railway, for insurance reasons, and we can process this at the Railway – this is a good time to join as your membership will last until the end of February 2024. Membership has its perks too – free travel on the Railway during the season and discounts to Steam & Beer and Santa Specials plus there’s our in-house magazine ‘The New Bogie’.
If you’re coming along to help please read the tips on this page before you leave home: Work Weekends page
Only one week to go until the HRA Awards
A week on Saturday (11th March) we will find out if Premier has won the Coiley Award for Steam Locomotive Engineering at the Heritage Railway Association Awards.
The finalists for the largest and most prestigious awards in heritage rail have been revealed, with railway projects big and small hoping for top honours.
The finest restorations and most innovative projects on the heritage railway scene are set to go head- to-head for top honours at the HRA Annual Awards 2023. The shortlist for what have been dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of the sector was revealed in early February after hours of deliberation by 14 judges.
The shortlist pits narrow gauge industrial saddle tanks against named Great Western express locomotives and 15in gauge railways against their much bigger standard gauge brethren for top honours.
The 2023 HRA Annual Awards is proudly sponsored by leading steam locomotive lubricant producers Hallett Oils. With 11 hotly-contested categories, including a number of new categories, entries have been stronger than ever.
The judging panel included top names from the sector like Anthony Coulls, Paul Lewin and Chris Price, and editors from a host of leading railway publications.
Heritage Railway Association Chief Executive, Steve Oates, said: “Despite all of the challenges thrown at the sector, some of the work demonstrated by entrants to the awards this year is literally staggering. The amount of effort put in by staff and volunteers at railways and tramways up and down the country over the past 12 months never ceases to impress – and these awards are all about celebrating their successes.
“I’m really pleased that the shortlist this year has thrown a spotlight on some of the projects, and people, who don’t often get recognition too. Whether it’s painstaking wagon restoration or countless hours of toil by people normally behind the scenes – this year the entries have really dug deep into what makes heritage rail special on so many levels.
“It’s going to be a really exciting evening; heritage rail’s big night out! I can’t wait to see the winners up on stage, smiling to the cameras and knowing that their hard work has paid off.”
The most coveted prize for anyone restoring a steam locomotive is the Coiley Award for Steam Locomotive Engineering, sponsored by Morris Lubricants. This year the finalists are Dean Forest Locomotive Group for the restoration of BR ‘57XX’ class pannier tank No. 9681, Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway for their Premier back to the future project, Bluebell Railway for London Brighton and South Coast Railway ‘A1’ Class No.72 Fenchurch and Severn Valley Railway for Great Western Railway ‘Hall’ Class 4-6-0 Hagley Hall.
Click here to see the full press release from the Heritage Railway Association.
‘Premier back to the future’ comes from the project’s aim to restore Premier in as close to as-built condition as possible but also incorporating modern replacement parts and building future requirements into the rebuild. The engine had been completely stripped back to the frames and then rebuilt by our volunteers. The only work carried out off-site was the new boiler tubes, new firebox, new outer wrapping and testing, which was carried out at the North Norfolk Railway
It is an honour to be shortlisted but will Premier win? Watch this space on Saturday 11th March!
This month (March)
- Saturday 4th – Work Weekend at Kemsley Down – 10am to 4pm – email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange access
- Sunday 5th – Work Weekend at Kemsley Down – 10am to 4pm – email email@example.com to arrange access
- Saturday 18th – Work Weekend – 10am to 4pm – email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange access
- Sunday 19th – Work Weekend – 10am to 4pm – email email@example.com to arrange access
Next month (April)
- Saturday 1st – Work Weekend – 10am to 4pm – email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange access
- Sunday 2nd – Work Weekend – 10am to 4pm – email email@example.com to arrange access
- Friday 7th – Easter Weekend -trains depart Sittingbourne Viaduct station at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm (there is NO 1pm train) – Good Friday Flowers: a free plant potting activity at Kemsley Down
- Saturday 8th – Easter Weekend -trains depart Sittingbourne Viaduct station at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm (there is NO 1pm train)
- Sunday 9th – Easter Weekend -trains depart Sittingbourne Viaduct station at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm (there is NO 1pm train) – Easter Egg Hunt at Kemsley Down
- Monday 10th – Easter Weekend -trains depart Sittingbourne Viaduct station at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm (there is NO 1pm train)
- Sunday 16th – Green Timetable – trains depart Sittingbourne Viaduct station at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm
- Sunday 23rd – Green Timetable – trains depart Sittingbourne Viaduct station at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm
- Sunday 30th – Orange Timetable – trains depart Sittingbourne Viaduct station at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm (there is NO 1pm train)
On dates shown in Bold Underlined: trains will be hauled by steam locomotive Premier*
On dates shown in Bold Italics: trains will be hauled by steam locomotive Melior*
* subject to availability, may be changed at short notice.