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“A charming little railway giving a different type of travel experience.”

Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway Limited
Attraction details
Reviewed 12 August 2014

We have been visiting the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway for a number of years now, first with the children and most recently with our Granddaughter for a Santa Special. The railway runs from a terminus near to the retail park in Sittingbourne which is a walkable distance from the railway station. The station also has a fair sized car park nearby. It should be noted that trains may only be caught from Sittingbourne as there is no public access to the Kemsley Down station.
The line operates a collection of narrow gauge industrial steam locomotives and rolling stock mostly originating from the line when it was used to ferry paper and raw materials between the Kemsley paper mills and Sittingbourne. In truth the journey is not as scenic as some other lines but has an interesting journey along a section of elevated concrete viaduct and then across grassland until Kemsley Down station is reached. The line has had a chequered history at times being threatened with closure due to the land owner wishing to dispose of it and also the condition of the substantial concrete viaduct at the Sittingbourne end.
Kemsley Down station is the headquarters of the railway with the locomotive sheds and stock sidings all here. There are some ‘standard’ gauge industrial saddle tanks here on isolated sections of track and also a rare example of ‘fireless’ steam locomotive as used in the paper mill.
Kemsley Down station also possesses a large open area mostly grassed where children can run around and also where a picnic may be had. There is a very reasonably priced refreshment room and a small shop where you can purchase railway related souvenirs and books outlining the history of the line. A branch of the river Swale passes by the station site giving access I believe to the Saxon Shoreway if you fancy a ramble. The site also has toilet facilities.
The charm of the line is that here you get to ride behind a small narrow gauge locomotive immaculately turned out in a genuine vintage passenger carriage belonging to a lost age of travel. If it is running you may also get the opportunity to ride in an open carriage, which on a sunny day brings a whole new experience to rail travel behind a steam engine. If you talk to any of the volunteers here you will find them most enthusiastic about their railway and readily prepared to help with any queries that you may have.
Well worth a visit if you like trains and would like to experience something a bit different and young children will love its quirkiness.

3  Thank Stewart C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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37 - 41 of 61 reviews

Reviewed 12 July 2014

I had been to the beer festival held here for many years and it has always held a great fondness for me from the steam train journey through the back of beyond to arriving at the station at kemsley down. This as ever was wonderful and to to have a beer festival at the end of the journey is an added bonus. As I said at the beginning the beer festival held here was always very good with a good selection of real ale and cider and live music. This year all was good though this year the price was much more expensive than before? The layout was the same beer tent, stage for the music and a nice area to sit and enjoy the day. The let down was the beer, the real ale served was warm and just got warmer by the hour and the overall quality of the ale served went from ok to undrinkable, cloudy and yeasty. It was such a shame as this use to be a really good real ale festival but something has clearly gone wrong.

The steam train and venue are fantastic and hopefully the annual beer festival will get back 'on track' next year.

3  Thank humpty258
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2014

As reqular visitors to this railway this day lived upto expectations. The boys had fun finding the mice,which were well hidden. The improvements in the site are very noticeable the members working hard to get it back to its original state. Kemsley station is an oasis in an industrial area. Progress is being made towards providing disabled access, as the Sittingbourne end starts on a viaduct.

2  Thank achan34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2014

We visited on the recent May bank holiday. Me, my hubby, our son autistic son Tommy and my in laws. It was very reasonable and such fun. We caught the 2 o'clock train and had a lovely journey. At the other end we met Jack the cat and Edward the bear. Our son loved the mice hunt (to be honest we did too). My mother in law was so impressed with all the touches regards the wildlife garden (she is a patron of the kent wildlife trust). All the staff were kind and very approachable. We had a tea at the very affordable café before we caught the 4 o'clock train back. What a great way to spend an afternoon.

1  Thank Larnipoo42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2014 via mobile

Is not the most attractive line in the steam network but its a fun little ride along a line which once had an important industrial purpose. The cost is ok as it goes to the running of the line. Volunteers are all very friendly. I actually didn't know this line existed until I saw it in the what's on. Was a lovely afternoon out with the family

1  Thank Colette C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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