One of the joys of belonging to Facebook is that you can join groups of interest. One of the groups I belong to is the Preserved Thumpers. For those of you who are non railway minded, this group supports preserved diesel units known as Diesel Electric Multiple Units specifically built for the Sothern Region of British Railways in the late 1950’s early 60’s, they are known as Thumpers due to the noises they make. They were used on non electrified lines such as those to Uckfield, Oxted, and also lines in Hampshire and on the Kent coast venturing as far afield as Cardiff on cross country services!
You may recall a couple of weeks ago I posted my visit to Bromley South to see the Hastings unit, well there has been active restoration of its cousins at a number of preserved railways, the East Kent being one of them. Unit 1101 has taken 10 years to be put back into service and this weekend saw it run on the East Kent as part of their Diesel/Beer/Bus weekend.
Sunday morning therefore saw me hop into my little Smart car for the trip to Shepherdswell which took about an hour and 20 minutes from Croydon down the A2 and then sharp left! Almost a country lane leads you to Shepherdswell and the East Kent Railway is adjacent to the main BR station (more in part 2). Once parked up I took a wander. The preserved East Kent (EKR) is very much likes its predecessor of Colonel Stephens Yore, a restricted site with all manner of preserved/waiting to be restored rolling stock abounding. I have a penchant for wagons so the following caught my eye
The wagons were in various states of restoration and how long they this will take I have no idea.
Onto the main event and a welcoming station ticket office. The princely sum of £10 changed hands for as many trips as you like up and down the line with the added bonus of a visit to Dover Transport museum on an open top bus (more later).
First train into the station was the Class 101 Diesel Mechanical Multiple Unit or DMU for short. The EKR have hired this in for the season and it is mismatch of liveries.
The DMU made way for the star of the show, 1101 which has been restored to the BR blue livery. The sight of the DEMU and above all the sound brought back memories of when I use to work on them as a Guard back in the eighties (basically a nostalgia trip then).
In the background you can see a diesel shunter and also a green unit which I think is a 2 HAP more of which later. so off we went to Eythorne – a short 15 minute trip through the Kent countryside. The EKR is unique in having a tunnel – Golgotha tunnel to be precise – going through the tunnel enhanced the effects of the Thumper. No sooner had we started out then we arrived at our destination Eythorne, an island platform siding affair with a level crossing and old signal box.. More wagons and 2 trailers from another emu this time a CEP. One of the CEP trailers (Buffet), contained the micro brewery stand of which unfortunately I was unable to sample the contents as they did not have any bottled only draft.
I could of taken the open topped bus to the Dover transport museum but given that storms had been forecast for later on did not fancy getting soaked! Still the bus made a lovely sight
So back to Shepherdswell we went on 1101. On arrival at Shepherdswell 1101 did another trip their & back and then was shunted into the siding next to the platform ready for the diesel shunter emu combination more of which in part 2.
Thanks for reading