John Speller's Web Pages Headcorn and Maidstone Junction Light Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - Other Railways
Headcorn and Maidstone Junction Light Railway Untitled Untitled
The Headcorn and Maidstone Junction Light Railway was projected to form a link between the South Eastern Railway at Headcorn and the town of Maidstone, enabling through running from Chatha, and Folkestone via the SER to Dover and Folkestone, and via the Kent & East Sussex Railway and SER to Hastings. The public inquiry into the line began on 17 March 1905, was was adjourned several times owing to objections, mainly over level crossing, before an Order allowing the building of the line under the Light Railway Act was issued in 1906. An emended Order was subsequently issued in 1907. The line was in essence and extension of the Kent & East Sussex Railway and Colonel Stephens was hired to be the engineer and presumably also to run the railway when it was completed. The line involved heavy grades and at least two tunnels, which probably explains why it was never completed. At the Maidstone end it was intended to incorporate the Torvil Branch, built by the SER in 1886, which ran from Maidstone West to Torvil Goods station. The latter, , a mere 21 chains long, remained the only part of the link ever constructed and itself closed on 3 October 1977.
Map of the Headcorn & Maidstone Junction Light Railway
Colonel Holman Fred Stephens, C.E. (1868-1931)
K&ESR 4 ft. 3 in. 0-8-0 tank No. 4 "Hecate" built by Hawthorn, Leslie & Co. in 1904. This locomotive is said to have been purchased in anticipation of working trains on the heavily graded Headcorn and Maidstone extension
"Hecate" awaiting scrapping at Eastleigh Works in 1950. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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