Go-ahead given for RVR and KESR link-up

By Geoff Courtney

REVIVALISTS planning to restore a link between two heritage lines are celebrating a major step forward in their project, following a local council decision to grant approval for the £4½ million scheme and the decision of Highways England to agree in principle to the installation of a level crossing over a major A-road.

A halt to proceedings: A petrol railmotor of the type that operated on the Kent & East Sussex Railway alongside steam locomotives from 1923 to 1937, calls at the railway’s Junction Road Halt in 1930. This site is currently the western extremity of the restored KESR, but plans are well advanced for extending beyond to the Rother Valley Railway at Robertsbridge. HARDING COLLECTION/COLONEL STEPHENS RAILWAY MUSEUM

The privately-funded project will see the Rother Valley Railway link up with the Kent & East Sussex Railway, resulting in a 14 mile heritage steam line over former trackbed between the RVR’s Robertsbridge base and the KESR at Tenterden.

The RVR’s half-mile line currently ends at Northbridge Street and the KESR’s 11½-mile line at Junction Road, leaving a gap of two miles between them. The decision of Rother District Council’s planning committee to unanimously approve the application on March 16 means that gap will be plugged, possibly by as early as 2020.

RVR chairman Gardner Crawley told Heritage Railway that the project was being funded by the railway through private benefactors without the use of public funds, and would benefit the local economy by more than £2 million per year.

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