Simon Marsh appointed KESR chairman – 50 years after first role as a volunteer

By Geoff Courtney

RETIRED civil servant Simon Marsh has been appointed chairman of the Kent & East Sussex Railway (KESR) , nearly 50 years after he started volunteering in the railway’s souvenir shop.

The 61-year-old, who lives in Sandwich with his wife Sandra, a priest, has had an interest in railways since his earliest days. “I am told that as a baby I reacted to passing trains from my pushchair – I think it must be in the blood,” he said.

He began volunteering in the railway’s shop at the age of 12, and in the ensuing five decades has helped to construct and maintain signalling installations, worked on the permanent way and on the railway’s Wealden Pullman dining train, undertaken vegetation clearance, and helped to maintain the 10½-mile line’s telegraph pole route.

Simon Marsh, the newly appointed chairman of the Kent & East Sussex Railway, at Tenterden station in the company of the railway’s former SR USA class 0-6-0T No. 30070, now carrying the identity of another member of the class, Longmoor Military Railway No. 300 Major General Frank S. Ross. PAUL WOODMAN

He has also fulfilled a number of backroom functions and been a guard on freight and passenger trains, signalman and operations controller.

In his first interview since becoming chairman, Simon told Heritage Railway of the importance of volunteers to the railway, which runs from Tenterden to Bodiam: “We currently have a surprisingly large number of really good young people. We could always do with more, for after all they are our future.

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