Few passengers that pass through Robertsbridge Railway Station will be aware that in its old sidings The Rother Valley Railway Supporters Association (RVRSA) is busy beavering away with its restoration and preservation of the line and rolling stock to Bodiam. Yes, to Bodiam Railway Station! You will not hear any shunting nor see steam nor smell smoke just yet but it will not be long before you do.
The Rother Valley Railway (East Sussex) Ltd in its November 2003 press release states, “Work on this initial phase has been accelerating in recent months and the Rother Valley Railway is fully committed to progress on the ground, including bridge restoration work, to back up feasibility studies and to achieve the reinstatement of a passenger service along at least a part of its route shortly”
The RVR (East Sussex) Ltd was formed on 22 May 1991 with the approval of the Tenterden Railway Company Ltd, to reconstruct the railway between Bodiam and Robertsbridge. This track section is approximately 3.5 miles long and when completed will form the end on link with the Kent and East Sussex Railway at Bodiam, enabling through running. Trains will initially run into RVR’s own station at Robertsbridge with the ultimate aim of once again running Kent and East Sussex Railway trains into the bay platform which still exists as an engineering siding.
Since 1991 RVR has been acquiring parts of the track bed as and when possible. Negotiations continue with the remaining landowners to secure the remainder of the route. In addition, RVR is liaising with the various authorities of ensure that necessary planning consent and others will be granted.
There are several bridges to reconstruct and three road crossings to be reinstated including the 1921? Robertsbridge by-pass which was the original stumbling block and major reason which prevented the acquisition of the section back in the 1960s. Since that time however official attitudes have moderated and the railway is convinced that when time comes, assistance and permission will be granted.
The Robertsbridge site has since February 2001 been managed and run by the Rother Valley Railway Supporters Association. All work is carried out by volunteers with materials as funds permit or provided by kind donation. The restoration and preservation work is far more than “oily
rags and back breaking chain gang track laying” and the Association warmly welcomes new volunteers, members and sponsors with whatever skills and experience they have as you will see if you visit the visitor centre which is adjacent to the Robertsbridge Railway Station car park. The visitors Centre is open every Sunday and Bank Holiday from 09:30 hrs to 17:00 hrs, or dusk if earlier. Admission is free and the Centre has a shop and buffet.
For Further Information www.rvrsa.co.uk
Email: [email protected]
“Rye’s Own” January 2004
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