The Rye Train


An interesting photograph loaned by a gentleman visitor to Rye. Who are these men? Could they be the Station Master and Engine Driver ?

Station Master and Engine Driver
Station Master and Engine Driver

No doubt our readers will enlighten us as to the names of these gentlemen, but one thing is for sure, the Station was a lot tidier in those days. There was a time when Rye was in the running for the best kept station on Southern Railways. This was in the days when ‘Jock’ Wilson used to keep the waiting room in tip top condition and had a roaring fire in the grate on cold days.


There are many stories and memories of journeys starting out from Rye. Evacuation trains left from here in 1940 carrying the women and children of Rye to safer parts of the country when Hitler’s Armies were poised across the Channel to invade the Sussex and Kent coasts.

Trips to London to watch special events. Departures for holidays in far flung parts of Britain. School trips to the Festival of Britain. Sunday School outings to Bexhill.

Then there was Ashford Market, a popular venue via the Primrose Line for Ryers. Hastings for Christmas shopping, through those two tunnels where windows had to be swiftly closed or smoke from the engine would pour into the carriage. In those days the carriages were kept clean and tidy in contrast with the present.

Buses to Hastings Every Twenty Minutes

Far more people used public transport. East Kent Buses ran to Hastings every twenty minutes in the Summer and half hourly in the Winter. Additionally, Maidstone and District had a year round hourly Double Decker service via Udimore, Brede and Westfield with the added bonus on fine Summer days of an open top bus, really popular with youngsters.

Let us have your stories and photographs of journeys starting from Rye Station, either on the train or by bus.

Reprinted from the March 2002 issue of “Rye’s Own”