L to R: Georges Dussart, Simon Potter, David Barton, President Robert Boyd-Howell
photo by Roger Bickerton - click to enlarge
The East Kent Railway Trust (EKRT http://www.eastkentrailway.co.uk) ) is one of the best kept secrets in Kent. With a station in the centre of Shepherdswell, this charity heritage railway has only two miles of track but has some big ideas.
Its biggest aspiration is to become a community resource linking ex-mining villages of East Kent. It has some features which are unique for heritage railways in the South of England. For example, it is primarily an industrial railway, celebrating the once-thriving coal industry of East Kent. It has quiet woodlands with marked trails crossing a mediaeval ditch and bank and it has a long tunnel (the Golgotha), a rare attribute amongst English Heritage railways.
The EKRT hopes to contribute to a rekindling in the spirit and economy of the coalfield towns and villages. To help in this aspiration, the EKRT resolved to renovate a derelict piece of rolling stock as a Classroom Coach, in which children could be taught about the history and technology of the Kent coalfields and the associated railways.
On 22 January 2013, at a luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Canterbury, the Chair of the Community Services Committee Dr David Barton, accompanied by President Robert Boyd-Howell, presented a cheque for £500 to Simon Potter, Funding and Projects Officer of the EKRT.
This funding will be an essential contribution to the fitting-out of the Classroom Coach in time for the 2013 season. It will contribute to new, family-centred railway weekends at the EKRT, for example “Spring Kids” over the Easter weekend, “Family Fun” on the 5th/6th May and “Jamboree Weekend” on the 25th-27th May.