News from The Colonel Stephens Society
The Society for enthusiasts of the light and narrow-gauge railways of Colonel Holman F Stephens
A replica Ford railmotor, typical of those employed by Colonel Holman F Stephens on several of his light railways, has been moved from Yorkshire to Tenterden at the Kent & East Sussex Railway. The replica was built in Yorkshire, using some original Ford components, by the late Colin Shutt, a member of the Colonel Stephens Society. He gifted the Ford railmotor to the Society just before he died, so that ownership could be transferred to the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum at Tenterden in Kent. Thanks to the efforts of another Society member, Kerry Baylis, the Ford railmotor arrived on 5th June 2017 and is now on display in its specially made shelter outside the Museum, opposite the Kent & East Sussex station at Tenterden.
Colonel Holman Fred Stephens
Colonel Holman Fred Stephens was born in 1868 and died in 1931, while resident at the Lord Warden Hotel, Dover. He was a promoter, engineer, locomotive superintendent and director of light railways. He was connected in one or more of these capacities with 17 such railways, both standard and narrow gauge, in England and Wales. His office was in Tonbridge, Kent. The 150th anniversary of his birth occurs in 2018.
HF Stephens introduced petrol-engined railmotors on several of his railways in the 1920s. They ran back-to-back to avoid problems reversing. They were economical to run, but they were noisy, uncomfortable, unpopular with travellers, but enabled passenger services to continue. They ran on the Selsey Tramway, the Kent & East Sussex Railway and the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Railway. The Ford railmotor ran on the Kent & East Sussex Railway line in the 1920s and 30s.
The replica railmotor arriving at Tenterden
Photos: Ross Shimmon