The Rye and Camber Tramway

Now here’s a little railway in Sussex which I never knew. It opened, under the direction of Holman Stephens in 1895. It was closed on the outbreak of war in 1939 and never reopened.

I have a little book about the line, given to me by my father.


Peter Harding had this book published thirty years ago, in 1985. It is well illustrated; the little line was clearly well photographed. Here we see the steam loco which was called Camber.


Perhaps we can gauge the lack of local population from that photo.

What makes the book special for me is that my dad put a record card in it.


Dad’s writing was never easy so I’ll transcribe.

I travelled once only Rye – Camber – Rye around 1930. A Sunday School treat took us to Rye and as there was not much for a 9 or 10 year old we spent some of our scarce pocket money on the train. There was nothing to do at Camber either so we came back. I should have remembered an antique steam engine and am fairly certain that the train was petrol hauled.

So presumably Dad was hauled by this little beast, illustrated in the book.


What fascinates me is that such an antiquated form of transport was still in operation within living memory – for people over 80. Actually, a future post might show a similar loco still in operation.


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2 Responses to “The Rye and Camber Tramway”

  1. locoyard Says:

    The fact that the railway wasn’t considered valuable during wartime speaks volumes as to the magnitude of this commercial flop! Interesting to learn about it all the same. It’s not a million miles away from where I was brought up and it’s the first I’ve heard of its existence. You may find that the Colonel Stephens Museum in Tenterden might be of assistance if you wish to find out more. I’m sure they’d love to read the note from your father too.

    Thanks, Dave

    • locksands Says:

      Hi Dave

      I’ll let The Colonel Stephens Museum know. I was there last year – lovely place.
      My Dad also used the KESR in the 20s and 30s – no doubt rarely since money was very tight. he lived in Bexhill and knew people who built the Bexhill West line. He was too young to have understood the grouping and recalled confusion as to how Bexhill West was also called the South Eastern station!

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