Reviewed on Saturday 30th January 2010
The Rye & Camber Tramway, which richly embodied the idiosyncracy for which Britain's light railways were famous, was built to the unusual gauge (for England) of 3 feet. It was designed primarily as a means of transporting players to the golf links at Camber, 2 miles from the ancient 'Cinque Ports' town of Rye. Constructed entirely on private land, the railway was conceived, laid out and opened in six months! The first trains ran on 13 July 1895 and, as well as providing a service for golfers and fishermen, it soon attracted patronage from the burgeoning day-tripper market, in the balmy late Victorian and Edwardian days up to World War One.The Rye & Camber epitomised the Colonel Stephens tradition in terms of its simplicity of operation and equipment. At peak times some passengers were carried in open wagons fitted with bench seats, and for a time in the 1930s the railway was operated by 2 men. Initially the line had two Bagnall steam locomotives and two carriages until rising costs and road competition caused steam to be replaced by a Simplex petrol engine. The railway, however, had only 15 years of public service left, as its strategic location led to immediate closure on the outbreak of war in 1939, and it never reopened.
Hardcover, 160 pages, 139 b/w illustrations, 19 maps and drawings.