Did you know The Historic Dockyard Chatham has running locomotives that date back to the 1940s? These locomotives are looked after by their “steamies”; the railway volunteers, who recently have been renewing the railway tracks providing the railway at The Dockyard with the most trackwork/renewals The Dockyard has had in 30 years ready for the Railway season.
The railway volunteers have worked so far approximately a total of 600 hours to renew the track, with 83 volunteer shifts covered to renew the last section of railway where the wooden sleepers had gone rotten. They are now being replaced with concrete sleepers which should last 50 years. To do this it has meant moving around 25 tons of soils and will use another 50 tons of granite ballast for the repairs.
At its peak, it was estimated there was approximately 17 miles of standard gauge railway within The Dockyard. Today there is just under 1 mile of track remaining. The remaining section which is laid in a tramway style, starts from a point just outside The Historic Dockyard Chatham, adjacent to No.7 Slip, and then runs through the middle of The Dockyard to the far end of Anchor Wharf.
Today only 3 original locomotives remain in The Dockyard, Ajax and Invicta (a steam locomotive), and Rochester Castle (a diesel locomotive). There are also 2 other diesel locomotives , Thalia and Overlord which is owned by the Royal Engineers Museum , as well as several Grafton steam crane. The Overlord is a particularly significant loco having supported our troops at D-Day!
These locomotives can be seen in the Railway workshop (Wagon Stop Canteen) and on selected weekends can be seen running through the site!
- 5th & 6th May 2018 – First May Bank Holiday (Sat & Sun)
- 27th & 28th May 2018 – Second May Bank Holiday (Sun & Mon)
- 16th & 17th June 2018 – Normal Running Weekend (Father’s Day)
- 7th & 8th July 2018 – Normal Running Weekend
- 4th & 5th August 2018 – Normal Running Weekend
- 25th & 26th August 2018 – Normal Running Weekend
- 15th & 16th September 2018 – Salute to the 40s
- 20th & 21st October 2018 – Pumpkin Express
- 27th & 28th October 2018 – Pumpkin Express
- 3rd & 4th November 2018 – Normal Running Weekend