Did you know The Historic Dockyard Chatham has running locomotives that date back to the 1940’s?
These locomotives are looked after by their “steamies”; the railway volunteers, who have recently been renewing the railway tracks providing the railway with the most trackwork/renewals the Dockyard has had in over 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 (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 they can be seen running through the site.