Mystery train stops in Rye

The train leaving Rye

An eagle-eyed reader spotted an unusual but very welcome visitor to Rye at the weekend and took the video footage below.

The special chartered train stopped at Rye at 11:26am on the way to Ashford and returned at 5:12pm heading for Tunbridge Wells. It was much longer than our normal trains, with at least six carriages. The passengers were clearly enjoying themselves and waved to passers by.

Can anyone shed more light on the train? What was the occasion? What kind of train was it? Answers to Rye News please!


  1. This would have been a scheduled private rail tour using the preserved “Thumper” diesel multiple unit from Bulverhythe, St Leonard’s. The narrow flat sided carriages were purpose built for the Hastings to Charing Cross line, made narrower than standard rolling stock to fit through tunnels on the line which had been re-lined to strengthen the brickwork. These six car units were in regular use on the Ashford to Hastings line in the 70s on peak services – no restrictions on train length back then, that only happened when Network Rail re-signalled the line and altered the track layout at Rye some years ago

  2. This particular train was a Hastings Diesel Tour running from Hastings to Faversham and back via Ashford. They operate occasional private tours on their restored trains and these can be booked direct. Other excursions occasionally run through Rye, I saw a steam train last September but they need careful scheduling given the single track operation between Ore and Appledore.


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