The Davington Light Railway : A World War I Narrow Gauge Railway in Kent
The story of this little known narrow gauge (3 ft 3 in.) railway was first published by the Oakwood Press in 1968. This new edition has been expanded to twice its original size. Secrecy surrounded the railway’s construction and operation during its brief existence. Newspapers were not allowed to publish articles or photographs of the railway, and the public were not permitted to travel on the line.
The recipe for the story of the Davington Light Railway is unusual, its ingredients – war, gunpowder and people. The railway only had a short life, but on a normal working day more than 2,600 workers journeys were made. This was the time of the Great War, and here is the history of a railway which grew from war’s appetite.
Much has happened since the first edition of this title saw the light of day. Two of the three Manning, Wardle locomotives, Nos. 2 and 3, were found in Santa Caterina, Brazil, in 1971. Then owned by the Compania Docas Imbituba, this dock company later donated these engines to the planned railway museum at Tubarao, Santa Caterina. Extraordinarily those are not the only locomotives associated with Davington that have survived into preservation. Ruston, Proctor No. 51168, which was built to operate on the internal munitions factory railways at Uplees, was sold to a china clay works near St Austell in Cornwall where it lay dormant for many years.
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