South Eastern Steam Centre Ashford

Ashford Engine Shed was built by the Southern Railway in 1931 and served in that role until June 1962, following which it was used to service diesel locomotives. In 1968 the sheds were taken over by Esmond Lewis-Evans who was setting up the South Eastern Steam Centre Ashford, opening in 1968. In 1974 the centre was opening to the public on the second Sunday of each month. Various rolling stock was stored on site some owned privately and some by Mr Lewis-Evans.

The centre did not the support it needed and by the mid 1970s the debts were mounting up. The end came in May 1976 when it closed. Items were still stored on site until the late 1980s. In 2005 most of the site was sold for housing development.

1st March 1972. © Steve Godden.

Built in 1908 for the CF du Nord (later SNCF) De Glehn compound No 3.628. The loco was brought to the UK in the early 1970s. Following the closure of the SESCA it went to the Nene Valley Railway. Acquired by the Science Museum it was displayed at Didcot for a while before being sold back to private ownership. The loco was then returned home to France for restoration at Longueville, Seine-et-Marne by AJECTA. The 4DD can be seen behind 3.628.

13th August 1972. © Steve Godden.


South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) Class O1 built Ashford September 1986. Built as a goods engine following the first world war she was allocated to Ashford Shed, often to be seen as banking loco on the Folkestone Harbour branch. Withdrawn from service by BR, as 31065 on the 24th June 1961. Then stored at Ashford early in 1963. Mr Esmond Lewis-Evans purchased the engine from the BRB for its scrap value. She ran at the centre pulling demo passenger trains using a variety of stock including the DDs. In this photo the DD can be seen in the distance behind the loco.

13th August 1972. © Steve Godden.
The SECR O1 number 65 with one of the 4DD coaches (Believed to be 13004).

13th May 1972. © Steve Godden.

Some views from inside 4002 (4902). © Martin Allen.

9th September 1973. © Clive Parker, slide now owned by C Hurst.

N15 King Arthur class 4-6-0 30777 Sir Lamiel. The Southern Railway ordered the loco from the North British Locomotive Company who constructed it in June 1925. The engine served until withdrawal in October 1961, when she passed into the ownership of the National Railway Museum. Currently based on the Great Central Railway.

Back way before Health and Safety Red and White tape appeared. This was the entrance for the public to the Centre.

Both 14th October 1973. © Steve Godden.
4DD coach number 13003 being hauled by Nord 3.628.

12th May 1974. © Steve Godden.

12th May 1974. © Steve Godden.

SECR H Class number 263, in a way a direct predecessor of the 4DDs as they were introduced to run on the suburban network. Designed by Harry S Wainwright it was built in 1905 at Ashford Works. Withdrawn 5th January 1964 she entered preservation on 11th November 1964, and is now located at the Bluebell Railway.

13th October 1974. © Steve Godden.

Early 1980s. © Miles Haywood.

Ian Ross
Latest Update 14th August 2017