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Folkestone Harbour Railway Ltd
Copyright 2014 The Remembrance Line, Frizbee & Steven Whittingstall
Remembrance Sunday 2014 RLA wreath on extreme right.
RLA chairman presents Dan Garung with our cheque in support of their proposed memorial.
The monstrosity built across the vidaduct tracks in the name of art-Yeh Righto.
Site of the former harbour branch carriage sidings.
News Update - 04/05/2015
Recent Visit To Harbour Arm Works
The RLA committee is very pleased to have accepted Folkestone Harbour Company's invitation to view the restoration work being carried out on the Harbour Arm on Wed 29th April last week. We would like to sincerely thank the Folkestone Harbour Company's Trevor Minter and his site engineer Ben Bessel for showing us around the site. The standard of work, craftmanship and respect for heritage was exemplary. No stone has been left unturned (literally!) in the quest for restoration excellence. Included in the work is the retention of a considerable length of 'tram line' set into the quayside adjacent to the harbour arm canopy and platform,which themselves have seen much renovation and weather proofing. The exact position of the Jeffrey Sisters and Mrs Sturt's WW1 cafe has been located. However it was plain to see that it would not be a suitable site to recreate it at the original point. There are several rooms, a little nearer France, built into the harbour wall which may be suitable(even for other uses) and certainly more weather proof. Restoration is also proceeding apace on various other aspects of the arm, with work going on to make the lower embarkation portals available for possible viewing by the public, safety issues withstanding.
A surprising amount of the timbers and rail supporting steel work has survived the ravages of time and the hostile salt environment. Where it has been necessary to replace parts of the structure - the work has been carried out with sensitivity and in sympathy with these unique surroundings. Clearly Trevor and Ben are passionate about their work and this is reflected in the quality of the work extant. There is someway to go before the job has been completed but Folkestone Harbour Company are confident it will be ready for opening to the public later this summer.
The Earthquake in Nepal and The Gurkhas
The Remembrance Line Association has since inception always supported the Gurkhas and their community here in Folkestone. You will recall that last year RLA donated towards the proposed Folkestone Gurkha memorial. Last week's catastrophic earthquake in their homeland Nepal has again mobilised our members to dig deep. A number of us had already attended the Cheriton vigil on Tues 28th April. At last week's monthly meeting members present collected £155-00. It was then elected to match this from the RLA central fund and we will shortly be handing a cheque over for £300-00. We are hoping that a representative from the Gurkha community will attend our May meeting to update us on the situation in Nepal and tell us about how the aid work is undertaken.
The Remembrance Line
Currently we are back in talks with John Parry of Parry People Movers of Stourbridge. Working closely with John has been Jane Taylor of Eco Rail. Jane has recently been to visit us for a couple of days, the result of which has left us in the throws of considering a full scale feasibility study-at a cost- to back up our vision document and other plans. Whilst in Folkestone Jane also took a look at the potential that the Shorncliffe housing development has presented us. Jane is also an authority on providing funding for our type of operational proposals. We will publish more news on this as events unfold. This link takes you too the latest Parry People Mover Newsletter.
RLA 4th May 2015
News Update - 30/03/2015
Sunday 29th March 1915 - First unit of British Troops arrive at Folkestone Harbour Station
Revealed on Sunday at the re-enactment of first the British Troops to arrive at Folkestone Harbour 100 years ago during WW1- these soldiers actually arrived by train. These, we are glad to have discovered , were the first of some 3.5 million British Troops to begin their journey to the western front in this way. In fact very few marched to Folkestone Harbour and hardly any descended the 'Road of Remembrance' or 'Slope Road,' as it was known at that time.
Even the Canadians approached Folkestone Harbour by marching down Military Road from Shorncliffe Camp and along Lower Sandgate Road. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to designate this as 'Road of Remembrance'. '
The Remembrance Line' , of course , could not have been thus more fittingly named than it is! Perhaps we should plant rosemary alongside the railway and Lower Sandgate Road.
We have also discovered that from 1917 the only troops to descend Slope Road in any numbers were the Americans for the simple reason that their rest camp was on The Leas. Therefore it would appear that our acclaimed arch is by its location a magnificent tribute to our allies from the good old U.S of A!
The actual re-enactment was a simple, reverent and totally relevant affair organised by the Folkestone Heart organisation of which RLA is a member. 3 local re-enactors were present including a lady dressed in the Edwardian style. Many of the group who attended remarked on the lack of a train for the occasion- which with a little imagination from the powers that be would have been quite possible. The modest throng included several RLA members whose response was built around the expression '...tell us about it...'
Also, quite recently we have been made aware of another station in our locality which played its part in delivering allied troops to Shorncliffe via the 'back way'. Sandgate station was located at Battery Point, Seabrook close to Hospital Hill.
This querky little terminus of the Hythe branch also made its name for itself in the Boer War.http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/s/sandgate/index.shtml
News Update - 02/02/2015
The Folkestone Harbour Company have publicly stated that the station is beyond repair. That is a ludicrous statement- currently the heritage railway movement is building steam locomotives from scratch and long demolished station buildings have been totally rebuilt to the original specification. Folkestone Harbour Station could easily be restored-and the Remembrance Line Association are poised to take on the task. Folkestone Harbour Company also reaffirms that the Harbour Railway is closed. So what- railways all over country which have been closed for 50 years or more are being revived from what has been returned to green fields.
In Folkestone's case, a railway with the essential features of its infrastructure still in position is under threat because the plans of the seafront developer deem it necessary to sweep it away. However this appears to be a threat without substance as clearly the developer has totally failed to attract UK investors and is now hawking its aspirations on the international market. Obviously the UK investors have dismissed the seafront development as not viable and Folkestone Harbour Company appears to believe that the international investors are less wily. I think not. I might add that government schemes like the one the harbour company is using is notoriously lumbering and could add years to the commencement of seafront building if any.
As expected the bamboo eyesore was removed by w/e 31-01-14
Now all we need is a train!
News Update - 25/01/2015
At last contractors are dismantling the bamboo eyesore which has been blighting the inner harbour. It was erected without any kind of listed planning application on a grade 2 listed part of the viaduct. It was actually seated on the rails of the branch.
All that remains here is the scaffold based skeleton of the structure and will probably be gone by the end of week commencing Mon 26-1-14. However the bad news is that this probably means that track lifting on the branch is imminent. The freeholders cannot take up ownership until the track is removed. Not to worry - we have already been pricing up the replacement track!
The campaign goes on - we will not roll over and witness the profit motivated destruction of Folkestone's and moreover the UK's essential heritage and community future.
News from Boulogne
A colleague of ours from Boulogne, Jean - Guy Hagelstein has over the last few days noted and photographed the dredger Victor Horta hard at work in and around Boulogne Harbour, keeping it clear for future use. That link with Folkestone is still, in principle, a possibility with the right approach.
Photo of dredger Victor Horta (right) to Jean- Guy Hagelstein
Remembrance Line supports Nepalese earthquake appeal
Last Thursday evening (28th May) RLA members were privileged to have Gurkha community leader Dhan Gurung attend our monthly meeting and deliver a talk on the latest situation in Nepal after the recent devastating Earthquake. He updated us on the fantastic response to the earthquake appeal and described the complexities of distributing the aid, a massive task in itself. To round the evening off RLA took the opportunity to present Dhan with a cheque for £300 - our humble contribution to the huge relief operation in the disaster area. The unveiling of the new Gurkha memorial later on this summer will be all the more poignant. We wish the Gurkha community and their families in Nepal the very best for the speedy recovery of their homeland.
Photo - RLA Chairman Richard Moffatt presents cheque for £300 to Dhan Gurung.
'Artemis' Visits Folkestone Harbour
Excitement in Shepway yesterday (Tues 7th July) when the former Swedish Whaler 'Artemis' berthed for a couple of days at Folkestone Harbour en route the Boulogne Sea Festival. Several of our members asked to be allowed access to the harbour arm to get a better view but predictably were refused permission.
Not to worry, some great views of the vessel were available from elsewhere around the Stade area and above. 'Artemis' appears to be berthed on the pier ok. Thus also proving a point - in case there was any doubt! Take a look at the following spec. Her draught is 3.5 metres- that of the classic steamers/motor vessels which once were a familiar sight berthed in Folkestone Harbour. More about information here - www.ville-boulogne-sur-mer.fr/fete_mer/2015/05/aboard-artemis/
We find it amazing that there was no advanced publicity about this interesting event. Not even the town council knew about it. It might make the local papers you never know!
Remembrance Line Association July 2015
Photos by Andy Cadier.
News Update - 12/10/2015
Low Arches of Folkestone Harbour Branch
Once again our very own Andy Cadier has been out and about with his camera. The following photos are of the Low Arches of Folkestone Harbour Branch- iconic in their own right. These are also to be seen on Andy's contribution to the 'Disused Railways' Facebook page.
Accompanying photos all by Andy Cadier.
Remembrance Line Association October 2015
News Update - 12/10/2015
The unveiling and dedication of the Gurkha Memorial
Sunday 4th October saw the unveiling and dedication of the Gurkha Memorial, at the St Georges Church Gdns in Sangate Rd here in Folkestone. Remembrance Line Association has always supported the Gurkha Community here in Folkestone. Last year we donated £500.00 towards the memorial and have more recently given to the Nepal earthquake fund. The weather was ideal and the occasion was endorsed by speeches from local political, charitable and Military dignitaries. A large crowd was in attendance. Officials from Nepal were also present as well as the local Gurkha ladies dance troupe which really set an authentic atmosphere for the ceremony. Capping the proceedings was actress and Gurkha equality campaigner Joanna Lumley who unveiled the wonderful new sculpture forming the memorial- followed by rapturous applause.
Accompanying photos all by Andy Cadier.
Remembrance Line Association October 2015
News Update - 16/11/2015
RLA was out in force to support Remembrance Sunday at the Folkestone War Memorial on 8th November. Leading member Rosemary Dadson (first picture left ) assisted our chairman in laying the RLA wreath at the ceremony. A number of members then proceeded to take part the Gurkha Remembrance Service at St Georges. (second picture below)
RLA back on the street with our ... why not Folkestone Port? survey unit last Saturday 14th . We deliberately downplayed the immediate RLA connection,which proved fruitful and a good talking point. This is a part of the build up to our new business proposal to be jointly presented by us and our Light Railway consultants. As you can see this second outing was a dull, damp day as we sheltered in the Tent interviewing a member of the public. In spite of the inclement weather,spirits were good and we managed to carry out 30-40 interviews. A relatively quiet town centre didn't effect the response which as usual was overwhelmingly positive-and we even had several membership application requests. Many thanks to Margie,Matt , Rodney and even the chairman for braving the elements.
R. Moffatt Nov '15