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Folkestone Harbour Railway Ltd
Previously unpublished photographs that are copyright of Peter Wiseman
Peter Wiseman has always lived at Letchworth in Hertfordshire but has a halcyon association with the Folkestone Harbour Branch. When Peter heard about the efforts of the Remembrance Line to retain the branch he naturally joined us. This boyhood paradise was very much enhanced by Peter's fascination for the veteran class R1 tank engines. These locomotives had been the staple power on the branch for 50 years...70 years if you include their time as the class R predecessors. Peter relates the story...
"...Despite the distance I have always had a keen interest in the Folkestone Harbour Branch, ever since my grandparents moved to Harbour Way in 1955. On fairly frequent visits I spent many happy hours, up until electrification of the line, watching the action on the branch and at Folkestone Junction, where the R1's were shedded, and the main line locomotives awaited to take over the boat trains-passenger and goods. The following photos I took with my grandfather's old 'Box Brownie' camera, which I thought may be of interest to other Remembrance Line members..."
At the time, Peter would not have realised that through his photography he was recording the work of the last 7 R1's circa 1958/9. These were locomotives no's 31010, 31047, 31107, 31128, 31140, 31174, 31337. 31010 (better known as 'ten, ten') and 31107 had been previously transferred from the defunct Whitstable - Canterbury Branch. 31010 had cut down boiler mountings to facilitate the negotiation of the notoriously narrow bore of Tyler Hill Tunnel but 31107 was rebuilt with a regular cab in 1914. Also he managed to capture 57XX Pannier tank no. 9770 on trial from the Western Region. Eventually, in autumn 1958, 6 pannier tanks were drafted in to replace the elderly R1's. The Panniers (which were no spring chickens themselves!) lasted until electrification in 1961.