Torry Hill Railway: A Narrow-Gauge Relic of the Past

torry-hill-railway (Image: Andrew Moon; the 1930s narrow-gauge Torry Hill Railway)

The privately-owned Torry Hill Railway is typical of the numerous narrow-gauge lines that criss-crossed Britain’s grand country estates in the early 20th century. Situated in the heart of Kent, the 9″ railway dates back to the 1930s and, though it isn’t abandoned, is rarely open to the public or even operated.¬†Seen here blanketed by autumn leaves, a charming yet wistful atmosphere enshrouds these old tracks, reminders of the days when miniature railways were a common means of rural transportation and recreation.

torry-hill-railway-2 (Image: Andrew Moon; original brick-lined Torry Hill Railway tunnel)

The Torry Hill Railway is understood to have been built along former carriage routes running through the grounds of the estate near the Kent hamlet of Kingsdown. With its turntables, bridges and a 100 ft-long tunnel, it offers an intriguing glimpse back into the glory days of the estate.

torry-hill-railway-3 (Image: Andrew Moon)

The main house was built in 1925 and significantly redesigned during the 1960s. Until his death in 2013 it was the home of Robin Leigh-Pemberton, Baron Kingsdown. More recently, the rather eccentric Torry Hill estate, with its extensive parkland, has been used for a range of outdoor pursuits from camping to motorbike racing.

torry-hill-railway-4 (Image: Andrew Moon)

The estate today is a sustainable working farm supporting both arable and pasture farming and known for its cherry orchards. For that reason its old narrow-gauge railway is rarely used, but remains a haunting relic of Torry Hill’s past – and that of other great estates that have fallen into ruin or risen to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Keep Reading –¬†Extravagant Monuments: 10 Strange Follies of the British Isles


About the author: Tom




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