Legendary railway engineer Holman F Stephens' honour finally arrives in Kent

Contributed by editor on Jul 14, 2018 - 10:00 AM


Words and pictures by Dana Wiffen

The Colonel Stephen’s Society (CSS) are overjoyed that after years of hard work by members a Blue Plaque has been unveiled in his honour in the booking hall of Tonbridge Railway Station.

The ceremony took place on Tuesday 10th July 2018.

This marking of his achievements was supported by South Eastern Trains, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and The Kent and East Sussex Railway.

David Wornham-Passenger Services Director of South-eastern Railway, Ian Legg-Chairman-K&ESR and former CSS Chairman-Les Derbyshire made speeches praising the 'Colonel' before they were joined by theTonbridge Station Manager who unveiled the plaque.


For some long standing CSS members who had been working to this goal for some time there was a tear or two especially knowing that finally the very person our Society has been working to promote has at last received the sort of accolade he deserves.

Colonel Holman F Stephens now has recognition for his work in the town where he established his headquarters. The Society is pleased that more people will see the plaque in the station than would have if it had it been placed on the Salford Terrace building nearby which had been his headquarters for many years.

Colonel Stephen’s was a railway engineer who built light and narrow gauge railways on a tight budget across the UK, having his headquarters/office in Tonbridge and close to the station enabled him to travel around the UK by train to inspect his various railways. In the South East they included:

The Kent & East Sussex Railway (KESR) Closed section in 1953 the rest in 1961 now a preserved line running between Tenterden and Bodiam which will one day be extended to join with the RVR at Robertsbridge.

The Rother Valley Railway (RVR) {as above}

The East Kent Light Railway-Closed 1951 except Tilmanstone Quarry closed 1986. This former Colliery Line has preserved section running trains between Shepherdswell and Eythorne.

The Sheppey Light Railway-Closed 1950

The Selsey Tramway-Closed 1935

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