Chattenden and Upnor Railway

The Chattenden and Upnor Railway (later known as the Lodge Hill and Upnor Railway) was a narrow gauge railway serving the military barracks and depot at Upnor and associated munitions and training depots. It was built in 1873 as a 18 in (457 mm) gauge railway, converted to 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge around 1885, and continued in use until 1961.

Chattenden and Upnor Railway
Dates of operation18731961
Track gauge2 ft 6 in (762 mm)


The Chattenden and Upnor Railway was originally laid in 1873 to 18 in (457 mm) gauge, as a training exercise for the Royal School of Military Engineering which was then based at Chattenden Camp. The line ran from Pontoon Hard by the River Medway and climbed steeply towards Chattenden where in 1877 the War Office built a set of gunpowder magazines. A spur led from Church Crossing to the Lower Upnor Ordnance Depot and until 1895 a branch ran from Chattenden to Hoo.

In 1885 the railway was relaid and converted to 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge by the 8th. Railway Company of the Royal Engineers who managed the line. In 1891 the Admiralty took over Upnor Depot and it became a Royal Naval Armaments Depot. Another armaments depot was constructed at Lodge Hill, north of Chattenden which was also served by the railway. In 1905 the entire Chattenden enclosure was taken over by the Navy, and in 1906 the railway was also taken over by the Navy and renamed the Lodge Hill and Upnor Railway. The Navy extended the line to connect with the 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge branch from Sharnal Street on the South Eastern & Chatham Railway's Hundred of Hoo branch.

The railway saw intensive use during the Second World War, but use declined after the end of hostilities and the railway closed in 1961.


Name/Number Builder Type Date Works number Notes
Sulphur Yorkshire Engine Company 0-4-2 T 1885 405 Sold for scrap by 1931
Carbon Yorkshire Engine Company 0-4-2 T 1886 404 Scrapped by 1931
Cheshire W.G. Bagnall 0-4-2 T 1890 1260 ex-War Department, Crewe. Sold for scrap 1931 or 1932
Lancashire Yorkshire Engine Company 0-4-4 T 1891 462 Sold for scrap by 1932
Cumberland Lowca Engine Company 0-4-2 T 1893 220 Scrapped by 1904
Eardley Wilmot W.G. Bagnall 0-6-0 T 1897 1513 ex-War Department, South Africa, 1901. Scrapped by 1904
Bagnall W.G. Bagnall 0-6-0 ST 1897 1514 ex-War Department, South Africa, 1901. Scrapped 1931 or 1932
Kitchener Yorkshire Engine Company 0-6-2 T 1902 711 ex-War Department, Egypt. To Chatham Dockyard for scrap 1948; scrapped 1954.
Yorkshire John Fowler 0-4-4 T before 1897 5350 Scrapped 1931.
Pioneer Yorkshire Engine Company 2-6-2 PT 1904 757 To War Department, Woolmer Instructional Military Railway, 1905; later to the Pentewan Railway, 1912.
Ascension Avonside Engine Company 0-4-2 T 1904 1480 To Admiralty, Hoo Ness, by 1928.
Fisher Dick Kerr and Company 0-6-2 T 1915 13996 Scrapped 1954
Chevalier Manning Wardle 0-6-2 T 1915 1677 Sold to the Bowaters Paper Railway in 1950, subsequently sold to the Great Whipsnade Railway
Burnett Hall Avonside 0-4-2 T 1933 2070 Scrapped 1956. Nameplate on display at Amberley Museum.
Norbury Peckett 0-4-2 T 1934 1868 Scrapped 1955. Nameplate on display at Amberley Museum.
Hunslet 6w DM 1946 3301
Drewry 6w DM 1949 2263 Sold to the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway in 1968 and named Chattenden
Hibberd Planet 4w DM 1954 3687 Sold to the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway in 1961, named Upnor Castle, sold to the Ffestiniog Railway and regauged to 1 ft 11 12 in (597 mm)
89 Greenwood & Batley 4w BE Used for shunting ammunition wagons

See also


  • Thomas, Cliff (2002). The Narrow Gauge in Britain & Ireland. Atlantic Publishers. ISBN 1-902827-05-8.
  • Yeatan, D. (December 1966). "Lodge Hill and Upnor Railway". The Industrial Railway Record. 12: 277–292.
  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (2000). Kent Narrow Gauge. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-901706-45-1.
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