We left Old Coulsdon on time and had an enjoyable tour through the Kent Weald via country lanes to our first stop, Teapot Island at Yalding. Teapot Island is indeed an island in the River Medway at Yalding and the island gets its name from the Tea Pot Museum on the island which contains over 1500 tea pots. We had an enjoyable tea break on the island, long enough to allow us to explore the island and see Twyford Bridge, the longest medieval bridge in Kent.
From Teapot Island we headed on to Tenterden where we joined the Kent and East Sussex Steam Railway. Yes, we know that the fossil fuel guzzling, air polluting, global warming steam trains are an anachronism of the high-speed electric trains of 2011. But, the magic and nostalgia of steam still beats in the hearts of not only old fogies like Probians, but the modern computer literate generation.
Our journey on the vintage carriages pulled by the impressive steam locomotive the ‘Pride of Sussex’ took us to Bodiam Castle. During the journey we were served with lunch followed by tea and coffee. We then had the return journey to Tenterden where we had some free time to explore the workshops and see the work of the volunteers who keep this railway going, before we took the coach ride home.
By the way, just how far have we progressed in our thirst for speed on the railways. In 2011 the goal was to have high-speed trains capable of 140 mph. However, because of safety concerns the only 4 routes that are able to handle these high-speed trains are restricted to 125 mph. In the 1930’s the London and North Eastern Railway Company were operating trains pulled by the ‘Mallard’ steam locomotive at…125 mph!
∫Check out the ‘Photos’ section for more pictures of the trip.