Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway (BWLR) was started in 1975 by Bill and David Best.
In the beginning it was just the two brothers realising their interests in steam engines and engineering by acquiring old retired engines and restoring them to their former glory. Their friends joined them in their work whenever they had time to spare, track was laid around the (then) farmhouse and fields that Bill lived in with his family.

They all decided to open the place to the public, once a month through the summer to showcase the beautifully restored engines and newly built passenger carriages and stations, in Victorian style, all from scratch. The Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway was born.

Over 45 years later and the railway is still opening every year to the public. Bill and David charged entry on the open days and any proceeds went back into the railway and restoration projects. The community of people interested in being a part of the work, part of the restoration efforts grew. Most came on a Thursday to work and meet and share stories over fish and chips together, others made it on an Open Day to help run the trains, the tea room and the car park and everyone willing to pitch in was (and is) welcome. We have more volunteers now than ever before, with youngsters and oldies alike coming to learn from experience and be a part of something special.

The railway and facilities are becoming an important hub in the local area with great feedback (Facebook group) and providing support to groups like Kent Wildlife Trust. It has always supported the local community where possible with donations to the village school and church, however, times have changed for BWLR.

Bill sadly passed away in early 2020 and his son, also Bill Best managed to acquire the site and railway from his four brothers. In order to prevent the whole place being sold and physically dismantled, a number of valuable items from the collection had to be sold, although the bulk of the collection remains intact.

The railway has been opening again each month since May 2021, as it has done for the past 45 years, but the visitor numbers have been very low amid the difficult COVID social restrictions.

COVID has caused a very significant loss of income and although a considerable number of volunteers have provided time and support for free it is possible that without financial help, the sale of the property and railway in its entirety will become inevitable.

It would be wonderful to know the railway's future and place in this community is secure and to be able to continue to carry out important restoration works and projects, started by his father Bill and uncle David, but as yet remain unfinished.
If sufficient funds are raised we may be able to start work on some specific projects like the restoration of the Marshall Portable, which was donated to the BWLR in a very dilapidated condition.

The process of becoming a registered charity has been started, however it is in its infancy and may be many months before that is in place and the railway is in need of support now.

Thank you for reading and please help us to save this special railway for all to enjoy for many more years as it deserves, if you can by making a donation via PayPal or credit card.


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