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Site of the Rye & Camber Tramway terminus
Rye Tramway

The Rye & Camber Tramway ran from here, adjacent to the Monkbretton Bridge over the River Rother. The gauge was 3 feet (90cm)(OS ref.TQ935206) and was one of the Colonel Stephens Railways. It carried golfers and fishermen to the eastern side of the Rother estuary (Golf Links Halt).

Rye Tramway

The Tramway in the early years

It did not ever reach Camber village, finishing in the sand dunes west of the village. It closed to passengers on the outbreak of the Second World War. It was used by the Admiralty to transport stores during the war to the "Admiralty Jetty".The wartime shorebased "H.M.S. Haig" was located in the school next to the terminus (on the left in the photo).
Unfortunately, part of the line was concreted over near the harbour, which contributed to the decision not to re-open theline after the war.

Harbour Station Today

The station building opposite the Lifeboat house at Rye Harbour is still standing in good condition (OS ref.TQ943192)

rails

Rails in situ near the Harbour Station


The underframe of one of the coaches is at Amberley Museum near Arundel, West Sussex.

There was quite a number of other narrow gauge railways between Rye and the sea, on both sides of the River Rother.
On the east side there were two gravel pit lines near the Tramway. These pits eventually severed the route after closure (Northpoint Beach). The Rother & Jury's Gut Catchment Board operated portable lines in the area.

fish railway

Disused tramway at Dungeness September 2001
The cover in the foreground is on a telephone line to France.
This may be the same line that follows the Rye & Camber route in the top photo.


A fishermen's tramway at Dungeness

This is another fisherman's tramway at Dungeness & appears to be 15" gauge.
On Boxing Day (26th December) 2001 it seemed to be still used. (It was also very cold at Dungeness - not beach weather!)

 

Further away at Lydd there are still 2 foot gauge lines on the army ranges (no public access)(OS ref.TR020190), and at Dungeness, there are 3 or 4 short hand-worked lines used by fishermen(OS ref. TR094175). Only one of these seems to be used (in 2006).

Rother jetty

The stone works jetty

On the western side of the Rother there were several lines that crossed the harbour road, associated with industrial activity. These led to jetties on the Rother and also connected with the standard gauge Harbour Branch. One of these crossed the road a few feet to the right of the path to Rye Harbour Church. Blue "Boulders" (flints) from the beach were taken away for use in the Staffordshire pottery industry.(OS ref. TR938194)
A very short-lived line was constructed by the first factory on the right on the road to the harbour. This was to test the strength of an engine used to power an autogyro in a James Bond film. The engine was mounted on some sort of trolley on a track (gauge unknown) with its propeller in a wire cage for safety and started. The 'pull' was measured using a spring balance attached to the trolley and fixed to the end of the track. The spring balance was borrowed from the butcher in nearby Icklesham!
In Rye Harbour Village a tramway ran from a concrete works northwest of the Martello Tower along the road now known as "Tram Road" to jetties near the present lifeboat house (OS ref. TR941189). Concrete blocks from this works were used in the extension of Dover Harbour in the 18th Century.

There was also a long tramway (5 miles) from near the church at Rye Harbour which ran down to the coast and along to Winchelsea Beach and then to Pett. Traffic was worked by a Simplex loco on this line.(OS ref. TR937192 - TR934183 - TR943177 - TR921164). Near the old lifeboat house (100 metres east) there is a rusting metal box about 2.5 metres x 1 metre - could this have been used on this line?
There is some pointwork in situ west of Rye Harbour village, probably standard gauge though.
An aerial photo (1948) of the harbour mouth also seems to show a line along the beach terminating near the west breakwater (OS ref.TR950179).

There was an Admiralty slipway on the southern side of Rye town between the fish quay and the Rother Ironworks (This company built one of the Rye & Camber coaches). This had a turntable at the top with several spurs to take more than one ship at a time. These were not narrow gauge. Until the upgrading of the Fishing Quay and flood defences, it was possible to see the top of the slipway (behind Ferry Cottage).

There are still rails in the tarmac on the right of the yard in front of Sea Cruisers' Chandlers (near the Rye Harbour turning off the A259)(OS ref.TR209199). This very short 2' gauge line has 'bogies' to move boats into the nearby shed.

Further away was the Brede Valley Waterworks line (18"/45cm gauge)at Broad Oak (OS ref. TR827175 - TR814177). See also Adams Farm Tramway


There was a short line at Fairlight used to extract sand, near the Coastguard Cottages.

There were other beach tramways in East Sussex at Eastbourne Crumbles (now Sovereign Harbour), Cuckmere Haven and on Newhaven Beaches- both sides of River Ouse.

Gazetteer of East Sussex Narrow Gauge Railways