|The construction of this fascinating branch line was resisted for many years by the South Eastern Railway, but eventually it opened in 1893. Meandering through the High Weald of Kent and landscapes of quiet hilltop villages, hop gardens and deeply wooded valleys, this delightful rural backwater served the communities of Horsmonden, Goudhurst, Cranbrook and Hawkhurst for 68 years.
Farmers, hop-growers, tradesmen and locals made good use of the line, but perhaps its most famous association is with the hop-picking season when hundreds of Londoners travelled down each September to rural Kent on their annual working holiday.
The Hawkhurst branch was arguably the most charming branch line on the Southern, traversing the loveliest countryside Kent possesses. This is reflected in the outstanding selection of photographs presented by the author, most of which have never before been published. Brian Hart has spent many years meticulously researching its history from the casual reader to the dedicated railway historian.
· Chapter 1 - The Wealth of the Weald
· Chapter 2 - The Cranbrook & Paddock Wood Railway
· Chapter 3 - Building the Branch
· Chapter 4 - Extending the Line
· Chapter 5 - Prosperous Times
· Chapter 6 - Sunny South Days
· Chapter 7 - Land of Lost Content
· Chapter 8 - The Hop-pickers' Tale
· Chapter 9 - Swansong
- Southern Railway Locomotive Workings
- Distance Diagram
- Gradient Profile
- Track Plans
- Signalling Plans
- Building Drawings
By Brian Hart
Hardback. 225x280mm. 252 pages
250 black & white photographs