Swale Rail

The branch line from Sittingbourne to Sheerness-on-Sea is where Kent Community Rail Partnership began in 2003, connecting communities to their local station and the opportunities provided through access to the railway.

Sittingbourne and Kemsley are both famous for the paper production and while the mill at Sittingbourne has closed, Kemsley continues to flourish.

Close to Sittingbourne station is the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, an award winning preserved 2ft 6″ steam railway that used to connect the mills at the two communities to Ridham Dock on the Swale Estuary. 

Swale station gives access to marshland to explore and is also the closest station to the area of Iwade. The line passes through a mix of residential, industrial and salt marsh landscapes before reaching the historic town of Queenborough, once site of a royal castle and ferry services to Holland. The line terminates at Sheerness-on-Sea, once a naval dockyard and now home to a busy commercial port.

Sheerness has also been a favourite destination for holidaymakers from London who could easily reach the Isle of Sheppey by train. 

We would like to thank “Rainham Rail Enthusiast” for allowing us to link his video of the line.

swalerail logo lowres

Local Attractions

There are many local attractions and places to visit along the Swale Rail line.

If you are looking for entertainment then Sittingbourne has a lot to offer from skating at The Mill Skatepark to Karting or watching the Greyhound racing. You may prefer to go to the Cinema or try you hand at Bowling. 

Alternatively, you may wish to watch a show at the Avenue Theatre or drop into the Swale Media Arts Centre

Not far from Sittingbourne Station you will also find the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway and the Raybel & Dolphin Barge Museum.

For a walk in the fresh air you can visit Milton Creek Country Park or explore the Saxon Shore Way from a number of different points across Swale. Near to Swale Station you will find a wealth of nature and is the closest station to Elmley Nature Reserve. 

Why not take a trip and visit the beautiful Queenborough Harbour and then pop along to the  Queenborough Guildhall Museum before topping up your tan at the beach at Sheerness or exploring the Sheppey ShorelineSheerness also has it’s own Sailing Club 

If you enjoy your history then you may want to visit the Church by the Dockyard or Blue Town Heritage Centre.

Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway
Sunset Swale
Sheerness beach

Kent CRP have put together a local guide highlighting some of Swale’s local attractions, encouraging people to visit by walking or cycling from the nearest train station. 

Students from Sheppey College produced a website during their 2019 community week all about Swale Rail Tourism.

With support from the Community Rail Development Fund an updated version of the guide was published in 2023, adding QR code weblinks and What 3 Words locations for each attraction.

For up to date information on timetables visit Southeastern’s websiteAlternatively use the National Rail Enquiries website or better still download the app for live updates.

For more information about the Swale Rail Line Community Rail Partnership, please contact Therese Hammond on 07917 131248 or Gary Outram 07787 434258.