“Gazing through the left-hand side windows of your Marshlink train as it departs Ashford station, the observant will glimpse some of the Grade II listed buildings which nestle inside the towns historic railway village. Unique in the Garden of England, this once rural area, became the bustling industrial heartland of England’s most southerly railway company. Entirely the creation of the South Eastern Railway Company, the village housed, educated, and cared for the company’s workers and their families. Located next to the company’s Locomotive and Carriage workshops, thousands of railway employees, passed from village to factory gates. Across the generations sons followed fathers and grandfathers, even some daughters followed their mothers into the workshops and whilst this tradition ceased with the closure of the workshops in the 1980’s, the village stands testament to their legacy.
Being born and brought up in the village, the daughter and great granddaughter of railwaymen, I was literally surrounded by railway history. Keen to ensure that the areas railway history is not forgotten, I’m conducting guided walks around the area. Based upon both research and my personal experiences, the aim is to encourage visitors and locals alike to discover the vital part which railways played in the history of the town and the lives of its residents.
Whether you fancy discovering how a railway company created a village, learn more about railway history or what life was like the families who lived between the tracks and the industrial workshops, you’re bound to discover something new – be that tales of technical skill, endurance and bravery or of tadpoles in the sink!”
Ann, Leader of Tales from the Tracks tours
Having joined one Ann’s fascinating Tales from the Track Tours; ‘A Woman’s Place’ I can thoroughly recommend these guided walks to anyone interested in railway history but particularly that of Ashford.
Catherine Simmons Marshlink Line Officer
Tours operate on a prebooked basis. Prices start at £5.
Enquiries regarding private & bespoke tours are welcomed.
2022 Tour Schedule
April 16th (Saturday) – Life between the tracks tour
May 1st (Sunday) – Life between the tracks tour
May 8th (Sunday) – Dog friendly “Walkies! Through history” tour
June 4th (Saturday) – Life between the tracks tour
August 13th (Saturday) – Life between the tracks tour
August 27th (Saturday) – “A woman’s place” tour
November 19th (Saturday) – Celebrate 180 years of railways in Ashford tour
November 20th (Sunday) – Celebrate 180 years of railways in Ashford Dog Friendly “Walkies!” tour
See the website for full details, to book and for information of alternative tours:
For the latest announcements and weekly railway history post follow Ann on Facebook: @talesfromthetracksrailway