Eric Graves died on May 12th 2005, very suddenly, at home
in the garden. He had been mowing the lawn, finished, and told Wenda, his wife,
that he felt tired and would sit down for a bit. The next she knew, he had
quietly passd away.
He was involved with the K. & ESR. railway for 36 years and it gave him much pleasure. He was involved in so many aspects of the life of the KESR of which people were not always aware. He was behind the rescue of the SECR / LCDR coaches one of which makes up part of the Ralway's vintage stock, one more is about to go in to carriage and wagon for restoration and a third one is in the railway museum. Without the prompt action of Eric the railway would have missed the opportunity of saving these carriages.
Eric founded the Ashford Group of the K.& ESR. Railway and had been instrumental in raising many thousands of pounds for the railway. He organised 25 model railway exhibitions in Ashford to raise funds for the KESR. These only ceased after he felt it was getting too much, and there was no one willing to take over from him. (He was over 70 at this time).The work of the Ashford Group is now in the capable hands of a dedicated committee
He was a member of the K&ESR Locomotive Trust, the Terrier Trust and the Norwegian Trust. Peter, his son, spent time with him back in the ''70's and '80's replacing track before he became a guard and later he started working in the Carriage and Wagon Dept. from time to time. He was always present at the AGM and always found quietly working behind the scenes. His car always had piles of advertising material for the railway and he would regularly sell stock from the shop at various events. He would also spend evenings giving slide shows to organisations about the railway, encouraging people to come and visit the railway.
Eric never sold himself but quietly and meticulously got on with the job. For many he years he brought rags and distilled water to the railway from outside companies. John Liddell commented once that he had not realised how much Eric did outside of the railway until he attended the funeral service. Eric was "over the moon" that the second Ashford carriage was going in to Carriage and Wagon this summer for restoration.The memorial fund, which at last count stood at £1000, is in aid of the restoration of this carriage. This and the one in service were rescued from a garden in Beaver Road in Ashford. Part of a third one is in the museum.
Eric will be sorely missed by his family and by the railway too. There are many other areas he was involved in some of which I was not aware of - looking through his railway records I have found pictures of him working on the Newmill Bridge in 1977, for example. Members will miss, among many things seeing his articles in the Terrier of the work of the Ashford Group but will, no doubt, look forward to reading inclusions from the new committee.
SECR / LCDR 4 wheel carriages
In 1985 Eric received a phone call inviting him to look at four Victorian railway carriages. These were located within the framework of a house in Beaver Road, Ashford. He was told "if you clear the site you can have the carriages".The history of the carriages up until becoming the bungalow is described below:
No 3022 was built by L.C.D.R. in January 1879 as 3rd class no.68. renumbered 502 in May 1899 and again renumbered 3022 in October 1906. The body was 25ft by 8ft 6. It had 5 compartments, seated 50 people. It was withdrawn in May 1921 and the underframe was broken up in July 1921.
No 3062 was built by L.C.D.R in May 1988 as Brake 2nd no 108. It was transferred to Brake 3rd no 108 in January 1891. It was renumbered 3062 in March 1903. The body was 26ft by 8ft ( 9ft over Duckets). It had 3 compartments close coupled and 30 seats.It was withdrawn in July 1921 and the underfarme was broken up in August 1921.
No 3361 was built by L.C.D.R. in May 1890 as Brake 2nd No 52. Renumbered 3361 and was down-graded to Brake 3rd at the same time in February 1903. The body was 26ft by 8ft ( 9ft over Duckets). It had 3 compartments close coupled and 30 seats. It was withdrawn in August 1921 and the underframe was broken up in August 1921.
No 2947 was built by S.E.C.R. in August 1901 to L.C.D.R design. It was one of a batch of 14 built to strengthen Chatham suburban close-coupled trains from 10 to 11 coach trains. 2nd class 40 seat 4 compartment 4 wheel carriage (now in service on the KESR in its original livery). It was withdrawn in July 1921 and again the underfarme was broken up in the August of that year.
All four coaches were sold to a Mr Larkin of the Mechanics Institute at Newtown Works. He had them transported to Beaver Road where they were converted in to a bungalow. During the summer of 1986 Eric arranged and participated in the clearing of the cladding of the house so that in August 1986 two of the carriages were removed from the site No 2947 and No 3059. They were taken by low loader and placed behind the "Colonel's Kitchen" where they were completely enclosed in a corrugated iron shell. The other two carriages were not felt at the time to be fully salvageable - today the skills available would have made this possible. The end of one of the remaining carriages (3062) was cut out, and is in the museum. The remainder is lost along with 3022.
In September 1993 they were moved and put on to underframes. This was reported in the Kentish Express on 8/7/93 and it was the first time since 1921 that they had been on rails. They were stored in the back siding at Tenterden waiting to go into Carriage and Wagon. In 1994 no. 2947 went in, and was restored by a team led by John Liddell and Ken Lee.
In August 1995 no 2947 came out of Carriage and Wagon and brought about much publicity for the railway with an article in October 1995 Railway World by Nick Pallant. It was also used immediately in the filming of Toad of Toad Hall and brought in valuable film revenue money. No 3062 is going into Carriage and Wagon this year - again the Ashford group have raised the funds for this restoration.
The work of Eric Graves in rescuing these carriage and the continuing of the Ashford Group are continuing memorials to his efforts on the railway. The memorial fund to which so many people have generously contributed will fund the restoration of no 3062. The work of the Ashford Group will continue to be diplayed on this website for the foreseeable future.
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