The railway linking the station at Headcorn on the main line from London to Ashford and the Channel Ports with Robertsbridge on the South Eastern Railway’s line to Hastings was built under the terms of the Light Railways Act of 1896. It opened in 1900 and remained independent until Nationalisation in 1947, when it came under the control of the Southern Region of British Railways. Passenger services ceased in 1954, and it was closed completely in 1961. In the 1920s it was one of the many small railways operated by Colonel H F Stephens (1868-1931),
A preservation society opened a small part of the railway in 1974 and since 2000 trains have been operated over the 18.5 km line between Tenterden and Bodiam. It is intended ultimately to re-open the whole line as a heritage railway. Some small locomotives typical of those that worked on the line in the 1920s and 30s are employed, but one locomotive comes from Norway. There is a museum describing the works of Colonel Stephens at Tenterden station.