2022 has been a big year for us at the college, with our first set of T Level students, the start of Phase 2 construction, and lots of events and enrichment that have benefitted our community. Did you know however that 2022 was also a big year of celebration for Ashford's Railway History? This November, we hosted part of Ashford180, a two day event celebrating 180 years of the Ashford Railway and its past, present and future. Alongside Ashford Museum, Ashford Library, The Coachworks, Tales from the Tracks and Ashford Model Railway Club, we welcomed lots of people from Ashford and beyond to see just what 180 years looks like!
This event in Ashford College took place on our ground floor and first floor, with our college taken over by train memorabilia and history. On the ground floor, our ALS Hub was filled with original paintings and prints, which were availiable to purchase. On the ground floor were stalls from the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Bachmann Europe PLC, (who sell models of trains amongst other products) and AIMREC (Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre) who organised the event and were selling merchandise and raffle tickets. Downstairs there were also a few miniture railways, such as the "Much Meddling and Farr Dyke Railway".
We also had many model trains and locomotives in college, with each one being finely detailed and representing a part of the 180 years of history. The J Class 0-6-4 Tank Locomotive was built by Sid Herbert of Faversham, an Engineman who started his career in the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. He built the loco in his home over many years, and as well as appearing in college, this loco runs regularly on the track of the Romney Marsh Model Engineering Society at New Romney.
Upstairs on our first floor, our student centre hosted stalls from the Battle of Britain Locomotive Society, The PWI, Peter's Railway, and the Dovey Valley Railway, a classic narrow gauge railway making only its 2nd outing in 8 years. In our lecture theatre which was just down the corridor, we had stalls from the Network SouthEast Railway Society, Railway Totems, EPB Preservation Group, Kent and East Sussex Railway, and more model railway tracks entertaining our guests.