Tag Archives: The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway


All six episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ & All 4 episodes of the “Don’t tickle me…Punch” (a radio programme piece of sound art) are all available as podcasts

All six episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ (a radio programme piece of sound art) Art Transmission #1 by sound artist Jim Whelton working with the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway are all available at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVQqwRHcZFYCgnUg1xAgmugchZNvzirif And All 4 episodes of the podcast  “Don’t tickle me…Punch” (a radio programme piece of sound art) Art Transmission #2 By sound artist Jane Pitt & the Minster golden gloves boxing club are all available at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVQqwRHcZFYAivq1jCAaH4AXr2vmy3wwa

upcoming episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ By sound artist Jim

upcoming episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’  By sound artist Jim 

Episode Three: Metals – for 21/04/14 will predominantly feature the metallic sounds that abound in the SKLR environs.

Episode Four: The Event – for 28/04/14 will feature a lengthy tale about the challenges of transporting conceptual art  on a light railway network.

Episode Five: Wildlife – for 05/05/14 will explore the habitat (including sections of the track and Milton Creek) and cast an eye over some of the local difficulties facing the SKLR and the spirited way the volunteers respond.

all episodes  will be aired after 8:00pm on BR FM Bridge Radio 95.6fm in swale and live online at http://www.brfm.net or http://tunein.com/radio/BRFM-956-s92168/ and as a podcast  after @ https://arttransmissionradioexperiment.wordpress.com/sound-art-podcasts/jim-whelton-art-transmission-1-sklr-press-your-ear-to-the-rail/



podcast Art Transmission #1 Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ first episode ‘Steam’ By sound artist Jim Whelton

podcast Art Transmission #1 Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ first episode ‘Steam’ By sound artist Jim Whelton. Art Transmission is a project to make new sound art for the airwaves on BRFM Bridge radio through the Daniel Monday Night Community Show
Direct link you tube http://youtu.be/fnJlIknZsDw
& getmedia http://www.getmedia.org.uk/arts/art-transmission-1-sittingbourne-kemsley-light-railway-press-ear-rail-first-episode-steam-sound-artist-jim-whelton/

Art Transmissions part 1 Press your Ear to the Rail on BRFM 95.6

Press your Ear to the Rail

Art Transmissions part 1

A Community Radio broadcast with a twist.

BRFM the community radio station from the Isle of Sheppey has embarked on a unique project to air new broadcasts by three local community groups who have been working with artists to capture the individual sounds of the groups.

Working with arts organisation FrancisKnight, ‘Press your Ear to the Rail is the first of the Art Transmissions, which features the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway and sound artist Jim Whelton.  Jim has immersed himself into the daily routines and lives of the volunteers as they go about restoring and maintaining the working railway.

Jim has explored the acoustics of the yard and recorded a wealth of anecdotes and technical detail from the volunteers. From the throaty growl of the diesel engines ticking over, to the gentle chug of steam power, listen to the evocative sounds that brim with meaning and memory on the Daniel Nash, Arts and Community Show from Monday 7th April between 7 & 10pm.

Karen Day, BRFM Station Manager, said: “This project has involved and enabled local community groups to work with BRFM. Similar projects have been undertaken and then played on air.  This project has been designed specifically for radio and BRFM are proud to be the station to air it.  The Community Media Association (CMA) has been very pleased with the progress and is being kept updated throughout by Daniel Nash (Community Liaison Coordinator / BRFM Presenter).  It is very exciting to be a part of a project recording social history as it is hoped it will be shared with the CMA and then archived in the British Library when it’s completed.”

BRFM 95.6 is a Community Radio station based in Minster-On-Sea, on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, which provides a wide range of music, news and local information, traffic & travel. BRFM broadcasts 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is run by passionate and hard working group of volunteers.

Daniel Nash is an artist and presenter on The Daniel Monday Night Community Show that is aired on BRFM 95.6 every Monday 7-10pm. Since launching his show in November 2006 he has interviewed a wide range of guests with a focus on the arts in Swale.

FrancisKnight is an independent arts consultancy based in Maidstone, Kent. Through the arts they offer positive experiences and new ideas that inspire vibrant communities and places delivering projects in north Kent and across the southeast. For more information please visit http://www.francisknight.co.uk

Art Transmission is funded by Ideas Test, (Creative People and Places: Swale & Medway), an action research programme to find new routes into creativity and the arts, embedded with and led by local people.

Background on Jim Whelton

Art Transmission #1

Jim Whelton is an audio artist and sound designer. Over the last fifteen years he has produced experimental radio shows and written original scripts for Resonance104.4 FM, ORF Austria, CKLN, Toronto, Dutch National Radio, Radio Corax Halle, Sao Paolo Biennale and for various internet radio stations.

A number of his sound and musical pieces have formed part of interactive displays in the Tate Modern, Science Museum, National Horticultural Museum, National Trust of Scotland and most recently for the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. He can also be found performing live experimental music and making short films when time permits.

The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway operates over almost two miles of the original main line from Sittingbourne Viaduct station to Kemsley Down Station and crosses one of the first and longest reinforced concrete viaducts in the world. The line was formerly owned by Bowater papermaking and was used to carry raw materials and finished products between the company’s two mills and Ridham Dock. This steam railway is run entirely by volunteers who work together to keep the service operating and open to the public between April – December each year.

For Art Transmission #1 Jim is exploring the acoustic spaces within the yard. He has also recorded a wealth of anecdotes and technical detail from the volunteers and will use the station tannoy system to produce some surreal station announcements.

For further information contact Louise Francis at FrancisKnight on 07956 437242

Jim’s tenth visit to SKLR 12.02.14

Location interview with Alex from the coach and wagon department. He really
knows his stuff. We learn how SKLR carriages are repaired and restored ­ or
even built from the ground up. On site, there are enough coaches and wagons
to fill an infinitely rolling level crossing dream where the train never
ends. Mind you, if you told a Freudian psychologist you were having such
dreams they’d probably inform you that your unconscious is trying to resolve
a conflict between your desire to travel second class (super-ego) when
you’ve been handed a first class ticket (the id).

As you stroll through the yard you encounter passenger coaches decked out in
the Bowater company’s rolling stock livery. The exteriors are a confident
cheery green while the interiors are split at waist height by a saucy
caramel above and a deep nut brown below. Behind, on rise that borders the
vast modern paper mill, sharp faced daffodils poke out from the banks,
shaking their trumpets noiselessly in the wind.
Further on, toward the margins of the SKLR land, in an area reminiscent of
the forbidden zone in Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’, you find coaches bearing
Chattenden and Upnor logos. These originated from the military railway in
the Hoo, the marshy alluvial spur that separates the Thames from the Medway.
These de-militarised veterans still stand defiantly to attention though
they’ve long passed out on their last parade.
In among flat beds loaded with ruddy iron junk, clay and coal hoppers that
invite you to leap in and yell at the top of your voice. One is filled with
rolls of barbed wire, the spaghetti of security. Walking back to the
business end of the site, opposite the platform, are a row of wagons with
rusty ends loaded with the ballast and sleepers used to maintain the track.
Close to these are my two favourites – the recycled wood wagon and the fire
engine. The former has sides that look charred and burnt, as if it’s
survived a ride through a fiery torment. Close inspection suggests the
‘roasted alive look’ could just be the effect of the peeling paint. The fire
wagon is a child’s toy scaled up to life-size.  Impossibly red and festooned
with hoses and buckets. It waits patiently for a call to action. Despite its
comical looks, it’s no mere show piece. Last year it was raced down the line
to tackle a raging brush fire. In the heat of summer, dried reeds that cover
the marsh present the perfect tinder.

post by sound artist Jim Whelton

podcast Paul Best from The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway

podcast  http://youtu.be/YEUPjZDGcoc Paul Best from The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway on the Daniel Monday night community show at BRFM Bridge radio

Jim’s ninth visit to SKLR 08.02.14

Daniel and I are taken for a special walking tour of the SKLR sheds by
Fireman Mike. The main shed is built of parts shipped in from the
transhipment shed that stood in Ridham Dock, There’s plenty of headroom,
even for a tall loco along with a strong industrial feel. Concrete is
oil-stained, pots of grease sit like Eastern satraps among a court of humble
rags, the front end of the shed faces away from the creek and is open to the
elements. Machines and power tools are gathered at the far end including a
mighty 1950’s compressor with octopus rubber limbs snaking off through the
shed. It thrums and chatters busily as it pumps air off to various devices.
The loco engineers are working on an engine called ‘Melior’. The name which
is taken to mean ‘new and improved’ (think ‘ameliorate’) was designed to be
better than its forebears. However, everyone at the SKLR will tell you
otherwise ­ albeit with as sphinx-wise smile on their faces ­ which speaks
buckets of their obvious affections for ‘Melior’. The loco had been stripped and freshly cleaned parts lie stacked waiting for a fresh paint job.

I’m reminded of a Ray Harryhausen-era live-action plus animation version of
Jason and the Argonauts, in particular the scene where they battle the
bronze giant Talos. Talos, built by expert craftsman Hephaestus, gets the
better of Jason and his crew until some bright spark pulls out a plug
attached to Talos’ ankle. At this point he springs a fatal leak. His life’s
blood (Ichor) drains out like oil out of a sump and poor Talos crashes to
the ground defeated. Admittedly, it’s a bit of leap from this to looking at
Melior but there is something of the fallen giant about a disassembled loco.
The temptation is to put it all back together, even if you knew the metal
beast would attack mercilessly once revived.

post by sound artist Jim Whelton