Col Stephens was Gen Manager of FR in 1920/30s In historical railway engineering circles Col Holman Fred Stephens is an icon. Being the business architect and engineer and various forms of management for no less than 16 railways around the country he built something of a small empire. It is right and fitting that the plaque has been installed in Tonbridge Station.
Extracted from Festapedia
Lt. Colonel Holman Fred Stephens (31.10.1868-23.10.1931) of the Royal Engineers.
Holman Stephens was a well established engineer and manager of light Railways who had already been material in influencing the legislation that enabled the railway to maintain its independence after “The Grouping” of the main railways. He was recruited by Henry Joseph Jack to help establish the new combined undertaking of the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways and progressively took over the management of the lines as Jack’s regime failed.
Although used to dealing with railways that were short of capital, the poor state that the FR had drifted into, combined with old established work practices and an under-resourced Welsh Highland, left him with an uphill task in dealing with the massive increase in road competition during the 1920s. Adept at cost control and building tourism traffic, he was however able to ensure that the railway survived a critical period. https://www.festipedia.org.uk/w/index.php?curid=7258