A Peculiar Railway
If you think every single tourist railway is boring and similar,
then you probably have never visited this one. It is miniature mainline
railway built for a millionarie racing driver in the days of the
1920s. With the locomotives and carriages just one-third full size
makes the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway one of the
'railways wonders of the world'. It still operates a full timetable
from Hythe to Dungeness, calling at the six stations on the way.
In 2003 this triumph in engineering celebrates 75 years of service
between Hythe and Dungeness. Affectionately known as 'The World's
Smallest Public Railway', the RH&DR has carried literally thousands
of passengers across Kent's Romney Marsh.
For this is no resurrected branch line with that trundle along,
rather it is a proper mainline where trains pass at scale speeds
of over 70 miles per hour. Magnificent steam and diesel locomotives
based on the powerful express engines of Great Britain, Germany
and the North American haul trains of comfortable carriages from
the picturesque canal-side terminus of Hythe to the lighthouse and
fisherman's cottages at Dungeness Point.
Since it was opened between Hythe and New Romney in July 1927 the
Railway has created a lot of history. The extension to Dungeness
in 1928 made it by far the longest railway of its type in the entire
world. It has the most comprehensive 15" gauge locomotive fleet
ever built. It holds the record for the fastest non-stop run and
the longest ever train - up to 60 carriages - operated by a railway
of this type, and it made a enormous contribution to the wartime
defence of this area of Kent.
When Captain Howey engaged Henry Greenly to build the RH&DR
he asked that it should take his entire life. By the time he died
in 1963 it was in a pretty poor state with very little in the way
of up to date passengers facilities and a large backlog of necessary
maintenance. By 1972 the financial resources of the owners had reached
to a crisis point and the Railway was about to be closed.
At the last moment a group of entusiastic businessmen led by Sir
william McAlphine took control and led the RH&DR back to the
path to recovery. A period of consolidation led to financial stability.
Track and passenger facilities improved out of all recognition.
If there is any doubt of this, you should take a look at the Railway's
headquarters at New Romney. Here coaches are being built
and maintained, locomotives are undergoing overhaul, and a new permanent
way facility is being built to enable the high standard of our track
to be maintained well into the future.
The great survivor
Therefore, the railway that opened with such ceremony in 1927 has
proved itself to be great survivor. Many of the passengers who first
came as children are nowadays bringing their children, grand-children
or even great grand-children to experience this unique attraction
which has become so much part of the British tradition. Visit us
and you will understand why!
There are six stations on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch
Railway from which you can board a train and travel across the Romney
An attractive, small Cinque Port town with small shops, supermarkets,
antique shops, an antiques market at the Malt House every
Friday and Saturday, restaurants, pubs, swimming baths, sea front and
walks or boating along the Royal Military Canal.
'The Children's Paradise'. Traditional seaside town with sandy
beaches, fun fair, pubs, shops, cafes. Home of the Russell Thorndyke's
smuggling vicar, Dr Syn.
St Mary's Bay
10 minutes walk from the sandy beaches, local shops, pub, take-away,
Headquarters of the RH&DR with offices, workshops, engine
shed, and Model Museum. The town offers shops, supermarkets, cafes,
Formerly Maddieson's Camp, this station serves the adjacent holiday
camp and caravan site, Romney Tavern and fine, sandy beaches.
Protected shingle headland renowned for its plants and wildlife.
With fishermans cottages, boats, lighthouses, pub, craft shop,
For more information, click here.