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Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

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Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, New Romney Station, New Romney, Kent, TN28 8PL.

The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway is a 15-inch gauge heritage railway in Kent. For details of the heritage line see the website.

The 13.5 mile (23 km) line runs from Hythe via Dymchurch, St. Mary's Bay, New Romney and Romney Sands to Dungeness, close to Dungeness Power Station and the Lighthouse.

Constructed during the 1920s and eventually opening on the 16th July 1927, the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway was the dream of millionaire racing drivers Captain J. E. P. Howey and Count Louis Zborowski. Although heavily involved in planning, Zborowski was killed in a motor racing accident before construction was complete, and Howey continued the project alone.

Early engines were built by Davey, Paxman and Co

Mountain-class locomotive 'Hercules' hauled the inaugural train from Hythe to New Romney with a healthy guest list including the mayors of the two towns, and General Sir Ivor Maxse. However, Howey was not happy with just 8 miles from New Romney to Hythe, and he duly extended another 5 miles from New Romney to Dungeness. This section was originally double track, but is now single track due to extensive damage during World War II, when the line was taken over by the military.

Post WWII: the line was re-opened by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. As well as being a tourist attraction, this railway is a useful service between the small towns and villages between Hythe and Dungeness, and is also under contract to the local council to transport school children to and from Southlands Comprehensive School in New Romney.

All 10 original locomotives remain in active service, covering thousands of miles each year. The fleet, already one of the largest of any 15-inch railway in Britain, was expanded in 1976 with the arrival of German-built locomotive no.11 'Black Prince' (formerly 'Fleißiges Lieschen' = 'Busy Lizzy').

The RH&DR was and still is the only user of the 4-8-2 "Mountain" locomotive type in the UK, with both No. 6 'Samson' and No. 5 'Hercules' in regular service. Two diesel locomotives, No. 12 'John Southland' and No. 14 (originally nameless - later 'Captain Howey'), were constructed in the 1980s. The line carries over 100,000 passengers each year with a unique experience of main-line speed in miniature form.


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