Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

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Two 15in trains
Preparing train in Hythe

The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway is a 15 in (381 mm) gauge heritage railway in Kent, England. The 13.5 mile (23 km) line runs from the Cinque Port of Hythe via Dymchurch, St. Mary's Bay, New Romney and Romney Sands to Dungeness, close to Dungeness Power Station and Dungeness Lighthouse.


The world's smallest public railway, it was built in 1927 for millionaire racing driver Captain J.E.P. Howey. During World War II, the line was taken over by the military. After the war 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 it serves and is also under contract to the local council to transport schoolchildren to and from school, for which purpose a special train is used.

All 10 original locomotives remain in active service, covering thousands of miles each year. Two diesel locomotives 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. An exemplary passenger safety record is one of the RHDR's proudest boasts.

The RH&DR was and is the only user of the 4-8-2 "Mountain" locomotive type in the UK.


The station at Dungeness is one of few in England situated on a balloon loop, allowing trains to return with the engine pointing forwards, without needing to uncouple and reverse the engine.


Number Name Livery Locomotive type Wheel
Builder Year built
1 Green Goddess LNER Apple Green Steam 4-6-2 Davey Paxman & Co. 1925
2 Northern Chief Brunswick Green Steam 4-6-2 Davey Paxman & Co. 1925
3 Southern Maid Malachite Green Steam 4-6-2 Davey Paxman & Co. 1926
4 The Bug Brighton Umber Steam 0-4-0 Krauss, Munich 1926
5 Hercules Midland Railway Maroon Steam 4-8-2 Davey Paxman & Co. 1927
6 Samson Great Eastern Blue Steam 4-8-2 Davey Paxman & Co. 1927
7 Typhoon Malachite Green Steam 4-6-2 Davey Paxman & Co. 1927
8 Hurricane Caledonian Blue Steam 4-6-2 Davey Paxman & Co. 1927
9 Winston Churchill Maroon Steam 4-6-2 Yorkshire Engine Company 1931
10 Dr Syn Black Steam 4-6-2 Yorkshire Engine Company 1931
11 Black Prince DB Black/Red Steam 4-6-2 Krupp, Essen 1937
12 John Southland Black/Yellow Diesel-Hydraulic Bo-Bo TMA Engineering 1983
14 Captain Howey Blue/Silver Diesel-Hydraulic Bo-Bo TMA Engineering 1989
PW1 Simplex Green Diesel-Mechanical 0-4-0DM Motor Rail Ltd. (Simplex Works) 1938
PW2 Scooter Yellow Diesel-Mechanical 0-4-0DM RHDR 1949
PW3 Red Gauntlet Red Diesel-Mechanical 0-4-0DM Jacot / Keef 1975


A serious accident occurred on the line on August 3, 2003, when a train hit a car at an ungated level crossing and was derailed. The train driver, 31-year-old Kevin Crouch, died in the crash. Some of the train passengers were treated for shock and minor injuries. The car driver, a woman with a baby, had apparently ignored or failed to see the crossing's warning lights. The woman and her baby were taken to hospital but were not badly hurt. The owners of the line and the Health and Safety Executive promised a full investigation into the crash. The woman was later arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, but was found guilty only on a lesser charge of careless driving. [1]

Another crash between a train and a car at a level crossing occurred on 10 July 2005. The driver of the train, Suzanne Martin, the wife of the railway's general manager, Danny Martin, was killed in the accident. [2] The car driver, a 20 year old man, had apparently ignored or failed to see the crossing's warning lights. In January 2006, it was announced that the two crossings involved in these fatalities, at Burmarsh Road and Battery Road - and a third at Botolph's Bridge Road - are to be fitted with lifting barriers, each costing around £90,000 BBC News The remaining 10 crossings may also eventually be fitted with barriers but in the meantime, considering the short distance of the line, level crossing deaths are way above the national average.


Information about the 2003 crash is based on news reports in the Daily Express and The Daily Mirror, August 4, 2003.

External links

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