Author Topic: Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway  (Read 6619 times)

Steve Klare

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Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
« on: April 29, 2010, 11:40:22 AM »
The RH&D is a unique line in England's south. It is 15 inch gauge and powered by what are basically miniatures of standard gauge express engines. There are a number of lines in the world that fit this description, but what is special here is it is licensed by the British Ministry of Transport as a public railway, so it is not considered a "ride" or a "model", it is a railroad. It is often called the narrowest narrow gauge railway in the world (with some qualifiers....).

This line was built by two British race car drivers in 1927, and it is built for speed. It has almost 14 miles of right of way, most of it double tracked.

The engines stand roughly shoulder height on a full grown man. Many of the steam engines are classic British designs, but others look very American.  All are coal fired, and the driver has to shovel for himself. Most of the engines on the line fall into two classes: Pacifics and Mountains. The  4-8-2s are the only ones ever to operate in Great Britain. The 0-4-0 that was used to build the line was found in a junkyard in the 1970s and restored. Even on this line she’s considered tiny so she gets out only on lighter days and special occasions.

The cars are mostly double trucked and single seat wide with side doors. Trainsets are usually in matching colors and often operate around ten cars long.

Of course there is a lot of tourist and railfan traffic, but the line has a contract to bring children to school and there is also some local commuter traffic. These are usually pulled by one of their diesel mechanicals. There has been some limited freight service, mostly from quarrying. The line was taken over by the Military during WW2 and used to carry pipe for a fuel pipeline built under the Channel following D-day. There was also a small armored train carrying an anti-aircraft gun which locals swear took down an enemy plane at least once.  

I have never been to England and only seen this line in films. When I go there I will be sure to go see it for myself!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 12:01:15 PM by Steve Klare »

Dave Buczkowski

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Re: Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2010, 12:26:37 PM »
Steve;
   This site can tell you much more about the 15 incher: http://www.rhdr.org.uk/
Dave

Steve Klare

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Re: Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 01:20:47 PM »
Thanks, Dave!

Have you ever been there?

Somewhere in England there is a 15" gauge SR&RL #24 which has been a guest on the RH&D. If she's scale proportioned to gauge she's a big engine among all the standard gauge proportioned stuff.

I guess she can't go quite everywhere. The RH&D has a couple of low bridges. :o

Bill Sample

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Re: Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 05:16:05 PM »
Steve, I was a passenger on the RH&D once back in the 80's.  It was quite an experience - you move right along and cross a few "level crossings" (grade crossings in US English) - at least one of which had been the site of a fatal accident train vs vehicle, with the loco driver being the victim.  I rode in what was billed as the world's smallest food service car - buffet coach I think they called it - and enjoyed a pint of ale.
Regarding the 1/2 size SR&RL #24, I never did catch up with her as she seemed to be finding a new owner every time I went searching.  I did find a rather outdated web site - www.roundhouse-eng.com/srrl24/ - that had some info.  The loco is currently based at the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway but is listed as withdrawn from service undergoing an overhaul.  Their site is fairly up to date - www.cleethorpescoastlightrailway.co.uk 

John L Dobson

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Re: Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2010, 01:36:45 PM »
The RH&DR isn't by any means the only 15" gauge public railway in UK. One of the earliest was the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, a conversion (in 1917) of a closed 2'9" gauge railway running 7 miles from the Cumbrian Coast into the Lake District, which belonged for many years to a granite quarrying company and carried tens of thousands of tons of ballast for the main line railways. It's been a tourist-only railway since the 1950s and has some very interesting narrow-gauge (rather than scaled down standard gauge) locomotives. See: http://www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk/
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 01:43:38 PM by John L Dobson »
John L Dobson
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Glenn Christensen

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Re: Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2010, 08:16:14 PM »
Hi John,

Gotta see the "Rattie"!  And the Bure Valley too!  http://www.bvrw.co.uk/

I love that "half-size" Leek & Manifold Valley 2-6-4T!!!


Best Regards,
Glenn

Steve Klare

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Re: Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2010, 09:07:37 PM »
I know the Bure Valley. I friend of mine (passed on a few years now) lived in North Walsham and sent me some pictures taken at the Bure Valley including that half sized SR&RL 24 which was there on a visit.

Quite an eye opener for an SR&RL fan!