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Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway


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On my way to exhibit at the Folkestone model railway exhibition I called in on 'The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway' a famous 15" gauge line that used to claim to be the smallest public railway in the world. It was opened in 1927 as a result of two millionaire racing drivers Captain Jack Howey and Count Louis Zborowski's idea after they had failed to buy a couple of already existing narrow gauge railways. The chief engineer was Henry Greenly who was responsible for the design of the permanent way and the rolling stock and loco design. It is situated on the Kent Coast near Dover and Folkestone with France clearly visible across the English channel


The line connects the 'Cinque port' of Hythe in the with new Romney passing through Dymchurch. After new Romney it heads out onto the Romney marshes to the desolate coastal area around Dungeness, a distance of 13 1/4 miles




On the day I called passenger services were in the Hands of 'Green Goddess', a 1925 Davey Paxman built 4-6-2 and 'Samson' also a Davey Paxman product, this time a 4-8-2 delivered in 1926.

'Green Goddess' was getting attention to its mechanical lubricator at New Romney station




'Samson' waits to head down to Dungeness. its elegant lines evident in this shot




A line drawing of 'Hercules'




Bizarely the RH&DR remain the only user of a 4-8-2 design in the U.K none of the full size railways ever having acquired one.


more soon





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''Hurricane' was also outshopped by Davey Paxman in 1926 and was in the running shed waiting its next turn of duty




New Romney station




Obviously the signal boxes have to be full size!


Hythe's example is seen here



The weather was a bit gloomy but it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours


The railways wikipedia page has loads more info if you wish to delve further


video of my visit at




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Thanks for posting this. I saw a small book about this line decades ago, and it just seemed so odd that it was used as a "real" railway. (This was before Monty Python...) Especially the defense train they created during the war.


I'd love to see the Channel Tunnel terminal layout that is preserved in this general part of England. I'm a big Le Shuttle fan.


Rich K.

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Would that be the one which was originally built for the Eurotunnel exhibition in Folkestone? I remember visiting a couple of times, annoyingly the kits for the shuttle wagons are long out of production. I have the power and dummy locos (on Kato chassis) somewhere and a four coach single deck shuttle train along with a few HGV shuttle vehicles. All need restoring and repairing, the problem is that they won't clear standard platforms or viaduct track sections.

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RailCam UK has a camera at New Romney pointing at the engine shed and transmitting in real time.Go to 'camera and chats', then 'heritage', there are several RHD cameras listed there, pick 'New Romney 1'.

One has to allow for the time difference between wherever one is and the UK.

Here in Melbourne, 7 pm give me 9 am at New Romney.

Of course, weekends are the best time for seeing more trains, but there's usually something going on at around 9.30 am there.

The 'Heritage' site has cameras at several other UK 'heritage' railways also. 




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Its funny. I posted this thread a few weeks ago and have been really busy with full size railways at work since including spending a day at the RAIB (Rail accident Investigation branch) seminar in Birmingham where we disucuss the important events that have happened on the railway over the last12 months. Incidents from runaway RRVs to major siganlling irregularities were addressed but the RHDR incident has cropped up as quite an important one.


Preserved railways run under the same ORR scrutiny as the main line ones and any RAIB reports are viewable online at the British Government website




I meant to mention that after the Second world war the railway, which had been mobilised in the fight against the Nazis (hence the armoured train, Just Google it) was pretty wrecked. The grand re-opening was done by the elderly comedians Laurel and Hardy on a U.K tour in 1947. I've got the newsreel footage and am just confirming that it is not copyrighted and I'll let you see it.



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