We are delighted to be able to offer our first charter visit to the famous Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway in Kent for a full day of fifteen inch gauge action on this third-scale main line railway. The locomotive will be the powerful 4-8-2 ĎMountainí Class No.5 Hercules which is finished in Midland Railway maroon livery and we will be running with the lineís Teak coaching set. Using the full length of the line, many shots will concentrate on photographing the train out on the main line, though we will add in a few cameos at stations, particularly at Hythe, with appropriately-dressed crew and passengers to reflect many of the vintage scenes that are portrayed in historic pictures of the Railway.
Hercules arrived at the Railway on 20th April 1927 and hauled the inaugural train three months later. Hercules was also used as the loco which powered the famous armoured train during the Second World War. The line is known as Kentís Main Line in Miniature and survived to the present day in no small way due to the efforts of the late Sir William McAlpine.
The line is small but perfectly-formed and is steeped in history dating back to the 1920s. The Railway is home to a fleet of fantastic locos - and, of course, there is no location quite like the National Nature Reserve which is Dungeness anywhere!
The Railway began in the 1920s as the dream of two motor-racing drivers, Captain J E P ĎJackí Howey and Count Louis Vorrow Zborowski. The Count, who already had a private fifteen inch gauge railway which circled the grounds at his Higham Park Estate in Kent, ordered two Pacific locomotives for a new line from the locomotive builders Davey, Paxman & Company but before a venue could be chosen, Zborowski was killed in a racing accident during the Monza Grand Prix of 19th October 1924. This meant that Captain Howey continued the project alone and also had to find a suitable location. An unsuccessful attempt to buy the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway in Cumbria was one of the early schemes attempted but it was the loco designer Henry Greenly who first suggested Romney Marsh as a possible venue. Howey agreed after his first visit to the area and the inaugural train ran between Hythe and New Romney on 16th July 1927, with an extension to Dungeness opening the following year. After military operation during the Second World War, the line opened again in stages in 1946 and 1947 and has been running ever since.
The Mountain Class 4-8-2 wheel arrangement was first used in Natal, South Africa with Natal Government Railways commissioning the first of five from an eventual class of one hundred locos which entered traffic in 1888, designed by the systemís Locomotive Superintendent William Milne and built by Dubs and Company at their Queens Park Works at Polmadie.
There is no railway experience quite like that which can be found at the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, and nowhere else in the United Kingdom operating Mountain Class locomotives. The lineís principle stations are easily reached from Junctions 10 and 11 of the M20 motorway, so why not join us for a full day of photography on the Kent Coast.