Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
The first day of October saw us travel to Kent for a day on the famous Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The day was overcast and there were some very heavy squalls as we made our way there, but luckily all while we were on the coach.
We arrived safely at New Romney in time for a look around the station and some refreshments. The station boasts one of the largest operational model railways in England. It was well worth the small charge to visit. Our chartered train arrived at 12.15pm. For those of you that may not know the railway is a miniature one, so carriages are a little smaller than usual. Not the easiest of carriages to enter or leave for those of us a bit taller than average, but we all managed it! The engines are also scaled down but they are perfect examples of engineering, and hard to believe that they are over sixty years old they look immaculate and are obviously well maintained.
We journeyed to Dungeness pulled by ‘Winston Churchill’. There were views of the old lighthouse; the famous fishermen’s cottages on the shingle beach as well, of course the power station! At Dungeness we alighted for lunch. The aptly named ‘End of the Line’ restaurant is newly opened. We were in a private area looking over the railway. We were served fish and chips which are described as ‘arguably the best fish and chips in the area’ I certainly wouldn’t disagree with this statement. This was followed by apple pie and ice cream. An excellent meal.
We re-boarded our train for the rest of the journey. We had a different locomotive this time; ‘Doctor Syn’ I’m not sure if this was a deliberate choice as we were a church group, but to put minds at rest Doctor Syn was a fictional character, who was vicar of Dymchurch, but who had a shady past as a pirate and indulged in smuggling on Romney Marsh while vicar! This part of the journey took us back through New Romney and onto the other end of the line at Hythe. Along the way you could catch a glimpse of the Royal Military Canal, built as a defence against Napoleon mounting an invasion across Romney Marsh. Now, of course you can hire boats and sail along it. The keen eyed looking towards the hills would also see a newer defensive measure. Built before the Second World War, because of their concave shape these acoustic mirrors as they are called were able give early warning of aircraft heading towards the coast. They did work but were superseded by the invention of radar. After a brief stop at Hythe we journeyed back to New Romney for our journey home. We arrived in Maidenhead about 7pm and having avoided heavy showers all day, we were finally caught out as we left the coach. This was a fascinating and unusual trip and our thanks are due to Judith Riley for making it possible.