Romney, Hythe
& Dymchurch RailwayDover
New Romney Station
New Romney
Kent TN28 8PL
 
 
 
Tourists in London might consider getting out of the city for a day and visiting the famous Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch (RHDR) miniature railway.  This 15 inch (381mm) gauge railway runs along the south-east coast for 1312 miles (22 km) from Hythe to Dungeness.
 
Although the railway is a popular tourist attraction, it is in fact a professionally run public transport link between the seaside towns and used by the residents for going to school, shopping, parcel transport and postal services.  The railway is licensed to sell postage stamps and issue First Day Covers.  Mail is transported in a specially constructed secure postage wagon – what a great souvenir, a postcard of the railway carried on the line itself.
 
Leaving the Cinque Port of Hythe, the line runs through the back of the town but within sight of the sea, behind the houses and gardens (they can truly say they have a railway in their back garden), along the edge of Romney Marsh ending at the extraordinary shingle promontory of Dungeness
 
The engines are mainly steam driven but there are some diesels, and the carriages are enclosed.  There are several specialty carriages such as the licensed Observation Car and Bar Car ‘Gladys’ which run on certain services.
 
If you wish to follow the railway route by car to photograph the steam engines bustling by, there are plenty of places where the line crosses the road.  The crossings are well signed with warning flashing lights but many do not have barriers or gates.  Great care should be taken when driving as serious and fatal collisions have occurred. There are thirteen level crossings where public roads cross the line.
 
History
The RHDR is the culmination of the dreams of two men - Count Louis Zborowski (racing car driver) and Captain J. E. P. Howey.  Howey was a sometime racing driver, millionaire land owner, a former Army Officer and miniature railway aficionado.  Together they planned to build a fully working express railway using the 15" gauge.
 
Before even a line was acquired, the Count ordered two pacific locomotives, Green Goddess and Northern Chief to be designed and built for running on the intended miniature express line.
 
However, before they were delivered, the Count was killed while racing at Monza in the Italian Grand Prix. Howey was left with two locos and the task of finding somewhere to run them. With the help of engineer Henry Grealy, they decided Romney Marsh would make a good route.
 
The official opening took place on 16th July 1927, with Hercules hauling that inaugural train from Hythe to New Romney. Click on the official website for more comprehensive historical details.
 
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Route & Main Stations
- Hythe CT21 6LD
The northern terminus of the railway is the Cinque Ports town of Hythe.  Although it is not the largest station it is an impressive facility with curved platforms and overall roof.  There is a signal box with a 16-lever frame and a turntable.  The former engine shed is now an independent engineering works.  This is a great place to see the engines decoupled and run around the train.
 
The station is situated to the south of the town on the A259 road to Folkestone and there is a car park.  Hythe town offers good shopping facilities with restaurants, cafes, pubs, banks, gardens, parks, accommodation and a seafront.
 
- Dymchurch TN29 0PJ
The line runs through the flat, open countryside of Romney Marsh before arriving at Dymchurch Station, 5 miles (8 km) south of Hythe.  The station has two platforms connected by a footbridge.  On the 'up' platform there is a shelter and a station master's house. On the 'down' platform is a station building incorporating a booking office, a shop selling souvenirs and refreshments, and toilets.
 
The Dymchurch siding and mainline crossover is the only place where a train can pass between the up and down lines on the route between Hythe and New Romney.  it is also the only location where a works train can be parked off the main line. The three points required (two crossover, one siding) are operated from a ground frame.
 
The station is a tourist destination, largely for the beaches nearby, the holiday arcades and an amusement park.  The fully restored historic 1805 Martello Tower is open to visitors.
 
- New Romney TN28 8PL
The route continues along the edge of Romney Marsh running between houses and gardens at the back of St Mary’s Bay - popular for its groyne protected beaches.
 
Warren Halt just before New Romney Station has recently been opened to serve the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre and Country Park.  The station and local area got their name from an extensive rabbit warren, still very much in evidence.  Look out for the large number of rabbits visible from the train when passing this location.
 
New Romney Station is the largest station on the line and the headquarters of the railway.  Before the line was extended to Dungeness, it was the southern terminus.
 
As the major station and the Company headquarters, the site is home to a large booking office, shop, and cafeteria. There is also an extensive museum, model exhibition hall, toilet facilities, children's play area, picnic facilities, and a large car park.
 
New Romney is the centre of operations with an enormous engine shed where all 13 locomotives are stored, maintained and rebuilt.  Carriages and wagons are built, maintained and re-liveried on site.  The signal box controls local traffic, and the Control Centre controls train operations across the whole railway. It is staffed by a Control Officer, who is in constant radio contact with all signal boxes, locomotives, and (where appropriate) station staff, travelling guards, and engineering teams.
 
From New Romney to Dungeness is single track running.  1.3 miles (2 km) south of New Romney, the abandoned station of Greatstone Dunes is marked by a World War II army pillbox.  The line runs past several Holiday Camps served by Romney Sands station (TN28 8RN).  The scenery changes as we approach Dungeness, the line running over the second largest shingle bank in the world. The route passes the well known public house the Pilot Inn, Dungeness but the train no longer stops there.
 
Britannia Points controls the balloon loop at Dungeness. From 1928 until the end of the second World War they marked the point of divergence of the two running lines. From 1946 to the present day they have taken the form of spring-loaded points allowing the single track to return onto itself through the loop.
 
Britannia Points took its name from the nearby 'The Britannia Inn Dungeness' public house. The pub is popular with visitors to Dungeness and well known for its fresh local seafood.
 
- Dungeness TN29 9NB
Dungeness Station is the southernmost terminus and was opened in 1928.  It is one of the few stations in England to be served by a balloon loop eliminating the need for the engine to uncouple for its return journey. Steam locomotives can re-water at the water tower.
 
The station has a waiting shelter, a booking office, extensive cafeteria and restaurant and toilets.
 
Dungeness with its power station and desolate shingle beaches may seem the end of the earth but there are quite a few interesting things to see and do including The Old Lighthouse Dungeness, The Round House, a meal at Dungeness Station Café or The Britannia Inn Dungeness.
 
Don't forget Derek Jarman‘s Prospect Cottage & Garden, Dungeness National Nature Reserve, bird watching in the RSPB Dungeness Nature Reserve, the fishermen’s cottages with boardwalks over the shingle to the sea; or you may just want to watch the delightful trains arriving and departing.
 
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Travel Tip
Wear sensible walking shoes and some windproof clothing – Dungeness can be bitterly cold even on a fine day.
 
Plan Your Visit
Disabled Access
The RHDR has coaches especially adapted to carry wheelchairs. The coaches are available on any train by prior arrangement.  Tel:+44 (0) 1797 362 353 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.
 
Disabled Toilets are available at New Romney, Hythe, Dymchurch and Dungeness stations.
 
Facilities
Toilets - are available at Hythe, New Romney, Dymchurch and Dungeness Stations.
 
Refreshments
The Heywood Buffet at New Romney Station has limited opening throughout the year.
The Light Railway Café at Dungeness Station has limited opening throughout the year.
Check the official website for complete details.
 
Souvenir Shops
New Romney, Hythe, Dymchurch and Dungeness stations.
 
Children’s Playground
Swings,  slides, etc. beside the New Romney Station.
 
For full details of all Facilities check the official website.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1797 362 353
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website   Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway    External Link
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Booking.com here:     External Link

 

 
Getting There
- By Road
The RHD stations at New Romney, Dungeness and Hythe are all close to the A259 trunk road which gives direct access from the Kent & Sussex coast.
 
Hythe RHD Station is only 3 miles from the London to Folkestone M20 junction 11 (signposted). This makes Hythe easily accessible from London, the M25, the Channel Ports and the Eurotunnel terminal at Cheriton.
 
New Romney and Dungeness can be found via the A2070 (from M20 junction 10) and then the A259.
 
There are car parks at all major RHD stations.
 
Google Maps - Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway