Rounding the bend
The builders of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway Captain J E P Howey and Count Louis Zborowski (of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fame) were one of a small band of late Victorian and early twentieth century enthusiasts for what was know as 'Minimum Gauge'. This was the belief that the 15" gauge was the most economical way to provide public transport on minor routes.
In fact, of course, it was just an excuse to play with toy trains on a grand scale. And what a grand toy the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway is. Only one small problem; despite never being more than a mile from the sea, in their desire to make the line just like the real thing, most of the route was laid out along the backs of houses. You donʼt get to see the sea until you get to Romney Sands which can be a little frustrating.
What you do get are two very distinct landscapes: the Romney Marshes and Dungeness. Watching the slow transition between the flat open fields of the marshes, with their drainage ditches, good grazing and plentiful sheep, to the flat shingle wasteland that is the ness, is fascinating.
Strictly speaking it should be called the Hythe, Dymchurch, New Romney and Dungeness Railway, but Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch trips off the tongue better. One of my early memories is of my father putting my mother and us kids on the train at New Romney and then "driving to the other end" to pick us up, to the general confusion of all concerned.