Big crowds celebrate Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway 90th anniversary

Contributed by editor on Jul 18, 2017 - 06:05 AM


By Ray Duff
The world's smallest public railway; the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway in Kent marked it's 90th birthday on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th July with an anniversary weekend of specially headed trains and events.


Thousands of people of all ages turned up at the stations all along the line, travelled on the usually packed trains, or just watched from many points along the 14 miles of line across Romney Marsh from Hythe.

At Hythe, there was a re-creation at of the first ever steam train to leave that station in 1927 on the same day; albeit a little earlier at 9.30am than the weekend train which departed at 2.00pm.

Top: Loco 'Hurricane' arrives at Hythe with 'The Elizabethan' headboard
Middle: The RH&DR's Pullman coaches.
Bottom: The jazz band entertains  Photos: Ray Duff

The ceremony was led by members of today's RH&DR board and association.

The train was given the go-ahead by the plunging of a button at which the semaphore signal was raised to steam out by Capt Howey's Great grand-daughter Philippa Basha and grand-daughter Lynette Basha.

Top: Lynette Basha & Philippa Bash (right) who are Capt Howey's granddaughter and great-granddaughter respectively.
Bottom: The ceremony with: L-R RHDR signalman; Andy Nash as 'Capt Howey'; David Packer (RH&DR Director) as 'General Ivor Max'; a RH&DR board-member; Simon Parsons (on microphone) as 'Henry Greeley' (The first RHDR engineer'); Simon Foulkes- Chair of the RH&DR Asso; and Cllr Patricia Rolfe, Mayor of New Romney  Photos: Ray Duff

Prior to this speeches welcoming and thanking all who had come to the event was led by Simon Parsons; dressed as the RH&DR's first engineer Henry Greenly.

The Inaugural Express was headed by the same steam locomotive as in 1927; Number 5 - 'Hercules' which ran with her original though short lived, name of 'Man of Kent'.

Top: Loco 'Hercules' running as 'Man of Kent' her first name; hauls the recreated 'Inaugural Express' from Hythe.
Middle: The crowds gather or await their trains.
Bottom: Some of the passengers and dignitaries; some in period dress; for the 'Inaugural Express'  Photos: Ray Duff

The festivities were accompanied by a Jazz band at Hythe and by music and exhibitions at New Romney & Dungeness throughout the weekend.

For further info on the rest of the year, other special events, and the history of the line see:

Top photo: The station at new Romney by Dana Wiffen


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