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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Beware of Trains - World's Smallest Public Railway

Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway

Just a mini break from the London Underground, as me and Neil were on a mini Easter break to Kent to see the
Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, the world's smallest public railway. I had actually been on it before, but it was Neil's birthday on Saturday so I treated him to the delights of the world's smallest public steam railway.

I hadn't been to the Model Railway Exhibition at New Romney station before, which was one of the highlights for me. I love this enamel sign and am now kicking myself that I didn't buy one from the shop back at Hythe:

Beware of Trains Sign - Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway

The other great thing about the model railway exhibition there were the rather bizarre juxtaposition of things in the scenery alongside the trains. Every so often you'd hear someone say, "Oh look there's a dalek", or "Look at the dinosaurs", or my favourite "Look at the rat"!

Rat on Model Railway

We took the railway for the 13 and half miles from Hythe to Dungeness, stopping off at New Romney on the way, for lunch and a visit to the Model Railway Exhibition. Dungeness is probably one of the worst places to visit in Kent. By the railway it is totally flat and deserted and the only things that break the bleak landscape are occasional spots of yellow gorse bush, two pretty uninspiring looking lighthouses and the splendour that is Dungeness power station. It was pelting with rain by the time we reached there, which was fortunate as it meant it didn't take long for me to convince Neil to stay on the train and loop straight back towards Hythe.

There's something typically "English" about seaside towns in the rain and although all of the stations ran along the coast line you can't actually see the sea properly from the trains. You get glimpses of it from Romney Sands (sounds much nicer than it is - basically the land of caravans and grim 'holiday homes') and perhaps if it wasn't so grey and wet from Dungeness, we might have caught a glimpse of it then.

However, we actually had a good laugh, you can see Neil giving the train a "thumbs up" when we left Hythe.

Neil at Hythe


It was also good to see that the mini guard was still working at New Romney

Mini Guard at New Romney

There was also a suitably London Underground style announcement apologising for the late running of the train into New Romney, just so that we felt at home!

Miniature Steam Train Coming into New Romney

I'm sure Neil will update his blog with his version of the day and hopefully more photos than me. He took quite a lot of the marshy wet Dungeness (apparently a great place to bird-watch - so it does have its benefits) and you'll be able to see how different it looks from the sunny "Welcome to Dungeness" poster from the Model Railway Exhibition.

Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway poster - Dungeness


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