Romney to recreate opening train for 90th anniversary

The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway will recreate the line’s opening train on July 16, 90 years to the day since the 15in gauge railway first started operating.

The second locomotive built for the RHDR, 4-6-2 No. 2 Northern Chief, prepares to depart Hythe on the second day of the railway’s recent ‘Steam & Diesel Gala’ on May 13/14. THOMAS BRIGHT/SR

The second locomotive built for the RHDR, 4-6-2 No. 2 Northern Chief, prepares to depart Hythe on the second day of the railway’s recent ‘Steam & Diesel Gala’ on May 13/14. THOMAS BRIGHT/SR

A full re-enactment of the inaugural passenger service between Hythe and New Romney will take place on the second day of the RHDR’s ‘90th Anniversary Birthday Party’, being held on July 15/16. 

Unlike the original service - hauled by 4-8-2 No. 5 Hercules - this train will run over the full length of the railway to Dungeness; the New Romney-Dungeness section of the line did not open until August 1928.

The weekend of celebrations will coincide with the launch of a new book detailing the history of the RHDR, Romney - Then and Now, as well as a photographic exhibition at New Romney, entitled ‘The Modern Days of 1927’ - placing the railway’s first year in the context of the social history of the period.

All of the operational RHDR steam fleet will be in action during the two-day event, including Hercules, which failed at the recent ‘Steam & Diesel Gala’ on May 13/14 shortly after its return to traffic following a recent overhaul.