Five passengers were hurt when a train collided with a tractor on a level crossing on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway on September 10.
The collision occurred on a farm occupation crossing ½ mile north of Dymchurch station. The locomotive involved was RHDR No. 1 Green Goddess, one of the original Henry Greenly-designed ‘Pacifics’, built along the same lines as Gresley’s ‘A1s’.
It is understood that Green Goddess went into the tractor, which was fouling the Up line. According to RHDR Managing Director, Danny Martin: “The reason the tractor was there is under investigation by us and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).
“No telephone call had been received from the crossing requesting permission to cross.”
The five passengers hurt in the accident did not require hospitalisation. Mr Martin went on to praise Green Goddess’ driver, Zac Clark, as well as the Bar Car attendant, Steve Richards, for helping the stricken passengers to safety. It has been reported that Mr Clark jumped clear of the 4-6-2 before impact, and then administered aid as well as ensuring the safety of both locomotive and train.
Local media outlets reported that Green Goddess’ boiler was “at risk of exploding” but Mr Martin was quick to refute this. He said: “Green Goddess has significant external damage as the tractor was very big. Any shock damage to the boiler will become clear when the engine is stripped. It is likely to take months. The boiler was not at risk of exploding.”
Trains were interrupted on the Hythe-Dymchurch section of the RHDR for the rest of the day, but services were running normally again the next day.
Sadly the collision is not the first such incident on the 15in-gauge line, having suffered two similar accidents in 2003 and 2005, both of which resulted in the deaths of the locomotive drivers at the time. The managing director’s wife, Suzanne Martin, was killed in the latter incident. She was at the controls of RHDR No. 8 Hurricane when a car jumped the lights at Battery Road level crossing.