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The Romney Hythe And Dymchurch Railway

Planning Your Visit

The RHDR runs a little over 13 miles along the Kent coast in South-East England between the town of Hythe and Dungeness. It is built to 15 inch gauge and runs a fleet of 11 steam locos and 2 diesel hydraulics. The railway headquarters with the loco sheds, museum etc is awkwardly situated at New Romney a little over halfway down the line.

Make Hythe your base. The station is less than 10 minutes from junction 9 of the M20 motorway - just follow the brown tourist signs into the town. Purchase a return ticket to Dungeness and you get the freedom of the line for the day, plus free admitance to the museum at New Romney. On quiet days the ticket office is shut - in this case either the train guard or the person manning the souvenir shop will sell you a ticket from a portable machine.

Make sure you arrive in plenty of time and walk up to the top end of the platform. Then you will be able to watch your loco being turned on the turntable before talking water and backing on to your train. Apart from the bar car, about which more later, none of the coaches are heated. Romney Marsh can be a very cold and windy place indeed - the open-sided coaches are for the brave only except in the best of weather.

I recommend that you then travel all the way to Dungeness, where there's just about time for a cuppa before travelling back to New Romney to visit the model museum, etc. Then you may either return straight back to Hythe or, my preference, is to return to Dungeness followed by an unbroken journey back to Hythe. This works out well even on the least intensive of the three timetables but, with the all-line ticket you can come and go as you please.

If visiting at the weekend I find Saturday the more pleasant day - it is generally the quieter day with fewer kids around. Towards the end of the season you might try the last train back - great fun in the dark, especially if you can get a seat near the front of the train.

The yearly Gala Day (see timetable) is most surely worth a visit. All available locos are pressed into service in a very intensive timetable. You may find a couple of visiting locos from other 15" railways helping out, plus various preservation society stalls. Inevitably Thomas the Tank Engine has his day (two actually). While this kind of event may be an anathema to some once again the railway runs a very intensive timetable so there is something for the enthusiast. The timetables for these days is available from the Railway about a month before the event.

Things To Look Out For Eating, Drinking, Shopping
JR's Snapshots Introduction
Working The Bar Car