6.10.09

Dungeness at last


Two locos at Hythe
Originally uploaded by fred pipes
Well, I finally made it to Dungeness - one of life's little ambitions realised at last. It was a Gala Weekend at the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and eight steam locos (plus two diesels) would be in service. I set off later than I should have, but after a train to Rye and 100/101 bus (it changes number at Lydd!) to Hythe was greeted by no. 7 Typhoon. At the other end of the train was no. 2 Northern Chief ready to leave for Dungeness, and in the sidings standing by was no. 3 Southern Maid - three locos in steam already! So I jumped on the 2.30 train and from then on it was tantalising glimpses of other engines at stations and double-headers flashing by on the other line. Between stations there were bushes of fat blackberries just out of reach and colourful pheasant families to see - and some grim back gardens at the Dungeness end. Finally, after passing Romney Sands I was in new territory.

Dungeness wasn't exactly as I'd imagined. I thought it'd be an enigmatic landscape comprising lots of shingle, a monolithic power station like Torness, a scattering of Derek Jarman type huts , our little railway - oh, and a lighthouse. It is much busier than that - the power station is a collection of buildings and there are all kinds of regular houses - and two lighthouses. The Light Railway Cafe had stop serving their noted fish and chips so I went for a mug of tea and a bag of pretty ordinary chips (salt and vinegar in plastic sachets). It was cold and windy and I was glad I'd packed that scarf! I then decided to jump on the 16.00 train back to Hythe (the one I came on) - in retrospect I should have waited, done some exploring and caught the double-header I spotted coming in on the other section of the loop once we were underway. On gala days like this it is always difficult to know where to put oneself to cop as many locos as possible.

Back at Hythe I filmed Southern Maid on the turntable, then travelled back to New Romney on the 17.40 to watch the last train of the day come in from Dungeness - which was to be a five-header! I'm no expert on RH&DR locos but looking at my film, I think it was Typhoon, Winston Churchill, Green Goddess, Black Prince and Hurricane. I didn't have time to check them out at the other end of the platform, as I had to leg it to catch my hourly bus to Lydd, thence to Rye and the train home. I didn't get to look round Dungeness and I didn't get to travel in Gladys the bar car, but nevertheless had a thoroughly good day out.

Previous visits to the RH&DR:


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