Monday, May 06, 2019

New Romney Railway (1966)

It's another Bank Holiday Monday -and another one I spent on the sofa catching up with some of the films I've recorded off of the TV over the past few months.  Once again, I didn't watch anything intellectual, instead electing to switch my brain off and let X-Men: Apocalypse wash over me.  In days past, of course, people used to use their Bank Holiday weekends to go on outings to visit various tourist attractions, with miniature railways always being a favourite.  The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railways has, since it was opened in 1927, been one of the most popular of its kind, being a true miniature railway in the sense that, rather than simply being an attraction in, say, the grounds of a stately home, it provides an actual, revenue earning, service along part of the Kent coast.  It isn't just a tourist attraction - it also offers regular passenger services to locals.

As the above newsreel from 1966 notes, steam still reigns supreme on the line - a point significant then, as steam was rapidly vanishing from the full-size British Rail network, (only the Southern Region still boasted a steam-worked main line into London).  The film also mentions the line being targeted by the Luftwaffe during World War Two.  In fact, the whole line came under military control during the war, even featuring an armoured train (presumably in case miniature German soldiers invaded).  Ironically, it suffered more damage from its military operators than it did from the Luftwaffe during this period, with severe damage to both track and signalling systems.  Thankfully, it recovered post-war and is still running to this day.  Perhaps I should visit it next Bank Holiday - although this is unlikely because Kent is a bit too far for a day trip.  That said, there is actually a live webcam feed from the line, so maybe I'll just watch it instead!



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