Saturday, August 05, 2006

A trip to Dungeness

To Kent for a few days break and respite from the summer unpleasantness of commuting into London. By chance (and some cunning planning), we spent a night in a delightful guest-house in Dymchurch. At the bottom of the garden run the tracks of the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway so naturally we took a ride on it, including the remote destination of Dungeness.

This railway was built in the late 1920s and has hovered on the edge of extinction for a lot of that time. Whilst it does provide a useful link between the towns along the seaward edge of Romney Marsh, its slow speed and limited schedule make it impractical for commuting and it must therefore rely on tourism. It runs on a 1 foot gauge, so the rolling stock is tiny – your correspondent could only just squeeze into the carriage –but everything is built perfectly to scale, as this picture of the locomotive shows.

It is certainly the most relaxed railway I have ever travelled on. The driver chatted to passengers at each stop, we could open the doors and lean out to touch the bushes by the trackside as we passed, nobody bothered to check our tickets and the trains left dead on time (although with one service every 20 - 40 minutes, it probably wasn’t too hard to keep to the timetable.

It would be fun to commute this way but alas, not too practical.

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