1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Romney, Hythe And Dymchurch 15in Gauge Light Railway

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Aljaž Skarlovnik, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. Aljaž Skarlovnik

    Aljaž Skarlovnik Active Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    Likes Received:
    The smallest (gauge-wise) railway that operates timetabled, revenue-earning trains.



    This little, yet big railway that connects several seaside towns in Kent, England, has an interesting story behind it.

    It is based on the "minimum gauge" concept by Sir Arthur Percival Heywood, who perceived the 15in (381mm) track gauge to be the minimum effective gauge for a practical, revenue-earning railway line. The concept spread, and some rail lines, namely the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, adopted this track width. In the early 1920s, two men, Captain John Edwards Presgrave "Jack" Howey and Count Louis Zborowski, the latter having a 15in gauge railroad of his own and pledged his rolling stock to the cause, decided to make another light railway in this track gauge. After Count Louis died in a motorsports accident that 1924, Howey continued the project alone. After his plan to purchase and extend the Ravenglass line failed, he, through lucky coincidences, went to observe a part of the country he deemed perfect for his project - the Kent seaside.

    (Note: RH&D is a narrow red line.)

    Construction on the line between New Romney and Hythe started in 1926 and ended in 1927. The original locomtives, #1 "Green Godess", #2 "Northern Chief", #3 "Southern Maid", #4 "The Bug", #5 "Hercules", #6 "Samson", #7 "Typhoon" and #8 "Hurricane", were all designed by Henry Greenly and built between 1925 and 1927 by Davy Paxman & Co. (with the exception of #4, which was built by Krauss in Munich). During construction, the line was visited by the Duke of York, who would later become King George the 6th. The then Duke was even granted the controls of a train of 100 passengers, and operated it without any mishaps!


    The line officially opened on the 16th of July, 1927, with the first train pulled by engine #5. Despite the line's success, Howey was not satisfied with a mere 8 and 1/4 miles (13.3km) of track, and wanted more. Thus, in 1928, the line was extended towards Dungeness, adding an additional 5 and 1/2 miles (9km) of of double track, with a loop at the end. The line was an immediate commercial sucess.

    Another interesting part of this line's history took place between 1940 and 1945, when the railway was taken over by the War Department, who took #5 Hercules and two wagons, strapped armor, Boys AT rifles and Lewis guns onto them, and used the lot as an armored train, to patrol the area for possible German landings!


    During the later stages of the war, the line was also used to aid in the construction of PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean), meant to help supply the allied landing in Europe with an indestructible transport of fuel. The construction of this supply line, however, caused severe damage to the track. The line officially reopened in 1946, but it took another year to get the section between New Romney and Dungeness up and running again.

    The rest is commercial and tourism history. The line still endures substantial popularity, but it isn't only a tourist attraction. From the very start, going back to the idea of Minimum Gauge, this was meant to be a serious railway line, and it still is to this day. Trains run on timetables, level crossings are protected by flashing lights and crossing gates, trains are directed by diapatchers and signalmen, just as they are on full-sized railway lines. People take these trains to school and work. Imagine that!

    Enough history for now, as a very important question is to be asked.

    Why, out of all the other alternatives, would you pick this route to model over any other for TSW?

    Well, for starts, it's in Great Britain, and if the number of British rail lines in RailWorks games is anything to go by, it's that they sell very well.

    Next, how many train simulators feature "miniature" ("We're not toy engines!") routes as official DLC? None. So there is an air of uniquenes to such an addition.

    TSW's movement features could very much benefit the route, as being able to walk around these significantly smaller locomotives and observe them from various different angles from outside the engine would instill an immense sense of cuteness (the "kawaii :3" effect) in players.

    Then there are little things, like this line being the only British rail company to use 4-8-2 "Mountain" type locomotives, the insane ammoun of possible variety in scenarios, everything from station piloting and shunting through maintainace-of-way train to double-heading passenger trains, and the fact that not having an automatic fireman would make sense for once sInce the cab of these engines is only large enough for one crew member.

    And returning to the buisness perspective, the many different locomotive designs present on this line at the moment (present day, where the route would best be set IMO) would allow for a very latge ammout of additional DLC released at a later date, even easing the load off the modellers by giving them more time to model everything instead of having to do it all for the first base release. If I may suggest, the bset way to go about this may be to include locomotives #1, #2, #3 and #4, a diesel-electfic, passenger rolling stock and MOW equipment in the base package, and have every other locomotive and wagon type in additional DLC packages.


    If you want to learn more about this line, it's history and engines, check out the Wikipedia article: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romney,_Hythe_and_Dymchurch_Railway.

    Thank you for reading my suggestion for TSW routes. I hope you liked this suggestion, and if you did, please upvote it and help it get some traction on the slippery uphill rails of the "Route Suggestion" subforum.


    P.s. Please check out my other TSW route suggestion: Steam Haul Challenge: Sandaoling (https://forums.dovetailgames.com/threads/steam-haul-challenge-sandaoling-2010-17.5369/)
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
    • Like Like x 13
  2. JJTimothy

    JJTimothy Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2018
    Likes Received:
    This has certainly been suggested for TS in the Steam forms. The armored train was credited with shooting down an enemy aircraft. It's thought the pilot might misjudged the distance to the train because of its size and been unpleasently surprised to find himself within range.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. NotAgain

    NotAgain Member

    Sep 21, 2018
    Likes Received:
    As I previously said on the Disneyland Railroad thread,

    I cannot express how much I want this. Seriously, DTG, I'd cough up £30+ for a baseline pack and then continue to shell out for more rolling stock. The ability to make a decent garden/minimum gauge railway for my own routes is something I've been pining after for months.

    If we could get the armoureed train in an expansion pack too, I'd love that more than life itself.
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page