One of our favourite local attractions, the Santa Special on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway has been a festive fixture since 1981.
Head to New Romney station to board your train for Hythe and back. Get there in good time to visit the Model Railway Exhibition before your trip, a delight for children (and grown-ups) of all ages.
MEET THE MAN
Although Santa is extremely busy at this time of the year, the Santa Special is always in his diary, basically because he likes a nice sit down in a warm grotto and the chance to meet properly some of those he’ll be delivering to a little later in the month.
Santa and his elves have carefully chosen top quality, age related gifts for each child aged 1-15 years, and he’ll ask you specify on your booking whether they are boys or girls, and how old they are.
With seasonal refreshments for all, there’s an added bonus this year – Locomotive no.4, The Bug, which traditionally is reserved for Santa, will be pulling coaches for families to ride the length of Platform 3 at Hythe (subject to availability).
WRAP UP WARM!
It’s December, and if you’re really lucky you might ride your Santa Special through a light flurry of snow! There may be some queuing outdoors, and lots of people like to bring a blanket to keep cosy and warm while riding the little train.
‘Kent’s Mainline in Miniature’ has been an integral part of the Romney Marsh landscape since 1927. One-third full size steam and diesel locomotives run on a 15” gauge track, from Hythe to Dungeness and back again.
The RHDR was the dreamchild of Captain J E P Howey, a racing driver, millionaire, land owner, former Army Officer and miniature railway afficionado, and Count Louis Zborowoski, an eminent racing driver.
Its fame grew, and people came from all over to ride on the ‘Smallest Public Railway in the World’. During World War II, the War Department requisitioned the railway, creating the only miniature armoured train in the world, and used it extensively during the building of PLUTO (Pipe Line Under the Ocean) which fuelled the Allied invasion force.
After the war there was extensive work to do, and the fifties and early sixties saw a boom in tourism which benefitted the Kent Coast and the RHDR enormously.
By the mid-sixties things were looking dire, with bridges in poor condition, rolling ageing and uncomfortable, and locomotives costly to maintain.
In 1973 a new consortium, headed by Sir William McAlpine took over and saved the day, with considerable investment over the intervening years to uphold the busy little railway we see today.