RH&DR Gala May 2019

Last Sunday I visited the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway Gala. The ‘star’ of the event was Whillan Beck, a locomotive originally built by Krauss & Co. in Munich, Germany in 1929 and recently restored by the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society. It was one of 15 locomotives built by Krauss from a design by Roland Martens for use in ‘Liliputbahn’ – temporary railways in public exhibitions.

Sold to an exhibition in Spain in 1929, it ran until 1932. It was stored in Spain until the early 2000s, when it was partly restored. The R&ER brought the loco at the end of 2015, transferred it to the UK where it was fully restored by Old Hall Engineering of Cumbria. They did a fantastic job!

I arrived for the first train of the day and found Hercules waiting in the platform.

Whillan Beck emerged from the shed and took on water, giving me the chance to take some photos.



The cab contains all the driver’s essentials: timetable, sunglasses and mug of tea.

I jumped on the train and soon we headed off to Dungeness. The train had been triple headed by Hercules…

… Whillan Beck…

…and The Bug.

This loco was designed by Roland Martens and built by Krauss too, but for a totally different purpose – the construction of the RH&DR in 1926. It was sold on in 1933, and nearly scrapped in the 1950s. Thankfully it was rescued, restored and has developed something of a cult following. How many locos have their own fan club?

Returning briefly to Whillan Beck, I love the monogram on the tender.

From Dungeness I headed for Hythe, breaking out across the shingle, double headed by Whillan Beck and Hercules.

The weather was glorious and the countryside of Romney Marsh (sometimes called ‘The Fifth Continent’) looked fantastic.

In Hythe Whillan Beck was turned on the turntable surrounded by attractive spring foliage and blossom.

The driver warned us he was going to ‘blowdown’ the boiler.

It was an impressive sight…

Finally, the loco emerged again.

There was time to admire the signal gantry…

… and look inside the signal box at the 16 lever frame.

The RH&DR’s first mainline diesel locomotive, J.B. Snell, idled in the platform.

Here are a couple of pictures for the people (like me) who find cab interiors interesting.

There’s more dials in there than in some aircraft 🙂

Another photo of the same loco taken later in the day at New Romney. I like those ‘wasp stripes’.

My train from Hythe was double headed by Whillan Beck and J.B. Snell. Definitely an interesting combination!

Back at New Romney, Black Prince was in the yard. This loco was designed by Roland Martens and built by another German manufacturer, Krupp of Essen in 1937. What a pity it wasn’t running. It would be great to see Black Prince and Whillan Beck double heading.

Number 10, Doctor Syn, was in the yard too.

Samson passed through with another service.

Then I hoped onto a train to Dungeness headed by Winston Churchill. I’ve always had a soft spot for these Canadian style Pacific locos and I think the red livery of Winston Churchill really shows how attractive the Greenly design is.

For the journey home I chose to travel in the ‘parcels van’.

The guard’s duckets contain two mirrors, each one is set at about 45 degrees to the side of the van. They enable the guard to see along the train, in both directions at the same time.

My companions were two push chairs and a shopping trolley. I have no idea why that was in the van!

I love the landscape at Dungeness and heading out across the shingle led by Winston Churchill was the perfect end to a great day out.


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