Jack drifts down towards Leadhills station © Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 Steve pulled a few crumpled pieces of newspaper from an envelope. “What do you think - can we do it?” “Of course we can - no problem” So, at the end of May, we took to the M40 for an eventful two days (fairly) intensive gricing on either side of the English Channel. The channel ferry companies were trying to keep travellers out of the tunnel - Steve’s coupons, cut from a national daily enabled us to make a day trip on a P&O ferry for £1 each, plus my car for £15. Initially we thought of a long day, along the lines of some of our Irish trips, but wisdom suggested an overnight stop in Dover. With the tickets came a leaflet detailing very reasonable bed-only accommodation - get your breakfast on the ferry! The weather forecast didn’t look too good - rain spreading from the north west, reaching the south-east corner of England by evening. It was drizzling when we made our first stop - a quick look at Chinnor station, on the newly developing Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway. Nothing doing here midweek - apart from the red kite circling overhead... It almost made up for forgetting my sandwiches! I had somehow managed to avoid the M25 - until today. We joined that infamous road and headed anti-clockwise around the capital, and made good progress until road widening works brought our speed down to a crawl. A young lady in a car alongside wound down her window (Steve thought his luck was in) “Am I on the right road for Chessington?”. We had to admit that we probably weren’t the best people to ask, though we weren’t completely lost yet! Steve is almost as good a navigator as my wife, bless her...... Next stop - the main line between Tonbridge and Paddock Wood, for the chance of a photo of a “Eurostar” - which proved to be the second train along, and the first of many that we would see over the next day or so. Their pathetic speed on the English side, on the third rail, at least makes photography easy. No overhead wires either! Now for Tenterden and the Kent & East Sussex Railway - “I think there’s a train due to leave at 2.30". We nearly missed it - the winding lanes didn’t help, nor did the traction engines making their stately if somewhat sedate way along the main road. I did manage the (greedy) shot of the pannier-hauled train passing the waiting road engine at Rolvenden level crossing though. What a nice little station this is - it really looks the part. As with most preserved railways, health and safety legislation means the locomotive stock is inaccessible, though a viewing platform means that an overview - literally - is possible. Another traction engine rumbled its way down the hill to the level crossing, chuffing noisily as it climbed away. “Let’s stop for a while at Appledore station - there might be a train due”. There was - a “thumper”, one of the Southern region DEMUs built with many components standard with the EMU fleet. It duly thumped its way on towards Hastings and ultimately Brighton. It is not far from Appledore to New Romney, our next destination. We spent a most successful hour or two around the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway, photographing trains in the station area and along the line, as we made our way gradually towards Dover. Some more photos of Eurostars near Westenhanger, then up onto the edge of the downs, above the Cheriton terminal. The aerial view here is magnificent. The whole of the terminal area can be seen clearly, along with most of Folkestone and the French coast in the distance. Two or three shuttles moved in and out of the tunnel, and yet another Eurostar. The weather was deteriorating rapidly now - a cold, buffeting wind made photography difficult, and the light was going... The overnight accommodation proved to be excellent, which is more than can be said for the pubs and food within walking distance. RHDR Action on the 15" gauge - Dr Syn, Southern Maid, Samson and - er - a blue one. Links: Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Kent and East Sussex Railway Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
Chinnor station Eurostar 3232 near Tonbridge Roller meets Pannier, Rolvenden Loco lineup at Rolvenden The Dagenham diesel - 1932 BTH-built bo-bo Rolvenden station, K&ESR Norwegian 2-6-0 - NSB 376, built 1919 1556 - class P 0-6-0T at Rolvenden Loco view - a traction engine trundles down towards the level crossing Steaming across the crossing The "thumper" at Appledore Appledore station RHDR - "Southern Maid" RHDR No 10 "Dr Syn" at New Romney Dr Syn and young admirers at New Romney "Southern Maid" hurries along the main line near New Romney No 6 "Samson" near Dymchurch, RHDR Cl 411 EMU no 1550 at Westenhanger Eurostar 3209 passes Westenhanger Cl 423 EMU no. 3568 at Westenhanger Eurostar 3218 at Westenhanger Dollonds Moor Dollonds Moor