Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch goes to war

This photograph comes from the Modern Mechanix website and shows an armoured train on the 15-inch gauge Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway during Word War II.

The history page on the railway's own website says the line "was used extensively during the building of PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean) which fuelled the Allied invasion force".

At the climax of The Elusive Grasshopper, Malcolm Saville imagined a trainload of policemen arriving at Dungeness to arrest the smugglers:

As they ran down the platform they could all see the engine - not as tall as Dickie - and four miniature, unlighted coaches gliding towards them. Macbeth barked and then, from the shadows by the restaurant, Sergeant Robins stepped out and said:

"Keep out of the way, if you please. This is a train for poor tired policemen."

With a quiet hissing the little locomotive pulled up gently. The driver got out and, towering above his engine, wiped his hands on an oily rag while, from the unlighted coaches, came about twenty large uniformed men. The effect was so ludicrous that Penny was reminded of Gulliver in Lilliput. Arlette began to giggle, while Dickie whistled in delighted amazement.

"Some day I've got to drive that," he whispered. "I've got to do it before we go back."

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