- A slice of Romney Marsh held centre stage with one of the world’s most iconic steam engines last week, when Typhoon from the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway visited neighbouring Steam Railway, The Bluebell Line in East Sussex, to commemorate ‘The Flying Scotsman’ visiting the line.
Typhoon is a third of the size of the Scotsman; they were last together 90 years ago in 1927 at King’s Cross in London.
History was made at Sheffield Park station when the two legends of steam were brought together to celebrate RHDR’s 90th anniversary this year.
More than 100 people watched the events unfold as RHDR chairman, Sir William McAlpine, popped the cork on a bottle of champagne to mark the occasion.
Both locomotives will be based at the East Sussex railway for a week-long Flying Scotsman gala there over the Easter weekend.
The Flying Scotsman, which is now owned by the nation and based at the National Railway Museum in York, was rescued from the scrapheap by Sir William in 1973, a year after saving the RHDR from closure.
The only difference between now and then is that the Flying Scotsman now runs under the British Rail Livery and no longer sports the famous 4472 number, and now also has the added ‘German style smoke deflectors’ when it had its chimney changed to a double chimney in the early 1960’s, which meant that instead of sending smoke shooting straight up in the air, some of it ‘wafted’ around and along the boiler, obstructing the drivers view.
The press in 1927 described the pair as “the Giant and the Dwarf” and will be alongside each other again this week for families and rail enthusiasts to compare both locos.
Danny Martin, RHDR general manager, said: “There is no more pertinent way to kick off our 90th anniversary celebrations than to look back at the historic meeting of these two railway icons at King’s Cross in 1927 and to celebrate that they are still here for future generations to enjoy, hopefully for the next 90 years. Our special thanks to our friends at the Bluebell Railway and the National Railway Museum for making this possible.”
Their meeting will be documented in a new book to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the little railway, which runs for 13-and-a-half miles between Hythe and Dungeness.
The book ‘Romney: Then and Now’ will be released in July will mirror historic images on the railway with their modern day equivalents.
Tim Godden, of the RHDR, said: “It was a dream come true for me. When we first thought of reuniting Flying Scotsman and Typhoon for our celebratory book, the dream felt too big. But we persevered and suddenly the pieces of the jigsaw started falling in to place, thanks to the kind support of the Bluebell Railway. It felt truly emotional to help bring these two iconic locomotives back together, almost 90 years to the day from their first appearance. There were definitely a few tears in the eyes of the assembled crowd.”
A special weekend of events and trains will run throughout the year at the RHDR culminating with a gala weekend on July 15 and 16.
It is the 90th anniversary of the official opening of the line, the world’s smallest public railway.