Euro Tunnel and Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway 1st September 2015
As I’d recently started a new job that allowed me to take advantage of discounted travel on Eurotunnel this day was picked as a day out to spin up and down through the tunnel on the Le Shuttle trains; the plan being to get as many of the sets out that day in as we could. Our plans couldn’t have gone any more wrong if they’d have tried; well actually they could have!
Our car was at Cheriton early doors and we had no problem at all getting onto the o619 Le Shuttle out of the country, which ended up being delayed and we ultimately ended up on the 0659 due to the set having a brake fault! Still it wasn’t the end of the world and having driven by 9840 when boarding the train we had no issues extracting the mission number and other loco out of the on board crew when they came through to check tickets; 9022 was on the opposite end.
Having breezed through the tunnel and straight out of the terminal, we attempted to head back into the terminal to return straight to the UK but the entrance to the motorway was blocked; we figured out due to the amount of lorries that were being stacked on the french side, which actually blocked the entrance completely; so it was on to the next entrance and then straight back into the terminal. Surprisingly there was no issue with queuing to get in at all and it was with a little confusion that we ended up stopping as we approached the gates where tickets are presented or bought; to ask where to go to buy one as none of the booths were displaying tickets for on the day. Imagine the surprise when we were told that no more tickets were being sold on this particular day as all trains were full throughout the day……….
I’ve never been so glad to be staff in all my life as basically my staff pass got us onto a train, we had to wait for about 10 minutes until the girl got on the radio and sorted it out and the fact that we had a 4 hour wait before we could head back through the tunnel seemed to then be a minor inconvenience compared to the fate we cold have suffered! Having had breakfast at Coquelles we ended up on the 1244 back to Cheriton which was thankfully formed with a different set to that we had out; with 9015/9831 being the locos. The on-board crew of which were excellent and told us that as it was the Tuesday after August Bank Holiday it was always busy; as it turned out though Le Shuttle had their busiest weekend “ever” since the tunnel had opened, moving a record number of vehicles! Note to self, think about things a little more when planning to travel after the biggest bank holiday of the year!
Grateful of actually making it back to the UK we basically had a day to kill and when driving back up the motorway a voice shouted out “why don’t we go to the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway“, as we passed the sign for it! 45 minutes later we were in possession of tickets and getting into a little coach, for little people, at New Romney; of course I was ok with the little train for little people and even I was taller than it! Having never been to the RH&DR before I was quite intrigued and also quite impressed; not with the bloody weather though, it was raining! The little engines are in fantastic shape and are hammered up and down the line day in day out and the poor old drivers end up soaked when its raining! All in all, despite the initial farce, it was a good afternoon out and having had all 5 engines that were out that day, along with travelling the length of the line, I felt we’d actually achieved something from the day and bizarrely I only just made my 2035 ex Kings Cross home that night!
Locos out at the RH&DR on Tuesday 1st September were:
#1 “Green Goddess”
#3 “Southern Maid”
#9 “Winston Churchill”
#14 “Captain Howey”
Photos from Eurotunnel:
Photos from RH&DR: