I've resurrected this thread as I made amazing discovery at https://forum.axishistory.com/index.php
which is an extract from the War Diary of the British Army unit the built the armoured train.
The model train enthousiast in 1940 was the Battalion Adjutant of the 6th Somerset Light Infantry, one captain Ellis, according to the unit’s War Diary (WO 166/4657):
“He proposes to run an armoured train consisting of three iron hopper waggons with two Lewis Guns and an Anti-Tk rifle mounted to provide mobile fire power. The train is to be drawn by one of the line’s engines, which is a Rolls Royce 12 Cylinder Motor mounted on bogies with a driver’s cab to be specially armoured by the R.E. The line is probably to be requisitioned throughout its length for the use of the whole Bde front.”
The line had by then been closed to civilian traffic. The Royal Engineers. began work on the train in a workshop in New Romney. It was soon found the diesel engine could not support the weight of the armour and it was replaced by a steam engine (2-4-1 Hercules).
Operation Instruction No. 6 of the 6th SLI of 10 sept.1940:
3. Defences in sector T will be reinforced by a mobile light armoured train operating between New Romney and Bridge 562510.
4. If a situation develops on the Right flank A Sub Area the train may be used to reinforce this flank under orders from 135 Inf. Bde.
5. This train will normally be based on New Romney station, but during the hours of darkness when a state of readiness is ordered it will move to Dymchurch station. This move will be completed nightly by 2000 hours.
6. Train crew will consist of: Train Commander; 2 Turret Gunners; 2 A.A. gunners; Engine Driver; and Spare Driver-Loader.
7. The train will carry reserve S.A.A., rations and water.
a) To reinforce by fire any of the forward areas.
b) To deny to the enemy approach along or crossing of line of Light Railway.
c) To patrol between the boundaries specified at dusk and dawn (Note: task c) will not at present be undertaken until the results of a trial have been considered.
9. Train Commander will arrange for the following stores to be on siding at Dymchurch station:
1 Ballast waggon, ready filled.
1 Small truck, coal reserve
Dump of rail, fishplates, spikes,
so that in the event of damage to the line by bombing repairs may be effected quickly.
10. During state of alarm the train will remain under cover in Dymchurch station with steam up by night. Train crew will rest until stand-to; spare personnel will find a sentry. At stand-to spare personnel will piquet approaches to station.
11. No other train services will run in the evening during period of alarm.
12. Intercommunication - Normally by civilian telephone – Littlestone 36 or Litlestone 50. During alarm by D.R., runner or cyclist to Dymchurch station.
13. Code name for train is under consideration.
14. Armoured train will make a trial patrol run from New Romney to Burmarsh Road and return to Dymchurch station on Tuesday September 10th and will be timed to pass Dymchurch Station on the outward run at 1940 hours. The up line only will be used for this purpose.”
t would seem that the armoured train did not last long on active service, judging by an entry in the War Diary of the 160th Railway Construction Company R.E. (WO 166/3647) for 13 January 1941 (by which time the SLI had left Romney Marsh):
"Major Suffolk & Captain Whitehouse to Littlestone to inspect Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway. Found railway in deplorable condition - 99% of engines out of repair, rolling stock in fair condition, buildings mostly looted - signals mostly out of repair - track in fair condition. Arrangements made to send two Sappers and 6 A.M.P.C. to maintain track. Inspection of railway made in company with Major Cantlie R.E. and Captain Beer (? ... handwriting) R.E."