Steam fills the low vaulted ceiling. It looks like an overgrown shed than a station. From it three tracks merge into two and run away behind some houses. It doesn’t dampen the spirits. His excitement is palpable. The engine hisses.
At full speed the undulating countryside rolls by. A hint of soot carried on drafts creeps into the carriage. Eager eyes stare through small windows. He’s like a jack-in-the-box, popping up here, there and everywhere. Come rain or shine the “steam trains and lighthouses” are a moment of magic for him.
But the tourists and holiday crowd has gone, replaced by the low cloud and cold mid-winter rain. His smile, his laughter, as he rides the small trains carries me a long the winding road from Romney Marsh to Hythe, through the harsh rain and heady scent of cordite from the rifle range.