No. 4 The Bug

The Bug

A modified version of a standard design by the German manufacturer, The Bug was ordered for use during construction of the original line and the extension to Dungeness. Her short wheelbase and high water capacity made her ideal for such work.

However, once the building of the RH&DR was complete, there wasn’t much work for The Bug and she was sold to a Blackpool showman in 1933. He in turn sold her on to the Belle Vue Park Railway, Belfast and there she remained until being sold for scrap in 1950.

The Bug in derelict condition

However, instead of being cut up, she remained buried beneath other scrap until being rescued in 1972 by Sir William McAlpine and returning, rather miraculously, to New Romney. The photo shows the condition she arrived in!

She was restored in 1974 by Dick Cushing, painted in a Southern Railway green and made appearances on special occasions, and often used with a ‘transportable’ railway for shows and exhibitions.

Following an overhaul in 1991, The Bug re-appeared in Stroudley’s improved engine green livery.

This cheeky little chappie, known around the yard at New Romney as ‘Basil’, now has his own ‘Bug Club’ and members receive a newsletter, badge, membership card and reduced travel rates.

As well as helping Santa at Christmas time, Basil the Bug can often be seen at Special Events, busy weekends and Family fun Days, pottering around the yard, sometimes giving rides to lucky visitors as well.

In July 2022 The Bug visited the Cleethorpes Coast Railway and was then temporarily back at Ravenglass for an overhaul by engineers from John Fowler for the fabrication of a new tender tank. The tender was slightly modified. The coal space is now smaller, but the good news is that the driver’s space is a bit larger and scuffed shins may be less likely!  The Bug is back at New Romney where, after Christmas duties, she is to have an overhaul in Engineering. As The Bug does not do many miles, it is relatively un-worn. The job will be undertaken by regular engineers and volunteers. The boiler will have to come off and go to boilersmiths for non-destructive testing (NDT) and examination.

A fault found with the firebox will mean that the Bug will remain out of service for the foreseeable future.

Sir William McAlpine

In 2018 ‘The Bug’ was chosen to carry commemorative plates in memory of Sir William McAlpine, and these were unveiled in a short ceremony at new Romney on 27th October:

Sir William McAlpine commemorative plates fixed to The Bug

Before the unveiling…

The Bug ready for the commemorative plates to be unveiled

Here she is seen with her new plates at Dymchurch after working a parallel run special that morning:

The Bug

One of the commemorative plates fitted to The Bug

Technical Details

Industrial pattern 0-4-0 two-cylinder tender-tank locomotive.
Designed by Roland Martens.
Built by Krauss, Munich No 6378 in 1926
Overall length: 16′ 8.5″
Weight in working order: 5 tons
Driving wheel diameter: 1′ 3.75″
Cylinders: 4.5″ bore x 6.25″ stroke
Current livery: Brighton Umber

5 Hercules