One of the many benefits of being a member of the RH&RDA is receiving the Marshlander magazine.
From the outset of the Association in 1967, Marshlander has been the main means of communication to members, keeping them informed about news from the railway, and in supplying them with details of forthcoming events. Initially it was just a photocopied broadsheet, but rapidly developed into a proper printed magazine. Production today has kept pace with developments in the print industry, and it is professionally produced by a local company in a full colour glossy format amounting to 36 pages. It is produced and distributed quarterly to the membership in January, April, July and October.
However, with the advent in recent years of social media sites devoted to the railway, the nature of the magazine has gradually changed to reflect the instant access to news and views we enjoy today. Given the time lag in producing a printed publication, rather than try and compete – which would be an impossible task – Marshlander has developed into more of an historical record of events and activities both on and around the railway. That said with only a limited amount of pages it is impossible to record in detail every detail of everything that happens. The editorial team endeavour to provide in words and pictures something which they feel best reflects the flavour of the continuing story of the RH&DR and the Association as it evolves.
The content generally falls into three categories. The first half usually deals with details of the various departments of the railway. As well as reports on progress from the railway’s General Manager and the Association’s Chair; factual details of repairs to the locomotive fleet and developments to the infrastructure such as level crossings and track renewals are recorded. The photos in this part usually relate to what has happened – for instance pictures of the new wheel chair accessible coaches currently being rolled out by Carriage & Wagon feature from time to time, or of progress from the loco overhaul shop of whichever member of the fleet is undergoing attention.
The centre section contains at least two photo montages. Topics covered ranging from galas with visiting locos to major renewal projects or just general scenes of the railway in action day to day. From a selection of the most evocative pictures are chosen the centre spread (and the front cover) – again to try and capture the railway in its many forms and moods.
The second half is devoted to submitted articles on a wide range of topics. Perhaps an account of a Romney engine visiting another line, or words and pictures from a bygone visit – long lost in someone’s loft. Heritage items often play a major part in this section. A regular feature being ‘Ask Andy’ – a column where heritage guru Andy Nash uncovers the mysteries behind obscure old photos, or replies to historical queries from readers. Currently Dymchurch turntable is the ‘Holy Grail’ in this area. As yet although there are a handful of distant views of it – one of it in use in the 1920s still eludes the researchers!
Above all, Marshlander is a magazine published by the membership – for the membership. Articles, letters, photos and ideas are always welcome (please send to [email protected]). You too can be part of the story and help to form the archive for future generations to enjoy.