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Hundreds gather to gaze in awe as the age of steam returns to north Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 09:23 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:23 12 September 2017

The steam loco 90775 leaves NNR at Sheringham, after being named The Royal Norfolk Regiment. Pictures: David Bale

The steam loco 90775 leaves NNR at Sheringham, after being named The Royal Norfolk Regiment. Pictures: David Bale

Archant

Every possible vantage point was taken by people desperate to see steam locomotive 90775 haul a special train from the North Norfolk Railway (NNR) at Sheringham, after its revamp.

The steam loco 90775 is named The Royal Norfolk Regiment by Brigadier James Woodham., left. On right, society vice-chairman Ashley Barrs. Pictures: David BaleThe steam loco 90775 is named The Royal Norfolk Regiment by Brigadier James Woodham., left. On right, society vice-chairman Ashley Barrs. Pictures: David Bale

And the sun shone as 170 invited guests sat down in the train to enjoy the ride to Holt and back.

Earlier, the train, based on the NNR, was named the Royal Norfolk Regiment, with the full military honours available to the Royal Anglians, the successor regiment.

One of the passengers on the train was Chris Bird, vice-president of the Great Northern Joint Railway Society [M&GN JRS] charity, which owns the locomotive.

He joined the society in 1959 and said: “The 90775 looks wonderful and it‘s quite a moving experience.”

The steam loco 90775 about to leave the NNR at Sheringham, after being named The Royal Norfolk regiment. Pictures: David BaleThe steam loco 90775 about to leave the NNR at Sheringham, after being named The Royal Norfolk regiment. Pictures: David Bale

Old soldiers from the Royal Norfolk Regiment attended the event on Saturday, September 9 and there were representatives from the Hellenic Railway Association, recognising the service of 90775 in Greece during the Second World War and from 1945-1984.

The naming was performed by Brigadier James Woodham, former commanding officer of the Royal Anglians, who grew up in Norfolk and attended Paston School in North Walsham.

The Band of the Royal Anglian Regiment, based in Peterborough, provided music for the event.

There were about 200 guests at the naming, representing the society, those who donated to the restoration fund, the team that restored the locomotive and the regiment.

Neil Sharpe, chairman of the society, said: “People come to the NNR to see the Black Prince locomotive and we want people to now come and see The Royal Norfolk Regiment.

“The naming honours generations of local soldiers who served in the regiment over almost 400 years and so cements a uniquely strong local connection between the locomotive, the NNR and our county.”

The locomotive has just emerged from eight years of restoration and is the first mainline steam, diesel or electric locomotive to bear this highly appropriate name.

It was built in 1944, came to Norfolk in 2003, and hauled passenger trains on the Poppy Line until 2009 when it was taken out of service for a full overhaul at the NNR’s Weybourne workshops.

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