June 19 2013 Latest news:
Friday, March 8, 2013
Smoke-belching, steam-hissing nostalgia is filling the platforms and tracks of the North Norfolk Railway this week as it stokes up a special gala weekend.
Thousands of visitors will be flocking to the heritage line which is running up to eight locos on a scenic coastal line which normally hosts just one steamer and one diesel a day.
Some will be enthusiasts from across the nation, keen to capture unusual combinations of engines and rolling stock for their records.
Others will be day trippers drawn by the magic of a bygone era of transport that was driven by fire, water, pistons and clanking metalwork - and now brought back to life by an army of volunteers.
Railway general manager Trevor Eady said it had taken two years to plan the gala, which sought to recapture the post second world war days of the “standard” locos designed by Robin Riddle - ranging from big mainline expresses to humbler “tankies.”
There were five visiting engines, including the star of the show the Britannia.
It had also been hoped to run its sister loco the Oliver Cromwell - which had a spell at the Bressingham steam museum - but over-running winter works meant it would not be appearing.
Britannia arrived at tea time last night, via the main line crossing, in a short diesel-hauled train which also included Great Western tank engine and two support coaches.
Mr Eady said the number of engines and different configurations, such as “double headers” would be a big attraction for rail fans heading to the gala, which runs this weekend and next, and should attract 8-10,000 people.
“The enthusiasts go around all the galas, And the local bed and breakfasts have been full for some time,” said Mr Eady.
The event was also calling up 60-70 volunteers a day to man the extra services.
Railway marketing director Colin Borg added: “When you get up close to a great big steam engine it is enormous. It is almost like a prehistoric monster.
“You have the smell of the smoke and steam and it is a remarkable cocktail of nostalgia. Steam galas attract people who cannot remember steam, particularly young people.”
The event, which is in its fifth year, sees services running from Sheringham and Holt from 9.30am to 5pm each day across both weekends.
For tickets and information visit www.nnrailway.co.uk or call 01263 820800.
Police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found in a garden pond today.
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