North Norfolk Railway receives £99,500 grant for London commuter train exhibition
17:46 23 April 2013
The history of how the railway impacted on the growth of London suburbs will be brought to life at a popular Norfolk attraction following a £99,500 boost.
Money from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been awarded to the North Norfolk Railway (NNR) heritage line which runs between Sheringham and Holt, through Weybourne.
It will fund The Railways and the Suburbs project which includes the restoration of a post second world war British Railways train and an exhibition on how trains helped develop London suburbs from the 1920s to the 1960s.
NNR chairman Clive Morris, who came up the idea for the project two years ago, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident that the project will further the public’s understanding of a vital aspect of everyday life for millions.”
The tourist attraction restored a 1920s four-coach Quad Art suburban train four years ago, at a cost of about £300,000 also from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
That particular train only runs on high days and holidays, due to its fragile nature, but during its heyday it would have been packed with commuters from King’s Cross and Liverpool Street stations to the northern suburbs of the capital.
Part of the £99,500 will go towards restoring four carriages dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, which would have been part of a King’s Cross suburban train.
Colin Borg, from the NNR, said: “These trains from the 1920s built up the suburbs and they allowed people to move out of the city and build better homes and have bigger gardens. They had a huge influence. They were the busiest commuter services in the UK. We think trains are crowded today but theses trains were absolutely jam-packed.”
It is not known when the post second world war train, powered by steam, will be fully restored but when it is finished it will become a permanent fixture on the NNR which attracts 190,000 people each year.
The exhibition will feature old photographs of the suburban trains and volunteers from the NNR hope people will send in their memories of travelling on the London trains.
Mr Borg said: “More and more people seem to be interested in the history and heritage of the railways. People are becoming more interested and aware of modern social history and what happened to their grandparents. It will add considerably to our educational section but it will also be interesting for the average person about how millions of people got to work over the past 100 years.”
Anyone with stories or photographs of travelling on the suburban London trains from the 1920s to the 1960s should write to Clive Morris, North Norfolk Railway plc, Sheringham Station, Station Approach, Sheringham, Norfolk, NR26 8RA.
It is not known when the exhibition will be up and running but it will involve local schools.