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Photo gallery and video: Successful start to North Norfolk Railway steam gala

PUBLISHED: 20:48 30 August 2014 | UPDATED: 18:15 01 September 2014

Seven-year-old steam fan Rosie Smith and dad Adam watch the Black Prince set off from Weybourne station. Photo: Karen Bethell

Seven-year-old steam fan Rosie Smith and dad Adam watch the Black Prince set off from Weybourne station. Photo: Karen Bethell

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Holidaymakers, families and enthusiasts flocked to north Norfolk to see steam engines from a bygone era in action.

The North Norfolk Railway Grand Steam Gala weekend kicked off today and saw seven locomotives on the heritage railway track between Sheringham and Holt.

Many people gathered at the picturesque Weybourne station to see the star locomotive - the B1 Mayflower which was built in 1948 and will be running on the north Norfolk Poppy Line for the next year.

Roger Attew, 74, from Coronation Road, Holt, was at Weybourne with his grandson Riley Attew, four from Sheringham.

He said: “We are regulars at the steam galas. The boy is crazy about steam engines. We bring him to the Poppy Line station every week for a ride.”

Mr Attew, a retired plasterer, described the period of steam engines as a lost era.

His grandson said he loved trains and his favourite was Mayflower and Black Prince, owned by wildlife artist David Shepherd.

Margaret Partridge, 63, from Essex, who is a member of the North Norfolk Railway, said she and her husband Roger, 76, loved the scenery around the Poppy Line.

“There is such a mixture. You have got the coast, Weybourne station is beautiful, there is forest around Kelling Heath and Holt is a beautiful town. We love this part of the world,” she said.

Mrs Partridge added: “I like heritage railways because they are about bygone days. I remember steam engines as a child. We go to lots of heritage lines because we are enthusiastic about railway heritage being maintained.

“It is out historical heritage and it is great to see so many young people at this gala.”

She said the Poppy Line was great for the tourist industry and had made “a world of difference” to Sheringham.

“The town is thriving economically and as a community,” Mrs Partridge added.

Hugh Harkett, railway managing director, said yesterday was very busy and the “iconic” Mayflower had been a big draw.

He said: “People are generally getting more interested in heritage steam lines. Kids love getting on the train. In children’s books trains are depicted as steam engines.”

Visitor numbers to the railway were at their highest last year - just under 158,000 - and they are up 9pc this year and could increase to 160,000, according to general manager Trevor Eady.

He said: “We try and provide something new every year and have all types of locomotives. The railway has got a good reputation and we are now one of the top 10 heritage lines in the country.”

The gala continues until Sunday August 31.

For details and prices visit www.nnrailway.co.uk or call 01263 820800.

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