Do you love diesel trains? Then this new north Norfolk group is the club for you
- Credit: Archant
They are big green growling boxes that lived in the shadow of glamorous steam engines – until they hitched up and took over our trains.
But diesels have a special place in the hearts of many rail fans and nostalgic travellers.
And a new club has been launched at the North Norfolk Railway to raise awareness and funds for the unsung Cinderella locos.
The shunters, railcars and mainline monsters have provided awesome pulling power on the region's working and heritage tracks for more than half a century.
Club promoter Owen Bushell said there was a growing fan base for the diesels that run on the heritage line alongside their more romantic, steam-belching forebears.
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'A lot of people have an affinity with the diesels that hauled the trains that took them on trips to the seaside in their youth.
'And you don't have to be a nerdy railway enthusiast to appreciate their technology and sheer power.'
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Inside the 'big green boxes' were throbbing V12 engines delivering up to 1750 horsepower, along with electrical generators, and wiring that predated today's computerised equipment.
In the 1960s steam and diesel ran alongside each other as one era gave way to another. East Anglia was the first region to go fully diesel as a test bed for things to come, said Mr Bushell.
On the heritage line, diesels now do more than half of the train services, particularly during winter.
'They have the benefit of being able to turn the key and go – without having to spend hours firing up the boiler,' said Mr Bushell, who volunteers at the railway in his spare time away from being a signalman in his day job.
The line's flagship diesel is an immaculate Class 37 giant which is in 'good as new' condition after a nine-year overhaul.
Now the aim is to bring the rest of the fleet up to that high standard – helped by recruiting members to the new Weybourne Traction Group Diesel Club.
'We have a steam loco club that raised £12,500 a year the price of membership that costs less than a pint of beer a month.
'If we can do half of that for the diesels it will be a massive benefit,' he added.
There were plans for bodywork improvements and engine overhauls for diesels – which range from compact shunters, through rail car and multiple units driven by bus engines, to three powerful larger locos.
The club was launched at a recent diesel gala and had already sparked a lot of interest among enthusiasts across the nation. Now it was looking to recruit members from the local area, said Mr Bushell.
?Club membership starts at £2 a month, though organisers hope people will donated £5 or more. The club is administered by the North Norfolk Railway's supporting charity the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Society.
?To learn more about the club and download application forms visit www.mandgn.co.uk. Leaflets are also available on North Norfolk Railway. Follow the club on Twitter @WYTractionGroup or the Weybourne Traction Group Facebook page.