Dining train steams to the rescue of stranded passengers at Cromer
- Credit: Archant
A dozen passengers left stranded when their 12.30pm Bittern Line service from Cromer to Sheringham was cancelled were thrilled to be offered a lift on board a full-length steam train instead.
The North Norfolkman Dining Train was making its debut journey from Sheringham yesterday lunch time and the lucky 12 joined VIPs on board for the return trip.
David Webster, 60, from Acle, was going to Sheringham for the day and was among those delighted at the unexpected treat.
Karen Bailey, from Woking, who was also there with her daughter Ella and friend Caitlin, both 13, said: 'It was a wonderful trip and it was a marvellous gesture and a real experience.'
Hugh Harkett, managing director of the heritage North Norfolk Railway (NNR) which is running the dining trains, said: 'We certainly would not have left them behind on the platform. It gave us tremendous pleasure to accommodate them.'
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Howard Johnston, editor of the national magazine Steam Railway, caught the delighted passengers' faces on camera.
He said: 'It was a wonderful gesture and demonstrates there are hard-working people who can occasionally bend the rules.
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'It showed a community railway living up to its name. I think Cromer should welcome these steam trains with open arms.
If they do for Cromer what they've done for Sheringham it must be a good thing.'
At midday North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb had waved off the first mainline dining excursion train, complete with fully-licensed bar, from NNR's Sheringham station and it crossed the road to the Bittern Line.
It was hauled by diesel engine to Cromer and then steamed its way back to Holt, before returning to Sheringham.
The landmark moment has been years in the planning and rail chiefs have already confirmed if the trial is successful it could be extended with more services potentially on to Norwich and beyond.
Seven more are planned, three of which have already sold out.
Further services will run today - Thursday August 11 - and on September 7 and 8.
They arrive just days after Sheringham celebrated the opening of its new station extension, with bigger buffet, new toilets and tourist information centre.