Restored 1945 steam locomotive visits in tribute to man who helped restore the steam industry
PUBLISHED: 14:40 17 March 2019 | UPDATED: 19:39 17 March 2019
It was a fitting tribute to a rail enthusiast who had dedicated his life to helping people enjoy incredible journeys by steam.
And when the British India Line steam locomotive set off from King’s Lynn on an emotional trip in memory of Nigel Dobbing, around 80 friends, relatives, and colleagues flocked aboard the train to give the Railway Touring Company founder a special send-off.
Sadly Mr Dobbing never got to see the steam locomotive restored, due to ill health, but friends said he would have been enormously happy to see it visit West Norfolk.
British India Line, built in 1945, set off just before 10am on Sunday, with some people travelling from hundreds of miles away for the event.
Crowds of people turned out to see off the train on its journey to Mr Dobbing’s childhood home Melton Mowbray, but the journey itself was a private affair.
Mr Dobbing, who helped to revive the steam train industry for tourism, died in October 2018.
John Cameron, former chairman of Scottish Rail and a locomotive owner, travelled from Fife to make the journey.
He said: “Nigel was one of the biggest users of my engine. I always enjoyed meeting Nigel because if he gave you his word about something that was it.”
Kelly Osborne, managing director of the Railway Touring Company, and former colleague and friend of Mr Dobbing, said he had been eagerly waiting for the completion of British India Line’s restoration, but was unable to enjoy a ride on it due to ill health last year.
Nick Broderick, editor of Steam Railway magazine, travelled from Peterborough for the event.
He said: “The locomotive was in Barry in Wales, rusting away until it was saved by enthusiasts several decades ago. Over the years it has been restored and brought back to its former glory. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on it and now it’s come all this way for today.
“It’s a locomotive that Nigel would have liked to see.
“I think it is a measure of the influence that Nigel had for the people here today to pay tribute to him.
“He probably didn’t realise himself how well liked and respected he was.
“So much of what we have seen on the mainline in Britain in the last 20 years is pretty much down to him.”