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Trainspotter’s treasure trove to pull national interest

The late Tony Lambert pictured on the footplate of a locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway. Picture: Newman Associates PR

The late Tony Lambert pictured on the footplate of a locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway. Picture: Newman Associates PR

Archant

A treasure trove of train items collected by a pioneer of the North Norfolk Railway over half a century is to go under the hammer.

The Royal Norfolk Regiment steam locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway. Picture: NNRThe Royal Norfolk Regiment steam locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway. Picture: NNR

More than 250 lots including vintage signs, tools, signalling equipment, uniforms, railway lamps and clocks, books and timetables are to be part of a Railwayana sale at Keys Auctioneers in Aylsham on Friday, May 22.

The items were accumulated by Tony Lambert, the first ever employee of the railway, who died in 2012.

Keys expects the online auction to attract bidders from across the UK.

David Broom, from Keys, said: “Tony Lambert was a driving force in creating the wonderful heritage railway we know today.

Tony Lambert on the North Norfolk Railway, pictured in 1993. Picture: Archant LibraryTony Lambert on the North Norfolk Railway, pictured in 1993. Picture: Archant Library

“He spent his entire adult life collecting anything related to railways, and this collection provides a fascinating insight into their history during the second half of the 20th century.”

Known as the Poppy Line, the North Norfolk Railway opened as a heritage route 1975. Steam and diesel trains normally service the route between Sheringham and Holt, but the railway is not operating during the lockdown.

Mr Lambert trained as an accountant, but spent much of the spare time in his early adult life travelling from London with a group of fellow enthusiasts to create the railway.

In the early 1970s he was able to follow his dream and embark on a second career as a railwayman – becoming the Poppy Line’s first employee and moving to Sheringham.

Tony Lambert, pictured in 1995 on the North Norfolk Railway. Picture: Archant LibraryTony Lambert, pictured in 1995 on the North Norfolk Railway. Picture: Archant Library

His widow, George Lambert, who met her husband while she herself was working on the Poppy Line, said: “Tony loved everything about the North Norfolk Railway – it was his life and his passion. We lived the railway.

“Tony was engineer, shed master, train driver and ‘Fat Controller’ all rolled into one.

“He got bitten by the railway bug when he was 18, and spent his life collecting anything he could find connected to the railways.”

After Mr Lambert died his ashes were scattered in the rail yard at Weybourne Station, where there is also a plaque in memory of his work.

The auction will take place at 10.30am on bid.keysauctions.co.uk.


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