VIP guests steam in to Bure Valley Railway for 21st anniversary

Visitors from across the county have been flocking to Bure Valley Railway today to enjoy a reminiscent chug down the tracks as the line celebrates its 21st anniversary.

But among the rail enthusiasts and scores of families the station in Aylsham is also poised to welcome some very special guests.

Richard Batten was the first train driver to venture onto the line when it opened in July 1990, and is due to take a nostalgic ride when he visits from his home in Kent tomorrow. And throughout the weekend the railway is one again hosting Samson, the 1920s locomotive which hauled the first train on the line's maiden journey.

When it first opened Bure Valley, which trundles from Aylsham to Wroxham, ran borrowed engines from the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in Kent, but engineers now build and maintain the line's specially designed fleet of locomotives.

Visitors across Saturday and Sunday will enjoy increased services as well a look inside the railway's workshop during the celebrations.

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Andrew Barnes, Bure Valley director, said: 'It's been very, very busy this morning. It's a mixture of locals coming to reminisce and see the engines they would remember when the line first opened and also people that haven't been back since it opened.

'We have also had enthusiasts who want to see the engines and we're still seeing holidaymakers who are intrigued to see what it's all about.'

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Mr Barnes said the line had 'fairly traumatic' beginnings after it went through five different owners in its first five years of opening, but it is now going from strength to strength carrying 127,000 passengers a year.

? For more information about the anniversary celebrations running across the weekend visit

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