Tributes paid by North Norfolk Railway to David Shepherd, the former owner of the Black Prince

David Shepherd (second left), who sold the Black Prince to the North Norfolk Railway in 2015, has di

David Shepherd (second left), who sold the Black Prince to the North Norfolk Railway in 2015, has died. He's pictured here with, from left, Friends of Black Prince officers Ben Boggis, Mark Powley and Edmund Crosthwaite, in front of the locomotive at Sheringham station. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to David Shepherd, the former owner of North Norfolk Railway's (NNR) popular Black Prince locomotive, who has died.

It was built for British Railways in 1959 and Mr Shepherd bought the engine in 1967, after a sell-out art exhibition in New York.

He owned her for just under 50 years, and when the time came the NNR became the new custodians.

Julian Birley, chairman of NNR plc, said: 'It is the end of an era. A great man who will forever be credited as one of this country's greatest pioneers of railway preservation. And in so doing brought pleasure to hundreds of thousands of people.

'David first brought his beloved Black Prince to Norfolk over 10 years ago. He loved the railway and the staff and volunteers loved him.

'The arrival of the Black Prince was a turning point in the railway's fortunes. With David's support and the immense popularity of both him and the engine, visitors came from all over the country to see them.

'Black Prince will always be known as David Shepherd's engine and for many years to come she will welcome visitors to north Norfolk never forgetting that had it not been for David, the country would have been deprived of a wonderful example of British engineering at its best.

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'Our thoughts are with David's wife Avril, their four daughters and all their families.'

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