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Norfolk railway pioneer’s collection sells for more than £12,000

PUBLISHED: 11:19 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 28 May 2020

Tony Lambert pictured on the footplate of a locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway. Pictures: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers/Lambert family

Tony Lambert pictured on the footplate of a locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway. Pictures: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers/Lambert family

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A Norfolk railway pioneer’s collection sold for more than £12,000 at auction.

Rare 1893 Midland & Great Northern enamel sign, sold for £480. Pictures: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers/Lambert familyRare 1893 Midland & Great Northern enamel sign, sold for £480. Pictures: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers/Lambert family

It was accumulated over half a century by Tony Lambert, the first employee of the North Norfolk Railway (NNR), also known as the Poppy Line.

Known as ‘Mr North Norfolk Railway’, Mr Lambert was a driving force in creating the heritage railway, working as a volunteer and then employee for over 40 years.

Railway enthusiasts from all over Britain came together online to bid, with over 250 lots going under the hammer for a combined total of more than £12,000.

Vintage signs, tools, signalling equipment, uniforms, railway lamps and clocks, books and timetables, photographs and paintings, timetables and train driver’s handbooks all featured in the auction, held by Aylsham-based Keys auctioneers and valuers.

Great Northern Railway clock, sold for £750. Pictures: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers/Lambert familyGreat Northern Railway clock, sold for £750. Pictures: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers/Lambert family

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Star lots included a rare Midland and Great Northern Railways blue enamel sign dating from 1893, which despite measuring just 20cm by 13cm, sold for £480, and a Great Northern Railway clock from Leeds, which sold for £570.

The auction was streamed live on Keys’ online bidding platform, KeysLive.

David Broom, of Keys, said: “The attention this sale received was testament both to the respect that Tony Lambert was held in throughout the railway community, and the quality of the collection which he amassed during his lifetime.

“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.”

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 NNR. 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.

He died on Christmas Eve 2012, and his ashes are scattered in the yard at Weybourne, where a plaque commemorates his pivotal role in creating the Poppy Line.

The NNR is a 5.25-mile (8.45km) heritage steam railway, running between Sheringham and Holt.


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