Revisited...the age of steam

Half a century after it 'died', a popular north Norfolk railway was back in full steam at the weekend.Fifty years after the last trains ran on the Midland and Great Northern, affectionately known as the Muddle and Get Nowhere, the heritage line that preserves some of its track and trains marked the milestone in style.

HALF a century after it "died", a popular north Norfolk railway was back in full steam at the weekend.

Fifty years after the last trains ran on the Midland and Great Northern, affectionately known as the Muddle and Get Nowhere, the heritage line that preserves some of its track and trains marked the milestone in style.

Eight engines were stoked up to haul trains along the scenic route between Sheringham and Holt for a special gala.

For some visitors who used to work on the line it was a nostalgic return.


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Among them was 85-year-old Dick Hardy, guest of honour at the official opening of the event, having worked on the railways for 42 years. He joined as a 17-year-old apprentice in 1941, in the middle of the second world war, and recalled: "Life was very hard and the job was very hard."

Mr Hardy managed 150 people and 35 engines at the shed in South Lynn from 1946, before becoming deputy and eventually manager of the huge Stratford depot in east London with 500 locos and 3,500 staff, where he oversaw the transition from steam to diesel.

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"My favourite part of the job was the thousands of men I knew. The engines were marvellous, but it was the people who were the best. It's a wonderful brotherhood."

The M and GN was born in 1893, and played a vital part in the developing north Norfolk as a holiday area, bringing in trains

full of tourists from the Midlands. But, like other branch lines, it suffered from dwindling passenger and freight traffic which deserted railways for the roads, and the final trains ran on February 28 1959. The final parts were rescued by North Norfolk Railway enthusiasts, turning it into the tourist attraction it is today.

The That's Yer Lot gala - taking

its name from the message chalked on the last train - continues next weekend.

Details and tickets fro 01263 820800 or www.nnrailway.co.uk

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