Tragic rail engineer remembered

Richard BatsonRailway enthusiast David Pinkerton died in a tragic accident as he led a project to rebuild a bridge on a popular tourist steam line.He was just 28 when he suffered a fatal at bridge 303 in north Norfolk 25 years ago.Richard Batson

Railway enthusiast David Pinkerton died in a tragic accident as he led a project to rebuild a bridge on a popular tourist steam line.

He was just 28 when he suffered a fatal fall at bridge 303 in north Norfolk 25 years ago.

At the weekend his memory was kept alive when a new track maintenance loco was named after him - in front of proud family, friends and colleagues.

Mr Pinkerton, who lived at Worlds End Cottages, North Walsham had worked for British Rail for 12 years as a Norwich-based engineer, but had also been a volunteer at the Poppy Line steam railway for six - devoting most of his spare time to it.


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Four years earlier he offered to find a new bridge to replace the worn out one at Weybourne on the North Norfolk Railway line between Sheringham and Holt.

He spearheaded the work to find one - from Shippea Hill near Ely - modify it and put it into place.

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But on October 30 1984 - while taking a second week of holiday to drive the project forward - he tumbled off planking and fractured his skull on the verge and road below, an inquest was later told.

Mr Pinkerton's passion for railways went beyond Norfolk, as he provided technical help for other preservation lines around the country.

'Pinky' as he was known to his friends, was also heavily involved in the church, as churchwarden at North Walsham and organist, and the town's youth centre.

His name is already emblazoned along the railway - on a bench at Weybourne station and at the bridge itself.

Now, at the 25th anniversary of his death, it is also on the 28-tonne TRAM track repair unit, which was 'sold' to the railway by engineering firm Balfour Beatty for the sum of �1.

During a short ceremony the Rev William Hill, the son of a railway station master before joining the church, stepped on to the platform scales as his 'pulpit' to praise the memory of David - a bright, bubbly and busy young man who played a part in the resurrection of the railway line.

His mother Jean and brother Matthew unveiled the plaque, before the party rode on a train, which stopped briefly at the fateful bridge, where there is a wreath in place.

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