Full steam ahead for railway gala

The guard waves his green flag, the whistle blows, and with a slow, chugging sound the 9.15am train from Sheringham to Holt pulls out of the station in a cloud of coal smoke and steam.

The guard waves his green flag, the whistle blows, and with a slow, chugging sound the 9.15am train from Sheringham to Holt pulls out of the station in a cloud of coal smoke and steam.

Passengers lean out of the windows of the old crimson coaches, newspapers and packaged sandwiches forgotten, as the apple green LNER 1306 Mayflower locomotive gathers speed on the first journey of the day.

This is the beginning of That's Yer Lot, the biggest steam gala ever held on the preserved North Norfolk Railway, marking the 50th anniversary of the line's closure on February 28, 1951.

After the train departs 85-year-old Dick Hardy, who waved it away, changes into his overalls and hops onto the footplate of another engine - a familiar place for a man who worked on the railways for 42 years.


You may also want to watch:


'I started when I was 17 and a quarter, in June 1941,' he says. 'I was an apprentice during the war.

'Life was very hard and the job was very hard. I could have been called up when I was 18 but by that time we were a reserve occupation - the railway played such an important part in the war.'

Most Read

Mr Hardy, who came to the Midland and General Northern line in 1946, said his time managing 150 people and 35 engines at the sheds in South Lynn set him up for working as the deputy motive control manager in a London depot - 'the most challenging and fascinating job I faced as a young man'.

He managed 3,000 staff and 500 engines at the Stratford depot, and worked there through nationalisation and what he called 'a human revolution' - the switch from steam to diesel and, on some tracks, electricity.

'All of us had to change our way of life completely. It was a different world.

'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 gala runs on two weekends, from February 27 to March 1 and March 7 to March 8. There will be an open evening at the sheds in Weybourne, couch tours of the old Midland and General Northern line, and vintage buses running free services between Sheringham and Holt via Weybourne.

All-day hop-on, hop-off Rover tickets are �16 adults, �15 senior citizens, �10 children 5-15, and under 5s travel free. Family tickets are �45. Two-day adult tickets are �27. Coach tours cost �8 or �15 for both routes.

For more information or to book tickets for the second weekend go to www.nnrailway.co.uk or call 01263 820800.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus