Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Over the weekend of the 13-15th June the North Norfolk Railway (the 'Poppy Line'), held its annual Summer Diesel Gala with an intense set of passenger services. 
Usually trains operate every 45-minutes from 0945 to around 1700-hours dependent upon the time of year. On this occasion the Friday and Saturday trains were running approximately every 30-minutes from 0815-1700 then 45-minutes to 1930 and two later trains in each direction hourly till 2200-hours. On the Sunday trains ran similar headways but only until around 1830-hours.
Class 08, 14, 20, 31, 37 and 40s were in operation, being a mixture of the line's own engines, plus a number of visiting diesel locomotives.

Actually the weekend's events began around 1600-hours on the Thursday afternoon (12th), when a convoy of four diesels arrived via the Network Rail line up from Norwich via Wroxham, North Walsham and Cromer. In the lead on the approach to Sheringham brightly coloured Colas Rail Freight 37219 heads the convoy very slowly (5mph) towards the level crossing. 
Built at their premises in Newton-le-Willows in 1963, this English Electric type 3 apparently made its first run out in Colas colours over mainline rails on this day as it travelled over from the Met-Cammell premises at Washwood Heath.

Bringing up the rear though a Class 50 50007 (Hercules), which had actually led the convoy up as far as Cromer. However, owing to the line layout at that railway station, the convoy reversed with the Class 37 at the front on the approach to Sheringham. Privately owned the locomotive was only recently been restored in the British Rail blue livery. It made a debut at the Mid Norfolk Railway in early April.

50007 having delivered its charges to the line, was then rested at Weybourne Station for the duration and for a while was left head to head with 37219. Design aspects are shown here along with a little hint of 'steam' in the background.

One of the NNR's own Class 37s D6732 in British Rail green livery contrasts with the bright yellow and orange of the Colas 37.

A plethora of diesels meet up at Weybourne with a mixture of Classes 08, 31, 37 and 55 in evidence.

A couple of smaller diesels in attendance from the local collections. A Class 08 and Class 14 seen here at Weybourne Station.

The Class 08 provides one of the many Brake Van rides over the three days, run over a short section of line either side of Weybourne Station. These ran between the x30mins headway of trains on the line towards Sheringham. In the background can be seen some of the engine and carriage sheds. Over on the right a Class 25 number 25057 originally D5207 was due to be in service, but was replaced at the 11th hour. This was built in 1963 at the Derby Works and withdrawn from British Rail service in 1987.

From the west end of Sheringham Station and just shy of the road bridge one can look towards the signal box. Here the incoming Class 14 diesel is shown as it approaches the set of points to Platforms 1 and 2.

And from the road bridge looking east a full view of Sheringham Station with the Class 40 D306 (Atlantic Conveyor), as it awaits departure time from Platform 1. At the far end of the platforms one can just make out the level crossing that leads out onto the Network Rail lines and their own single platform station.

 Back at Weybourne Station and the Brake Van rides continue apace from Platform 2.

The driver of the Class 08 diesel  D5940 awaits passengers for the next Brake Van ride beside the canopy over Platform 2, with the sweet smell of roses on Platform 1 mingling with the fuel fumes. Another built at the Derby Works, this time in 1960.

Class 14 diesel D9531 runs beneath the road bridge just to the west of Sheringham Station. The locomotive was built at Swindon Works during 1965 and loaned from the East Lancs Railway, where is was named 'Ernest'.

And the other side of the same engine as it pulls away from Weybourne Station bound for Holt.

Visiting diesel Class 20 D8059 arrives at Platform 2 in Sheringham.

And after a run round the loop at Sheringham, the Class 20 heads off back to Weybourne and Holt passing over one of the bankings adjacent to the A149 roadway.

The North Norfolk Railway had several of their own locomotives on duty throughout the weekend. Among them Class 31 D5631 shown here as it approaches Weybourne Station from the Holt direction. The locomotive is Brush built at Loughborough in 1960 and was a regular sight on the rail network throughout East Anglia.

At the same location and from the same direction another from the NNR's own collection. This time a Class 37 English Electric number D6732 built in 1962 at Newton-le-Willows heads a line of DMUs. At one stage the locomotive was named 'Mirage'.

Atlantic Conveyor Class 40 number D306 powers over the rails between Weybourne and Sheringham on the Friday afternoon, leaning slightly as it adjusts to the camber of the line.

Two more views of Class 40 D306 passing between semaphores (above), west of Weybourne Station, and along the straight (below), east of the same station. The upper image shows a cross on one of the signals, this to show the extent to which the Class 08 diesel's Brake Van trips could run. The backdrop to the lower image is the North Norfolk coastline and the North Sea.  

A set of DMUs were also out during the Gala, but not 'in power', but hauled at times by various locomotives.This is Class 101 51192 currently on loan to the NNR.

But all too soon the event was at an end. At 1000-hours on the Monday morning after the most splendid of weekends, the time came for the early convoy of visiting diesels to make the return journey from whence they had come. The gentle thrum of the Colas 37 could be heard as it sat in Sheringham Station beside Platform 1, as it prepared to lead the convoy out of the station.

Similar Class 40 D306 coupled up and ready for the off beside the canopy and memorabilia of Platform 1.

All coupled up and ready to roll, Class 40 D306 and Class 20 D8059.

Pushing hard 50007 slowly encourages the convoy away from Platform 1 and towards the level crossing that link the NNR to the Network Rail line.

And so we bid farewell for another year's diesel event as 50007 glides sedately over the level crossing, with a large crowd bidding it and the rest of the convoy a well deserved 'bon voyage'.

The event was organised by volunteers of the Weybourne Traction Group and sponsored by Railways Illustrated Magazine


'The Titfield Moment', when quite by chance, circumstances led to a reminder of events in 1952 and 2012. This can now be viewed here

No comments:

Post a Comment