Supporters’ Day 2018 – Back Story

The date for our very first Supporter’s Day was agreed with the North Norfolk Railway (NNR) 12 months before. The change of name from Shareholder’s Day came about because we now have financial support from individuals new to the Company since we decided to stop issuing shares.

From the very day the date was set it was decided to change the format of the event by having 2 round trips on the Railway and then utilise 76084 in the Sheringham Station environs for short cab rides/driver experiences. A month before the event all was going to plan.

Then on 18 July 76084 set 4 lineside fires in 5 minutes.

Away from the NNR the railway rumour factory had 76084 operating with a bent ashpan and hence the fires. It certainly was the case that our locomotive had a warped ashpan between July 2017 and January 2018, but it was not only replaced by a new one made of higher specification heat resistant metal but (for want of a better term) sprinklers were fitted around the ashpan so that hot ashes could be quenched. Because of the fires, an image of one made national news, the local Fire and Rescue Service suggested a ban on steam operations in general and 76084 in particular. So, diesel only operations began until Monday, 30 July when this policy was reviewed.

Two weeks before our event the NNR management were considering postponing or even cancelling the event due to the continued warm weather. Neither option was attractive to the Company as it was known that one shareholder was travelling from New Zealand and another new supporter from France. Diesel motive power may have to suffice with a trip round Weybourne Running Shed to see our pride and joy.

On the Monday 30 July after the first rains had been experienced in the UK for two months a decision to operate steam locomotives on trains banked by a diesel for propulsion up Kelling Bank was made. So, on Saturday 4 August 2018 two steam locomotives were in service but as Gary Hayhoe reports below it was the other locomotive (WD 2-10-0 90775 ‘The Royal Norfolk Regiment’) that set a very small fire in the afternoon.

We were in reserved coaches on a service train and 76084 was required to stay on as motive power for the entire day so the short cab rides/driving experiences didn’t happen. No one was disappointed. The Railway had to be congratulated for the professional way they handled difficult circumstances.

The volunteers who looked after the catering did a marvellous job with all the 76084 supporters leaving with broad smiles on their faces.

As a footnote the farmer worst affect by the lineside fires ploughed a 6-metre-wide strip through his fields along both sides of the railway to act as a fire break.

My 76084 Supporters’ Day

By Gary Hayhoe

The trip to the North Norfolk started at Bedlington Station at 4am to pick up Mal Rutter then down to Hollystone roundabout to pick up Dave Freeman then via the Tyne Tunnel to Jun 63 Chester-le-street for me (Gary) at 04.35am as Phil Champion was not available due to illness we were on our way. We arrived at Whetherby services at 05.40 for a 20 minute break then on to Sheringham arriving at 9.20am our best time yet.

A ban on the use of steam locomotives had been lifted on Wednesday 1st August so 2 trains were running both top and tailed WD 90775 with 6 coaches and East Lancs Railway’s Class 14 D9537 ‘Eric’ on rear. Our train had 6 coaches, numbers 1969 used by NNR catering staff, 4372 (our personal coach) then  4958, 4641, 4651 and 3514. 76084 leading with 20227 now named ‘Sherlock Homes’ on the rear.

At 10.30 we were off with tea or coffee and Danish pastries (yummy) being served. At Weybourne the 2 trains passed then off to Holt where a good number of people “cabbed” 76084 (see images above) and cab rides were available for a few of our “members” back to Sheringham. The view of the sun-kissed Norfolk landscape was a smashing sight but you could see why there had been a ban on steam traction along the trackside and across a couple of fields! Our second trip from Sheringham and the catering staff were back at work with a good variety of sandwiches, sausages and quiches on offer. Our second departure from Holt and it was tea or coffee and cakes on offer. At Sheringham it was time for the group photo (see above also)!!

We were only down for 2 round trips but the steam locomotives were kept on for a 3rd trip so back to Holt we went. On our return we were delayed outside Weybourne due to the WD 90775 starting a small lineside fire between Sheringham and Weybourne. On arrival at Weybourne 76084 came off our train for 20227 to carry on alone. 90775 would carry on to Holt and would come off on its return to Weybourne.

A huge thank you to all the staff at the North Norfolk Railway for a great day.We were on our way home at 3.50 a short stop at Wetherby then back on the road with Chester-le-Street arrival at 8.20 our driver Tony was on good form and helped to make the trip a success.