The North Norfolk Railway has announced that its popular Spring Steam Gala will return once again on 14, 15 and 16 April. This year, the event will feature five locomotives including special guest No. 34028 “Eddystone” which will join the home fleet for three days of intensive service, on a visit to the Poppy Line away from its home at the Swanage Railway.


The classic 1940s express steam locomotive usually hauls trains at the Dorset-based railway between Norden, Corfe Castle and Swanage, having returned to the line in Spring 2021 after a substantial three-year overhaul that cost owners Southern Locomotives Limited around £350,000. The engine was originally built to work the Southern Railway’s prestigious express trains including services to Exeter and the West Country and later also worked on the famous Somerset and Dorset Railway.


“Eddystone” will be in steam on all three days of the event which will feature an intensive service of passenger and good trains, selected double-heading, non-stop expresses and other unusual workings. Five engines are scheduled to be out each day with the railway hoping to confirm a second visitor to join some of the Poppy Line’s home fleet joining 34028 to allow passengers to enjoy a wide variety of contrasting locomotives and over 9 hours of on track entertainment each day.


Resident engines in action are likely to be centenarian GER Class Y14 No. 564; 1957-built BR Standard 4MT No. 76084; and powerful 2-10-0 locomotive, No. 92203 “Black Prince”.


The North Norfolk’s 1950s 4-car suburban set will be amongst the rolling stock in use while the line’s magnificently restored vintage train of four- and six- wheeled carriages, some dating from Victorian times, will also make an appearance. The line is also expecting to have its unique 1920s LNER Quad-Art articulated teak-bodied carriages available for passengers to travel on throughout the event.


On-train catering including the ever popular breakfast option will return to this year’s gala. One, two and three-day rover tickets are available for the special event which sees trains running from approximately 9.00am until early evening.  One day tickets are £25.00 when booked in advance while two days unlimited travel is £47.50 and the full three days will cost just £60.00.


The Railway’s standard services will run on most days between April and October. Trains run through 5½ miles of wonderful scenery between the Victorian resort of Sheringham and the Georgian town of Holt. Full details and timetables can be found at www.nnrailway.co.uk and passengers booking online in advance receive a generous discount.

Photo Shows: Southern Railway rebuilt West Country Class Bulleid Pacific No. 34028 ‘Eddystone’. Photo – Jack Phipps.