Visiting locomotives are announced for North Norfolk Railway Gala

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The North Norfolk Railway has announced details of two locomotives scheduled to visit for its “Rails & Ales” event which runs on 7, 8 and 9 June this year.

Class 50, 50008 Thunderer and Class 33, 33012 Lt. Jenny Lewis RN are anticipated to arrive at the Poppy Line as part of a Hanson & Hall rail tour, and are planned to be part of the line’s 8 plus locomotive line up alongside a visiting London Underground 4TC set.

All arrangements are subject to contract with Class 50, 50008, “Thunderer”, provided courtesy of Hanson & Hall. Built at the English Electric Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows in 1968, its primary purpose was to haul crack expresses on the then non-electrified part of the West Coast Main Line from Preston to Glasgow. In 1974 the overhead wires reached Glasgow and the Class 50s were transferred to the Western region, with the locomotive moving first to Bristol, then to Plymouth Laira in 1976 for express services from London to Devon and Cornwall. In 1978 it was named “Thunderer” after the Royal Navy warship, continuing to be based out of Laira until final withdrawal in 1992 when it entered preservation. Since then, the engine has been restored to mainline standards and can be seen across the UK working for Hanson & Hall Rail.

The second visitor Class 33, 33012, “Lt Jenny Lewis RN”, courtesy of the 71A Locomotive Group, is based at the Swanage Railway. 33012 was built in 1960 as part of an order for the Southern region of British Railways and spent it’s entire working life on the Southern region until withdrawal in 1997. During preservation the engine has mainly lived at the Swanage Railway in Dorset, however has been restored to mainline standards, and can be seen on duties across the national network. In June 2014, the locomotive was named “Lt. Jenny Lewis RN” to commemorate Lt. Lewis who passed away in active Royal Navy service, and was a fan of the Class 33s.

Interim General Manager, Graham Hukins, said “We are very grateful to the owners for making both 50008 and 33012 available for the event – neither locomotive has hauled passenger trains on the Poppy Line before so we are pleased to be able to offer this unique opportunity to enthusiasts, local residents and holidaymakers alike. The addition of the 4TC set is equally exciting and we are thrilled to be able to offer passengers another different experience on the line.”

Away from the tracks, ales will feature at each of the line’s three stations and on certain trains with Sheringham and Holt Stations both having a selection of bottled beers and ciders on offer, while further brews and other on board refreshments will be available from the buffet cars on selected trains. Weybourne Station will host a real ale bar, giving visitors the opportunity to hop on and off the many trains and discover around 25 beers & ciders across the three stations on each day.

A London Underground 4TC set is also planned to be in attendance at the North Norfolk Railway’s event; 4TC stands for four coaches, trailer control, and were built as part of the 1967 Bournemouth electrification programme. The sets are completely unpowered, but wiring and controls to allow them to be driven from other multiple units, and specially modified class 33/1 locomotives fitted for push-pull operation.