The North Norfolk Railway's Spring Steam gala was hit with atrocious weather conditions over both weekends, but the unquestionable highlight was the sight ofWissingtonworking her first trains on NNR tracks.
The former British Sugar Corporation (BSC) locomotive, which was returned to steam by volunteers of the M&GN Joint Railway Society in 2012, returned to Norfolk in early January from the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway and has been undergoing winter maintenance in Weybourne Shed over the winter.
The two gala weekends had been subject to changes outside of the NNR's control, first with the withdrawal of BR Caprotti-valved 5MT 4-6-0 73129 due to engineering issues and secondly with the withdrawal of BR 7MT 4-6-2 70013Oliver Cromwelldue to overrunning winter maintenance. The first weekend saw some extreme weather conditions with thick 'pea souper' fogs and driving rain, which flooded many adjacent fields, followed by very wintry conditions and even some snow. BR 7MT 4-6-2 70000Britanniaand BR 2MT 2-6-0 78019 also had to regretfully be withdrawn during the first weekend, which saw visiting Class 37 37518 used as a substitute. Please visit the 'Join' page if you would like to find out more information.
Following the departure of Ian Riley's Black 5 4-6-0 45407,Britanniaand Class 37 37518 on Monday 11th, GWR 4-6-0 4953Pitchford Hallwas brought in to join fellow Epping & Ongar Railway loco, GWR 2-6-2T 4141.
Amongst all this,Wissingtonstole the show with some impressive runs at the head of the Joint Heritage Coach Fund's (JHCF) ever-growing demonstration freight train. Additions to the freight this year included a restored Southern Railway brake van and GWR 'passfruit' van. The JHCF is always continuing to restore more freight wagons, current projects include a BR Conflat and AF Container and a BR 16 Ton Mineral Wagon - anyone is welcome to join the JHCF or donate towards the costs of restoring our collection of carriages and wagons.
B12 8572 took a back seat at this year's Spring Gala as she is currently undergoing attention in Weybourne Shed. J15 7565 was in service and hauled the Society's immaculate Gresley Quad-Art set for much of the event.