North Norfolk Railway Spring Steam Gala
Inspired by the romance of journeys and old fashioned train travel, a visit to North Norfolk Railway had been on my list of places to visit in 2018. I’d been wanting to take a ride on an old fashioned steam train for ages, since seeing a beautiful steam train ripping through the countryside on a visit to Yorkshire a year or two ago.
And you know. Because Hogwarts Express.
I have to admit I was slightly apprehensive that my visions of a romantic afternoon on the trains would not match the reality. That, I’d feel really out of place amongst the rather serious looking trainspotters types, with their notebooks & paparazzi strength high speed zoom lenses or that the stations would be old faded remnants of a by gone time. You know, like the dated museums you were forced to endure on school trips as a child. Filled with old, uninspiring artefacts and dusty nick-nacks.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We arrived in Sheringham and parked up and headed to the station to buy our tickets. The station and platforms were decorated with pretty flowers and vintage suitcases, which really added to the pre war vibe.
We headed to the platform to board the train just as a locomotive was pulling into the station to refuel and hook up with the carriages.
It was really interesting to watch this and I was struck by the sheer ingenuity of past engineering technology.
We boarded the train and stepped up into a gorgeous carriage, spotless with polished wood and brass fittings. After a few moments, the train headed out of the station and out towards Weybourne & Holt. The chug chugging of the train as it headed into the countryside was comforting and had a strangely calming effect. Clouds of steam billowed out from the locomotive, with the whistle blowing (much to my delight!).
As the train gently rolled through the North Norfolk countryside, passing the golfers at the golf club and out into fields past windmills and villages, I was struck that we were seeing parts of Norfolk that we wouldn’t normally discover from the car or road. I’d like to come back to this part of the world to explore some more on foot.
At Holt station we disembarked and had a mooch around the station and museum. We also looked around the pretty but tiny Railway Cottage, which has been lovingly restored. It’s well worth a visit – hard to believe it was home to a family of five.
Also at the station are a picnic area and miniature railway & gift shop.
We then headed back to Sheringham station to continue with the rest of our plans for the day. All in all, we spent a wonderful few hours on the North Norfolk railway, it wasn’t stuffy at all. From the trainspotters lurking in every field and embankment, to the volunteer stationmasters & train drivers, everyone looked so genuinely happy to be taking part in the gala and their enthusiasm and friendliness was infectious. It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement….!
And of course the trains and locomotives were the real stars of the show. Most of them have been lovingly restored back to their former glory. If only all train journeys could be like this!
Well worth a visit if you get the opportunity.
So, has the power of steam worked its magic on you? Have you visited North Norfolk Railway? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you…..!
Til the next time.