Conjuring up 1940s spirit


North Norfolk Railway celebrates the 1940S.

The North Norfolk Railway’s Steam Back to The Forties weekend is set to return this weekend with a host of activities on and off the tracks that recall the atmosphere of the turbulent decade.

The weekend (September 17-18) will feature live music, stunning classic vehicles, vintage trade stands, historical displays and wartime fashions, all accompanied by an intensive train service. The main exhibition site will be adjacent to Holt Station, where more than 85 military vehicles, a full-size replica Spitfire and an array of vintage cars will be on show. Visitors will be able to get a flavour of the decade through historical displays including military camps, period firefighting and Scouts’ demonstrations. The distinctive music of the era will also feature The Knightingales, the Skyliner Big Band and Sarah Mai among the line-up on the main stage, which sees performances from 10am to 4pm on both days. The exhibition field will also house a wide range of trade stalls selling vintage clothing, homewares, accessories, jewellery and ephemera as well as a selection of food and drink stands.

A half-hourly train service will operate between Sheringham and Holt with rover tickets allowing passengers to hop on and off all day to travel behind the four steam locomotives scheduled to be in action. Visiting Great Western Railway engine No 4270 is among those scheduled to be working. The engine was built in 1919 to work heavy goods trains and currently sports the characteristic green livery carried by many GWR locomotives in the 1940s. War Department ‘Austerity’ locomotive dating from 1943 and one of a type designed to be built cheaply during wartime is also likely to be running. The engine was originally shipped to Egypt and later worked in Greece before being repatriated and in the 1980s and restored. 

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The activities extend the length of the line with Weybourne Station hosting further historical displays including military camps depicting the Royal Armoured Corps, Long Range Desert Group, Special Air Service and Airborne activities, as well as displays detailing the roles of allied women throughout the Second World War. There will be live music from The Swingtones and Three Bits of Rhythm and a variety of food and drink.

At Sheringham Station, musical entertainment will include Mailman, Ashlea Lauren and Miss Nina Taylor, and passengers will also be able to see displays about American air forces many of which were stationed in East Anglia. Bygone buses will run to Holt to supplement the train service.

Commercial manager Graham Hukins said: “We are looking forward to transporting visitors back eight decades and recreating the distinctive sights and sounds of the 1940s. Many of our exhibitors and re-enactors are in period costume and many visitors join in by dressing in the style of the era, so it really is a great spectacle.”

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