Initial indications are that the North Norfolk Railway’s autumn steam gala was the best supported since the visit of Tornado back in 2013.
Marketing manager Trevor Eady said: “Passenger numbers over the weekend of September 1-3 were good and apart from a short delay to services late on Friday the weekend went with almost perfect timing.
“Locomotives featured included visiting S&D 7F 2-8-0 No. 53809, courtesy of its owner John Moorhouse and the West Somerset Railway.”
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However WD 2-8-0 No. 90733, due to attend from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, was unable to appear and the planned black WD doubleheader could not take place.
All the arrangements for the appearance of the locomotive had been made which included the railway’s haulage contractor submitting a Movement Order to West Yorkshire Police within the laid-down timescale.
Based on the detail contained in the Movement Order, the Police determine whether a police escort is required which it was in this case as the load weighed more than 80 tonnes and was carried on a transporter combination of more than seven axles.
At this point the West Yorkshire Police informed the haulage contractor that due to other commitments including the Leeds Festival over the bank holiday weekend, there were no officers available to provide such an escort until September 12 at the earliest. Both the haulage contractor and railway escalated this within the police organisation but to no avail.
The requirement for a police escort through West Yorkshire is mandatory for loads of this size, whereas elsewhere the haulage contractors are permitted to provide their own escort team.
The railway arranged a replacement visiting locomotive in the shape of GWR 0-6-0PT No. 7714 from the Severn Valley Railway, which was obtained from the National Coal Board’s Penallta Colliery in 1973 and after a lengthy restoration, steamed for the first time at the SVR in 1992.
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