North Yorkshire Moors Railway to operate Sheringham-Cromer steam services

THE North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) is to expand its main line sphere of operation, having teamed up with the North Norfolk Railway (NNR) to work this summer’s Holt-Sheringham-Cromer dining trains commencing on July 5.

Following the successful four-date trial last year when the trains were worked by West Coast Railways, the NNR approached the NYMR in an effort to capitalise on its experience of running regular steam between Grosmont and Whitby. Former NYMR general manager Philip Benham has been instrumental in facilitating the arrangement, and as a result the two railways have teamed up in an extraordinary act of goodwill that will see the ‘North Norfolkman’ services operated under the NYMR’s passenger operating licence.

To expedite the operation the NYMR has been required to amend its non-main line safety certificate with the Office of Rail & Road, which subsequently issued a revised safety certificate to include Sheringham and Cromer on March 30.

The NYMR stands to make no commercial gain from partnership, and instead is working on a staged approach that that will see the diners operated by the NYMR in the first instance. The second stage will see the NYMR assist the NNR to develop its own passenger licence and safety certificate applications, thereby enabling the Norfolk line to take over the operation of trains over Network Rail metals.

A traction inspector, who coincidentally is a driver on both the Moors line and the NNR, has been appointed, having been passed out under the NYMR’s competency. Loco and train crews for the trains will be drawn primarily from existing NNR volunteers and employees. These will be trained and assessed to work over the Network Rail link in accordance with NYMR’s safety procedures by the traction inspector. The NYMR will also provide a duty manager to supervise operations on the ground.

Commenting on the partnership, NYMR general manager Chris Price said: “It is a fantastic thing for the NYMR to be able to reach our hands across the table to the NNR as they embark on the exciting project of running regular services to Cromer.

“Our experience of working with, and operating over, Network Rail allows us to not only assist the NNR in realising a long-held dream, but will also allow them to develop and eventually get their own operating certificate while we benefit through the exchange of ideas.”

These sentiments were echoed by Hugh Harkett, NNR managing director, who said: “We are most grateful to our friends at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, not only for their willingness to share their experience, but also their readiness to help us to get started by taking on the role of train operator. We believe that collaboration of this nature between two heritage railways is unprecedented, and it is our hope that both railways will benefit from working so closely together.”

The NNR plans to operate ten ‘North Norfolkman’ dining trains during the year, which like last year will be top-and-tailed owing to the lack of run-round facilities at Cromer. BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-0 No. 76084 and Class 20 No. 20227 will handle the services for the most part, with Gresley ‘N2’ 0-6-2T No. 1744 joining them at a later date. The locomotive is currently at Tyseley Locomotive Works for the fitting of new main steam pipes as well as the necessary Train Protection Warning System, On Train Monitoring Recorder equipment and GSM-R radio required for working over Network Rail lines.

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