A 104-year-old steam locomotive has arrived at the North Norfolk Railway (NNR) in readiness for the half-term opening of the line.
‘Hercules', named after the mythical Greek hero famed for his strength, was built for the Great Western Railway at the Swindon works in 1920. Numbered 4277, the locomotive made the journey from her usual home at the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway in south Devon to Sheringham station on the NNR.
Half-term running begins on Saturday 17 February and continues until Sunday 25 February. Trains will be running along the length of the line which connects Sheringham with Holt.
The engine was designed to haul heavy coal trains in the South Wales valleys and was based at Aberbeeg for the greater part of her life but, after withdrawal from service in 1964, made the often fateful journey to Barry scrapyard.
In June 1986, after waiting 22 years at the scrapyard, 4277 was saved and restored to full working order. She worked on a number of heritage lines before finding her present home after she was purchased by the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway in 2008.
‘Hercules', however, will not be alone on the line this half-term as she will be sharing the limelight with NNR's award-winning heritage railcar M56182. The railcar returned to service in September last year, a full 36 years since she last carried passengers.
Built in 1957, a nine-year restoration project landed the NNR with a silver award from the Railcar Association. She is also a finalist in the prestigious Heritage Railway Association Awards. The front-facing windows of the railcar allow passengers to see a driver's-eye view of the line ahead.
Younger visitors to the line during half-term will be able to explore the railway and may pick up free activity sheets, including I-Spy and draw your own comic strip, amongst others.
Graham Hukins, the NNR's Commercial Manager, said: “We are delighted to have ‘Hercules' with us this springtime and are sure the powerful, 104-year-old engine will look the part hauling our steam-era carriages. We're also looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the railway for half-term with activity booklets for children including I-spy challenges, puzzles and draw your own comic strip, while for adults our travel guides highlight what to see at each station.”