December 9 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, August 29, 2013
A star loco will be missing from a railway gala in Norfolk this weekend after being marooned by engineering works elsewhere in the country.
The Tornado - a brand new version of an A1 mainline loco - was due to be the highlight of the North Norfolk Railway September steam gala.
But it is stuck in Hampshire, where it was having routine maintenance, after signal engineering works over the Bank Holiday weekend overran and blocked its progress - with buses replacing all rail traffic on the line at Alton near Aldershot.
The blow has angered the Tornado charity’s chairman Mark Allatt, who said they were “enormously disappointed” at not being able to get to North Norfolk and were “in conversations” with Network Rail about the overrunning works.
The blockage would incur extra costs for the A1 Trust in moving the engine to its next tour location - but it was hoping to get to the North Norfolk Railway as soon as possible.
Railway general manager Trevor Eady said: “Efforts continued late into the night Wednesday to try to find a way of ensuring Tornado could attend the gala.
“The visit was to be one of the highlights of the event. However Oliver Cromwell on its first gala visit has arrived and will be supported by a cast including the newly refurbished 76084 Standard 4, the N2 visiting from the Great Central, the B12, Black 5 45337 and GWR tank 5619.”
A spokesman for the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance said: “Work to upgrade signalling equipment as part of a £20m investment in the railway in the Alton and Guildford area was delayed over the Bank Holiday weekend, resulting in all trains – including passenger and freight - being unable to run in the area until work is completed later this week.
“As a result the Tornado steam train is unable to access the network to make its journey to Norfolk. We have looked at all options to get around this – including transporting the engine by road – but there is no viable solution. We have been in discussion with North Norfolk Railway and apologise for the disappointment this will cause. We will do all we can to assist with any future events to help make amends for this unfortunate situation.”
■Information about the gala is at www.nnrailway.co.uk