Open invite: Calling all Norfolk railway employees
- Credit: Archant Library
The railway family are getting together again for the first time in three years on Friday (May 13)… and if you were part of the family then this is your invitation to join the party.
The Norwich Loco Welfare Fund has kindly sponsored the reunion of the footplate staff and colleagues from other grades and depots are all very welcome to join former colleagues for a long overdue catch-up.
There has always been a special bond of friendship between all those who worked on the vast railway network which criss-crossed Norfolk.
Drivers, conductors, engineers, porters, controllers, shunters, signalmen, caterers, firemen, office staff, managers, cleaners and many more.
From steam to diesel and electric there have been so many changes – and short-sighted closures – over the years but the comradeship remains.
It wasn’t so much a job. More a way of life. Keeping the city and county on the move. Passengers, goods and mail.
One man who did more than most to keep the family together was the late John Pipe who organised the annual gatherings before he died ten years ago and driver Chris Pearson, along with Peter Bacon, took over the reins.
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Former driver and talented boxer John lived at Hellesdon and was married to Jean. He was a great character and a lovely man who became a good friend.
John, a proud father and grandfather, spent most of his career on the railways and had been chairman of the Norwich branch of ASLEF and founder member of the Norwich Loco Welfare Fund.
“We are all part of a big family and I hope we can do all we can to look after each other,” John once told me.
And he reflected: “Its’s amazing now when you look at Riverside in Norwich, with all the shops and houses, and remember how it was with all the engine sheds and other railway buildings.”
There was a time when Norwich has three stations, Thorpe, Victoria and City, while Great Yarmouth had Beach, Southtown and Vauxhall.
Most of our towns and many villages had their own stations… today too many are just part of local history.
The reunion is taking place at Sprowston Sports & Leisure Club, Blue Boar Lane, Norwich, NR7 8RY on Friday May 13 from 5pm to 9pm. There will be a free buffet and a bar is also available. More details from Chris Pearson on 01362 691045 or 07776 123206.
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