76084's Main Line Debut, 10 August 2016

Having fitted and passed all three main line safety systems fit for use and ensured 76084's mechanical soundness for main line running all that remained to be done was set a date. The North Norfolk Railway whom we have come to regard as our partners have long held the vision of running into or out of Cromer some 5 miles beyond their present end point of Sheringham.

With the precedent set by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway of running beyond Grosmount some 6 miles into Whitby ustilising motive power that simply has TPWS on board the NNR want to replicate this practice. Such motive power has been christened as running on Main Line Light safety systems.

And so a date was set for 76084 to haul a North Norfolkman dining train that started at Sheringham from Cromer to Holt returning to Sheringham on Wednesday 10th August 2016. For 76084 Locomotive Company Limited this represents another significant milestone in their locomotive's working life in preservation and the culmination of a 3 year long fundraising appeal to pay for the main line safety systems. The Company is pleased to have worked with Unipart Rail in developing and installing their TPWSfour system which meets the latest European railway safety standards.

The logistics for these runs out of Cromer are quite interesting.

Because it is Network Rail track that the train runs on the footplate crew have to be from an approved Train Operating Company. There are only two that can operate steam hauled stock and only one of those can operate vacuum braked rolling stock. The latter company being West Coast Railway Company provided footplate crews. To make the economics look some bit like making a profit these steam hauled dining trains were operated on two successive days. There were 2 trains on the 10th August and 2 more on the 11th. The first train was for VIPs and invited quests with the subsequent trains filled by the public. Lunches were served on the early train and crab salads on the later ones. Further back-to-back days are planned for 7th and 8th September.

The Network Rail Cromer Station has no run-round facilities so a second engine (and crew) was used to drag the dining train to Cromer for 76084 to haul the loaded train back.

A Class 20 diesel locomotive dragged the consist to Cromer. The Class 20 diesel number 20227 presently sports a unique London Underground livery and is owned by the Class 20 Preservation Society.

We hope to be able to run a little further a field in due course but right now we will enjoy 76084's short runs from Cromer with relish.

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