Full steam ahead for new chairman

IT was full steam ahead for Breckland Council's new chairman Linda Monument when she held her civic reception on board a train run by volunteers in a preservation group.

By RICHARD PARR

IT was full steam ahead for Breckland Council's new chairman Linda Monument when she held her civic reception on board a train run by volunteers in a preservation group.

More than 100 guests travelled on the steam train which is operated by the Mid Norfolk Railway Society (MNRS).

Mrs Monument, who has been in office for two months, explained that for her chairman's reception she wanted to offer her guests something a little different this year.

“As I live in Dereham close to the railway, it seem an appropriate venue, particularly as Breckland provided the Mid Norfolk Railway Society with funding many years ago to help get the venue off the ground,” she said.

She added: “The Society's dedicated army of volunteers have put in an incredible amount of work over the years restoring the line, renovating trains and stations and manning the service - even the engine drivers are trained volunteers. It is a real pleasure to see just how much they have achieved.”

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Guests, including Norfolk's deputy lieutenant Jill Scott, Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman and mayors and civic leaders of Norfolk towns, Breckland councillors and representatives of the Armed Forces, joined the train at Dereham station.

They were given a commentary as they travelled through the Breckland and South Norfolk countryside on Saturday and enjoyed a fish and chip supper.

Watching the uncoupling and re-coupling of the steam engine in preparation for the return journey, was all part of the fun for some of the guests, who got off to take photographs before the return journey back to Dereham.

Mrs Monument and her guests travelled on the 0-6-0 Western Region pannier tank steam engine, which is owned by MNRS member Dennis Howells and loaned by the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. It was built for British Rail in 1952 and will be in service on the Mid-Norfolk line during the summer.

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