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18th May 2020
Tony Lambert pictured on the footplate of a locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway

A huge collection of railway-related items amassed by one of the pioneers of the North Norfolk railway is to go under the hammer in Norfolk this week.

Over 250 lots comprising vintage signs, tools, signalling equipment, uniforms, railway lamps and clocks, books and timetables, photographs and paintings, timetables and train driver’s handbooks make up the ‘Railwayana’ Sale at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers in Aylsham on Friday 22nd May.

The collection was accumulated over half a century by Tony Lambert, the first ever employee of the North Norfolk Railway, who died in 2012.  It is expected to attract train enthusiast bidders from all over the UK.  The auction will be held live on Keys’ online bidding platform, KeysLive.

“Tony Lambert was known as ‘Mr North Norfolk Railway’, and was a driving force in creating the wonderful heritage railway we know today,” said David Broom of Keys.  “He spent his entire adult life collecting anything related to railways, and this collection provides a fascinating insight into their history during the second half of the 20th century.”

Tony Lambert trained as an accountant, but spent much of the spare time in his early adult life travelling from London with a group of fellow enthusiasts to create the North Norfolk Railway.  In the early 1970s he was able to follow his dream and embark on a second career as a railwayman – becoming the Poppy Line’s first employee and moving to Sheringham.

“Tony loved everything about the North Norfolk Railway – it was his life and his passion,” said his widow George, who met Tony while she herself was working on the Poppy Line.  “We lived the railway; Tony was engineer, shed master, train driver and ‘Fat Controller’ all rolled into one.

“He got bitten by the railway bug when he was 18, and spent his life collecting anything he could find connected to the railways,” said Mrs Lambert.

Tony Lambert died on Christmas Eve 2012, and his ashes are scattered in the yard at Weybourne, where a plaque commemorates his pivotal role in creating the Poppy Line.

The Railwayana Sale takes place on Friday 22nd May at 10.30am on the KeysLive online platform at bid.keysauctions.co.uk, where full details of every lot can be found.  Bids can be placed prior to the sale, or during the sale, which will be video-streamed live.