Meet the man returning vintage trains to their former glory

Tony Dufford, head of refurbishment at the Mid-Norfolk Railway adding a coat of primer

Tony Dufford, head of refurbishment at the Mid-Norfolk Railway adding a coat of primer - Credit: Archant

During the pandemic, many of us have taken the chance to improve and repair our homes.

But Tony Dufford, who was appointed the Mid-Norfolk Railway's head of refurbishment at the end of 2020, has been returning 60-year-old trains to their former glory.

Mr Dunford, who has worked in the rail sector for 32 years, joined the heritage railway after his former employer Heritage Paintings fell on hard times.

Since being hired at the end of 2020, the head of refurbishment has already completely re-painted and restored one train back to its original livery and is currently working on a second.

Tony Dufford, head of refurbishment at the Mid-Norfolk Railway in 'the shed'

Tony Dufford, head of refurbishment at the Mid-Norfolk Railway in 'the shed' - Credit: Archant

The hiring of Mr Dunford was the first of many full-time positions hired by the Mid-Norfolk Railway, which runs between Dereham and Wymondham Abbey, to help secure its future.


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"I started down here as a contractor painting the coaches," said Mr Dunford. "The guys here must have liked what I did at they went on to hire me full time.

"It has been a little bit strange not having so many people around. Normally there are lots of people here, full-time and volunteer staff, and everyone is working together and interacting.

An old train that will be restored to its former glory by Tony Dufford

An old train that will be restored to its former glory by Tony Dufford - Credit: Archant

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"For the last couple of months there have only been one or two of us in the shed, now restrictions are being lifted and volunteers are coming back and it's great to see everybody.

"I can't wait for people to be able to ride in these carriages we have refurbished and enjoy them while on the railway."

Before working for Heritage Painting, Mr Dunford was well known at the East Lancashire Railway, where he worked and volunteered for 11 years.

Upon hiring Mr Dunford, George Saville, Mid-Norfolk Railway general manager said: "We are very pleased to welcome Tony to the railway as a full-time staff member.

The steam train changing direction in Wymondham

The steam train changing direction in Wymondham - Credit: Archant

"He brings great expertise and knowledge and it means that the painting of our rolling stock will now be completed in-house by our volunteers and Tony."

  • This is part of a two-day series on the Mid-Norfolk Railway. The second part will have more about the railway's plan for reopening and what can be expected in the future.

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