The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is this week mourning the passing of one of the heritage railway’s most colourful characters.
Founding member Charlie Hart, of Ruswarp, died on Tuesday February 11 aged 91.
Control officer Peter Allin recalls when Charlie was an active volunteer on the railway and said: “After the last run of afternoon services on a Friday, Charlie would very often pop up to the bakery along with Jack Rogers, Sue our trolley attendant and whoever was on guard at the time. We would have our very own afternoon tea with cream cakes on-board the train. It was always great fun and one of the highlights of my week.”
Charlie was a professional railway signalman and inspector with British Railways and became of the key people in the NYMR’s earliest days.
Even when deteriorating health prevented him from visiting the railway, Charlie could always be seen out in his garden at Ruswarp, waving to Whitby trains.
General manager Philip Benham said Charlie will be sorely missed by those who have come to relate the whistle of an engine to the founding member waving to the passengers travelling between Whitby and Grosmont.
He added: “Our thoughts and prayers are now with Charlie’s family and friends. The volunteers and staff of the NYMR could not be more grateful for everything that he has done for the railway.
“In memory of Charlie, engines will carry a wreath on the day of his funeral.”
A familiar and friendly sight around the railway, Charlie was an active volunteer until recent years, selling guide books up and down the line. He was also heavily involved in fund-raising for the charity.
On May 1 last year Charlie came together with fellow founding members Michael Pitts and Tom Salmon to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the heritage railway.
Sadly, Tom Salmon passed away at Christmas, along with his wife Erika.
Charlie is survived by his son, Tony Hart.