Herbie returns two years after fire at Fancott

The Fancott Arms welcomed back Herbie to the pub’s miniature railway on Saturday, May 27.

The train was badly damaged during a fire which destroyed the pub’s outbuilding, the railway shed, the locomotives and carriages in March 2015.

Herbie returns to The Fancott Miniature Railway at The Fancott Arms

Herbie returns to The Fancott Miniature Railway at The Fancott Arms

The pub in Chalton, famous for its miniature railway, had to close for four months for a renovation which included the railway team hiring replacement engines to keep the miniature railway running for passengers.

Ron Stanbridge, railway manager at The Fancott Miniature Railway, said: “We are pleased to announce that Herbie is back. It’s brilliant to have him back, without him it was like a missing link from the railway.

“After the fire we sent him to Hastings Miniature Railway and they restored it, they did a fabulous job and have kept the original body work. There’s a few changes to Herbie, but most of him is original, it’s brilliant to have him back. When we sent him away we didn’t think we would see him again.

“We lost everything in the fire and we had donations of engines and carriages to help us carry on running the trains after we reopened.”

Peter Nicholson welcomes Herbie back to The Fancott Miniature Railway at The Fancott Arms

Peter Nicholson welcomes Herbie back to The Fancott Miniature Railway at The Fancott Arms

Ron invited Peter Nicholson from The Railway Magazine to officially welcome Herbie back to The Fancott Miniature Railway.

Peter said: “Now, even poor Herbie, the American-style diesel loco which suffered so badly in the fire, has risen from the ashes and is officially welcomed back. This follows an extensive rebuild at the Hastings Miniature Railway, thanks to Dan Radcliffe and his expert team. To paraphrase the well-known Walt Disney film of 1974, starring an old VW Beetle, I am pleased to be able to declare that Herbie runs again!”

Herbie returns to The Fancott Miniature Railway at The Fancott Arms

Herbie returns to The Fancott Miniature Railway at The Fancott Arms