The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) mourns the passing of one of the Railway’s most colourful characters and a founding member Charlie Hart on Tuesday 11 February at the age of 91.
Charlie a professional railway signalman and inspector with British Railways at the time the NYMR was closed in the 1960s became one of the key people in the NYMRs earliest days. A familiar and friendly sight around the Railway, Charlie was an active volunteer until recent years selling guide books up and down the Line and heavily involved in fundraising for the charity.
Even when deteriorating health prevented Charlie from visiting the Railway, he could always be seen out in his garden at Ruswarp waving to the Whitby trains. He will be sorely missed by volunteers, staff and visitors who have come to relate the whistle of an engine to the founding member waving to the passengers travelling between Whitby and Grosmont.
Charlie is survived by his son Tony Hart. Philip Benham, general manager said “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 and in memory of Charlie; engines will carry a wreath on the day of his funeral during the February Half Term running.”
Peter Allin, control officer recalls when Charlie was an active volunteer “After the last run of afternoon services on a Friday Charlie would very often pop to the bakery along with Jack Rogers, Sue our trolley attendant and whoever was the guard at the time and 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 along with fellow founding members Michael Pitts and the late Tom Salmon (who recently passed away at Christmas, along with his wife Erika Salmon), came together for a reunion of the surviving founding members of the NYMR just under a year ago on 1st May 2013 during the 40th Anniversary Festival to help celebrate 40 years of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and to thank them all for ensuring that this line was not forgotten.