Rushden Station cat Thomas welcomed after Alfie cat's demise

image source, Fiona York
image captionThomas is on track to be a very popular new "station cat"

A new cat is welcoming visitors to a heritage railway three years after its much-loved moggy mascot died.

Rescue cat Thomas is hoping to fill the puss's boots at Rushden Station in Northamptonshire after ginger tom Alfie passed away in June 2017.

Thomas is now living at the station bar - as his predecessor did - after being put forward by a cat charity.

The "owners" of both Alfie and Thomas said the new "station cat" already had "the run of the place".

Alfie mysteriously turned up at volunteer-run Rushden Station in about 2007, shortly after the previous station cat had died.

He made it his home and became a favourite with visitors and cat fans from all over the world who followed his adventures on Facebook.

image source, Rushden Station
image captionAlfie lived at Rushden Station for about 10 years

"When he died, people kept asking, 'When are you going to get another station cat?'," said Fiona York, who looked after him in the station bar with her partner.

"But we always said Alfie came here because he wanted to, and if we get another cat it has to be because he wants to be here too."

image source, Fiona York
image captionEnter Thomas - the new boss cat on the block

However, a cat charity thought Thomas would fit in perfectly.

"They said he was feisty, but not vicious and gets on with everyone," Ms York said.

image source, Fiona York
image captionThomas has made himself right at home in the station bar

Two weeks ago Thomas came to stay and within a day of posting photos of the new station cat in situ, the Facebook page was inundated with comments from as far away as the US and New Zealand.

"The photos reached about 45,000 people - everyone loved Alfie - but they seem to love Thomas just as much," Ms York said.

"He's settled in to his new home in the bar and already has the run of the place," she added.

image source, Rushden Station
image captionThe much-loved ginger tom Alfie had his own Facebook page with thousands of followers from all over the world

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