£100,000 EU grant could see Mid Norfolk Railway create up to eight jobs
- Credit: IAN BURT
Up to eight jobs could be created at a mid Norfolk heritage railway line after a £100,000 European Union (EU) grant for a new train shed could see them develop an engineering service.
The Mid Norfolk Railway (MNR) has been granted £100,000 of funding towards the project from the EU Leader Fund's Wensum and Coast Local Area Group, amounting to 80pc of the project's total construction cost, and dependent on future job creation.
The remainder of the £140,000 of funding required will come from £40,000 of donations from the railway members and visitors.
The new shed will be built at the line's Dereham headquarters, and the work is expected to be completed by December 2018.
The MNR, East Anglia's longest heritage railway, spent 18 months preparing the application for the funding, before the grant agreement was signed on Thursday, August 22.
MNR general manager George Saville said: 'Work will begin towards the end of September, with the groundwork being laid in the middle of October.
'The structure should be in place in November and we hope to have the new shed in use after Christmas.
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'When people come to visit, they can see different locomotives running - our long term aim is to allow us to attract more interesting steam engines and rolling stock and to develop engineering services.
'Part of the funding is based on us providing jobs in the future.
'We hope to see up to eight people employed over a number of years and to offer apprenticeships in traditional skills.'
The new train shed includes three tracks and will be able to accommodate nine railway vehicles undercover.
An MNR spokesperson said: 'This is one of the short-term goals of the railway which, up until now, has always had to carry out maintenance and restoration works out in the elements at the mercy of the weather.
'The provision of undercover maintenance facilities provides a safe and dry environment allowing for work to be carried out all year round, safeguarding the future of the railway's collection of historic vehicles.
The provision of such facilities also makes the MNR more attractive to the owners of 'iconic' locomotives and will most certainly mean it will be able to welcome some exciting visitors to the region in the future.'