Mid Norfolk railway sign £3m deal to store new Greater Anglia trains

Mid-Norfolk Railway. Picture: Ian Burt

Mid-Norfolk Railway. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A mid Norfolk heritage railway line has signed a deal worth more than £3m with Greater Anglia.

The Mid-Norfolk Railway (MNR), East Anglia's longest heritage line, has been awarded a four year deal to store Greater Anglia's new fleet of Stadler Flirt trains when they arrive in the UK this year.

The contract was awarded at the end of June and has been called a 'fantastic boost' to the line.

The money will go on improving the infrastructure and storage facilities and building additional sidings to store the new trains in.

Part of the 11 mile MNR line between Wymondham and Dereham will be double tracked.

Rail infrastructure company Sonic Rail Services have been employed to carry out the work of designing, planning and installing the new infrastructure, including the miles of siding space needed to accommodate the new trains.

Works on the tracks will begin in the next two weeks and on the sidings in November.

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The project is expected to be completed by March 2019.

George Saville, MNR general manager, said: 'This is fantastic for the railway providing us with a major boost.

'Greater Anglia need the storage space and it all helps the MNR to develop.

'After the storage contract is finished it will leave us with long lasting infrastructure legacy for the MNR to put to good use.

'We look forward to working with Greater Anglia and Sonic Rail Services to deliver this project.'

As the new trains arrive in the country they will be stored on the MNR prior to entering service.

Once new trains are in use, the sidings will then be used to store Greater Anglia's old trains as they are decommissioned.

A spokesperson for the MNR said: 'With a wholescale fleet replacement taking place, many miles of siding space will be needed to accommodate all of these vehicles.

'With it's connection to the national network at Wymondham on the main Norwich to Ely line and close proximity to Norwich Crown Point depot, the location where the new trains will be based, the MNR is ideally positioned to store the trains and overcomes the major problem of finding convenient storage space elsewhere on the network.'

The MNR was awarded Heritage Railway of the Year in 2013.

The line is run by the registered charity, the Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust.