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Plans to restore railway route for regular passenger services

PUBLISHED: 09:36 04 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:47 05 July 2020

The Mid Norfolk Railway (MNR), together with a number of partner organisations, have applied for government funding to conduct a feasibility study into the restoration of a regular passenger service between Dereham, Wymondham and Norwich. Picture: Mid Norfolk Railway

The Mid Norfolk Railway (MNR), together with a number of partner organisations, have applied for government funding to conduct a feasibility study into the restoration of a regular passenger service between Dereham, Wymondham and Norwich. Picture: Mid Norfolk Railway

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One of Norfolk’s most loved heritage railways has applied for funding to restore regular passenger services between two towns and Norwich.

The Mid-Norfolk Railway will not resume heritage services before the start of August. Picture: Ian BurtThe Mid-Norfolk Railway will not resume heritage services before the start of August. Picture: Ian Burt

The Mid Norfolk Railway (MNR), together with a number of partner organisations, has applied for government funding to conduct a feasibility study into the restoration of a regular passenger service between Dereham, Wymondham and Norwich.

The Mid Norfolk Railway consortium in addition to the MNR, also includes Greater Anglia, Norfolk County Council, Breckland Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Since applying for the grant, Westminster had announced that the plans will now be reviewed.

Charlie Robinson, chairman of the railway, said: “This bid is for government money to conduct a feasibility study into the practicality of reopening the line from Dereham to Wymondham to restore a regular passenger service on the line and on to Norwich.

The Polar Express Train Ride is returning to the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Dereham for 2020 Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANThe Polar Express Train Ride is returning to the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Dereham for 2020 Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“We are not seeking to handover our railway to Network Rail so that a train operating company such as Greater Anglia can run a daily passenger service,.

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“We want to explore how the MNR can develop in the future for the good of the local community. We fully intend to maintain our heritage roots.”

A significant part of the former line between Wymondham and Wells, originally built between 1847 and 1857, has already been restored by MNR.

The last passenger service ran from in Dereham to Wells in 1964 and the last passenger service from King’s Lynn via Dereham to Norwich ran in 1968.

Currently the railway is working to reopen for heritage passenger service when it safe to do so.

The railway has however continued to see rail operations during the Covid-19 shut down with Greater Anglia, DRS and the GB Railfreight all running over MNR tracks for a variety of reasons.

George Saville, the general manager of the MNR, said: “The operating model for the railway has always included working with commercial partners to extend the use of our tracks.

“Such operations are a key part of how we run the railway and as such contribute to our income that allows the heritage side of the operation to function.”


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