Trains returns to railway station for first time in decades

Miniature trains are running again at County School Station in North Elmham, between Dereham and Fakenham

Miniature trains are running again at County School Station in North Elmham, between Dereham and Fakenham - Credit: Mid-Norfolk Railway

The public can now catch a glimpse of trains at a heritage railway station for the first time in 60 years - albeit the miniature variety. 

County School Station, which forms part of the Mid-Norfolk Railway (MNR), is being used by the North Norfolk Model Engineering Club (NNMEC) throughout the summer.

The miniature railway at County School Station in North Elmham

The miniature railway at County School Station in North Elmham - Credit: Mid-Norfolk Railway

The site, located at North Elmham, between Dereham and Fakenham, has not been used since the Dereham to Wells line lost its passenger service back in 1964. 

But in 2019, an agreement was struck to let NNMEC move in due to the redevelopment of its previous home at Holt Station on the North Norfolk Railway. 

Meanwhile, the MNR is in the process of maintaining the regular line so that a service can run between Dereham and North Elmham again.

Richard Cullen, the MNR's station master at County School, explained the new arrangement with the NNMEC. 

North Norfolk Model Engineering Club is running miniature trains on the Mid-Norfolk Railway

North Norfolk Model Engineering Club is running miniature trains on the Mid-Norfolk Railway - Credit: Mid-Norfolk Railway

He said: “It will be a while yet before the MNR is able to run trains from Dereham to County School Station but, while we wait for that day to arrive, lots of work is being done here to create an attraction worthy of a visit.

Most Read

"When the opportunity of offering a home to the NNMEC’s miniature railway presented itself, it was an easy decision to make.

“The way we have planned this track means that it will not interfere with the full size track, when that is eventually laid. We therefore have another attraction to add to the popular nature walks, museum and cafe we already run here.”

The NNMEC is now running trains every Sunday until the end of August from 11am to 4pm, weather permitting, on what has been named the Wensum Valley Miniature Railway.

The newly-laid track has three rails and allows both 5 inch and 3.5 inch model engines to run. It will eventually haul special passenger wagons on a journey around the site.

While the line is not yet complete, enough track has been laid to begin public operations. 

Gordon Ford, chairman of the NNMEC, added: "We are grateful to the NNR for giving us a home for 17 years, but we are all excited as we begin a new chapter.

"Members are all looking forward to once again being able to run our trains and begin a regular passenger service here at County School."

Gordon Ford, chairman of North Norfolk Model Engineering Club, at the club's current site at Holt Ra

Gordon Ford, chairman of North Norfolk Model Engineering Club - Credit: Archant