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Mid-Norfolk Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by The Dainton Banker, Jul 13, 2021.

  1. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    This railway only gets occasional mentions on NP and doesn't seem to have it's own thread, despite being one of the larger operators. To some extent they have maintained a rather low profile despite being quite active with ongoing developments and I think they deserve their own thread here on NP.
    I have just noticed that they have recently replaced their old (and rather creaky) website with a much more informative one @ www.midnorfolkrailway.co.uk. and it is good to see that they are continuing with their extension program, albeit slowly, despite the effects of Covid.

    Checking on the scheme to link north to County School it looks as if there is now a gap of only a kilometre, or a little over half a mile, to fill with new track. Currently the TWAO stops at North Elmham and a new one will be required before trains can be run north from there. How difficult/ expensive is that likely to be ?

    Mike
     
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  2. Peter@mnr

    Peter@mnr New Member

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    Hello Mike, All

    Please take this as an introduction as well. I am the the MNR's Press Officer and have now been inpost for about 18 months. I hope that is why you will have seen a bit more about the railway. My self appointed role is to raise the profile of the railway.

    As Mike has observed we have a new website www.midnorfolkrailway.co.uk This is still being developed and new additions will appear over time.

    To answer Mike's questions.

    Yes work continues to get back to County School Station and really it is a matter of priorities and money.

    The current sate of play is we can run occasion passenger services north and works trains to North Elmham crossing. Some signalling work and some track work is needed to be able to get passenger trains to that point. The aspiration however is sooner rather than later. North of the crossing requires a complete relay of track all the way to County School. As Mike mentions the TWO is in place to the buffer stops just north of North Elmham station. Planning permission for the track from there to County School is also in place.

    Those familiar with the line will know our Northern Wednesday gang has done a huge amount of prep work on this section. the permissive footpath has been upgraded and the vegetation has been cut back. So money will be key. Watch this space. Of course volunteers to join the team also welcome.

    Speaking of North Elmham. the station is the only one on the line where we don't own at least part of the platform. In due course personally I think we will have a halt there but that is very much part of the future and as i say is a personal view.

    County School station itself is now open with the tea room proving popular at the weekends.

    South of Dereham there has been significant PW work the main level crossings at Kimberley and Yaxham Road at Dereham have now been replaced with state of the art crossings. Much of the track from Wymondham to Hardingham is concrete sleepers with flat bottom rail. A section is concrete sleepers with Bullhead and I expect in due course the remaining wooden sleepers will be lifted.

    The next project that is due to start soon is the replacement of the Thuxton loop. This will also include the completion of the signalling work at this location.

    After this PW work will focus on some points renewal at Wymondham and Dereham plus some new sidings at Dereham station.

    Looking to the future clearly maintaining what we have is the number one priority, however the railway has three big projects going forward. In no order these are, to return to County School. To do this is set out in the various documents including our Charity status, but to go no further. Talk of going to Fakenham is the for the Norfolk Orbital group. We as a railway are supportive of their efforts and in the event of a line appearing north of County School and being invited to use it would do so but County School is the limit of our ambition. That would make a running line of over 17 miles which is probably quite far enough!

    Next is a new Wymondham Abbey Station. We are very aware the current Halt is a temporary structure and needs replacing, the advantages are numerous. The issue is money.

    Lastly the redevelopment of the goods side of Dereham into a Railway heritage centre. this is essential to turn Dereham from a station where you start your journey to a destination. Again Money.

    Next year marks 25 years of passenger operations. Our 25 Anniversary year last year was ruined by CV-19 so stand by for hopefully a full year that will include more news on developments.

    Turning to rolling stock. The railway now owns a number of Mk1, 2 and 3 coaches. The Mk1s and 2 are steadily being refurbished and will meaning future we will have two maroon rakes a blue grey rack and the mks 3s. The mks 3s will remain in in debranded GA livery. The refurbishment is following a five year cycle that we have implemented now we have a full tie head of refurbishment and also a maintenance shed.

    Engine wise we have a BR standard 4 MT resident and now 813 on hire from the owners for the season. Also we have the Flying Scotsman visiting for the first two weeks in October. Trains on the first three weekends open for tour at Dereham during the week. Ticketing details via the website in due course.

    Diesels we are home to the Stratford 47 Groups engines, plus a class 03, 04, an industrial shunter, 14, 31, 33 and 50 in private ownership. Some are operational and some are undergoing refurbishment. The 50 is in storage while the owners work out their plans.

    DMU wise the railway is home to a variety of 1 st Gen plus two Class 142 Pacer sets and a Class 144 set.

    All of his means that during CV-19, there has been a huge amount of work that has gone on at the railway and it is very much different to what was on offer in 2019 from a visitor perspective.

    The word that crops up a lot with new volunteers is potential. We all know that, so if being part of turning that potential to reality is for you why not become a member and volunteer! We need you.

    Lastly I cannot promise an instant response but I can always be contacted via my railway email. details on the website on the news section.

    Peter
     
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  3. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Welcome to the forum, look forward to hearing updates in due course.
     
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  4. Peter@mnr

    Peter@mnr New Member

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    Some recent pictures
     

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  5. Peter@mnr

    Peter@mnr New Member

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    D1933 in new livery
     

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  6. Peter@mnr

    Peter@mnr New Member

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    813 in the shed just after arrival
     

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  7. Peter@mnr

    Peter@mnr New Member

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    One of our Pacers
     

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  8. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    Good to read about this railway which has had a relatively low profile on here. Nice to see that it is expanding and confident about the future.
     
  9. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    I went to County School station a couple of years ago. The word that struck me was unspoilt. I really hope that, when the MNR get there, it is allowed to retain as much of that character as is possible, and isn't over-developed. I appreciate that it needs to be practical to run a service to there, platforms and all. I just thought it was such a charming place, it would be a shame to lose that.
     
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  10. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Peter, and welcome to NP. I have distant connections in your area and have watched the developments on the line for several years. Like many on here my volunteering days are over but I like to support, either by donation or by publicity, those who are helping themselves .

    I appreciate your detailed description of your line's activities and "potential" and hope this thread will lead to some extra support, whether in cash or kind.

    Looking at Google maps the line south of County School as far as Bridge 1707 looked "clean" as if it had been reballasted, or was this just wishful thinking on my behalf ?
     
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  11. nick813

    nick813 Well-Known Member Loco Owner

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    I am looking forward to a trip along the line in the near future!
     
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  12. Wozzy18

    Wozzy18 New Member

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    A recent video from You Tube (Not mine!)
     
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  13. desperado

    desperado New Member

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    Thank you very much for the update. Dereham always was a bit of a hike from South London when I lived there but I tried to visit at least once a year. I look forward to being able to visit again in the future.
     
  14. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    So 80078 is now a permanent resident, and not just a summer visitor?
     
  15. Hirn

    Hirn Member

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    Appreciating space and simplicity, unconnected County School has retained these and the tea room, apart from keeping the station in enough use to look after it, does attract some people. It has a gentle USP - Unique Sales Point - which would be easy to lose. The most it needs is some more car park, put or planted so the cars in it would be least obtrusive.

    There is something like this on the Bluebell at West Hoathly where having come out of the tunnel there is space and then out over the lifted yard - with enough wheel sets to make it clear it is railway - a surprisingly memorable view out to the North West.

    In both cases it would be easy to put things up, bring things in and lose the effect. “….the scenery…….the passengers pay to enjoy” to condense the phrase that Jamessquared rightly picked out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
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  16. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Broadway station on GWSR, although rebuilt, suggests this can be done.
     
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  17. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    Thank you for the fine update and your thoughts about the future. I like the fact that the railway seem to be taking a pragmatic approach to its infrastructure and its locos and rolling stock. For example modernising some level crossings will reduce the maintenance costs and improve their reliability in operation. Your line is in a lovely part of the world.

    I even like the Pacers! I used them when they were in regular service, I think critics forget that they were a good concept as a low cost solution in the financially grim early/mid 80s. Continental railways made good use of railbuses, it's a pity the UK was lukewarm about them in the 50s and 60s instead of pursuing the concept. The Pacers settled down to be reliable workhorses, it's fair to say they outstayed their welcome and they weren't ideal as 2 car units on services with high loadings or long distances. Great investments for heritage lines though!
     
  18. Wozzy18

    Wozzy18 New Member

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