The Mid-Norfolk Railway relaunched its running season in May, featuring the first regular passenger service to run north of Dereham since British Railways closed the line to passengers in October 1964.
The railway is now pleased to announce that trains are again planned to run to Wymondham Abbey station from Dereham by the summer school holidays in July, once the engineering works that have caused the closure are completed.
A supplier of coal has also been found that means the steam service’s blue timetable days will run with either the resident BR standard Class 4 MT engine or for this year only, the on-hire Austerity Tank engine No 22, hauling the maroon vacuum braked coach set.
The new service north is part of the diesel multiple unit service’s green timetable days, which sees two trains a day travel north to Hoe Crossing.
The 2022 running season has seen the introduction of the diesel engine service’s orange timetable days. This timetable sees the railway’s heritage diesel engines hauling trains and have featured the rostering of the class 33 and class 47s in service.
Explaining the relaunch, Charlie Robinson, the Chairman of the Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust (MNRPT), said: “I know that there has been disappointment and uncertainty due to our postponed reopening caused by the long-standing engineering issues and the impact of the lost income from the cancelled Polar Express service at Christmas. It is therefore important that the railway has decided to relaunch our running season and make it clear we are open, running trains and looking forward with confidence to the rest of the year.
“The Mid-Norfolk Railway, despite not being able to currently run south of Thuxton to Wymondham is however, able to start a regular service running north from Dereham. This therefore marks an important point in the railway’s history and is another small step towards the eventual return to County School”.
The ongoing engineering work is seeing track maintenance being carried out between Thuxton and Hardingham and track near Bridge 1675 will be realigned to remove the excessive curves that British Railways introduced when the line was singled. Both issues have been long known but had to wait while other higher priorities were addressed in recent years.
Throughout the 2022 running season, the railway is running the popular ‘Breckland Fryer’ fish and chip trains in the evening and afternoon high tea trains on selected running days. The railway will also continue to run the ‘Kids Go Free’ family tickets that were successfully introduced in 2021. These tickets will be available for all standard running days but do not include special events or special trains.
The MNR shop at Dereham Station has also had a refresh with new lines of merchandise and clothing that feature the railway’s new ‘Heart of Norfolk’ logo on offer. Further details of events and timetables are available on the railway’s website at www.midnorfolkrailway.co.uk