It is all change at the Mid Norfolk Railway as another Diesel Multiple Unit arrives at the railway to join the railways fleet, during the railway’s 25th Anniversary.
Despite Covid-19 this year has been a very busy time for the railway with regards the Diesel Multiple Units based at the railway. The new arrival, a class 117 two car set follows closely on the departure of a class 122 railcar that has left for restoration. Additionally, this year has also seen the arrival of two class 144 Pacer Units from the mainline and ongoing restoration of other resident units.
The class 117 set that has arrived consists of 51412 DMS and 51370 DMBS and is owned by long time MNR Member Paul Hughes and his son Michael. The two units are under restoration, with the aim that one car will be in service during 2021.
“This is exciting times for us and our DMU set following the move to its new home at the Mid-Norfolk Railway. This will mean that the project will be able to move at a faster pace towards full restoration thanks to the excellent facilities the railways has to offer. I would also like to say a big thank you to the management at the MNR for allowing us to make Dereham our new home”. Michael Hughes MNR Member, 51412 & 51370 Owner
The arrival of the Class 117 set follows on from the departure of Class 122 Railcar 55009, that owner Chris Nesbit has had transported to the Great Central Railway, where the unit has been taken in hand for a full restoration by Renaissance Railcars.
“My personal circumstances mean that I am now based in the East Midlands and for some time now I have not been able to work on 55009, due to the distance and of course the time it takes me to travel to the MNR, so the restoration to passenger carrying standard has to be achieved in a different manner”. Chris Nesbit MNR Member & 55009 Owner
55009 left the MNR during October, seen arriving at the GCR a broken window has been renewed, batteries charged, the engines have been started, and some minor repairs to the vacuum brakes completed. All of which meant 55009 moved under its own power within the confines of Loughborough yard on the 20 October.
Once fully restored 55009 will enter service on the GCR, including their Mountsorrel branch line. This however is not the end of 55009 as far as the Mid Norfolk Railway is concerned, as Chris a long time member of the MNR and at one time Trust Council member, said: “I fully intend that once 55009 is restored and back in passenger service I will like to see it return to Norfolk and visit the MNR for a gala weekend”.
The Mid-Norfolk Railway like most heritage railways is a mixture of rolling stock owned by the railway itself and stock owned by groups and individuals that are hosted by the railway. The BR Blue Grey liveried Class 101 set is owned by the 50019 Ramillies Group and is currently available for service together with the MNR’s own second-generation DMUs.
The MNR’s own class 101 set is currently undergoing restoration in the railway’s maintenance shed where progress has been steady, if slower than planned due to obvious restrictions, but is planned to be available for service during the 2021 running season..
Other DMUs that are resident at the MNR under private ownership include a class 108 set that this year been moved from the railway’s sidings where it has been stored and into Dereham yard where a restoration plan has been developed. Circumstances however mean that the timetables for the work required to bring class 117 and the 108 sets back into service will remain flexible!
“We are extremely happy to welcome this latest arrival at the railway and of course look forward to a future return of 55009. What this means is that the railway is assembling an important collection of DMUs and therefore in the future it will be possible to see and ride on multiple DMUs that represent an important but often overlooked part of the UK’s rail heritage.” George Saville MNR General Manager
The Mid-Norfolk Railway’s programme and timetable for 2021 will be published in the new year that will feature regular steam and diesel hauled trains as well as DMU services. In addition, CV-19 restrictions permitting, there will be a full calendar of special events including the October visit of the Flying Scotsman.