The public can once again catch a train at the Mid-Norfolk Railway's County School Station, as the North Norfolk Model Engineering Club’s railway opens for business this summer.
The club, which has been busy building a new miniature railway at the Mid-Norfolk Railway site have now started running trains every Sunday till the end of August from 11.00 to 16.00 weather permitting. The new railway is known as 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 and will eventually haul special passenger wagons on a journey around the site. The line is not yet complete, but this summer enough has been laid to begin public operations.
Formerly based at the North Norfolk Railway, the NNMEC had to find a new home as their previous site was due to be developed as part of the ongoing work at the NNR’s Holt Station. The Mid-Norfolk Railway however was able to step in and off the NNMEC a new home.
Explaining the arrangement, Richard Cullen, the Mid-Norfolk Railway Station Master at County School 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. When the opportunity of offering a home to the NNMEC’s miniature railway at County School Station presented itself, it was an easy decision to make”.
Richard added: “The way we have planned this track means that it will not interfere with the full-size track, when that is eventually laid. As from now therefore we have another attraction to add to the popular nature walks, museum and café we already run here.”
Gordon Ford the Chairman of the North Norfolk Miniature Engineering Club said: “We are grateful to the North Norfolk Railway for giving us a home for 17 years, but we are all excited as we begin a new chapter in our story, here at County School Station. The move was agreed in 2019, but due to Covid we had to pause the project until last year, when work could began. The members are all looking forward to once again be able to run our trains and begin a regular passenger service here at County School”.
County School Station is the northerly end of the Mid-Norfolk Railway owned track bed. The café and museum are open weather permitting from 1200 to 1500, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays till September.
MNR working members meet on Wednesday and Sunday to maintain the facilities and prepare for the eventual reinstatement of the line south to North Elmham that will allow a regular service to once again run. Those who would like to join in the work can volunteer after first becoming a member of the railway. Details at the railway’s website www.midnorfolkrailway.co.uk/volunteering
The NNMEC hold regular meetings at High Kelling Village Hall on the first Friday of the month and has a working party at County School on most Thursdays and when not running Sundays as well. More details can be found on the club's Facebook page.