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Work to unearth lost Norwich train station ended after asbestos and cyanide discovery

The station in its heyday. Photo thanks to Norfolk County Council.

The station in its heyday. Photo thanks to Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council

Train enthusiasts who were uncovering a lost railway station have cancelled their restoration project after cyanide and asbestos were discovered at the site.

The Friends of Norwich City Station began excavating the former city station at the start of Marriott’s Way, near Halfords, in 2010. But in April this year, they were asked to stop while Norfolk County Council tested for contamination.

The county council has now said the volunteers will have to stop their work after the discovery of asbestos and cyanide, following tests in July.

Graham Wray, from Norfolk Property Services, which is owned by the county council, said: “Since taking over the running of the site in May we quickly identified several issues including fly-tipping, littering and poorly maintained trees.

“We also wanted to investigate any possible problems in the ground as it is an old industrial area and site of the former Norwich City Station.”

The contamination was found under the former engine shed, while a chemical from coal tar was discovered around the platform, which the volunteers had been excavating.

NPS said it will now look to plant trees and concrete over the contaminated areas so people can visit it in the future.

Mr Wray added: “We are satisfied that people using the Marriott’s way path can continue to do so safely.”

Jon Batley from FONCS said they had contacted the city council to see who owned the land when they started work in December 2010.

They unearthed a platform which they hoped would make an impressive landmark for the start of Marriott’s Way.

The 41-year-old said it was a “crushing blow” that the group’s work would have to end.

He said: “It is heartbreaking, but it is not our land. There is nothing we can do about it.”

Mr Batley, who lives on Drayton Road, said they now hoped to carry out excavation work elsewhere, but he said they were in the county council’s hands.

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