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Mainline rail services between Norwich and Sheringham ‘could’ be extended to Holt

PUBLISHED: 16:07 16 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:15 17 April 2017

Campaigners David Hurdle and James Thomson are calling for better bus and train links in north Norfolk. They are pictured on the level crossing at the mainline station in Sheringham. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Campaigners David Hurdle and James Thomson are calling for better bus and train links in north Norfolk. They are pictured on the level crossing at the mainline station in Sheringham. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

ALLY McGILVRAY

Network Rail’s former route director for East Anglia made the comments after he was appointed general manager of the neighbouring heritage line.

Mainline rail services between Norwich and Sheringham “could” be extended to Holt, according to Network Rail’s former route director for East Anglia.

Andrew Munden made the comments after he was appointed general manager of the neighbouring heritage line.

He revealed his first involvement with the North Norfolk Railway was on the project to reinstate the level crossing, which links the Poppy Line with the Bittern Line, in Sheringham back in 2010.

That allowed the launch of special steam train excursions between Holt and Cromer last year, which it is hoped to extend to Norwich and beyond.

When asked if he ever considered extending mainline services onto the heritage line, Mr Munden smiled: “It could happen, yes - with a bit of willpower.”

And he added: “It is without doubt one of the best (railways) in the country.”

Network Rail is responsible for maintaining and improving the country’s rail network.

Mr Munden, who took up his new role on the North Norfolk Railway at the start of the year, was speaking at the unveiling of the heritage line’s latest attraction - four newly-restored suburban coaches which went out of service in the late 1970s.

MORE: Full steam ahead! New attraction on North Norfolk Railway transports visitors back in time

The carriages will be on display during NNR’s steam gala, from April 21 to 23, and then in a special suburban travel week, from July 2 to 9.

Mr Munden said: “It’s great fun after 36 years on the mainline railway, this is a really great job with a smashing bunch of people here.

“These (new carriages) are quite special; we’ve got a very old set of coaches, which worked the London area in the 1920s, these are what took over from those in the 1950s and were in service until the late 1970s when they in turn were superseeded by modern electric trains.

“So here on the railway, we can demonstrate the development of suburban train travel and, up at Holt, we have an exhibition in a coach which shows how suburban rail travel developed.”

Earlier this year, rail passengers called for improved public transport links between Holt and Sheringham following concerns that the current bus service is leaving some stranded.

A study found that just three trains out of 17 are met with a bus connection to Holt within what it states is a reasonable time of between six and 15 minutes, and that is reduced to just one on a Sunday.

Meanwhile, despite being described as the smallest rail terminus in the country, rail passenger numbers have increased 170 per cent at Sheringham’s mainline station over the last 17 years.

One of the report’s authors, David Hurdle, a transport planning consultant and resident of Sheringham, said: “We have analysed every single bus and train journey to ascertain the connection times at Sheringham station and the results clearly demonstrate that a reasonable interchange time is currently a matter of pot luck and that buses rarely connect off and onto trains.”

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