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Steam enthusiasts ‘chuffed’ as popular heritage railways join forces to bring special dining train to Cromer

PUBLISHED: 17:17 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:17 18 May 2017

A train in full steam along the North Norfolk Railway. Picture; STEVE ALLEN

A train in full steam along the North Norfolk Railway. Picture; STEVE ALLEN

Archant

Two popular heritage railways, including one based in north Norfolk, have teamed up to bring a new steam-hauled dining train experience to Cromer.

Betty Morris cuts the ribbon at the inauguration ceremony as NNR managing director Hugh Harkett looks on. Picture: Ally McGilvray Betty Morris cuts the ribbon at the inauguration ceremony as NNR managing director Hugh Harkett looks on. Picture: Ally McGilvray

The unique partnership will see the North Norfolk Railway (NNR) and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) join forces this summer to give its users a taste of something different.

Hugh Harkett, NNR managing director, said: “Development of services to Cromer has been a long held ambition for the North Norfolk Railway. We are most grateful to our friends at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, not only for their willingness to share their experience but also their readiness to help us to get started by taking on the role of train operator.”

In 2010 the NNR opened up a link with the National Rail network when the level crossing at Sheringham was reinstated to connect with the Bittern branch line to Cromer and Norwich. Since then the company has been looking at ways to develop greater use of the link.

Last year it ran a pilot series of dining trains running from the NNR station at Sheringham to Cromer operated on their behalf by charter operator West Coast Railways. The popular four-day trial quickly sold out.

Shortly after, the NNR sought advice and help from NYMR, resulting in this unique partnership.

Chris Price, NYMR general manager, said: “Our experience as a heritage railway working with, and operating over, Network Rail enables us to assist NNR in this very practical way. While this helps them to realise a dream, NYMR will also benefit through the exchange of ideas and sharing of experience more generally.”

The aim is that this staged approach will eventually lead to NNR operating their own trains over Network Rail from Sheringham to Cromer, with operating further afield being considered.

Stage one, which starts on July 5, will see trains operated by NYMR (as an existing licensed operator on Network Rail under a revised safety certificate). A second stage will see NNR develop their own passenger licence and safety certificate applications to enable them to take over the direct operation of trains on Network Rail.

Mr Harkett said: “We believe that collaboration of this nature between two heritage railways is unprecedented, and it is our hope that both railways will benefit from working so closely together.”

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