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Step forward for ambitious Holt Orbital railway dream

15:28 22 January 2014

David Bill, left, & Joe Pengold from the Melton Constable Trust standing on the old Holt railway line which they have now purchased to start work on the Holt Orbital Railway.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

David Bill, left, & Joe Pengold from the Melton Constable Trust standing on the old Holt railway line which they have now purchased to start work on the Holt Orbital Railway. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

A lifelong dream of bringing the railway back to Holt town centre is one step closer following a £75,000 land purchase.

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Campaigners behind the Norfolk Orbital railway scheme have bought 50 yards of the former track bed from the North Norfolk Railway (NNR) stop at High Kelling, just outside Holt.

The scheme is being run by the Holt, Melton Constable & Fakenham Railway Co. Ltd and the land has been bought by the Melton Constable Trust, part of the company.

It is hoped the railway will eventually end up at Station Road, Holt, and will be used by commuter trains from Cromer in the morning and evenings. They would run along the A148 bypass.

David Bill, railway company trustee, said: “It is a massive undertaking. We would dearly like to see the line reopen all the way to Fakenham but our immediate aim is to get the line to Holt.”

He added the restoration of the line would be the solution to the parking problems in Cromer, Sheringham and Holt as well as cut traffic on the roads in the summer.

The trust hopes to raise a further £65,000 to buy another 100 yards to the A148.

A NNR spokesman said: “The NNR owns the line between Sheringham and Holt station, and will not in any way compromise the operation of heritage trains.

“It is the NNR’s firm intention and strategy to continue to present the past as a vibrant attraction in the present, as one of the UK’s leading preserved railways.

“The NNR is broadly sympathetic to the aims of the promoters of the Norfolk Orbital railway, but will never allow the heritage railway to be downgraded in any way. “With a record number of 157,800 passengers carried in 2013, the NNR is making a valuable contribution to tourism and the economy of the region.”

Donations to the orbital fund can be made to The Melton Constable Trust, The Railway Institute, 6, Briston Road, Melton Constable, Norfolk, NR24 2DA.

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