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North Norfolk Railway put on a war footing after another record-breaking year

PUBLISHED: 16:53 11 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:53 11 January 2017

The annual steam gala at the North Norfolk Railway, which is celebrating a record-breaking year. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

The annual steam gala at the North Norfolk Railway, which is celebrating a record-breaking year. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

Archant

One of Norfolk’s top tourist attractions is celebrating a record-breaking 2016, with visitor numbers up for the fifth year running.

A vintage diesel train running over the level crossing between the mainline station and the North Norfolk Railway station at Sheringham. The popular attraction is set to run a series of VIP dining packages between Cromer and Holt. Picture: KAREN BETHELLA vintage diesel train running over the level crossing between the mainline station and the North Norfolk Railway station at Sheringham. The popular attraction is set to run a series of VIP dining packages between Cromer and Holt. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

The North Norfolk Railway, which the previous year saw nearly 166,000 train enthusiasts hop aboard its vintage steam and diesel trains, welcomed even more visitors in 2016, with hugely popular events including the annual 1940s weekend and steam and diesel galas attracting people from all over the country.

North Norfolk Railway development manager Chrissie Rayment said numbers at every event were up on last year.

Everything we did was a success,” she added, “from the Santa and mince pie specials, to the galas and Halloween week.”

A new tourist information centre and toilet block had enabled the railway to extend its buffet facilities, Ms Rayment added, with the first phase of a £200,000 self-funded track improvement scheme due to be completed in the next couple of weeks.

A vintage diesel train running over the level crossing between the mainline station and the North Norfolk Railway station at Sheringham. The popular attraction is set to run a series of VIP dining packages between Cromer and Holt. Picture: KAREN BETHELLA vintage diesel train running over the level crossing between the mainline station and the North Norfolk Railway station at Sheringham. The popular attraction is set to run a series of VIP dining packages between Cromer and Holt. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

However, with visitor numbers increasing year on year and little scope for increasing space, the attraction is now looking at making the most of its facilities.

“At the end of the day, we are only a small railway,” Ms Rayment said. “So we have to look at things in a different light and use every bit of what we already have.“

Space-saving ideas had included laying scaffolding over part of the track at Sheringham station to make a dance floor during the 1940s weekend in September, with event organisers charged with dreaming up ways to improve visitor experience.

“We really want to grow things like our Halloween event for instance, and perhaps have a grotto, but the main thing is to improve the packages we already have and keep them alive and fun,” Ms Rayment said.

New attractions this year include a ‘Tracks and Trenches’ event commemorating the role of the railways during wartime, and a series of mainline VIP dining excursions running between Cromer and Holt.

For more information, visit www.nnrailway.co.uk

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