World’s smallest public railway set to start steaming again

The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway hopes to reopen on July 4 Picture: Ian Burt

The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway hopes to reopen on July 4 Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

As tourist attractions and hospitality venues get the green light to reopen on Super Saturday, it will be all aboard at the world’s smallest public railway.

Social distancing measures will be in force when trains resume running on the Wells and Walsingham L

Social distancing measures will be in force when trains resume running on the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway Picture: Ian Williams - Credit: Archant

The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway suspended services when lockdown began.

While the government has spent billions on subsidies to keep train operating companies running during the coronavirus pandemic, the WWLR has had to launch a crowd funding appeal to stay afloat. Supporters have so far donated around £4,500.

MORE - What do the new lockdown rules mean?Director Nick Champion said the 10ins gauge line was now looking to welcome passengers back to north Norfolk.

“We welcome his announcement and hope it’s the right time considering the spikes being seen elsewhere in Europe and the USA,” he said.

Train buff Matthew Armstrong who has been self isolating on the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway P

Train buff Matthew Armstrong who has been self isolating on the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

“We are awaiting final confirmation regarding railway attractions from the published guidance due imminently but anticipate opening our revised services from Saturday, July 4.


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“To that end, we have been putting in place plans to be Covid-19 secure for our workforce and visitors.

“This includes appropriate social distancing in queues and on the train, one-way systems, limited use of the toilets with regular cleaning, PPE, contactless payments, additional Perspex screens and of course, our carriages will be open air.

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“We anticipate services on the hour every hour with journeys to Wighton and back initially for a reduced fare - £5 per person 6 and above, free for fives and under. We will keep this under review as we go.”

The line has been closed since lockdown began in late March Picture: Chris Bishop

The line has been closed since lockdown began in late March Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Resuming services between Wells and Wighton will mean train enthusiast Matthew Armstrong no longer has the line to himself.

The 29-year-old NHS worker has been self isolating on the line during lockdown - even taking the trains out for the odd run,

MORE - Meet the luckiest man in lockdown - the train enthusiast self isolating on a railwayThe WWLR was built by Lieut Cdr Roy Francis, who built the beach railway to ease congestion at Wells in the early 1970s. In 1979, he began laying track along four miles of the old Great Eastern branch line between Wells and Walsingham and the WWLR opened in 1982.

To see the WWLR’s crowd funding appeal, click here.

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