Celebsteam buff to reopen Sheringham crossing

Richard BatsonA man behind some of the greatest pop hits of the last three decades is heading to Norfolk to reopen a railway link severed more than 40 years ago.Pete Waterman has helped produce and write songs for Kylie Minogue, Steps and Rick Astley in career credited with more than 200 hits.Richard Batson

A man behind some of the greatest pop hits of the last three decades is heading to Norfolk to reopen a railway link severed more than 40 years ago.

Pete Waterman has helped produce and write songs for Kylie Minogue, Steps and Rick Astley in career credited with more than 200 hits.

But in March he will head to Sheringham to charter another success story - as the town's steam preservation line reconnects to the national rail network for the first time in 46 years.

For Mr Waterman is a life-long train and railway modelling fan with books and a blog page to his name, as well as an OBE for services to popular music.


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Work on the long-awaited link up of the Bittern Line commuter rail link to Norwich with the Poppy Line heritage railway begins this month - and there will be some disruption in February when the road is closed to traffic.

It will open on March 11, when the historic steam loco Oliver Cromwell hauls what is hoped to be the first of many enthusiasts' excursion trains over the crossing, bringing a boost to local tourism and trade.

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North Norfolk Railway spokesman Colin Borg said 'Pete Waterman is a great hero of the whole railway preservation movement.

'One of our directors knows him and asked him to do the ceremony. Pete said he had been wanting to visit the line, so he is coming for a couple of days.'

Preparatory work began on realigning the steam line at the weekend, with a bunch of 'very hardy volunteers' turning out despite the snow, he added.

From January 26 to February 9, traffic in Station Road and Station Approach will be controlled by temporary traffic lights while telecoms cables and chambers are strengthened.

Norfolk County Council has been liaising with the railway and will remodel the nearby roundabout during the works in a bid to minimise disruption.

From February 15 to March 6, Station Road will be closed to traffic between the entrances to the main car park and the Bittern Line car park, for the installation of the new crossing.

Diversions will be set up for road traffic, but the main car park will remain accessible from the A149 direction, and there will be pedestrian access across Otterndorf Green between Station Road and the car park.

The main part of Station Road and the left-turn access from Station Approach will remain open throughout. There will be pedestrian access to the Bittern Line station, but the car parking spaces will be unavailable.

North Norfolk Railway project director Steven Ashling said: 'I hope that Sheringham residents, traders and visitors will be patient during the construction works - once installed, the crossing will mean valuable extra business for the town.'

An open public meeting is being held at the Sheringham Poppy Line station buffet on Friday January 29, from 7- 8.30pm, with railway directors on hand to explain the plans and answer any questions.

Pete Waterman was one third of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman team who were responsible for hits such as I Should Be So Lucky, Especially for You, Never Gonna Give You Up by Kylie Minogue.

as well as groups such as Bananarama and Steps.

His own career spans five decades from club DJ and manager to TV talent show panelist on Pop Idol and Popstars the Rivals, culminating in his 2004 OBE.

His first job was at Leamington Spa station, which he has recreated in model railway form, and www.pwl-empire.com, tagged the official website of a 'pop music phenomenon' has an icon about locomotives.

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