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‘We will be struggling’: heritage railway’s £10,000 repair bill after vandal attack

PUBLISHED: 10:26 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:26 07 May 2020

A number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk Railway

A number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk Railway

Archant

The boss of a heritage railway has revealed the financial and emotional cost of a “mindless” attack by vandals.

Mid-Norfolk Railway general manager George Saville   Picture: Ian BurtMid-Norfolk Railway general manager George Saville Picture: Ian Burt

The criminals caused more than £10,000 worth of damage when they smashed carriage windows on five trains at Mid-Norfolk Railway, which is in the midst of a coronavirus financial crisis.

One of the trains damaged by the vandals was the restored and painted brake coach which the railway has spent nearly £45,000 restoring.

George Saville, general manager of Mid Norfolk Railway, said: “We are already struggling and then something like this happens. I received a call from one of our engineers telling me what had happened, I could not believe it.”

The railway, now in its 25th year, runs between Dereham and Wymondham Abbey and is owned and operated by the charity’s preservation trust.

A number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk RailwayA number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk Railway

“We have some CCTV in this region”, Mr Saville said. “But they managed to avoid all of the cameras. Now we are installing even more CCTV in the blind spots, which is more of an expense that we have to pay.

“The damage means that some of our people will be having to go in to check the carriages, people that we are trying to keep safe from the virus.”

The railway staff are currently trying to raise £75,000 in an emergency appeal to help them get through the financial struggles they face due to the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Saville said: “We have no money coming in right now. All of our money comes from people taking a ride on our trains.

A number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk RailwayA number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk Railway

“We will be struggling over the next few months because of this mindless attack.”

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Vandals entered the grounds, on Station Road in Dereham, sometime between Friday, May 1, at 5pm and Monday, May 4 at 8.30am.

A number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in £10,000-worth of damage.

A number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk RailwayA number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk Railway

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious, or holds CCTV footage from the area at the time.

Anyone with information should contact PC Sophie Webster at Dereham Police Station on 101, quoting crime reference number 36/29074/20.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

A number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk RailwayA number of railway carriage windows were smashed and a seasonal display was damaged, resulting in extensive, high value damages. Picture: Mid-Norfolk Railway


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