Heritage railway buys locomotive to restore to former glory

Members of the Mid-Norfolk Railway have purchased the class 31 31255 locomotive. Picture: MID-NORFOL

Members of the Mid-Norfolk Railway have purchased the class 31 31255 locomotive. Picture: MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY - Credit: Archant

The Mid-Norfolk Railway has bought a locomotive synonymous with its history ahead of launching a restoration project to bring it back to its former glory.

The Mid Norfolk Railway in Dereham. Picture: ADAM LAZZARI

The Mid Norfolk Railway in Dereham. Picture: ADAM LAZZARI - Credit: Archant

The future of the long-term resident, class 31 locomotive 31255, has been secured for the railway following its purchase by several MNR members for use on the railway.

The sale has been agreed with the previous owner, Harry Needle of Harry Needle Railroad Company, and means when the locomotive is restored it will be used on the railway.

Charlie Robinson, chairman of the MNR Trust, said: “This is yet another important and exciting development for the railway in this, our 25th anniversary [as a trust].

“The railway trust and the membership are extremely pleased that some members have secured this locomotive for long term use on the railway and it will make an important addition to our mission of celebrating the railway heritage of East Anglia.”

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Restoration work has begun immediately on the locomotive following its arrival at the Dereham station, from long-term storage on sidings at nearby Hardingham station on the MNR line.

The first step of the process will be thorough examination and assessment.

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A plan of works will then be drawn up which will see the mechanical and electrical systems restored first, followed by the bodywork. The restoration will then be completed after a decision is made on which livery the engine will carry.

The immediate aim is to have the engine restored to a standard that can be used in service safely for the 2021 running season at the MNR but the full restoration will be a long term project.

The group of members bought the locomotive as the class 31s were synonymous with the railway’s history for more than 60 years. This means that MNR will once again see class 31-hauled passenger trains used on a regular basis in the future.

The railway runs between Dereham and Wymondham Abbey, with restoration taking place on the line northwards to North Elmham and County School.

It is currently closed to the public until further notice, but the railway is running for commercial freight, stock movements, essential repairs and engineering works.

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