Fire won’t shunt Mid-Norfolk Railway show on to a sideline

Two wagons belonging to the mid-Norfolk Railway which went up in flames on Thursday night.Photo: Mik

Two wagons belonging to the mid-Norfolk Railway which went up in flames on Thursday night.Photo: Mike Grayley. - Credit: Archant

Organisers of a steam gala have vowed to soldier on despite thousands of pounds worth of damage caused when two wagons were torched.

The burnt out historic wagons belonging to the Mid-Norfolk Railway at Wymondham. Picture: Denise Bra

The burnt out historic wagons belonging to the Mid-Norfolk Railway at Wymondham. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2013

Norfolk police confirmed they were treating the blaze, in a siding on the Mid-Norfolk Railway (MNR) in Wymondham, as arson.

The fire, off Pages Close, began at about midnight on Thursday, just hours before the MNR's Summer Steam Gala – due to attract thousands of spectators – was set to begin.

Fire crews from Wymondham, Attleborough and the water carrier from Hethersett were called to the fire, which damaged the track and siding and destroyed the wagons.

Leslie Dale, a director of the MNR, said the gala, due to run until Sunday, had begun well despite the fire.


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'We've had day one and it seems extremely successful,' he said. 'We want it to go well because there's a huge amount of money in it but it's something we could have done without. It's an inconvenience, but I think everything will run as intended and the visiting engines will depart as expected on Monday.'

Steam locomotives such as The Duchess of Sutherland and Mayflower were among the highlights at the event yesterday. The tube and pipe wagons destroyed in the blaze were bought by the trust about 10 years ago from British Rail and had been kept in the siding until repairs could be made. They were used about 30 years ago on the main Norfolk lines.

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It followed other arson attacks in Wymondham, which included a wheelie bin set on fire between 9.30pm on Wednesday and 5.45am on Thursday in an alleyway on Pople Street and two rubbish fires on Wood Avens Way shortly after 1am on Thursday. Police are investigating if they are linked.

Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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