Mid-Norfolk railway kicks of summer of steam
- Credit: IAN BURT
A summer programme dedicated to steam locomotives got underway this weekend with a regular train service between Dereham and Wymondham.
Mid-Norfolk Railway's Summer of Steam will see the volunteer-run railway host a range of steam-focussed events until the middle of September.
One of the biggest will be the annual steam train gala, which is expected to welcome hundreds of train enthusiasts to celebrate of the golden age of train travel.
The popular event will have a variety of steam locomotives operating on the line and, for the first time, visitors will be able to test their skills as a train driver with the special steam driver experience in the 'Union of South Africa' locomotive.
A full induction will be given to budding train drivers before they take to the tracks for an eleven mile trip. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided as well as a special certificate of achievement.
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The summer will also see the return of the railway's Brecklander Cream Tea service, which will operate on Sundays and give passengers the nostalgic experience of a stream train ride accompanied with a traditional cream tea.
Selected Saturday journeys will also give visitors the chance to enjoy a full afternoon tea while the relax on board.
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The regular service between Dereham and Wymondham will also run evening events including fish and chip specials and a chance for passengers to test their detective skills in a murder mystery.
The railway is owned and operated by the Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust charity and staffed mainly by volunteers. The events that run throughout the year help to raise money towards projects such as building a Dereham train shed and commissioning the Dereham Central signal box.
Currently they are working toward improving the railway's infrastructure, including track and signalling. Their most recent success was the construction of a passing loop and signalling system at Thuxton and the opening of the line from Dereham to Hoe.
More details as well as tickets for these events can be obtained from the booking office at Dereham station and also online. The Summer Steam Gala will take place between June 23 and June 25.