Heritage railway gets ready to reopen with special jazz train and craft fair

The Mid-Norfolk Railway will not resume heritage services before the start of August. Picture: Ian B

The Mid-Norfolk Railway is planning a jazz train and craft fair. - Credit: IAN BURT

A jazz train and craft fair will be the first events on offer when a much-loved heritage railway reopens next month.

The Mid-Norfolk Railway (MNR) has announced that it is now planning to reopen Wymondham Abbey Station as well as Dereham when the railway begins passenger services on Wednesday, June 23.

The reopening, which is contingent on the roadmap going ahead, means passengers will be able to join trains at the Wymondham end of the line as well as at Dereham. The MNR’s other stations will, however, still remain closed.

Charlie Robinson, chairman of the Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust, said: "The railway has taken a cautious approach to reopening. This was to ensure that we could offer as close to normal service as was possible, bearing in mind the advice on Covid-19 precautions.

"We therefore think the time is now right to be able to plan on this reopening for our first day of public service."

The first special events the railway is planning to run are a craft fair on Saturday, July 17 at Dereham Station and, in the evening of the same day, the MNR's first Jazz Train of 2021.

The Craft Fair is planned to have at least 25 stallholders set up in front of the main station building, in the MNR marquee and on the platforms at the station.

80078 departing from Wymondham Abbey

80078 departing from Wymondham Abbey - Credit: Ian Macdonald

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The stalls will include designers who work in floristry, woodturning, garden products, art, glass, textiles, jewellery, chocolate, recycled materials, cakes and candles among other areas, and much more.

Kathy Lloyd, a volunteer at the Mid-Norfolk Railway and the organiser of the craft fair, said: “This is a new event for the railway and after the prolonged restrictions of Covid-19, we are looking forward to being able to host our stallholders and visitors on what promises to be a special day for the railway.”

The jazz train will see live music played from departure throughout the journey.

Ticket details will be published on the new Mid-Norfolk Railway website in due course.

This is where full details of all events, plus the season’s timetables, will appear -midnorfolkrailway.co.uk

MNR Pacer at Wymondham railway

MNR Pacer at Wymondham Railway - Credit: Peter Singlehurst