Orbital railway group set to buy another 180m of land

David Bill, from Norfolk Orbital Railway, believes more people in Norfolk will soon be travelling by

David Bill, from Norfolk Orbital Railway, has appealed for donations so a crucial section of land can be bought for the project. - Credit: Archant

A group trying to bring trains back to Holt and Fakenham town centres has launched a push to raise the final £5,000 of £100,000 needed for part of the route.

The Melton Constable Trust wants to buy a 180m section of former railway land between High Kelling and Holt, a crucial step in creating a corridor between the North Norfolk Railway railhead and the town centre.

The proposed route of the Norfolk Orbital Railway.

The proposed route of the Norfolk Orbital Railway. - Credit: Archant


David Bill, director and trustee of the Norfolk Orbital Railway project, said it would follow the purchase of an adjoining 20m stretch of land for £25,000 from Norfolk County Council about a decade ago. 

Places -- H / Transport TrainsEve of destruction -- Holt Station. The line between Holt, Weybo

The former Holt Railway Station in 1963. The station closed the following year. - Credit: Archant Library


Mr Bill said: “It will create a key stretch of land, and open the way for talks with the county council to hopefully run the railway alongside the bypass.

“We’ll be in a position where we can start talking about how we can get the line as far as the old railway station in Holt. 

The section of land at High Kelling which the Melton Constable Trust plans to buy for the Norfolk Orbital Railway...

The section of land at High Kelling which the Melton Constable Trust plans to buy for the Norfolk Orbital Railway project, with markets along the route. - Credit: Melton Constable Trust


“It’s a case of one step at a time, but unless the land itself can be acquired the railway is never going to be built.”

The land was part of the former Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway.

Holt’s former railway was at the southern end of Station Road, next to the A148, and was closed in 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts.

Land at High Kelling which the Melton Constable Trust has already bought for the Norfolk Orbital Railway project, looking...

Land at High Kelling which the Melton Constable Trust has already bought for the Norfolk Orbital Railway project, looking towards the North Norfolk Railway. - Credit: Melton Constable Trust


The long-term goal of the project is to reinstate the line all the way from Holt via Melton Constable to Fakenham.

Trains would then be able to travel around mid and north Norfolk in a loop extending from Norwich, to Cromer and on to Fakenham, down to Dereham and back across.  

Mr Bill said it was a goal which was still a long way from being realised, but it would be worthwhile to see it come to fruition.

The North Norfolk Railway. Photo: Ian Burt

The long-term goal is to the link the North Norfolk Railway line which runs from Sheringham to Holt's outskirts with the town centre and onto Melton Constable and Fakenham. - Credit: IAN BURT

“I believe the lines to places like Holt should never have been pulled up in the first place. There are plenty of people around who say 'don’t do it' because it’s too difficult, but we’re paving the way to see what can be achieved.” 

Donations can be made by bank transfer to The Melton Constable Trust at TSB Bank PLC, sort code 30 94 34, account number: 00493540 using the reference ‘High Kelling’.
For details of other ways to donate, visit norfolk-orbital-railway.co.uk/latest-news.
 


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