Steam train dream shunts forward

Stream trains could be running between London and Holt after a link-up between a tourist attraction line and the national rail network shunted forward.

Stream trains could be running between London and Holt after a link-up between a tourist attraction line and the national rail network shunted forward.

Reconnecting 100 yards of track at Sheringham would signal a major boost for the North Norfolk Railway.

It could host enthusiasts' trains coming from the capital, bringing big benefits for the preservation line and local economy.

Progress in the long-talked about link came when Network Rail told the Bittern Line partnership, which promotes development of the Norwich to Sheringham commercial line, it was happy to consider an “occasional-use” connection.


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That could mean trains crossing the road at Sheringham six to eight times a year, said North Norfolk Railway spokesman Colin Borg.

“We could have charter steam trains leaving Liverpool Street for Holt on a Friday night and heading back to London on Sunday.

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“That would be a bonus for our railway and put us on the map in marketing and awareness.”

Network Rail had previously been lukewarm about crossings, so their support was a welcome shift in attitude.

There were still hurdles to overcome - including getting planning permission, sorting out safety issues when the trains crossed the road at Sheringham, and the sensitivities of using a strip of land recently improved with a community garden.

But Mr Borg stressed the railway did not want to be “another Tesco” causing dissention, and was in talks with the town council.

The North Norfolk Railway would pay for the link, which is engineering terms meant “a couple of weekends of track- laying.”

More grandiose plans, mooted earlier, to move the Bittern Line station across the road into the preservation station, were not likely to go ahead, added Mr Borg.

It would be too costly, would take valuable space, and potentially spoil the atmosphere of the 1950s station setting.

But the link could rekindle longer term dreams of crating a Norfolk orbital railway, resurrecting old tracks, via Fakenham, Wymondham and Norwich.

It would also help transport guest locomotives to the preservation line - which owners preferred to do via rail than road because of the risk of damaging them during low-loader loading.

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