Track gift keeps Poppy Line on track

A railway will keep right on track thanks to a generous gift from modern day train technology.

A railway will keep right on track thanks to a generous gift from modern day train technology.

The north Norfolk Poppy Line transports visitors back to the golden age of steam allowing them to see how life on the railway once was.

And now after collaboration between past and present the Poppy Line will be able to expand its services.

While many people in north Norfolk were put out at the closure of the Bittern line over Christmas the Poppy Line benefited.

As part of a major £4.5 million project to improve rail journeys Network Rail renewed the track on the Bittern Line between North Walsham and Sheringham.

Old style track was removed and replaced with continuously welded rails to give a smoother journey to rail users.

Most Read

But instead of disposing of the old track Network Rail donated it to the Poppy Line.

Jerry Swift, community rail account director at Network Rail, said: “We recognise the value of heritage railways like the Poppy Line.

“Generally we recycle old track or send it for scrap but in this case the transport costs would have outweighed the scrap value.

“So by donating it, it's a win win situation, we can invest the money we didn't send on disposal and the Poppy Line can enjoy and use the track.”

The old style track, which has old style rails to give the authentic “clickety clack” sound, is now stacked up outside Holt Station while painstaking work to lay it takes place.

It will be used to form connections to the recently built carriage shed as well as laying new sidings.

Colin Borg, marketing manager for the Poppy Line, said: “We're obviously very grateful for the gift. Original rail is quite difficult to find and can often be expensive.

“Most importantly it means we can provide connections to our new carriage shed built especially to house our Quad-Art coaches. So we can run them out onto the main railway and let people use them.”

The set of teak panelled coaches, designed by Sir Nigel Greasley and built in the 1920s, are known to be the only ones of their kind left in existence.

And are the design forerunners of today's articulated Eurostar trains and are considered by train buffs and historians as being of huge importance.

They are currently being refurbished and restored in Cumbria but are expected to return to Holt in the autumn.