Could the railway between King’s Lynn and Hunstanton be re-opened, asks public meeting in Heacham tonight

Public meeting tonight will have an open forum about restoring the line.

It was loved by generations of holidaymakers, who flocked to the Norfolk coast by train.

Poet John Betjeman even sang its praises - before the Beeching Axe fell on Britain's rural railways.

Campaigners will discuss the possibility of restoring the branch line between King's Lynn and Hunstanton at a public meeting tonight.

Retired civil engineer Colin Abbiss, who has organised the meeting, said: 'We had a meeting here last November about the history of the line between Hunstanton and King's Lynn.

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'A lot of people thought we should tackle the question of getting the line back. People can come along to the meeting tonight, it'll be an open forum so they can say what they think.

'The track bed is largely still there. We understand there's a good case for getting the traffic off the A149.'

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The coming of the railway, funded by local businesses, proved to be the making of Hunstanton as a family holiday destination.

Henry Styleman LeStrange created the resort in the late 1800s, to cater for the newly-fashionable craze of sea bathing.

It wound across reclaimed marsh north of King's Lynn, with a grand station at Wolferton, on the Sandringham Estate, which the Royal Family used on their trips to their Norfolk retreat.

Between the wars, trains arrived at ten minute intervals, full of day trippers from Lynn and holidaymakers from London, the Midlands and the North.

But the boom in car ownership in the 1950s and 60s proved a death knell for the Lynn to Hunstanton line.

Track was taken up after the line closed, in 1969, amid the cuts presided over by Dr Beeching which consigned many of Norfolk's rural branch lines to the history books.

Hunstanton station is no more. The site it occupied is now a car park, with just a former coal shed and a solitary railway signal remaining of the once-proud terminus and bustling platforms which stood off Southend Road.

Wolferton's Royal Station has been turned into private homes and stations at Snettisham and Heacham have also been converted.

Last year, Network Rail said there were no plans to bring the line back into use, because the economic case did not stack up.

The meeting is being held tonight at the Church Hall, in Heacham High Street, from 7pm. An exhibition of satellite photos and maps will also be on show in the hall from 3.30pm.

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