Popular railway will 'cease to exist' as soon as this year

The Wells Harbour Railway. Picture: Ian Burt

The Wells Harbour Railway. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Wells Harbour Railway will "cease to exist" as soon as buyers can be found for its narrow-gauge trains and other gear, its owners have said. 

Gary and Alison Brecknell, have said that although they hoped the railway could run throughout 2021, they would have to sell their three locomotives and other specialised equipment as soon as a buyer came forward.

Mr and Mrs Brecknell, who have run the railway for the past 21 years, said it was "with huge regret and very much sadness" that the railway would have to be removed from the land - which is owned by Holkham Estate - before the end of their current 10-year lease, which covers the next two summer seasons. 

The Brecknells said in a statement: "We were told that the lease was not going to be renewed at the end of its term and subsequently then told by Holkham that they also had no intention of buying the railway from us.

"So with huge regret and very much sadness on our part the railway will need to be removed from Holkham land before the end of the lease. At no time has Holkham had any discussions with us about moving where or when the railway runs. 

"We hope to run the railway for the remainder of this year but the trains, etcetera, will now need to be sold to salvage what’s left of our business, so consequently because this is such a specialised market as soon as buyers become available the railway will cease to exist."

Mr and Mrs Brecknell told Holkham in October last year they wanted to stand down "in the next year or two" and asked for a new 10-year lease in order to sell the equipment to a new operator.

But a spokesman for Holkham said such a renewal would not be "ideal" as the area's needs were evolving.

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Holkham said: "The Holkham team hopes to be able to find better solutions for getting people to and from the beach - ones that offer an easier and safer experience. The current railway was designed to help holidaymakers at Pinewoods get into town and back to the site in the evening."

The Brecknells added: "We would like to thank everyone who have visited us on the railway over the past 21 years and would love to see you sometime this year just to bid farewell to [the trains] Densil, Howard, and The Duke".