End of the line: Beloved coastal railway dismantled and taken away
- Credit: Patrick Weston
A cloud of sadness is hanging over Wells after its beloved mini railway was packed up and transported away.
In a move that signaled the end of an era, the train and track from Wells Harbour Railway were loaded onto a truck and moved last week.
The attraction, which ran along Beach Road up to Pinewoods Holiday Park, had been associated with the town for 45 years.
Holkham Estate - which owns the land - has, however, pledged a "replacement service" for the 2022 visitor season.
News of the railway's closure earlier this year triggered an outpouring of sorrow from local people and visitors.
Dozens of pictures, videos and fond memories were shared on a newly-created Facebook page, 'Legacy and Memories of Wells Harbour Railway'.
Ashley Illingsworth, from Nottingham, even started a campaign to save it after Holkham opted not to renew the lease on the land and operators Gary and Alison Brecknell were forced into selling the equipment.
Mr Illingsworth's petition has amassed more than 50,000 signatures, and he was left upset at the lack of fanfare surrounding the train's departure.
“I just feel so sad seeing it packed up,” said Mr Illingsworth, who has been on several holiday to Wells over the years.
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“It was not really a big send-off; it was just a damp squib. That’s it. Pack it up and get going like it was a travelling circus.
“The railway was one of the things that made Wells unique. It will not be the same, and I do not have much intention of going there again."
The trains and equipment from Wells Harbour Railway are currently being transported to an alternative resort in the UK.
Following the closure, Mr and Mrs Brecknell said: "We wish to thank everyone who has travelled on the railway over the last 21 years while we have been operating.
"We are very sad that Densil, Howard and the Duke won’t continue in Wells, but we can assure you their journey will continue."
A Holkham spokesman added: "Wells Harbour Railway has provided transport in a special way for visitors to Wells and holidaymakers at Pinewoods for many years.
"Plans are under way to have a replacement service ready for the 2022 visitor season. More details will be provided before Easter."