Whitwell and Reepham Station has big plans for new year
A Norfolk tourist attraction has gone from strength to strength after it was reopened nearly three years ago.
The Whitwell and Reepham Station, in Whitwell Road, Reepham, near Aylsham, includes a genuine London underground carriage, an original metal railway bridge museum, restaurant and shop, as well as other attractions.
Before the site was reopened for visitors on February 28, 2009 – exactly 50 years after the station was closed for passengers – the area was derelict.
The Whitwell and Reepham station has now grown in size and popularity and is viewed by many as a historic tourist destination in the county.
Work on the underground carriage, which was donated this year, will start in the new year and the aim is for it to be transformed into a museum of underground train travel.
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The metal railway bridge, which used to stand at North Woolwich Station, was donated by Cross Rail in London. Plans are in place to erect the bridge at the station next year.
Points, buffers and lengths of sliding were also donated by Hansons, of Whittlesey.
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The Whitwell and Reepham Station has also worked with other historic rail sites, which has allowed them to share resources.
A biomass boiler in the engine shed, which burns woodchip to heat radiators and water, has also established an environmentally friendly way of warming up the station.
Richard Bailey, operations manager, said: 'The boiler is such a significant step in the station's development, as it allows us to work on our engine stock all year round and not just in the warmer months.'
It was bought after the station received a �70,000 grant from the Low Carbon Community Challenge.
Events carried out at the attraction this year included Reepham firefighters using the carriages for smoke and fire training exercises.
It has also hosted a steam rally, two beer festivals and Santa runs.
Next year, many refurbishment projects will be under way at the site and special celebrations will be held for the station's third anniversary.
An Easter egg hunt, exhibitions, music festivals, beer festivals, a 1940s weekend and a two-day steam rally will also be held.