Your Say - Does Dereham need a national rail station?

Malcolm Heymer

Malcolm Heymer said he doubted a train station for the town would be practically or financially viable. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Dereham has a beautiful heritage railway station, used by the popular Mid-Norfolk Railway, but the town has been without regular passenger services since 1969.

Does Dereham need to be back on the national rail network? Reporter Noah Vickers asked residents their thoughts.

Malcolm Heymer, 71, who is retired and lives in Dereham, said he doubted such a scheme would be practical. 

“I don’t think it would be viable really - that’s why they stopped running them in the first place,” said Mr Heymer. 

If the current station were used, he added, passengers would have to travel down to Wymondham before getting anywhere else, making it less convenient than the road for most journeys. 

Jennifer Copsey

Jennifer Copsey said she wasn't sure where a new train station could go in the town. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Jennifer Copsey, 44, who lives in Dereham, said that if the town was to get an entirely new station and rail line, there wouldn’t be an obvious central location for one. 

“Where would you put it?” she asked, adding that most people were content to travel to Norwich or King's Lynn by bus for their rail connections. 

Michael Kay

Michael Kay said that having Dereham back on the national rail network could be a good thing if it reduced the number of cars in the town. - Credit: Noah Vickers

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Michael Kay, 64, an artist who lives in the town, said that putting the town back on the national rail network could be a good thing if it reduced car use, but that he wouldn’t want to see the Mid-Norfolk Railway have to cease operations. 

“[It would be good] if the two of them could do it together, and have the steam engines alongside new ones,” said Mr Kay.

Theresa Myhill

Theresa Myhill said her family would benefit from national rail services in Dereham. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Theresa Myhill, 49, a community nurse who lives in Scarning, said her family would benefit from a regular rail link to the rest of the county.  

“I think we probably would use it - when we go to Sheringham, we go by bus,” said Ms Myhill, who added that her family enjoyed visiting the North Norfolk and Mid Norfolk heritage railways. 

Shirley Shields

Shirley Shields, a theatre fan, said that "anything" would be better than having to get the bus to Norwich for a train to London. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Shirley Shields, 69, who is retired and lives in Toftwood said a national rail station would mean she could more easily visit London’s theatres.  

“I used to live 20 miles outside London, in Welwyn Garden City - 20 minutes and I was at Kings Cross. Now it’s the back of beyond,” she said. 

“I do like the theatre, not that anyone’s been able to go. Anything would be an improvement on an hour on the bus,” she added.

Diana Bennetts

Diana Bennetts, a Salvation Army officer, said a branch line of the national rail would be "handy" to have in Dereham. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Diana Bennetts, 64, a Salvation Army officer who lives in Toftwood, said: “I think I probably would use it - whether it would be feasible is another question.”

“I think most people generally bus into Norwich, so the facility is there at that station for onward journeys.”

She added: “A little branch line would be handy. I used to live in North Walsham before I was here. To be able to jump on the train into Norwich or Cromer was a good alternative to the bus.”