Wells Harbour Railway to be replaced by electric bus from this summer

The Wells Harbour Railway is being replaced by an electric bus from 2022. 

The Wells Harbour Railway is being replaced by an electric bus from 2022. - Credit: Supplied by Holkham Estate

It is the end of the line for the Wells Harbour Railway after it closed last September, with its replacement set to launch in summer 2022. 

The much-loved miniature railway ran from the Wells-next-the-Sea quay to Pinewoods Holiday Park and the beach and was first established in 1976.

The land is owned by the Holkham Estate, which has just announced the replacement as a fully electric bus – the first of its kind in the UK.

It will operate a route from the football club car park to a set-down point near the roundabout at the beach end of Beach Road.

The Wells Harbour Railway. Picture: Ian Burt

The Wells Harbour Railway closed in September 2021. - Credit: Ian Burt

It is designed to accommodate accessible needs and can be lowered to kerb height with an access ramp. 

The aim is for it to be running by June, ahead of the school holidays starting in July.

Timetables and ticket details will be released by the end of May. 

During the busiest days of the summer, the electric bus will be joined by a vintage open-top bus.

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Darren Williams, general manager at Pinewoods Holiday Park, said: “Our 1951 Leyland Tiger started its life transporting visitors around the Channel Islands.

"We have brought it to Wells from Jersey because we believe it will be a fun supplement to the electric bus and certainly gives off the traditional vibes of an English coastal town.”

Ahead of its closure, Gary and Alison Brecknell ran the Wells Harbour Railway for 21 years and it was loved by locals and tourists alike. 

A petition to save it, started by Ashley Illingsworth from Nottingham, gained more than 50,000 signatures.

An open-top bus will join the electric bus on the busiest summer days. 

An open-top bus will join the electric bus on the busiest summer days. - Credit: Supplied by the Holkham Estate

The Brecknells announced in 2020 they wanted to stand down "in the next year or two" and had asked the Holkham Estate 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 needs of the area were evolving.

Holkham said one of the aims of the electric bus is to add extra capacity on the busiest sunny days.