It’s full steam ahead for heritage railway helpers

George Saville, left, and Charlie Robinson at the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: Ian Burt

George Saville, left, and Charlie Robinson at the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The refurbishment of a railway bridge has been completed as volunteers from the Mid Norfolk Railway return to work following the lockdown.

A train on the Mid-Norfolk Railway. Picture: Ian Burt

A train on the Mid-Norfolk Railway. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Railway workers have fixed the bridge just north of Hardingham station after it was noticed that waybeams needed replacing last summer.

George Saville, the railway’s general manager, said: “This has been a very important project for the railway, our volunteers and Sonic Rail Services have made an excellent job of the refurbishment work.

“On behalf of the railway I would also like to thank Sonic Rail Services for their support in making this project happen.”

The wooden waybeams -which weigh 2.5 tonnes each - sit in metal troughs and are used to carry the rails across the bridge.

Volunteers have also been working on the railway’s Dereham North signal box, which is now ready to commission as a working box.

Charlie Robinson, the chairman of the railway’s trust, said: “This is another important step along the road to our eventual aim of reopening the line to County School Station.”

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The MNR’s main running line currently reaches the level crossing at North Elmham, and this work will allow the railway to begin the process of restoring the signalling on the line north from Dereham.

The structure of the box has stood at the end of Platform 1 at Dereham station since 2007, where it was erected following its recovery from Lowestoft.

The heritage line remains closed to the public with no passenger trains running, but the railway itself has never closed to traffic, with regular movements by Greater Anglia and others.

No date has yet been announced for the reopening of the heritage services, and the planned summer special trains and summer events have been cancelled, due to the ongoing restrictions.

This includes services such as the cream and high tea, fish and chip, rock ‘n’ rail and the jazz trains.

Mr Robinson said: “The railway is continuing to monitor the situation and is following the government’s instructions.”

Other heritage railway lines including the Whitwell and Reepham Railway, North Norfolk Railway, Wells and Walsingham Light Railway and Bure Valley Railway, have all resumed, with social distancing and other measures in place.

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