4 Aug 2010

North Norfolk Steam Railway

The North Norfolk Steam Railway, running between the coastal town of Sheringham and Holt, which is further inland. The railway cuts through the countryside to the east of Weybourne with views of its windmill and passes through the well preserved country station which also houses a locomotive shed together with a carriage maintenance and restoration centre. The Norfolk Orbital Railway, an independent organisation, has plans to join and link the NNR with the Mid-Norfolk Railway. The line, which is just over 5 miles (8.0 km) long, once formed part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway. At Sheringham the line has now been reconnected to the National Rail network via an 'occasional use' level crossing. There are two stops between Sheringham and Holt, Weybourne (actually about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the village and the former Army camp) and Kelling Heath.

The NNR operates both steam- and diesel-hauled services, and organizes a programme of seasonal special events. A museum has been built at Holt to display some of the lines many artifacts from the Midland and Great Northern Railway. The station building at Holt was originally built at Stalham in 1883 and in 2002 was moved, brick by brick, to be re-erected in its current location at Holt. This project was awarded second place in the 2006 railway buildings competition by the Heritage Railways Association of the UK. The signal box, which can also been seen at the station, is over 100 years old and was restored on site. The full signalling system at Holt, with 14 signals as well as the box, was commissioned in 2009 - winning the HRA signalling award for that year. The box was formerly located at Upper Portland Sidings in the East Midlands. The Railway won the 'Independent Railway of the Year' award in 2006.

Work on rebuilding the line started in 1965, and on 4 June 1967, two steam locomotives were delivered. The operating company, North Norfolk Railway plc, was launched in 1965 following the granting of two Light Railway Orders. In May 1973, the railway was the scene of filming of the episode The Royal Train of the popular TV programme Dad's Army. Another scheme, the Norfolk Orbital Railway plans to link the town to the market town at Fakenham. At Weybourne, the main restoration sheds are located. They incorporate room to accommodate four standard length British Railways Mark 1 coaches and six large steam or diesel locomotives. New carriage storage sheds have been built near Holt with Heritage Lottery Funding. These have the capacity to store the equivalent of 18 Mark 1 coaches.

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