As the summer running season at the Mid Norfolk Railway ends, and preparations for this year's Polar Express event continues, the railway is pleased to highlight the progress made this year despite some setbacks.
The work to replace the life-expired way beams that carry the rails across Crownthorpe Bridge will, together with associated track work replacement that is needed to run to Wymondham, be completed before the next summer’s running season begins.
In what has been an exceptionally busy year for the PW Department, much essential work has been carried out to ensure that trains could continue to run to Thuxton and to ensure the line is ready for Polar Express.
The PW department has also extended Platform 2/3 at Dereham, made possible by signing a contract that gives the MNR a franchise to run Polar Express for the next seven years. This work removes the costs of the temporary platform.
Another sign of progress this year was at the AGM, with one of the largest turnouts of members for many years. Six new members were elected to the Trust Council, meaning the majority of members are new. Mr Watts said: “I take this as a very encouraging sign that members have been prepared to stand and are bringing their professional experience in a wide range of areas to the railway. This is essential if the Trust Council is to develop the business and achieve the Charitable Aims of the Mid Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust.”
Other developments this year have seen the successful reintroduction of events such as the Beer Festival and the addition of new events such as the Dino Trains. To facilitate these and other future services, a new rolling stock plan has been announced that has meant the railway has bought an Mk 1 dual braked BFK coach E14023.
At the railway the work of the Signal and Telegraph Department to resignal the line from Dereham south to Wymondham continues to make good progress. Dereham and Thuxton are approaching completion and the focus will now move to Wymondham, where the former Spooner Row Signal Box is now nearing the end of its refurbishment ready for hand over to the S&T Dept to begin installation of the signalling system.
Mr Mark Collinson has rejoined the railway after working elsewhere in the Heritage Railway industry and will take on the day-to-day management of the railway operations.
Summing up the year Graham Watts, the new Chairman said: “Of course not running to Wymondham this year has been disappointing, but despite that the railway is making progress.
Everyone is looking forward to Polar Express and then it is our intention to run a full programme of events next year for the first time since 2019”.