The anniversary of the Dereham to Wells line closure was commemorated on the 4th and 5th October. A special bus service operated taking the nearest roads to the original route which visited the remaining stations including a special stop at County School. Rod Lock, a former British Railways member of staff, provided a commentary on the bus on Saturday sharing his memories of working as Station Master on some parts of the route. At the former Walsingham Station, a special railway exhibition was created for the event including photographs and artefacts. In addition, there was a special commemorative dining train on the Saturday evening as well as a photographic exhibition in Dereham Station during the weekend. Some 46 visitors took advantage of the bus tour over the two days and many others visited Dereham to ride on the diesel railcar to Wymondham and back.
Maintenance on the railway continues and the focus on the southern section will be work to make the former Swaffham bay platform at Dereham (Platform 4) operational for passenger trains once more. On the northern section work continues on sleeper replacement and track stabilisation in the area known to us as the "Secret Valley" between Hoe and Worthing level crossings. Hoe Lodge Farm Bridge at the time of writing was due to be demolished in mid-November – this is an LNER built concrete over bridge in very poor structural condition.
A reminder: our Christmas Santa trains are running again this year with trains operating at weekends from the beginning of December. For details see our web-site www.mnr.org.uk - alternatively you can ring our Santa phone line - 01362 851723. Tickets include a return trip between Dereham and Wymondham, refreshments and a mince pie, and, for children under 13 years with ticket, a visit to Santa in his grotto to receive a small present. There is also the chance to get your photo taken with Santa. The trains are always very popular and well received by children and parents alike. You are advised to book early.
I would like to wish everyone, from both myself and the team of volunteers at the Mid Norfolk Railway, a very Happy Christmas and New Year.