Mainline rail services between Norwich and Sheringham ‘could’ be extended to Holt
Network Rail’s former route director for East Anglia made the comments after he was appointed general manager of the neighbouring heritage line.
Andrew Munden made the comments after he was appointed general manager of the neighbouring heritage line.
Looking East from the level crossing, a class 156 diesel operated by Anglia Greater Anglia up from Norwich at the Sheringham Station on Network Rail
He revealed his first involvement with the North Norfolk Railway was on the project to reinstate the level crossing, which links the Poppy Line with the Bittern Line, in Sheringham back in 2010.
That allowed the launch of special steam train excursions between Holt and Cromer last year, which it is hoped to extend to Norwich and beyond.
About turn and looking West on the new level crossing, the eastern end of the North Norfolk Railway with a vintage DMU as it prepared to depart for Holt
When asked if he ever considered extending mainline services onto the heritage line, Mr Munden smiled: “It could happen, yes - with a bit of willpower.”
And he added: “It is without doubt one of the best (railways) in the country.”
Network Rail is responsible for maintaining and improving the country’s rail network.
Mr Munden, who took up his new role on the North Norfolk Railway at the start of the year, was speaking at the unveiling of the heritage line’s latest attraction - four newly-restored suburban coaches which went out of service in the late 1970s.
Mr Munden said: “It’s great fun after 36 years on the mainline railway, this is a really great job with a smashing bunch of people here.
“These (new carriages) are quite special; we’ve got a very old set of coaches, which worked the London area in the 1920s, these are what took over from those in the 1950s and were in service until the late 1970s when they in turn were superseded by modern electric trains.
“So here on the railway, we can demonstrate the development of suburban train travel and, up at Holt, we have an exhibition in a coach which shows how suburban rail travel developed.”
Earlier this year, rail passengers called for improved public transport links between Holt and Sheringham following concerns that the current bus service is leaving some stranded.
A study found that just three trains out of 17 are met with a bus connection to Holt within what it states is a reasonable time of between six and 15 minutes, and that is reduced to just one on a Sunday.
Meanwhile, despite being described as the smallest rail terminus in the country, rail passenger numbers have increased 170 per cent at Sheringham’s mainline station over the last 17 years.
One of the report’s authors, David Hurdle, a transport planning consultant and resident of Sheringham, said: “We have analysed every single bus and train journey to ascertain the connection times at Sheringham station and the results clearly demonstrate that a reasonable interchange time is currently a matter of pot luck and that buses rarely connect off and onto trains.”
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