Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Mid-Norfolk Railway To Launch Emergency Appeal to Survive

The Mid-Norfolk Railway, which runs between Dereham and Wymondham which was due to reopen for the season on Saturday March 4th has delayed its 2023 opening with its future at risk unless tens of thousands of pounds are raised.

A recent inspection revealed that the track in the vicinity of Crownthorpe Bridge, near Wymondham, has deteriorated so much that it is unusable. Also the bridge’s weigh beams and track must be replaced immediately to allow running to Wymondham as the rate of deterioration has accelerated since the last six month inspection, resulting in the bridge and associate track being unusable

The inspection is still to be carried out between Thuxton and Dereham, so if there are issues there too then this will need to be addressed first, so at least a limited service can run.

This work is urgent as the railway needs this section to be sorted before putting tickets on sale for the lucrative Polar Express Train Ride.

An emergency appeal will now be launched, with the work at Crownthorpe Bridge needing at least £50,000.

Charlie Robinson who stepped down this year as chairman of the MNR Preservation Trust said: "The MNR has not been immune to the financial pressures that the sector has been under and our costs have risen dramatically.

“The railway is a significant contributor to the regional economy, so we are asking for the support of the business community and people of the region to ensure the long-term future of the railway.”

The railway team are currently working to develop new revenue streams and as such need more volunteers.

Graham Watts, who runs the railway's commercial portfolio, said: "We need not just people interested in railway activities, but also people with the skill sets any business needs including administration, IT, marketing, human resources management and many more.”

The Model Railway Exhibition will still go ahead on March 4 at Dereham Memorial Hall.