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Mid-Norfolk Railway

Location

Norfolk Map

OS Ref: TF 993 130

Last Visited: 2009

After a painful birth and difficult childhood, the Mid-Norfolk Railway is now entering early adulthood full of enthusiasm but, perhaps, lacking focus.

Class 20 D8069 and  Goods Train  - Dereham

Class 20 D8069
and Goods Train - Dereham

  • "Lets complete the track to County School."
  • "No, the lineʼs quite long enough, letʼs build a passing loop at Thuxton so we can run more trains."
  • "No, we need our own steam engine if we are going to attract enough visitors to justify more trains."
  • "We havenʼt got the infrastructure to support steam trains. We need water towers and ash pits."
  • "You know what Iʼd really like to see, an orbital line from Norwich via Wymondham, Dereham, Fakenham, Sheringham and back to Norwich."
  • "Thatʼs a bit ambitious, letʼs just build a signal box instead."

Youʼve got to admire the energy. Refreshing when so many of our heritage lines are showing distinct hardening of the arteries. "Weʼve always done it that way lad. Canʼt see any reason to change."

Dereham Station

Dereham Station

The journey from Dereham to Wymondham (pronounced Windham) Abbey is pleasant enough, but lacks any really interesting features. Furthermore, the heritage diesels, which haul the majority of MNR trains are, it has to be said, perhaps a bit of an acquired taste.

Dereham and County School stations have both been fully restored. Most of the other intermediate stations are in private ownership, and in varying states of preservation.

County School

Location

Norfolk Map

OS Ref: TF 989 227

Last Visited: 2009

County School Station

County School Station

Currently detached from the rest of the MNR, County School station was built in 1886 to serve the nearby private school from which it took its name.

It also acted as a junction station for the Wroxham branch which left the main line about a mile north of here.

In 1903 the school became the Watts Naval School, a Barnardoʼs home. It was used for the training of selected boys for a life at sea in either the Royal or Merchant Navy.

The school closed in 1953 and was demolished. The tree-lined driveway to the school and the Lodge, which later became the Station Masterʼs house, are still to be seen.

The station has been lovingly restored and is presented as it might have looked during the Second World War. Somewhat idealised I suspect, as this area was used as a fuel dump and, briefly, a tarmac factory.