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Norfolk Map

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

You've got to admire the energy. Refreshing when so many of our heritage lines are showing distinct hardening of the arteries. "We've always done it that way lad. Can't see any reason to change."

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


Norfolk Map

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 Barnardo's 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 Master's 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.