More than 143,000 visitors travelled on the line during the North Norfolk Railway’s 2021/22 financial year.
The popular 5½-mile heritage line was forced to close between Christmas 2020 and April 2021, then endured three months where only limited operations were possible, but rallied in the second half of the year to welcome a total of 143,632 passengers.
Commercial manager Graham Hukins said: “This is a very strong result in the circumstances and we are looking forward to a more normal season in 2022. Pre-Covid, we would expect to carry about 160,000 visitors in a full year so we are very pleased with the 2021 result – which is a testament to our volunteers and staff who ensured we delivered great experience for visitors.
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“Since the New Year, the team been busy with a huge amount of work behind the scenes to get ready for this year.”
The work has included annual servicing of steam and diesel engines, repainting some of the line’s vintage carriages, track maintenance, clearing vegetation from the lineside, and revarnishing the wooden floors at the line’s three stations.
“Looking after historic locomotives, carriages, track and buildings is a huge year-round effort, “ explained Graham, “but there are some tasks that can only be carried out when we’re closed to the public.
“We’ve also looked at ways to ensure today’s passengers get the most out of their visit so have compiled an information flyer to help visitors explore Sheringham, Weybourne and Holt stations, and devised an activity sheet for children.
“Our rover tickets are great value, allowing unlimited travel all day so it’s important that passengers know just how much history, heritage, scenery and wildlife there is to discover.”
Steam and heritage diesel trains are running at weekends in March before the line’s daily service, which operates from April 1 to October 30, commences. Passengers booking in advance will enjoy discounted fares; full details including times and how to book can be found on the NNR website.