Steam reclaims more territory in Mid-Norfolk

IN the year when the nation is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of BR standard gauge steam haulage, the Mid-Norfolk Railway has opened the latest length of its new northern extension.

On Friday, May 18, Dennis Howell’s WR 0-6-0PT No. 9466, which in recent years has made the surviving section of the GER Wells-next-the-Sea branch a second home, top and tailed a special inaugural train of invited guests from Dereham station to the level crossing at Worthing, which lies north of the previous limit of special train operations at Hoe.

WR Hawksworth 0-6-0PT No. 9466 approaches Hoe crossing between Worthing and Dereham on Saturday, May 19 with a special to celebrate the opening to Worthing. STEVE TWEED/MNR

The outbound train was hauled to Worthing by Class 04 D2334 and headed back to Dereham by steam.

Further trains were run over the extension during the following weekend. On some of them, the 04 was paired with a DMU trailer car and No. 9466 was back in action on others.

The railway does not plan at this stage to extend its regular timetabled services on the 11½-mile Dereham to Wymondham section to Worthing, but will run passenger trains there on gala days and other special occasions. The distance from Dereham to Worthing is 3.8 miles – longer than many of the UK’s smaller standard gauge heritage lines.

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