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Heritage of the railways in Norfolk

Written by Georgia Dawson on

Norfolk train

Norfolk really is a beautiful county. You can discover the beautiful coastal landscapes, explore the charming villages and experience the serenity of the Broads by foot, car, train or boat. Below are some options of how to explore Norfolk via the railways:

1. North Norfolk Railway

Take a trip on the North Norfolk Railway (also known as Poppy Line) and discover the wonderful north Norfolk coast and countryside. This Poppy Line is one of the most beautiful heritage railways in Norfolk.The North Norfolk Railway provides a 10½ mile round trip by steam train (vintage diesel trains on some journeys) from Sheringham, along the coast to Weybourne, and through the heathland to Holt. The flowers seen on the journey are particularly beautiful. In spring and early summer, you’ll see primroses, bluebells and the yellow gorse. However, in the later months, poppies can be seen and are enhanced by the surrounding heathers. However, the North Norfolk Railway is more than just a train. There are fascinating historic stations, a museum of the railway’s history, a children’s activity carriage and much more.

2. Mid-Norfolk Railway

The Mid-Norfolk Railway, East Anglia’s longest heritage railway, runs between the Norfolk market towns of Wymondham and Dereham. Dereham is the railway’s headquarters and has undertaken a restoration back to how it would have looked in the late 1950s. In this time, Dereham was an important railway station. The station now includes a period ticket office, tearoom, souvenir shop and displays of local railway artefacts. The stations at Yaxham, Thuxton, Hardingham and Kimberely are all being restored also. The Mid-Norfolk Railway train ride offers views of the gorgeous Norfolk countryside. Beautiful flowers can be observed from the train, as well as wildlife such as owls and deer.

3. Bure Valley Railway

Bure Valley Railway is Norfolk's longest narrow-gauge steam railway and a trip to Norfolk would not be the same without a visit. The railway runs between the market town of Aylsham and the wonderful Norfolk Broads town of Wroxham. The train is nine miles long and travels through the beautiful Bure Valley countryside. The railway includes a café at Aylsham station which can seat 80 people. Pop into the souvenir shops and there is free parking at both Aylsham and Wroxham stations. A combined train and boat trip on the Norfolk Broads is available.

4. The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway

The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway is the longest 10¼ inch narrow gauge steam railway in the world. The railway is also the world’s smallest public railway. The train travels from the lovely seaside town of Wells-next-the-sea to the beautiful village of Walsingham, and vice versa. Experience picturesque views of the Norfolk coast and countryside. Bring your binoculars as the journey is flooded with stunning views, plants and wildlife – you might see butterflies, birds of prey, brown hare and deer. The journey time is 30 minutes each way.

5. Wells Harbour Light Railway

Another 10¼ inch narrow gauge steam and diesel railway, the Wells Harbour Light Railway runs from Wells town to the beach. The railway was the first 10¼ inch railway so to operate on a schedule and appears in the Guinness World Records.

6. Bressingham Steam and Gardens

With over four miles of narrow-gauge steam lines and four journeys to choose from, visiting Bressingham Steam and Gardens is a brilliant day out for all the family. The Fen Railway is a 1½ mile long track which leaves from the museum building. The Garden Railway is a 1.2 metre track which operates from the Dell Garden and the coach park. Its track runs alongside the perimeter of the Gardens. The Waveney Valley Railway leaves the Lakeside station and travels east. The standard-gauge demonstration line operates on Special Occasions. This is a demonstration line at a length of around ¼ mile.

7. Whitwell and Reepham

The Whitwell and Reepham railway lies just one mile from the Georgian town of Reepham. This railway uses both steam and diesel engines and if you combine it with a walk along Marriott’s Way, you’re set to have a good day out in Norfolk.

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SALT Journal