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Dream of restoring railway to Holt moves nearer to reality

PUBLISHED: 09:48 07 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:48 07 November 2016

Joe Penfold from the Norfolk Orbital Railway project, at the bit of land at High Kelling which the project has bought and has laid out as an enbankment to place a railway line and rolling stock on. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Joe Penfold from the Norfolk Orbital Railway project, at the bit of land at High Kelling which the project has bought and has laid out as an enbankment to place a railway line and rolling stock on. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

More than 50 years after the last train pulled into Holt, work has started to restore railway services to the town.

Places S / Transport -- Trains

The first arrivals at the old Sheringham Station following its closure as a British Rail site roll into view. The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Society brought the engines to the station, one of the first landmarks which led to the eventual founding of the much-loved Poppy Line. Among the arrivals were engines from 1912 and 1932, five coaches and two diesel rail buses.

Dated -- 5 June 1967

Photograph -- C6440Places S / Transport -- Trains The first arrivals at the old Sheringham Station following its closure as a British Rail site roll into view. The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Society brought the engines to the station, one of the first landmarks which led to the eventual founding of the much-loved Poppy Line. Among the arrivals were engines from 1912 and 1932, five coaches and two diesel rail buses. Dated -- 5 June 1967 Photograph -- C6440

A section of overgrown former track is now being cleared at High Kelling to turn the ambitious dream into reality. Campaigners behind the Norfolk Orbital Railway initiative have bought the key section of land which opens up access to the whole route, which aims to link Fakenham with the main line at Sheringham and Wymondham.

The £25,000 purchase was made by the Melton Constable Trust, part of the Holt, Melton Constable & Fakenham Railway Company.

A fundraising campaign is now under way to buy the next section of track along the A148 to Hempstead Road where a temporary station could be built.

Railway company trustee David Bill said: “This is an important first step and demonstrates we are in business. Lots of people have been saying this is too difficult, but with sufficient support it can happen.”

Despite the short length of land bought, campaigners stress it is the linchpin on which the rest of the scheme depends.

Joe Penfold, the trust’s local representative, said: “I never cease to be fired with excitement that there is the realistic hope of seeing this amazing work progress, with the help the public subscriptions, against sometimes, incredible odds.”

Donations – The Melton Constable Trust, The Railway Institute, 6 Briston Road, Melton Constable, NR24 2DA.

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