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Should former Norfolk rail lines become long distance paths and cycle routes?

PUBLISHED: 07:06 29 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51 29 January 2018

Hunstanton Railway Station in 1905. Picture: Archant Library

Hunstanton Railway Station in 1905. Picture: Archant Library

Archant © 2012

Norfolk’s disused rail lines could be turned into cycle paths or walking routes.

A report to county councillors today spending £350,000 on a feasibility study into the idea.

It suggests investigating the cost, land ownership issues and the business case for bringing parts of the network back into use as “an integrated cycling and walking network”.

It says the scheme would be “a significant selling point for Norfolk” and help make the county a top walking and cycling destination for leisure and tourism.

The report to councillors on today’s county’s policy and resources committee, adds: “It is proposed that feasibility work will focus on three disused railways, Weaver’s Way - which is owned in part by Norfolk County Council - King’s Lynn to Fakenham and King’s Lynn to Hunstanton.

Wolferton Station on the former King's Lynn to Hunstanton line. Picture: Ian BurtWolferton Station on the former King's Lynn to Hunstanton line. Picture: Ian Burt

“A general feasibility study of the whole of the network will also be undertaken in parallel with this detailed work.

“All three routes represent a diverse section of the disused network and will provide the knowledge basis for how the network could be brought back into use to create an integrated walking and cycling network.

“This initial work will provide a better indication of the costs required to undertake the appropriate feasibility across Norfolk as a whole.”

There have been calls to reopen the Lynn to Hunstanton line, which closed in 1969, to ease congestion on the A149. More than 3,000 have signed a petition since a campaign group was set up 12 months ago.

All aboard the Fakenham Flyer - the town once boasted two stations. Picture: Archant LibraryAll aboard the Fakenham Flyer - the town once boasted two stations. Picture: Archant Library

Much of the original track bed to the resort survives. But restoring the line, which originally ran through Wolferton, Snettisham and Heacham, would cost millions and Network Rail says it would require “a sound business case”.

Fakenham once had two stations. Both closed in the 1950s and ‘60s. The Melton Constable Trust is restoring bridges along part of the line with the help of a £59,000 lottery grant and hopes to eventually raise enough money to buy and restore the track bed.

Weaver’s Way is a 61-mile route between Cromer and Great Yarmouth, which includes sections of disused rail lines.

The county council’s policy and resources committee meets at County Hall in Norwich at 10am today.

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