Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council and South Norfolk Council, working with Norfolk County Council, have agreed to work together to prepare the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP), which, once adopted, will set out where development of new housing should be provided up to 2036. The plan also covers a range of other topics, such as how the area should plan for transport, infrastructure, the environment, employment and climate change.
Information has been widely promoted with in the Council areas and the GNLP state that they “can only succeed if the views of the public, developers, services and infrastructure providers are understood”. A series of consultations were held from Monday January 8th 2018 until it closed on Thursday 22nd March where comments and views could be made. The next step is the “Regulation 19” stage which is scheduled to happen in summer of 2019. This is when a draft plan will be published and there will be an opportunity to provide comment for consideration by a planning inspector.
The consultation provoked considerable discussion and views. In March we were sent a letter from Gail Mayhew who wanted to share her views and you can read it here.
The King’s Lynn Hunstanton Railway Project Open Day in Hunstanton on 2nd December 2017 was a resounding success. Over 200 visitors attended the event, both families with young children, young adults, empty nesters and the ‘not-so-young’.
Visitors came from all over the country; a few former residents of Hunstanton now living overseas also attended. 138 petitions for a new railway to reconnect King’s Lynn with Hunstanton were signed. Signatories hailed from:
King’s Lynn Hunstanton Area – 82 petitions (58% of total)
Home Counties – 19 petitions (18% of total)
Further afield, ranging from Derby to Bournemouth – 9 petitions (6% of total)
Overseas; Italy, Germany, Canada – 3 petitions (2% of total)
Petitions signed but without postcode – 25 petitions (16% of total)
Two presentations were made on the day by Bob Edwards, a rail expert on the project team. Railway experts from the team also circulated amongst the visitors throughout the day, explaining technical issues, answering questions about potential rail track routes, car parking for passengers, feasibility studies to be undertaken, funding and the type of railway which will ultimately link properly with the national rail network.
Anglia TV were present during the day and conducted 3 on-camera interviews with members of the Project Team. Later in the day, BBC Radio Norfolk attended the event and recorded three more interviews for broadcast. Elaine Bird took photographs for publication in January Town & Around. The event was also attended by Councillors: Andrew Jamieson, Michael de Chenery of Horsburgh and Richard Bird.
Rigil Kent (Chairman) said “I am overwhelmed with the extremely positive response from the public who attended our open day; everybody that I spoke to on the day was in support of our aim to re-establish a line through to Kings Lynn.
The aim of the day was to launch the project to the public officially and to answer any queries that people have to the best of our ability at this stage of the project. The next steps are to raise funds to organise a properly conducted feasibility study to officially ascertain the need, the viability, funding, operation, route and management of the project going forward.”
Next Steps: The Railway Project Group has already set up a bank account and the immediate next steps are to raise funding for a full Feasibility Study to examine all aspects of the proposal including route and rail station options, the provision of car parking, overall costs of the tender and consultancy process, build costs of line options, and its long-term financial viability. The economic benefits to local area businesses and to the communities served by the new rail service will also be examined and quantified.
Earlier in the year we published an article on the new Swanage to Wareham service The 2017 trial diesel service between Swanage and Wareham finished on Sunday 3rd September 2017 and here is a statement from Mark Wooley, Director at the Swanage Railway Company.
“The full reinstatement of this fine branch line has been a 45 year struggle. The culmination of this effort – by many dedicated people – has only been possible through capital grant aid in recent years totalling £5.56m received through the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership (PCRP) from local authorities, the Department for Communities & Local Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and from oil giant BP.
A sizeable proportion of this (£3.2m) was invested by Dorset County Council and Purbeck District Council in Network Rail’s recent Poole to Wool re-signalling scheme which ensured passenger train access to and from the Swanage branch at Worgret Junction, and avoided prohibitive standalone project costs at a later date.
This level of investment represents a great act of faith in the long-standing project to reinstate a Swanage to Wareham train service and is very welcome. However, whilst the sum involved is large by heritage railway standards, it is something of an exceptional case and also far below the levels of investment required to implement a full service in the short term; a situation that, by coincidence, Christian Wolmar laments in his article in the same edition of RAIL.
It is also important to bear in mind that, vital though this grant aid has been to the Swanage Railway and the PCRP, the new service is being operated without any revenue support. Under the terms of a recently signed 99-year lease with Dorset County Council (owners of the freehold of most of the Swanage branch), the Swanage Railway has been obliged to operate a two-year trial service on 60 selected days in year one and 90 selected days in year two.
In year one, the service comprised four return trips a day at two-hourly intervals and was delivered as cost-effectively as possible by utilising a single staff shift and an integrated fare structure. Mindful of the need to avoid fare abstraction, the latter has been well received by many passengers because it allowed the ability to break a journey at Corfe Castle before travelling on to Swanage by heritage steam service. The fare, which for many was discountable, never attracted serious concerns.
The new Swanage to Wareham service is by definition a limited trial and will therefore not be optimal from the outset. We are very pleased with the first year of the trial service and our official footfall figures indicate a total passenger figure of over 13,000 for the 60 days of operation. This compares well with the PCRP’s target of 12,000 passengers. Surveys indicate that a high proportion of our passengers arrived and/or departed from Wareham by rail. Feedback received from South Western Railway tells us that Wareham station ‘entries and exits’ data for the 12-week period of the trial shows a significant increase over the same period in 2016. This was a key objective of the new service and is something to be proud of.
We look forward to delivering a 90 selected day trial service in 2018 and it is likely that there will be changes to the timetable and additional discount schemes made available for this.”
The Mid Norfolk Railway has taken delivery of its latest loco to join the fleet, owned by DO5 Preservation Ltd ex-DRS Class 37 No 37688 roared into Wymondham mainline at lunch time on Monday 27th March 2017.
This was followed by a display of power as it ran over the cross over and back into the station. It then proceeded onto the MNR metals and into Wymondham Abbey run round loop to await collection by senior MNR driver Melvyn Cole for the final part of its journey with the run into Dereham.
More information on Class 37 No: 37688 here: 37688
With thanks to Andy Marrison for the report and photographs,
Wrenford has been painting railway scenes for as long as he can remember, both his grandfathers were engine drivers and he developed a passion for steam trains. His paintings are very atmospheric and Wrenford has gained a reputation as one of the area’s top railway artists.
Wrenford lives in the Norfolk Orbital Route at Sheringham and is a frequent visitor to the nearby North Norfolk Railway . He is a very busy artist and attracts a lot of work through commissions.
On 25th February 2017, he joined Andy Sullivan of the Norski Noo Gallery at Dereham Memorial Hall, for the 18th Model Dereham Railway exhibition. It was as always a popular day with trains running on the Mid Norfolk Railway.
Paul Young, project officer for the Norfolk Orbital Railway went along and interviewed Wrenford, who gives us a fascinating insight into his work and you can hear it here:
Working with Norski Noo Gallery, we are delighted to be able to offer a limited selection of signed prints of Norfolk Railway stations in and around the Orbital route. A percentage of the proceeds will go towards funding this project. To view the prints and for more details please click on this link: Norski Noo Gallery
On Monday 13th February 2017, David Bill (Director), Joe Penfold (Holt Liaison) and Paul Young (Project Officer) members of the Norfolk Orbital project met with Steve Turner from the Office of Rail and Road, who deals with all the Heritage Railways in the UK.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the development of the rail route into Holt and identify the issues. The crossing at the Old Cromer Road was considered to be the first priority. A traffic survey is to be conducted and then a business case for a crossing is to be put to ORR for consideration. The business case is to outline the safety aspects, traffic use and benefits to the town of installing it. Crossings are not popular due to the number of fatalities so it has to be a strong case. We would obviously need to consult with Holt Town Council and the NNR to gauge their views. So it would be a well rounded proposal and would not be a stand alone. If a crossing is not approved then options would be a tunnel or a bridge.
Clearances were then noted and in places they do appear to be ‘tight’ in one area with the numerous new developments currently under construction. However with the measurements that have been taken this pinch point should be workable. We are waiting confirmation from ORR as to their requirements and then we can go to Norfolk Highways and Holt Town Council to discuss. The footprint of the new roundabout currently being constructed on the Holt bypass will not encroach onto the rail corridor. It would of been helpful if this roundabout could of been offset to the East by a few metres but this request was not factored in so we will have to work with it.
A public consultation was also suggested as being set up to gauge the current feeling of support within the local community. This would need to be done working closely with Holt Town Council and Norfolk Highways. The current Orbital project has been running now for almost twenty years and public opinion has been tested in this time with mixed results. It has to be remembered that the Orbital project is being run solely by a small and dedicated voluntary team, many who have other commitments and full time jobs. If there is a high level of support then funding options for staffing the project could be considered as an option.
There are some interesting projects taking place along the Orbital route. One excellent example is the Hunslet 3193, a steam locomotive undergoing restoration in the goods yard at Yaxham railway station by members of the Norfolk Heritage Steam Railway Ltd.
One of our website editors, Paul Young, met up recently with two members of the Norfolk Heritage Steam Railway Ltd. Chairman Charlie Cooley and Secretary/Treasurer David Bramhall.
Listen to their conversation here:
For more information, please click on the weblinks below: