Fakenham is a key location in the Orbital project and land has been safeguarded for rail use in the town by North Norfolk District Council and as such is subject to Policy CT7 of their adopted Core Strategy. The track route corridor from Fakenham through to County school, the Northern station on the Mid Norfolk railway has also been safeguarded for rail use. Connection to this station, a distance of only 6 miles would then enable rail traffic to run through to Dereham and then to the mainline connection at Wymondham.
In December 2014, we were able to buy a significant stretch of railway land at Fakenham through auction for £24, 000 . This was thanks to the generosity of supporters of the project. Press release here: Norfolk Orbital Railway project gets closer to reviving old link to Fakenham
Linking Fakenham through to Melton Constable and then on to Holt does present a few challenges. In September 2001, WS Atkins rail, carried out an engineering and environmental study into the reinstatement of the line. The conclusions and recommendations highlighted a number of key areas for further consultation, in summary:
- The reinstatement of the railway should be practicable largely on the original alignment although there will be significant environmental and highway implications
- Detailed consultation to determine environmental constraints
- Landowners need to be consulted in order to identify issues and to identify alternative routings.
- Discussions to be carried out with HMRI with regards level crossings.
- Risk assessments to be conducted.
- Interface proposals should be agreed with the rail operating companies.
There were two stations, Fakenham West on the Midland & Great Northern Line linking the Midlands with Cromer and Great Yarmouth. The line closed in 1959.
Fakenham East station on the Great Eastern Railway linked Wells next the Sea with Wymondham on the main Norwich line and closed to passenger traffic in 1964. However the line remained open until as recently as 1980, with a daily freight service.