Middleton Towers Restoration Group

Middleton Towers was the first stop on the Lynn and Dereham railway in Norfolk, which closed to passenger services in 1968. It is the only remaining station on the line that still has a rail connection, which is used by a local sand freight company.

1st October 2023

The Middleton Towers Restoration Group are a group of over 500 members who, in July 2021, came together to campaign for the restoration of the derelict station waiting room and ticket office buildings, which have been in a sad state since the closure of the line, receiving only minor cosmetic touches over the years. They are campaigning Network Rail to obtain permission to fully restore the site, to be used as a public tearoom and a railway museum.

Looking towards the Station Masters house

The Restoration Journey

  1. Founding the Group: Alex Brammer established the Middleton Towers Restoration Group in July 2021 with a clear mission—to restore the former railway station site for the benefit of the local community.
  2. Current Status: The group comprises over 500 railway enthusiasts, engineers, and tradespeople who share the vision of revitalizing this historic site.
  3. Challenges and Ambitions:
    • The former ticket office and platform access room urgently need repair. These buildings are owned by Network Rail.
    • The station house, however, is in good condition and is privately owned by Sibelco.
    • Discussions with Network Rail are ongoing to obtain permission for renovating their portion of the site.
    • The group’s consensus is that the restored site should function as a public tea room and a museum dedicated to the Lynn and Dereham railway.
    • But the ambitions extend beyond restoration—there’s a desire to campaign for the reinstatement of a passenger service, at least as far as Middleton Towers or East Winch. This could alleviate road congestion and benefit local residents.
    • The group aims to prevent hasty decisions by central or local government that might lead to development or the removal of railway lines, as regretfully happened in the 1960s.

Alex Brammer, founder and director of the Middleton Towers Restoration Group, met up with Paul Young, project officer for the Norfolk Orbital Railway on site recently, to talk through the latest progress.

Paul Young (left) and Alex Brammer (right)

You can listen to the interview here:

For more details on Middleton Towers restoration Group, along with contact details and how you can help, here is a link to their website:  https://www.middletontowers.org.uk/contact-us.html#/

Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley visited Sheringham in 1925

William Whitelaw No 2563

The Railway Centenary celebrations were held on the Stockton and Darlington Railway on the 2nd July, 1925.  The great feature of the celebrations, was the hundreds of years of railways, witnessed by the Duke and Duchess of York and a large company.

Part of the celebrations was the use of steam locomotive and tender, Stockton & Darlington Railway No.1, 0-4-0 “Locomotion” originally built by Robert Stephenson & Co. in Newcastle and was used on the opening day of the Stockton & Darlington Railway on 27th September 1825.

Locomotion No1 being driven in 1925

On the celebration day, the caption on the back of the photograph states: ‘Locomotion No 1, was driven by an old L & N. E. R. servant dressed as Stephenson and which carried a number of musicians dressed in the costume of 1825.’

Over 54 locomotives spanning the 100 years of railway operations took part, including the Sir Nigel Gresley-designed class A3 locomotive number 2563 ‘William Whitelaw’ built in 1924.  The event was a landmark anniversary and proved very popular.

William Whitelaw No 2563
William Whitelaw No 2563

David Bill MBE, who is a director of the Melton Constable Trust, has kindly supplied these photographs, along with this fascinating letter below:

It would appear from the letter, that Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley visited Sheringham in 1925.  However, it would be wonderful if we could find out a bit more information on Mr A. J. Sadler and the Church Street Garage in Sheringham.

If you have any information, then please contact:

David Bill MBE on d.bill@ntlworld.com