North Norfolk Railway

North Norfolk Railway
North Norfolk Railway
Weybourne Station, North Norfolk Railway - - 246555.jpg
Weybourne station
Locale North Norfolk
Terminus Sheringham and Holt
Connections Network Rail (at Sheringham)
Commercial operations
Name Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway
Built by William Marriott
Original gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Preserved operations
Operated by North Norfolk Railway
Stations 4
Length 5.25 miles (8.45 km)
Preserved gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Commercial history
Opened 1887
Closed 1964
Preservation history
1989 Extended to Holt
2010 Reconnected to Network Rail
[v · d · e]North Norfolk Railway
Continuation backward
Stop on track
Sheringham (National Rail station)
Level crossing
Occasional use level crossing over Station Road
Station on track
Level crossing
Sweet Briar Lane level crossing
Station on track
Station on track
Kelling Heath Halt
End station

The North Norfolk Railway (NNR)– also known as the "Poppy Line" – is a heritage steam railway in Norfolk, England, running between the coastal town of Sheringham and Holt, It cuts through the countryside to the east of Weybourne with views of its windmill and passes through the well preserved country station which also houses a locomotive shed together with a carriage maintenance and restoration centre. The Norfolk Orbital Railway, an independent organisation, has plans to join and link the NNR with the Mid-Norfolk Railway.



'City of Truro', pictured here at Holt station, visited the railway in 2008
LNER 4-6-0 Class B12 no. 61572 at Weybourne station

The line, which is just over 5 miles (8.0 km) long, once formed part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway. At Sheringham the line has now been reconnected to the National Rail network via an 'occasional use' level crossing.

There are two stops between Sheringham and Holt, Weybourne (about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the village) and Kelling Heath.

The NNR operates both steam and diesel hauled services, and organises a programme of seasonal special events. A museum has been built at Holt to display artifacts from the Midland and Great Northern Railway. The station building at Holt was originally built at Stalham in 1883 and was moved, brick by brick in 2002, to be re-erected in its current location. This project was awarded second place in the 2006 railway buildings competition by the Heritage Railways Association of the UK. The signal box at the station, is over 100 years old and was restored on site. The full signalling system at Holt, with 14 signals as well as the box, was commissioned in 2009 - winning the HRA signalling award for that year. The box was formerly at Upper Portland Sidings in the East Midlands.

The Railway won the 'Independent Railway of the Year' award in 2006.

Work on rebuilding the line started in 1965, and on 4 June 1967, two steam locomotives were delivered. The operating company, North Norfolk Railway plc, was launched in 1965 following the granting of two Light Railway Orders. In May 1973, the railway was the scene of filming of the episode The Royal Train of the popular TV programme Dad's Army. Another scheme, the Norfolk Orbital Railway plans to link the town to the market town at Fakenham.[1]

The main restoration sheds are at Weybourne. They have room to accommodate four standard length British Railways Mark 1 coaches and six large steam or diesel locomotives. New carriage storage sheds have been built near Holt with Heritage Lottery Funding. These have the capacity to store the equivalent of 18 Mark 1 coaches.


The railway is operated mainly by volunteers. There is also a Junior club for members who are aged between 10 and 15. Every year there is a volunteer of the year award and also the 'John D Hammer' trophy for the 'Junior volunteer of the year'.

The future

Preserved 7MT 70013 Oliver Cromwell approaching Weybourne on the North Norfolk Railway on 11 March 2010. The loco is hauling a train from London to celebrate reinstatement of the link to the national railway system at Sheringham.

There are several improvements planned for the railway. Now that the level crossing at Sheringham has been reinstated, one of the next projects is to rebuild the demolished buildings on Platform 2 at Sheringham station. The stanchions for the project are at Weybourne. This is seen as a medium to long term project, but a start may be made soon on erecting the stanchions. The project would also see a footbridge replaced to complete the original station look.

Holt station is also being developed; its progress has been rapid over the last few years. Projects include installing the weighbridge from Cambridge station, putting up a footbridge, and erecting up a mock 'carriage house' to replicate the houses made with old railway carriages in the war years.

Motive power

Steam locomotives[2]

Class L77 (LNER Class N7) no. 69621 with Quadrupled articulated coaches

Operational steam locomotives

Steam locomotives undergoing overhaul, restoration or light repairs

No. 61572 undergoing overhaul

Steam locomotives awaiting overhaul or restoration

Locomotives Currently away on loan

  • NER 0-4-0T LNER Class Y7 No. 68088

Future Visiting Steam Locos

Diesel locomotives[4]

Operational diesel locomotives

Class 31 31207 at Weybourne station

Diesel locomotives undergoing overhaul, repairs, restoration or stored out of service

  • BR 0-6-0 Class 03 no. D2051 (stored out of service)
  • BR 0-6-0 Class 04 no. D2280 (stored out of service)
  • BR 0-6-0 Class 03 no D2063 (Undergoing Repairs)
  • BR 0-6-0 Class 08 no. 08767 (stored out of service)
  • BR Co-Co Class 37 no. D6732 'Mirage' (Undergoing Major Overhaul)

Diesel multiple units

Operational diesel multiple units

  • BR Class 101 51228+56062 (unit no. 101681 not carried[5])
  • BR Railbus no. E79960
  • BR Railbus No. LEV1.

Diesel multiple units undergoing overhaul, repairs or restoration

  • BR Railbus no. E79963

On-track plant

  • TRAMM – DR 98801 ex-Balfour Beatty Track Renewal & Maintenance Machine (operational)

Formerly resident locomotives

Over the years, several locomotives have been based on the line for a number of years before moving on to alternative locations (or in one case, being cut up for scrap).

Steam Locomotives

  • 2918, 0-4-0ST 'Pony'

Built by R.W. Hawthorn Leslie and Company in 1912 to work at Blithe Docks.
Currently operational at the Chatham Historic Dockyard Railway, Kent (renamed 'Achilles').

  • 5479, 0-6-0ST 'Colwyn'

Built by Kitson & Co. in 1933 (Designed by Manning Wardle for Stewart and Lloyds).
Worked at Stewart and Lloyds Pen Mill shed as S&L No 45 and on the NNR (1970-1985).
This was the engine featured in [[BBC] Television's Dad's Army series, 'the Royal Train' episode.
Currently undergoing heavy overhaul at Pitsford & Brampton Station on the Northampton & Lamport Railway.

  • 2107, 0-6-0ST 'Harlaxton'

Built by Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. and ran on the NNR as 'M&GN No. 100'.
Now based at the Scottish Industrial Railway Centre, operated by the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group.

  • 1979, 0-6-0ST 'No.5 Dougal' / from 1976 onwards 'John D. Hammer'

Built by Peckett and Sons Ltd. in 1939, and finally based at National Coal Board, Ashington, Northumberland.
Based at the NNR from April 1969 to October 1991 (usually painted bright yellow).
Now operational at the North Tyneside Steam Railway (renamed 'Jackie Milburn 1924-1988').

  • 3809, 0-6-0ST Class J94 (Ministry of Supply) 3809

Built by the Hunslet Engine Company, Leeds and completed in 1953.
Ordered as one of a batch of 14 locomotives by the War Department in 1952.
Later transferred to the NCB, working in Michael Colliery, Fife.
It was purchased by NNR plc in 1986 and operated on the NNR until 2007.
Now being overhauled on the Great Central Railway's engine shed.

Built by the Hunslet Engine Company, Leeds and completed in 1954.
Originally delivered to the NCB Betteshanger Colliery, near Deal, Kent, in September 1954.
In early preservation on the Great Central Railway, the locomotive was found to be carrying the boiler/firebox
assembly originally fitted to (6)8009, one of the 75 locomotives purchased by the LNER from the Government
in 1946 and designated as Class J94.
Operating on the NNR between November 1993 and December 2004, the locomotive is now owned by the
Stainmore Railway Company Limited and is based at the Kirkby Stephen East railway station Heritage Centre in Cumbria.

Diesel Locomotives

  • 4100001, 0-4-0 Diesel Shunter 'Doctor Harry'

Built by John Fowler & Co. and delivered to Fisons, Kings Lynn in 1945.
NNR works shunter from October 1973, used in much of the rebuilding of the section of the line between Sheringham and Weybourne.
Cut up on site, (Weybourne Railway Station) approx. November 1983.

Rolling stock

Coaching stock

BR Mark 1 carriages

Number Built for Type Notes
E3868 British Railways Mk1 TSO Maroon – has operational toilets
M4236 British Railways Mk1 TSO Maroon
E4521 British Railways Mk1 TSO Maroon (Stored, out of service)
E4641 British Railways Mk1 TSO Maroon
E4651 British Railways Mk1 TSO Maroon – has an area for pushchairs/cycles at one end
E4667 British Railways Mk1 TSO Crimson & Cream – Mainly used in Dining Trains/Murder Mystery, but also for extra capacity on busy days. Normally visible on Platform 3 of Sheringham station
E4843 British Railways Mk1 TSO Maroon
M4372 British Railways Mk1 SO undergoing overhaul.
M4796 British Railways Mk1 SO Deep blue (Stored, out of service)
M3116 British Railways Mk1 FO Crimson & Cream – Used in Dining Trains/Murder Mystery. Normally visible on Platform 3 of Sheringham station
M26012 British Railways Mk1 SK Maroon
M25189 British Railways Mk1 SK Maroon
M15997 British Railways Mk1 CK Blue (Stored, out of service)
E1969 British Railways Mk1 RBR Crimson & Cream – Mainly used in Dining Trains/Murder Mystery, but also for extra capacity on busy days. Normally visible on Platform 3 of Sheringham station
GE21103 British Railways Mk1 BCK Maroon – specially adapted for wheelchairs
W35148 British Railways Mk1 BSK Maroon – specially adapted for wheelchairs
M81033 British Railways Mk1 BG(K) Crimson & Cream – Mobile kitchen vehicle for Dining Trains/Murder Mystery. Normally visible on Platform 3 of Sheringham station
M81369 British Railways Mk1 BG Maroon – not in public use

BR Mark 3 carriage

Number Built for Type Notes
10525 British Railways Mk3 SLEP Maroon – volunteer sleeping accommodation.

Suburban coaches

Part of the current Suburban 4 project to bring four coaches together for the first time

Number Built for Type Notes
43041 British Railways Mk1 CL Maroon – stored out of view, out of service.
43034 British Railways Mk1 CL Maroon – stored out of view, out of service.
46147 British Railways Mk1 S Crimson – stored, out of service.
46139 British Railways Mk1 S Maroon – stored, out of service.
48001 British Railways Mk1 SLO Maroon – stored, out of service.
43357 British Railways Mk1 BS Maroon – in service, ex. BS(G)
43359 British Railways Mk1 BS Maroon – stored out of view, out of service.

The Quad-art set at Sheringham Station

Pre-nationalisation coaches

Number Built for Type Notes
E9128E LNER Gresley Buffet (RB) Crimson/Cream – in service.
70621 LNER Brake Gangwayed (BG) Stored, out of service.
295 Great Eastern Railway Brake Third Corridor (BTK) Stored, out of service.
52256 LNER Tourist Third Open (TTO) Stored, out of service.
E12493E LNER Brake Third Corridor (TK) Static use, activity coach.
48861–48864 LNER Quadrupled articulated coaches (BT-T-T-T) In service for major events.
6843 LNER Pigeon Van (BYP) Lined teak, operational.
853 Great Eastern Railway BTY Stored, out of service.
129 Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway TZ In service in special occasions; still a little bit of work to do.[6]
3 Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway TY Start of restoration, in Weybourne for investigation.[7]

Tram car

Number Built for Type Notes
7 Wisbech and Upwell Tramway Tram Car In service on special occasions

Brake vans

Number Built for Notes
M750133 London Midland and Scottish Railway 20T, vacuum brake, operational.
55167 Southern Railway Hand brake, operational. Built at Ashford works.
12 Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway in use.Used in Melton Constable breakdown train and built in 1881. In use on the vintage train with M&GN 129 and Wisbech and Upwell no7.


Other Heritage Railways and Museums in Norfolk:

External links

Coordinates: 52°56′04″N 1°09′16″E / 52.9345°N 1.1545°E / 52.9345; 1.1545

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