MID-NORFOLK GETS DOUBLE TRACK IN STORAGE DEAL
Train operating company turns to MNR for help after maintenance depot is put on hold.
Nearly two miles of double track is to be reinstated on the Mid-Norfolk Railway – as part of a deal with Abellio Greater Anglia to store new trains.
Under the three-year, £3 million contract with the train operating company, the MNR will provide a base for new Stadler-built bi-mode and electric multiple units during their testing and commissioning periods.
To create the necessary space, the former Down line will be completed between the stations of Kimberley Park (13 miles 77 chains from Norwich) and Hardingham (15 miles 60 chains). Four sidings will also be laid north of Kimberley Park and a connection made to the yard at Hardingham, owned privately by two MNR members; while Electric Key Token working will be installed as part of the project, simplifying the operation of the single line.
The Down track will become the main running line, while the Up line currently used by MNR trains will become the storage siding, as this section of track requires replacement – a job that the MNR will look into once the contract is over.
A 400-yard section of the Down line south of Hardingham was relaid last year in a training exercise by London Underground and contractors Balfour Beatty (SR471). It was originally lifted in 1965 when BR singled the WymondhamDereham route.
The new track and sidings are expected to be complete by March 2019, with most of the work to be carried out by railway infrastructure contractor Sonic Rail Services – run by Stewart Robinson, owner of BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T No. 80078. Greater Anglia needs the additional siding space because its original plan for a new maintenance depot at Brantham, near Manningtree, has been placed on hold.
Once the new trains enter traffic, the Class 153, 156 and 170 diesel multiple units that they displace will move to the MNR. Also to be withdrawn are Class 90 electric locomotives and Mk 3 coaches used on Liverpool Street-Norwich express services, with one Mk 3 rake destined for the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust for use behind No. 60163 Tornado.
Mike Kean, franchising and programmes director for Greater Anglia, said: “It’s an ideal option. Not only is the location convenient for our Crown Point Depot in Norwich, where the new Stadler trains will be based, but it’s great to be able to work with a local preserved railway in our region and deliver a scheme which will result in a legacy benefit of additional facilities for the MNR and the local community.”
MNR General Manager George Saville said: “We would like to thank Greater Anglia and Abellio for giving us this fantastic opportunity to develop the railway, and help reach its potential both now and in the future.”
●● The MNR has also benefited from Network Rail’s resignalling project at Great Yarmouth, recovering point rodding and other mechanical signalling equipment.
With owner Dennis Howells at the regulator, ‘94XX’ 0-6-0PT No. 9466 climbs Danemoor bank on the Up line on June 23, showing the section of the Down line already reinstated.