Train op­er­at­ing com­pany turns to MNR for help af­ter main­te­nance de­pot is put on hold.

Steam Railway (UK) - - Focus News -

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.

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