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Railway project will steam ahead despite another set back as vandals strike again

PUBLISHED: 08:27 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:03 10 May 2018

Paul Young, project officer for Norfolk Orbital Railway. Picture: PAUL YOUNG

Paul Young, project officer for Norfolk Orbital Railway. Picture: PAUL YOUNG

Archant

The group behind ambitious plans to bring the railway back to Fakenham refused to be deterred after being targeted by vandals for the second time in less than a year.

Vandals have damaged an important Norfolk Orbital Railway bridge in Fakenham for the second time in less than a year. Picture: PAUL YOUNGVandals have damaged an important Norfolk Orbital Railway bridge in Fakenham for the second time in less than a year. Picture: PAUL YOUNG

It comes following the discovery of hundreds of pounds worth of damage to the metal railway bridge in the town.

Bridge number 1715 carries the Great Eastern Railway Line, from Wells to Wymondham, over the Midland and Great Northern Railway Line, from Fakenham to Melton Constable. Last month its top bar was dislodged and thrown underneath the bridge, into trees.

Norfolk Orbital Railway (NOR), who own the stretch of trackbed, are awaiting repairs and have estimated the cost of the damage to be about £500. This is in addition to last year’s damage, where two bars were removed, costing £800.

Paul Young, project officer for NOR, urged the vandals rethink their actions and instead join the group to work together .

Vandals have damaged an important Norfolk Orbital Railway bridge in Fakenham for the second time in less than a year. Picture: PAUL YOUNGVandals have damaged an important Norfolk Orbital Railway bridge in Fakenham for the second time in less than a year. Picture: PAUL YOUNG

“The damage is so unnecessary,” he said.

“We are trying to create a lovely place for people to walk and enjoy.

“It’s for the people of Fakenham and its visitors so please explain to us why you feel the need to do it. We would much rather you contacted us and joined us and worked with us.”

Last April, the group was awarded nearly £60,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help repair the bridges as well as to provide an education resource, equipment for the Fakenham Area Conservation Team and to create a place for people to enjoy. The walkway is currently maintained by the conservation team.

Mr Young added: “The lottery project is still ongoing but these damages mean we have to dip into reserves of the funding. We don’t want to spend it fixing damage caused by vandals.

“People have been very supportive and it’s especially lovely that people within the town want to see our project become a success.”

The lottery project is continuing forward. Information boards are expected to be placed soon and audio interviews with former rail workers are continuing.

Anyone with information, or anyone wanting to support the project, can email Mr Young at projectofficernor@yahoo.co.uk.

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