Sheringham rail link almost complete
Richard BatsonTwo railway lines in north Norfolk are just days, and 17m, away from an historic link up.Workers are putting the finishing touches to a �140,000 scheme to reconnect the Poppy Line steam railway and the Bittern Line national track for the first time in 40 years.Richard Batson
Two railway lines in north Norfolk are just days, and 17m, away from an historic link up.
Workers are putting the finishing touches to a �140,000 scheme to reconnect the Poppy Line steam railway and the Bittern Line national track for the first time in 40 years.
Volunteers and contractors have been working in the dark, and in all weathers, to reinstate a level crossing which will signal the completion of a long-running dream to bring steam-hauled enthusiasts' trains to Sheringham and Holt.
The road has been closed while the rails were extended and a crossing sunk into the street. And the final 17m of track is due to be laid next weekend to close the gap, once the paperwork has been signed.
Infrastructure director at the North Norfolk Railway steam line Bob Wright said the moment would not be marked with the kind of 'golden spike' ceremony used when linking lines in America, but there would be low key celebration of a 'marvellous achievement'.
More than 60 volunteers had worked alongside contractors Dunnella, including re-aligning track on the steam side by 5m, and installing new gates.
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The new crossing would see commuter trains arriving at the station at slower speeds, but there were safety chocks and brake triggers to stop any accidental overrunning on to the road.
When steam trains crossed it would be at walking pace, with lollipop marshals controlling the traffic which would stop for only a few minutes.
The road works are due to finish at the end of the week in time for the reconnection at the weekend, and a ceremonial opening on March 11 starring the steam loco Oliver Cromwell and music expert and train fan Pete Waterman.
Train services beyond Sheringham were axed in January 1967 as part of a national pruning of branch lines.