Second loco boost for rail line
A second purpose-built locomotive is set to steam along one of North Norfolk's most famed scenic railways after the project pulled in a �38,300 grant.The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, thought to be the longest 10.
A second purpose-built locomotive is set to steam along one of North Norfolk's most famed scenic railways after the project pulled in a �38,300 grant.
The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, thought to be the longest 10.25in narrow-gauge steam railway in the world, opened in 1982 and is run using the specially-built Garratt locomotive, Norfolk Hero.
But even though 18,000 customers enjoyed the four-mile journey this summer, many were turned away because the engine could only pull a limited number of carriages.
The new locomotive will increase capacity and reduce breakdown delays after the scheme became the first to benefit from a Norfolk Coast and Broads Rural Development Programme (RDP) grant.
It is hoped the completed project will also encourage more tourism-related spending in the area.
Owner and creator of the railway, 87-year-old retired naval officer Lt Cdr Roy Francis, said: “With this funding, we can run two steam locomotives, increasing our capacity to accommodate coach parties, and generate enough work and income to afford an apprentice engineer.”
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The boiler will be built by a specialist engineer in Yaxham, near Dereham, with other parts constructed in London.
Project manager Richard Mountstephen said he hoped the completed engine, which will cost �80,000 in total, could be ready to roll by next summer.
He said a second engine at the front would mean extra carriages could be pulled, taking capacity from 80 to 110 people. He added: “It also allows us to offer a reliable service.
“Occasionally things go bang and you have to take things apart and repair them. Even a simple thing could lose us a day's running.”
The Norfolk Coast and Broads area, combined with RDP groups in the Waveney Valley and Brecks, has secured �10m from the Rural Development Programme for England - funded by the government and the EU. RDP facilitator Carol Allen said:“It's been a real pleasure for me to support the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway.”
To apply for a share of the funding visit www.ruralhub.info/lag or call 01603 748844.