History made as heritage railway gets ready to reopen

A Pacer Class 142 unit, has taken to the tracks of the Mid-Norfolk Heritage Railway

A Pacer Class 142 unit, has taken to the tracks of the Mid-Norfolk Heritage Railway as part of the preparations ahead of reopening later this year. - Credit: Mid-Norfolk Railway

A small piece of history has been made as a Pacer train took the tracks of an East Anglian railway for the first time.

The Pacer Dereham bound leaving Yaxham on its test run on April 16

The Pacer Dereham bound leaving Yaxham on its test run on April 16 - Credit: Mid-Norfolk Railway

A Pacer Class 142 unit, has taken to the tracks of the Mid-Norfolk Heritage Railway as part of the preparations ahead of reopening later this year.

It's believed to be the first-ever running of a Pacer train in this class in East Anglia, as this specific train did not see service on the mainline in the region.

The train is one of two new vehicles that were acquired by MNR last year for future services on the line.

The Pacer setting off from Wymondham Abbey on it's April 16th test run

The Pacer setting off from Wymondham Abbey on it's April 16th test run - Credit: Mid-Norfolk Railway

Running from Dereham to Wymondham Abbey halt and back was both a test of the unit’s systems following routine maintenance and servicing and also the opportunity for MNR drivers and guards to become qualified to operate this new class of unit on the railway.

The test run was carried out on Friday, April 16 and the call for working members to support the test run by 142061 was met with an enthusiastic response, with the required slots to operate the signalling and level crossings being filled very quickly.


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George Saville, MNR's general manager, said: “This was an important day for the railway as we work towards reopening and I would like to thank all our working members who made the day possible.

George Saville, left, and Charlie Robinson at the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: Ian Burt

George Saville, left, and Charlie Robinson at the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

"The Pacer performed extremely well and our staff passed their assessments with flying colours.”

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"These Pacer units are a valuable addition to the railway’s fleet as they provide us with units that are renowned for their low operating costs which are ideal for our mid-week low season timetable.”

Both the Class 142 and the Class 144 Pacer that the MNR also owns have very large windows that provide excellent panoramic views of the Norfolk countryside and make for a light airy interior for passengers.

The MNR will be making a full announcement of the planned reopening of public passenger service soon.

This will include ticketing arrangements and the programme of this year’s special events, including the visit of the Flying Scotsman.

The Flying Scotsman is heading to the Mid-Norfolk Railway in 2020. Pic: John Giles/PA Wire.

The Flying Scotsman is heading to the Mid-Norfolk Railway in 2020. Pic: John Giles/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

The announcement will be published following further test running, training and the completion of some routine track maintenance work.


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