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Proposed £500m north Norfolk light railway: Details revealed of where it would stop

PUBLISHED: 10:23 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:55 06 April 2020

Terry Wilding, inset, with a map of his proposed £500m light railway route across north Norfolk. Image: Terry Wilding

Terry Wilding, inset, with a map of his proposed £500m light railway route across north Norfolk. Image: Terry Wilding

Archant

A proposed £500 million light rail line running from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth would take in stops including King’s Lynn, Wells, Sheringham, Holt, North Walsham and Caister on the way to Great Yarmouth, according to the man who has put forward the vision.

Sheringham station as it appeared in 1897. It was part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, which linked Peterborough to Great Yarmouth and was closed in 1959. Picture: Submitted by David BillSheringham station as it appeared in 1897. It was part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, which linked Peterborough to Great Yarmouth and was closed in 1959. Picture: Submitted by David Bill

Terry Wilding, 68, has spent three years working on plans for a new cross-county rail route to link the city of Peterborough with popular holiday spots and resort towns on the Norfolk coast.

Mr Wilding, of Potter Heigham, said the light rail plan would revolutionise public transport in this part of the country, benefit the environment and would boost tourism, all at only a fraction of the cost of HS2.

MORE: Vision for £500m light railway connecting 24 towns and villages is revealed

Mr Wilding said: “The route is under debate but I’ve picked one that would cover as many places as possible.

The Docklands Light Railway. The proposed north Norfolk light railway could look something like this. Picture: Au MorandarteThe Docklands Light Railway. The proposed north Norfolk light railway could look something like this. Picture: Au Morandarte

“I would want to make it as attractive as possible to the politicians but also give people access.

“Light rail is more flexible than heavy rail - where you have to go in more or less a straight line. With light rail you can take in turns, if it’s convenient.

“This means it would not only be able to take in villages, but there’s a number of schools along the line that would help a lot of people.”

Other spots the route would cover include Cromer, Worstead, Stalham, Sutton, Catfield, Martham, Hemsby and Ormesby.

Pre-war guests at Caister Holiday Camp with the steam locomotive that delivered them to the special stop on the long-gone Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway. There are hopes a future rail line could once again link Great Yarmouth with Peterborough. Picture: Submitted by David BillPre-war guests at Caister Holiday Camp with the steam locomotive that delivered them to the special stop on the long-gone Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway. There are hopes a future rail line could once again link Great Yarmouth with Peterborough. Picture: Submitted by David Bill

Mr Wilding said the route - which he has calculated would be 154 miles long and cost around £3m per mile - would cater for trains carrying 200 passengers, as well as bicycles.

He said that although the cost seemed high, it was dwarfed by the estimated price of HS2, the high-speed rail link connecting London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. The latest estimate of the price of that project is £106bn.

Mr Wilding said he had also drawn up an alternative route which would take in Downham Market, Swaffham and Wroxham before heading onto Yarmouth.

He said: “The first of course would cater for the holiday makers, the second would cater more for the local people.”

A historic map of the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway. Could a similar rail link once again link Great Yarmouth and Peterborough? Picture: The William Marriott Museum, Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway SocietyA historic map of the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway. Could a similar rail link once again link Great Yarmouth and Peterborough? Picture: The William Marriott Museum, Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society

After Mr Wilding made a presentation about the plans at a North Norfolk Labour Party meeting in March, it attracted widespread interest, including from Mid Norfolk MP and a former government transport minister George Freeman.

Mr Freeman said: “Interesting idea. There’s a massive opportunity for fast, transformational, private sector financed connectivity across places like East Anglia. Government doesn’t have to fund it. It just has to enable it.”

-What do you think of the plans? Email your thought as a letter for publication to nnn.letters@archant.co.uk

Terry Wilding, former tram driver and advocate for light rail, has put forward the idea of a  £500 million light rail system across north Norfolk, connecting Peterborough with Great Yarmouth. Picture: North Norfolk Labour PartyTerry Wilding, former tram driver and advocate for light rail, has put forward the idea of a £500 million light rail system across north Norfolk, connecting Peterborough with Great Yarmouth. Picture: North Norfolk Labour Party

A map of Norfolk, with Terry Wilding's proposed route for a light rail line across north Norfolk from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth in yellow. Image: Supplied by Terry WildingA map of Norfolk, with Terry Wilding's proposed route for a light rail line across north Norfolk from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth in yellow. Image: Supplied by Terry Wilding

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