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For the National Rail station in Derbyshire, see Whitwell railway stationmarker. For the closed railway station on the Isle of Wight, see Whitwell railway stationmarker.


Whitwell and Reepham railway Station, also known as Whitwell station, is a former station situated in Norfolk, Englandmarker. The station closed in 1959 and is presently a notable stop on the Marriott's Waymarker long-distance footpath. It is currently in the process of being restored as a railway museum, including the relaying of track.

History

The station was opened in 1882 as part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway's (M&GN) branch from the main line at Melton Constablemarker to Norwich Citymarker. Whilst the route was fairly well-used, it struggled under the competition from the larger Great Eastern Railway and its more direct lines. Only one year prior to opening, the Great Eastern had inaugurated its own station at Reephammarker which, unlike Whitwell, was conveniently sited to the settlement it purported to serve.

The M&GN suffered in the post-war period which saw much freight transfer to road and greater car ownership, leaving the line with its summer and schools traffic. In the face of spiralling losses, British Rail made the decision to close the majority of the line, leaving Whitwell open for freight until 1964. The track through the station remained, however, down until 1985 for the purposes of concrete product movements to neighbouring Lenwade railway stationmarker. The station site itself was variously used post-closure as a tree surgery, offices, the parking of coaches and a workshop and garage. Following the lifting of the track through the station, the trackbed was reused as part of the Marriott's Way from 1993. At one point there was even a proposal to dismantle the station building and re-erect it at Holt stationmarker on the North Norfolk Railwaymarker.





Revival

Sale of the land by Norfolk County Council

After years of lying derelict, the intact station buildings were offered for sale in 2006 for £250,000 by its owners Norfolk County Council. In the event of it failing to sell, the County Council had earmarked it as the possible location of a travellers' site. It was, however, acquired by the Wyatts who planned to establish an alpaca colony on the site and applied to Broadland District Council for permission to convert the station into a residence and reuse the goods shed as a workshop and storage area. Councillors approved the application in April 2007 notwithstanding the recommendations of planning officers to refuse it.

Image:Whitwell copy.jpg|
Entrance to Whitwell Station before restoration.
Image:Whitwell Station - Courtyard.jpg|
The centre of the Whitwell Station Site; with the goods shed in the centre background, and the rear of the station, front right.
Image:Whitwell Station - Platform.jpg|
The front platform of Whitwell Station before restoration.
Vastly overgrown, and adjacent to the Marriott's Waymarker cycle path.
Image:Whitwell Station - The Old Warehouse.jpg|
The goods shed of the Whitwell Station site before conversion as a locomotive shed.


Acquisition by Mike Urry

The station was put back on the market in Summer 2007 at a guide price of £300,000 - £350,000 but initially failed to attract a buyer. It was eventually purchased in September 2007 by rail enthusiast Mike Urry who plans to restore the station and relay track. The new owner announced his plans on the project's web site, indicating that he intended to establish a small museum on the site.

Whitwell & Reepham Railway Preservation Society Limited

Having formed the Whitwell & Reepham Railway Preservation Society Limited (with 100 members as of November 2008), Mike Urry has planned the project's future in three phases. Phase one involves returning the station to its original layout by relaying track and restoring the station buildings. Phase two is to extend the line along Marriott's Waymarker to re-create the Themelthorpe curvemarker to Reepham railway stationmarker. Phase three would entail linking up with either the North Norfolk Railwaymarker or Mid Norfolk Railwaymarker.

By September 2008, of track (donated by the Spa Valley Railwaymarker had been laid in the yard and to the former goods shed which will serve as the designated engine shed. A Baguley-Drewry diesel shunter, two Mk I coaches, a Bogie 'B' luggage van and a British Rail four-wheel van have already been delivered to the site. In addition, an original M&GN hand crane (from Holbeach stationmarker) has been loaned by the North Norfolk Railwaymarker. An Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tank was delivered to the site on 23rd March 2009.

Image:Railway carriages at Whitwell.jpg|
Railway vehicles in the partially relaid yard, October 2008.
Image:Andrew Barclay saddle tank Annie.jpg|
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tank Annie at Whitwell station, March 2009.


Public Opening

Although restoration efforts were still ongoing, the station saw steam return on 28 February 2009, the 50th anniversary of the closure of the M&GN, when Peckett 0-6-OST No. 2000 visited as part of the North Norfolk Railway's "That's Yer Lot" steam gala to commemorate the line's closure.The line also launched its appeal for £20,000 to finance a new steam engine for the railway. It is estimated that 6000 turned up over the two weekends of the gala. A reunion of former users of the line also took place.

Image:Whitwell station opening.jpg|
Whitwell station sees its first customers since closure in 1959.
Image:Whitwell station opening - Peckett2000.jpg|
Peckett 2000, branded for the W&RR.
Image:First day - Peckett2000.jpg|
The Pecket and passenger coach passes the goods shed during the Whitwell station reopening.
Image:First day - Peckett2000 in yard.jpg|
A passenger train in the cleared goods yard at Whitwell.


Rolling Stock

Steam locomotives and shunters

Number & Name Description Status
945, "Annie" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 ST Operational


Diesel locomotives and shunters

Number & Name Description Status
7, "Georgie" Baguley-Drewry 4wd DM Operational


Passenger coaching stock



Number Built for Type Notes
272 Southern Railway Full Brake Southern livery, Vacuum brake
34712 British Railways Mk1 BSK Southern Region livery, Vacuum brake
70527 British Railways Mk1 TSO Stagecoach livery, Air brake
46116 British Railways Mk1 S Maroon, Vacuum brake


Goods stock

Number Built for Type Notes
B772630 British Railways Ventilated van Bauxite, Vacuum brake
3929 Esso Petrol tank wagon Esso, unbraked


References

  1. British Railways Atlas.1947. p.12
  2. Joby, R.S., p. 40.
  3. Subterranea Britannica, "Whitwell and Reepham", 2 July 2007.
  4. Broadland District Council, "Planning Committee: Planning Application no. 20061952", 18 April 2007.
  5. Broadland District Council, Appendix 1 to Council Minutes of 17 October 2006.
  6. Dereham Times, "New plan for old station", 18 January 2007.
  7. EDP24, "Historic station is saved", 19 April 2007.
  8. Norfolk Railway Society, News Archive, Jul/Aug 2007.
  9. Norfolk Railway Society, News Archive, Sept/Oct 2007.
  10. Project web site.
  11. Brodrick, N. and Hopkins, D., p. 38.
  12. Norfolk Railway Society, news January/February 2009.


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