Dereham railway station

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Dereham station 2009.jpg
Dereham station - main building and canopy
Place East Dereham
Area Breckland, Norfolk
Grid reference TF993130
Original company Norfolk Railway
Pre-grouping Great Eastern Railway
Post-grouping London & North Eastern Railway
Eastern Region of British Railways
Operated by Mid-Norfolk Railway
Platforms 4 (2 in use)
15 February 1847 Opened
6 October 1969 Closed to passengers
12 September 1984 Closed as a coal depot
26 July 1997 reopened
Stations on heritage railways in the United Kingdom
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Dereham railway station is a railway station in the town of Dereham in the English county of Norfolk. The station is served by heritage services on the Mid-Norfolk Railway from Dereham to Wymondham.


The Lynn and Dereham Railway and the Norfolk Railway both obtained Parliament's permission to build lines to Dereham in 1845,[1] at the height of the so-called "Railway Mania", when railways were being built across the whole country. The Norfolk Railway, building its line from Wymondham, reached Dereham first, and opened its railway to passengers on the 15 February 1847. The first station south of Dereham was Yaxham. The line from King's Lynn had to wait until 11 September 1848.[2]

The King's Lynn line was originally operated by the Lynn & Dereham Railway, but in 1848 the Eastern Counties Railway leased the Norfolk Railway the line was absorbed. In 1857 the line between Dereham and Wells opened. The entire line became part of the Great Eastern Railway in 1862.[3]

The station was built in stages, being expanded over several decades. It is provided with four platforms, with platforms 2 and 3 being set back to back. Platform 4 is a short bay platform and was originally dedicated for trains heading towards King's Lynn.

Derelict remains of Dereham station in 1990.

Beeching's report intended to retain the King's Lynn - Dereham - Norwich line for express trains and freight: . Despite Beeching's intentions, the line from King's Lynn was closed in 1968, leaving a Dereham - Norwich service. After withdrawal of this remaining service in 1969 the station building was gutted and used as a showroom.

The building was later gutted in a serious fire. The exterior of the building has since been restored and the interior replaced, with the building reopening to the public in December 2005.

Locomotive depot[edit]

By 1880 Dereham boasted a two road wooden locomotive shed and a 45-foot turntable believed to have dated from the late 1860s and known to have replaced an earlier structure. The depot operated as an outstation of Norwich. In 1888 three locomotives were based at the depot. In 1926 the engine shed was rebuilt in brick.

Dereham depot was closed as a steam shed on 19 September 1955 - when DMU stock was introduced to the line. The shed was used to stable DMU stock until 1 September 1968.[4] The shed was later demolished, and the site used for the construction of a rail-served fertilizer depot. This has since been demolished, and the site is now the Dereham Leisure Centre.

Present day[edit]

Hauled service at Dereham station

The station was reopened in 1997 by the Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust who since then have gradually reopened the line to Wymondham. Work is in progress in reopening the line northwards from Dereham towards County School and Fakenham. Although National Rail passenger services do not operate from the station this has been proposed for the future as part of the wider Norfolk Orbital Railway scheme,[5] and the station presently serves periodically as a National Rail freight terminal and charter destination.

The goods shed is used for restoration and storage at the moment. The Great Eastern Railway stables are unique but derelict. It is hoped a grant can be obtained in the future for restoration of this building.

The footbridge formerly at Whittlesford station was delivered to Dereham in July 2010, where it is intended to serve as a replacement to the demolished original structure. In May 2013 a planning application was submitted to Breckland District Council for the construction of the footbridge to link platforms 1 and 2.[6]

Second station[edit]

Dereham's second station

Early Ordnance Survey maps show a second railway station located in the South Green area of Dereham on the branch line to King's Lynn. This line was originally provided with a number of stations that lasted less than a decade, and this second station does not appear in later documents.

The station building was retained as a crossing keeper's cottage, and survived the closure of the branch - becoming a private residence. The building survives, and the entrance to the booking hall and former platform door, now converted to be windows, can be seen and compared to contemporary station buildings.

Signal boxes[edit]

Although the original four signal boxes at Dereham have been demolished, two of the boxes have been rebuilt since the preservation of the site. The original Dereham North box is preserved at the former Hindolveston railway station.[7][8]

Location Original location Built by Notes Photograph
Dereham North Laundry Lane, Lowestoft Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Railway Crossing box for Norwich Road, Dereham. Construction commenced May 2007. Dereham North signal box.jpg
Dereham Central Stratford Southern, London Great Eastern Railway As Stratford Southern, this box was originally supported on legs, allowing a siding to pass underneath. It has been rebuilt in a more conventional manner. Will serve as the main station box when completed. Dereham Central signal box.jpg

Trains at Dereham[edit]

Dereham railway station (1950)
Line towards Fakenham
Neatherd Road Level Crossing
Cattle docks
Norwich Road Level Crossing
North signal box
Dereham station
Goods shed
Maltings siding
Dereham Central signalbox
to King's Lynn (left)
South signal box
War Dept. Sidings
Green Lane Level Crossing
Yaxham Road Level Crossing
Line towards Wymondham


  1. ^ Scrivenor, Harry (1849). The Railways of the United Kingdom Statistically Considered. Smith, Elder and Co. p. 334. 
  2. ^ Oppitz, 1989, page 41
  3. ^ MNR history of the line
  4. ^ Hawkins, Chris; George Reeve (1986). Great Eastern Railway Engine Sheds. Wild Swan Publications Ltd. p. 213. ISBN 0-906867-40-1. 
  5. ^ Norfolk Orbital Railway
  6. ^ Dereham station footbridge planning application
  7. ^ Dereham North signalbox
  8. ^ Signal box sale reaches £11,000

External links[edit]

Preceding station Heritage Railways  Heritage railways Following station
Terminus   Mid-Norfolk Railway   Yaxham
Disused railways
North Elmham
Line and station closed
  British Rail
Eastern Region

Wymondham to Wells via East Dereham
Line and station open
Line and station closed
  British Rail
Eastern Region

Lynn and Dereham Railway
Heritage Railways  Proposed Heritage railways
North Elmham
Line closed
  Mid-Norfolk Railway   Yaxham
Line and station open
  Future services  
North Elmham
Line and station closed
  Norfolk Orbital Railway
Mid-Norfolk Railway
Line and station open

Coordinates: 52°40′44″N 0°56′51″E / 52.6789°N 0.9474°E / 52.6789; 0.9474