Whitwell & Reepham railway station

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Whitwell and Reepham
Station on heritage railway
Whitwell & Reepham station and steam train.jpg
Station platform in October 2020
General information
LocationReepham, Broadland, Norfolk
Coordinates52°45′06″N 1°05′51″E / 52.7517°N 1.0975°E / 52.7517; 1.0975Coordinates: 52°45′06″N 1°05′51″E / 52.7517°N 1.0975°E / 52.7517; 1.0975
Grid referenceTG091217
Owned byMidland and Great Northern Joint Railway
Eastern Region of British Railways
Managed byLynn & Fakenham Railway
Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway
Key dates
1 July 1882Opened
28 February 1959Closed to passengers[1]
1 May 1964Closed to freight[2]
28 February 2009Site reopened to the public
Norwich Branch
(Up arrow To Cromer)
Melton Constable
Whitwell & Reepham
Norwich City

Whitwell and Reepham railway station, also known as Whitwell station, is a former station situated in Norfolk, England.[3] The station closed in 1959 and is a notable stop on the Marriott's Way long-distance footpath. It is being restored as a railway museum, including the re-laying of track.


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 Constable to Norwich City. 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 Reepham which, unlike Whitwell, was conveniently sited to the settlement it purported to serve.[4]

The M&GN suffered in the post-Second World 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.[5] The track through the station remained, however, down until 1985 for the purposes of concrete product movements to neighbouring Lenwade railway station.[6] 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.[7]

At one point there was a proposal to dismantle the station building and re-erect it at Holt station on the North Norfolk Railway, but the M&GN station from Stalham was chosen instead.[6]

Preceding station   Disused railways   Following station
Lenwade   Midland and Great Northern
Norwich Branch


Sale of the land by Norfolk County Council[edit]

After years of lying derelict, the intact station buildings were offered for sale in 2006 for £250,000 by their 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.[8] 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.[9] Councillors approved the application in April 2007 notwithstanding the recommendations of planning officers to refuse it.[10]

Acquisition by Mike Urry[edit]

The station was put back on the market in Summer 2007 at a guide price of £300,000 - £350,000 but failed to attract a buyer.[11] It was purchased in September 2007 by rail enthusiast Mike Urry who planned to restore the station and relay track.[12] The new owner announced his plans on the project's web site, indicating that he intended to establish a small museum on the site.[13]

Whitwell & Reepham Railway Preservation Society Limited[edit]

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 re-laying track and restoring the station buildings. Phase two is to extend the line along Marriott's Way to re-create the 7 miles (11 km) Themelthorpe curve to Reepham railway station. Phase three would entail linking up with either the North Norfolk Railway or Mid Norfolk Railway.[14]

By September 2008, 440 feet (130 m) of track (donated by the Spa Valley Railway) 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 station) has been loaned by the North Norfolk Railway.[15] An Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tank was delivered to the site on 23 March 2009.

By May 2010, most of the station-side platform had been resurfaced and the fencing was going up. After being granted £70,000 the engine shed was being renovated with new doors and windows. An extra line had been completed along the cattle platform and was serving as storage line for stock.

Public opening[edit]

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 0-6-0ST No. 2000 visited from Barrow hill Roundhouse[16] 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.

Top Field Light Railway[edit]

Opened 2016 the site now features a 7 1/4 gauge railway located up on the top field camp site. Currently working on Phase 1 of the project the railway hopes to extend right around the camp site.[citation needed] Home to Stafford class “Tihany” and LNER K2 Loch Ranoch. Operating steam and diesel services April to October every first Sunday of the month.[citation needed]

Signal box[edit]

Location Original location Built by Notes Image
Whitwell & Reepham New build M&GNJR The original signal box was located to the south of the station platforms but was demolished following the closure of the line to passengers. The reconstructed box is located on the original footings and reflects the design of the original. The signal box, complete with instruments, was recovered from a garden in Elmswell, Suffolk and the National Railway Museum in York has donated a 21 lever, Saxby and Farmer frame which originally came from Beccles South Box in Suffolk. Whitwell signal box, Norfolk.jpg

Rolling stock[edit]

Steam locomotives[edit]

Number & Name Description Status Image
945, "Annie" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Undergoing Overhaul Annie Andrew Barclay No.945.jpg
2199, "Victory" Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Boiler Ticket Expired - Awaiting Overhaul Andrew Barclay No.2199 'Victory'.jpg
7681, "Agecroft No.3" formerly "Bolton No.1" Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd 0-4-0ST Operational RSH Agecroft 2022.jpg

Additional to the above, the Claud Hamilton Locomotive Group, who have started to build replica GER Class H88 (LNER Class D16/2) 4-4-0 8783, "Phoenix", are based at the site. [17]

Diesel locomotives and shunters[edit]

Number & Name Description Status
7, "Georgie" Baguley-Drewry 4wd DM Operational
518494, "Swanworth" Ruston & Hornsby Stored on static display
466629, "TIPOCKITY (aka DAVE)" Ruston & Hornsby Operational
2700 former WD405 "North British" North British Locomotive works Undergoing overhaul
D1171 'Dreadnought' Hudswell Clarke Stored on static display for clutch repair

Passenger coaching stock[edit]

Number Built for Type Notes
272 Southern Railway Full Brake Southern livery, Vacuum brake used in goods set
34712 British Railways Mk1 BSK "Blood And Custard" livery, Vacuum brake withdrawn from traffic in 2021, undergoing overhaul. [18]
70527 British Railways Mk1 TSO "Blood And Custard" livery, Air brake, vacuum piped. Was part of British Rail Class 411 Unit 7178, later Unit 1589. Preserved in late 2004 at the Great Central Railway until 2008 when it was delivered to Norfolk. Static dining vehicle.
17041 British Railways Mk2 BFK LMS maroon livery, Vacuum brake, vacuum piped.

Goods stock[edit]

Number Built for Type Notes
B772630 LBSCR 25ton brake van LBSCR, Vacuum brake, ex-Stratford crane mess van
DS55466 British Railways Ventilated van Bauxite, Vacuum brake
DB 989344 ZJV 'Mermaid' 14t 4w Side Tipper, built by Metro Cammell
954420 20t 4w Brake Van Bauxite, Vacuum piped
B732012 20t 4w TUBE wagon Bauxite, Vacuum piped
. LPTB Ballast hopper Arrived in 2021. LPTB grey. dual braked. Operational
3929 Esso Petrol tank wagon Esso, unbraked

Steam crane[edit]

Number Built for Built by Notes Image
PO12 W C French of Wisbech Carrick & Wardale 45 ton Steam crane built for the a timber company, capable of lifting 5 tons. Carrick & Wardale Steam Crane ‘No 12’.jpg
80103 British Rail Grafton 6w Heavy duty steam crane, built in 1952 Other crane numbers: 2837, DB 966201, 80/001.

+ 60′ Runner Wagon DE 320878 ex-GNR passenger brake Other runner numbers: 3168, 449, DE320410

built in 1910, Diagram: GN293, Builder: Doncaster, Design: Gresley

80103 BR Grafton crane.jpg
60 crane runner DE320878 ex-GNR passenger brake.jpg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Sparkford, ISBN 1-85260-508-1, p. 249.
  2. ^ Clinker, C.R. (October 1978). Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830-1977. Bristol: Avon-AngliA Publications & Services. p. 92. ISBN 0-905466-19-5.
  3. ^ British Railways Atlas.1947. p.12
  4. ^ Joby, R.S. (1985). Forgotten Railways: Vol. 7 East Anglia. Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. p. 37. ISBN 0-946537-25-9.
  5. ^ Joby, R.S., p. 40.
  6. ^ a b Subterranea Britannica, "Whitwell and Reepham", 2 July 2007.
  7. ^ Broadland District Council, "Planning Committee: Planning Application no. 20061952", 18 April 2007.
  8. ^ Broadland District Council, Appendix 1 to Council Minutes of 17 October 2006.
  9. ^ Dereham Times, "New plan for old station", 18 January 2007.
  10. ^ EDP24, "Historic station is saved", 19 April 2007.
  11. ^ Norfolk Railway Society, News Archive, Jul/Aug 2007.
  12. ^ Norfolk Railway Society, News Archive, Sept/Oct 2007.
  13. ^ Project web site.
  14. ^ Nick, Brodrick; Hopkins, Danny (6 February – 5 March 2009). "Whitwell & Reepham revival". Steam Railway (359): 38.
  15. ^ Brodrick, N. and Hopkins, D., p. 38.
  16. ^ Norfolk Railway Society, news January/February 2009.
  17. ^ https://www.claudhamiltonlocomotivegroup.co.uk/ Claud Hamilton Locomotive Group]
  18. ^ BR 34712 Mk 1 Brake Corridor Second built 1955

External links[edit]