The North Norfolk Railway (NNR) and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) have teamed up to bring a regular service of steam hauled dining trains to the Norfolk resort of Cromer this summer.

In 2010 the NNR opened up a link with the National Rail network when they re-instated the level crossing at Sheringham to connect with the Bittern branch line to Cromer and Norwich. Since then the heritage railway has been looking at ways to develop greater use of the link, and last year promoted a pilot series of dining trains running through from the NNR station at Sheringham to Cromer operated on their behalf by charter operator West Coast Railways.

Running on just four days, the 2016 trial proved that there was a strong market appeal for such trains which all sold out rapidly.  With a view to establishing services to Cromer as a regular feature, and to ensure their ongoing viability, NNR sought advice and help from NYMR who have over ten years’ experience operating trains over Network Rail’s Esk Valley line.

The result has been a unique partnership between the two heritage railways which, through a staged approach, should in due course lead to NNR operating their own trains over Network Rail from Sheringham to Cromer though operating further afield is a possible option being considered. In stage one, starting in July, such trains will be operated by NYMR, as an existing licensed operator on Network Rail, under a revised safety certificate. A second stage will see NNR develop their own passenger licence and safety certificate applications to enable them to take over the direct operation of trains on Network Rail.


Hugh Harkett, NNR managing director said, “Development of services to Cromer has been a long held ambition for the North Norfolk Railway. So we are most grateful to our friends at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, not only for their willingness to share their experience, but also their readiness to help us to get started by taking on the role of train operator. We believe that collaboration of this nature between two heritage railways is unprecedented, and it is our hope that both railways will benefit from working so closely together.”

Chris Price, NYMR general manager said, “The North Yorkshire Moors Railway are delighted to be supporting the North Norfolk Railway in the exciting project of running regular services to Cromer.  Our experience as a heritage railway working with, and operating over, Network Rail enables us to assist NNR in this very practical way. While this helps them to realise a dream, NYMR will also benefit through the exchange of ideas and sharing of experience more generally.”

Helping with project management has been NYMR’s former managing director, Philip Benham. Commenting on progress he said, “The widespread co-operation from rail industry parties, so vital to success of the project, has been most encouraging. The Network Rail teams, in both the Anglia and LNE & EM routes, have been particularly supportive. Similarly ORR have been extremely helpful, especially the Inspectorate who gave swift but thorough consideration to our safety certificate application.”

For further information, please contact:

North Yorkshire Moors Railway: Philip Benham ([email protected] 07866 762864)  

North Norfolk Railway: Andrew Munden, General Manager ([email protected])

Notes to Editors

  1. The operation is planned to be a dining train running on up to ten days a year between Sheringham, Cromer and over NNR’s own line to Holt. The first public service is expected to run on Wednesday 5 July.
  2. As there is currently no provision at Cromer for engines to ‘run-round’ from one end of the train to the other, all trains will operate with engines at both the front and the rear (‘top & tailed’). Trains, which will consist of four Mark 1 coaches, will initially be worked by Standard Class 4 2-6-0 steam locomotive No 76084 and English Electric Class 20 diesel No 20227. All locomotives and coaches are registered for operation on Network Rail. At a later date it is hoped to introduce Gresley N2 0-6-2T No 1744 once this locomotive has been fitted with the necessary equipment and gone through the approval process to allow registration for operation over Network Rail.   
  3. During stage one the new services between Sheringham and Cromer will be NYMR trains run on behalf of NNR. Suitably experienced staff to operate the service will be drawn primarily from existing NNR volunteers and employees, trained and assessed to work in accordance with NYMR’s safety procedures and systems. NYMR will provide other staff if and as required, including provision of a duty manager to supervise operations on the ground working with the wider NYMR management team. 
  4. NYMR is the holder of a passenger licence for the operation of trains over Network Rail infrastructure. In order to operate services between Sheringham and Cromer NYMR required an amendment to its ‘non-mainline’ safety certificate. Following an application to the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) outlining the proposed safety management system for the operation, ORR issued a revised safety certificate extended to include operations between Sheringham and Cromer on 30 March 2017.
  5. NYMR require an amendment to their track access agreement with Network Rail to give rights to operate between Cromer and Sheringham. Following agreement with Network Rail a joint application has been made to ORR under Section 22 of the Railways Act requesting approval to the amendment. A station access agreement, required to cover use of Cromer station, is under discussion with the station operator, Greater Anglia.
  6. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a not for profit charitable trust providing memorable experiences for visitors and fulfilment for volunteers and staff through the operation of Britain’s most popular heritage railway between Whitby and Pickering. Day to day operation is carried out by volunteers and employed staff with railway operations and business experience. Every visitor that travels on the railway helps preserve one of the country’s earliest and most historic lines. NYMR:
  • Cares for operates and develops the railway we own from Pickering to Grosmont.
  • Operaties over Network Rail from Grosmont to Whitby.
  • Provides a high quality, safe and authentic evocation of the steam age for the public.
  • Is an Educational Charitable Trust. Providing education for all ages.
  • Is a fully accredited museum.
  1. The North Norfolk Railway works to preserve and operate the railway between Sheringham and Holt (with occasional trains planned to run to Cromer) as a successful volunteer led community organisation. Its major shareholder and supporter, the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society, is a not for profit charitable trust.
  2. Both railways are entirely dependent for income on their members, passengers and occasional grants.