Station Name: WHITWELL & REEPHAM

[Source: Nick Catford]
Date opened: 1.7.1882
Location: On the south side of Whitwell Road
Company on opening: Lynn & Fakenham Railway
Date closed to passengers: 2.3.1959. Reopened 28.2.2009
Date closed completely: 1.5.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (Eastern Region)
Present state: The station building, goods shed and platforms were restored and brought back to use as a preserved railway and museum in 2009.
County: Norfolk
OS Grid Ref: TG091217
Date of visit: March 1976 & August 1990
Notes: 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 & Reepham, was conveniently sited to the settlement it served

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 to passenger traffic on 2 March 1959; Whitwell and Reepham station remained open for goods traffic until 1 May 1964. The track through the station remained in place until 1985 for movements of concrete products to neighbouring Lenwade station.This involved the construction of the Themelthorpe Curve west of Reepham linking the Wroxham - County School line with that from Norwich - Melton Constable.

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 station on the North Norfolk Railway
but the M&GN station from Stalham was chosen instead. 

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.

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 with 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.

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 Way to re-create the 7 miles Themelthorpe curve to Reepham station. Phase three would entail linking up with either the North Norfolk Railway or Mid Norfolk Railway.

By September 2008, 440 feet 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. 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 dock and was serving as storage line for stock. The continuing aim of the society is to restore the station to its former glory
circa 1930/40 relaying track and sidings, acquiring rolling stock and add more items to the museum relating to the station and The Midland & Great Northern Railway

Tickets from Michael Stewart

Source: Wikipedia - text copied under creative commons licence

See Whitwell Railway web site
See Cycling The Mattiottt's Way web site

See also Reepham Station


Whitwell & Reepham station looking north. The goods shed is seen on the right.


1906 1:2,500 shows the layout of the station and goods yard. There are two sidings, one serving am engine shed behind the platform and the other serving a cattle dock and pens.

Whirwell and Reepham station looking north in April 2003
Photo from John Mann collection


Photo:Whitwell & Reepham station and goods shed in March 1976
Photo by Nick Catford

Whitwell and Reepham station in 1986.
Photo by Roy Lambeth


Photo:Whitwell and Reepham station in August 1990
Photo by Nick Catford


Photo:Whitwell and Reepham station building in August 1990, by 1997 all the undergrowth had been cleared.
Photo by Nick Catford


Whitwell and Reepham station in May 1997. Slightly less overgrown than it was in 1990 (see below)
Photo by Peter Boggis


Whitwell and Reepham station on the reopening day, 28 February 2009.
Photo by Diver Scout, reproduced from Wilkipedia under creative commons licence

The Pecket passing the restored goods shed (now and engine shed) during the Whitwell and Reepham station reopening on 29 February 2009.
Photo by Diver Scout, reproduced from Wilkipedia under creative commons licence

Whitwell and Reepham station in September 2010.
Photo by Diver Scout, reproduced from Wilkipedia under creative commons licence




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