North Norfolk Railway
The surviving section of the North Norfolk Railway was
originally built by the Eastern & Midlands Railway,
and began to run trains in 1887. For many years the line saw
prosperity, carrying considerable numbers of passengers and a large
amount of freight. Apart from being absorbed by the Midland &
Great Northern Railway in 1893, it saw very little change for its
first half century.
As with many of Britain's secondary routes, its freight traffic began to decline from the late 1930s and passenger numbers also dwindled in the years after the Second World War. Under British Rail much of the line was earmarked for closure even before the infamous Beeching Report - and services were cancelled on the majority of the route in 1959. The last trains to operate along any part of the line ceased in 1964. These closures had been very unpopular with local residents, and so a preservation society was formed even before the final trains were cancelled. Many people believed that the line could be run as a local 'people's railway' - and that the idyllic scenery of the Norfolk Broads would ensure that many visitors would also use the line.
Restoring the North Norfolk Railway took a lot of perseverance, but in 1976 it was finally able to re-open to passengers as a heritage line. It proved to be very popular, and was soon given the nickname 'the Poppy Line', thanks to the many flowers the line passes on its scenic route. Having retained the nickname to this day, the pretty line continues to go from strength to strength.