King's Lynn to Dereham
Great Eastern Railway
Welcome to the King's Lynn to Dereham Railway
Past & present page.
The 26.5-mile-long Lynn Dereham line was opened In-between 1846 and 1968.
The Lynn to Dereham railway was given the Royal Assent on 21 July 1845 and opened in stages between 1846 and 1848
The line was extended to Great Yarmouth via Norwich, but it never happened.
The line ran through Swaffham, where there were connections to the Swaffham Thetford branch line via Roudham Junction.
This line was also called the Crab and Winkle Line.
At Dereham, there was also a service running through Dereham and Fakenham from Wells through to Wymondham.
This line is also closed, but parts are preserved by the.
Mid Norfolk Railway.
After closure Wendling was used as a filming location for episodes of Dad's Army.
In 1955 Diesel units were used that were based at Dereham.
Diesel units increased the services to 12 daily and reduced journey times to 54 minutes.
During the steam days, there were 5 to 6 services a day.
Before diesel, in the steam days, most services were hauled by D16s and Freight by J17s.
The Lynn Dereham railway was never on the Beeching cuts list, but British railways closed the line on Saturday 7th of September 1968.
The part between Kings Lynn and Middleton Towers remains open as a freight line for silica sand trains from Sibelco, UK, to various places, mainly in the Northern parts of the Uk.
For use in the glass industry.
The King's Lynn to Dereham line ran before closure, calling at
Bilney | closed in 1866
Narborough and Pentney
Sporle | closed 1850
Scarning | closed 1850
East Dereham station is still in use as a private Heritage line.
The Mid Norfolk Railway.
Thanks to the national library of Scotland for the maps used in this webpage
King's Lynn Station building remains unchanged to this day and is still in daily use, with services only remaining to London King's Cross and a daily service to London Liverpool Street.
King's Lynn, in its heyday, also had services to Hunstanton the Docks Branch, a shuttle service to the M&gnjr at nearby South Lynn, and the King's Lynn to Dereham railway covered on this page.
The Layout at King's Lynn has changed a lot, with the engine sheds, the sidings and one of the two signal boxes now gone.
The sidings have been replaced with a Supermarket, and the docks line has also been long closed; all that remains of the docks line is a small turnaround point that freight trains use to turn around and head off down the small 3-mile section that remains on the Dereham line as far as Middleton Towers station now used as a quarry.
King's Lynn platform 2 is primarily where the Dereham trains departed.
Platform 2 also had trains that Departed for Hunstanton.
Now, this platform is used for Stable trains and peak-time London King's cross departures.
Platform one is King's Lynn's most used platform for London-bound services.
King's Lynn Junction
King's Lynn Junction during King's Lynn's heydays with the Dereham Swaffham Branch going straight ahead.
With the Hunstanton branch to the Left and the London Cambridge line to the Right.
Middleton Towers train on the return leg from loading heading to the King's Lynn turn-around point on the old disused Dereham line.
Thanks to Martin Addison via Geograph
King's Lynn Junction in 2020
The line on the left is where Dereham bound trains would have gone pre-1968.
This line part is still used for freight movements to Middleton Towers Sand quarry.
After Kings Lynn Junction, the line headed off to its next Station.
This photo was taken from the footbridge on the Hardwick industrial estate In 2020
We see the line here as a freight line passing down the side of the Hardwick industrial estate.
The Dereham line now passes under the A149 Bypass in-between the hospital and the Hardwick estate.
Just after the A149 bridge, the line passed underneath the M&gnjr via a bridge.
The Dereham railway ran below, and the M&gn ran over the top of the Dereham line.
The M&gnjr line was from King's Lynn's other station South Lynn and went to Fakenham via Melton Constable and many other places across Norfolk.
There is a page dedicated to the M&gn Lynn Melton Constable line on this webpage.
Thanks to the national library of Scotland for the maps used in this webpage
A Dereham bound train passes under the then-closed to passengers M&gn Bridge that carried the South Lynn Fakenham branch line over it that closed in 1959.
When this picture was taken, the M&gn was most likely used only for freight from East Rudham.
Picture used from Tvp Videos
Thanks to Andy f for these pictures via Geograph.
The first picture is of the Lynn Dereham line passing under the dismantled bridge that carried the South Lynn to Gayton Road M&gnjr train to Fakenham.
The last two is a farm crossing. I take it just after the bridge https://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/32299
After the M&gn crossing we approach Middleton Towers freight yard and old station.
Here we see some empty hoopers waiting to be loaded in-between Middleton Towers & King's Lynn
I was Looking towards King's Lynn when this photo was taken.
Also seen are the crossing gates at station road Middleton.
Middleton Towers Station
Thanks to the national library of Scotland for the maps used in this webpage
Middleton Towers station Had one platform and was opened on 27th October and called Middleton.
On the 1st of November 1924, the station was renamed Middleton Towers.
In the early railways days, this station and five other stations were request stops, with Middleton Towers being one of the requested stop stations.
The line here is still used for freight use carrying silica sand from here to various sites, mostly up north with class 66 trains.
Middleton towers, like most closed with the line in 1968
A campaign was launched in 2021 to restore the Middleton Towers site to be used as a public tea room and museum for the former Lynn and Dereham railway.
The station buildings at Middleton are in very bad condition and will need a lot of hard work to get them back open.
Short video of freight movements at Middleton towers. Sorry, there was no locomotive sound. I was passing and only had a phone to take these, and the sound quality was very poor.
The railway ran between open farmland for the next two miles before reaching its next destination.
East winch Railway station
Thanks to the national library of Scotland for the maps used in this webpage
East winch, like most stations on this line, opened on 27 October 1846 & Closed in 1968
East winch was two miles away from Middleton Towers station, and East Winch had two Platforms with a passing loop added in its later days. In the early days, this station was also one of 5 stations that were request stops. This was short-lived, and East Winch was soon a regular stopping station on the line.
East winch had a signal box that lay derelict after the closure of the railway.
Luckily the signal box was rescued by the Mid Norfolk Railway and restored and has been used at Thuxton Station crossing since 2010
East winch station in the present time is now used as a private residence and kept in fantastic condition.
Steam locomotive at East Winch
Copyright Brian Easter via Kings Lynn forums
East Winch Station in 2020
East Winch signal box
East winch Signal box in 1995
Ben Brooksbank / Derelict signalbox at former East Winch station, 1995 | Wikimedia
After the station closed, the signal box fell into bad condition.
Luckily the Mid Norfolk heritage railway rescued this old part of the Lynn to Dereham railway and rebuilt parts of the signal box at Thuxton on their heritage railway in between Dereham and Wymondham abbey.
After East Winch Station, behind where the signal box once lived, there was a small goods yard now called the old station yard. Nothing remains to this day.
There was also once an old grain store on the site that burnt down in 2016
East winch Goods yard fire in 2016
Credit Ian burt via Edp
After East Winch, the line would have passed over this level crossing before reaching its next station, Bilney.
This old crossing cottage is used to this day as private Housing.
We see from a distance where the line would have entered the closed Bilney station.
This station only served the line for 20 years, from 27th Oct 1846 to 1st august 1866. Luckily the building survived to this day and is now used as a private residence.
The road you can see is the A47 which was built as far as I can see in 1981, 12 years after the closure of the railway and 135 years after the station's closure.
After Bilney, the railway passed through a small cutting and open fields, some woodland, and a small river called Swan river, according to maps dated to the early 1900s, before arriving at its next destination.
Narborough & Pentney station.
Narborough & Pentney
Narborough & Pentney railway station opened in 1846 and was 8 miles 52 chains away from King's Lynn.
Narborough & Pentney was the temporary terminus of the Lynn Railway until 1847 when the line construction was finished a year later.
Narborough also had goods sidings and a freight line to the local Maltings close to the Railway station.
Narborough & Pentney served two villages with two platforms and a goods yard now used as storage and offices.
The platforms remain, as do the Station building, now used as a private residence.
The station also closed in 1968
Just after Narborough & Pentney station Swaffham side, we see the old engine sheds that survived the closure.
The yard looks like it's used as caravan storage, and the old engine shed is used as offices.
Here we see parts of the Narborough bone mill/ Maltings not far from the goods shed and Narborough & Pentney railway station.
This building is strictly not railway related, but from looking at various online sites, there was what looks like once a siding serving this company many years ago.
To this day, there are no Remains of the old sidings left at all when photographed in 2021
There is also said to be a small bridge at the Maltings site that the railway once crossed over.
After leaving Narborough & Pentney station, the train would have gone along this raised track bed before reaching this bridge, MTD2349.
MTD stood for Middleton Towers-Dereham.
Here we see the old raised track bed from a field Just on the outskirts of Narborough at Chalk lane, close to Raf Marham.
Raf Marham was Built-in 1916, many years after the railway was opened.
In the distance, you can see the newly built housing estate. This new estate is not on the old track bed but stops shy of where the railways once ran.
Looking at Google maps
The track bed remains in parts but is very overgrown. I found access relatively easy, but walking far from the bridge abutment was difficult as this part was so dense.
Closer to the Narborough maltings.
Some houses have been built where the line once ran, blocking the line towards Narborough.
Here we see the old track bed facing towards Narborough, close to where the bridge Abutments stand on Chalk lane at Narborough, close to Raf Marham.
Bridge Mtd 2349 viewed from the Narborough side of the old track bed.
Next, we come to Narborough bridge abutments
By chalk lane Narborough.
This bridge abutment is not far from Raf Marham.
This Bridge remain is to the side of the Narborough railway walk.
Sited right by the walks carpark.
Narborough Railway Walk
The Narborough Railway walk is a part of this old line that is so easy to access and park and walk along this ancient part of the line, and sadly this is one of the parts that, even though so easy to get to and explore, I missed.
I did not know about this part; it was one of the last parts I walked along, and I found two more bridges and a mile marker.
I first Photographed the bridge remains and only walked up the top in July 2020 and photographed the first few feet of this walk, not knowing that more marvels could be found a bit further down the old track bed.
I walked the Railway walk again on Monday, the 27th of June 2022, to the lovely sound of a busy Raf Marham with the beautiful Sounds all day of the newly based F35s
The entrance to the railway walk is taken from halfway up the hill looking at the old raised track bed to the left.
The railway walk information board taken in 2020 the first time I visited this public walk.
Looking towards the Carpark from the old Dereham track bed.
Taken in June 2020
The Lynn Dereham railway bed is close to the car park.
All pictures seen of the Narborough walk will now have been taken in July 2022
The First remain I found on this walk was this old mile marker sat just before the first railway bridge.
After the mile marker, I headed off down the walk towards Swaffham and next to come up just after the concrete mile marker was this impressive bridge where the railway ran over the top. Looking at old maps, it looks like this bridge was not for a public road but for farm use.
I could not see an MTD code on this bridge.
Maps dated 1888-1913
Thanks to the National Library of Scotland
The first bridge I came across along the Narborough walk is this bridge. As far as I could see, it has no id number.
I'm guessing the code has worn off in time.
The Lynn Dereham Railway bridge is viewed from the track bed.
This bridge surprised me with how lovely it looked, considering this was only what seemed to be a farm crossing.
The workmanship that went into these marvels was terrific back in the day.
Also, seeing an old railway bridge free of graffiti was lovely.
PLEASE KEEP IT THAT WAY
These two pictures are seen below feature in my Flickr photostream
Please click to see these pictures in a higher resolution and many more from different lines.
After the first bridge and the mile marker the old track bed carries on towards the next station Swaffham bearing round to the left before reaching a gate and the old track bed goes through a wooded area.
Next along the walk, I arrived at this gate, and after here, the walk carry's on along the old track bed through a lovely wooded area.
As far as I could see, there was no trace of any railway history to be found along here, but the old track bed was evident.
After the wooded area, the walk becomes overgrown, and to be honest, it's not a good idea to walk much more as the track bed becomes very dense, and then it goes onto a farm track; there is no more track bed to be seen along here.
After the track bed and walking a short distance down a farm track, I found this bridge.
I have seen on old maps that there could have been three of these, and the other could have been a bit further up, but it would have meant walking across a farmer's crop, and I won't do that.
The third is close to the speedway track and has either been infilled or demolished during the A47 construction.
Seen below, thanks to the national library of Scotland, the first and second bridges when the railway line was opened in the early 1900s
I wonder if the second bridge still survives and it would have meant trespassing over farmers' land.
Google maps show that the second bridge was demolished or just a crossing.
I think the first bridge just after the Narbrough walk may have been the first of three.
Please feel free to tweet or email me with any information you might have.
Thanks in advance.
After this bridge, the line bed can still be seen for a short whilst heading off towards Swaffham.
Looking at google maps, the track bed turns into farmland shortly after this part, so I decided to stop walking.
Also, on Google Maps, it looks like no bridge remains ahead or there used to be just a crossing.
The picture below shows the old track bed after the bridge heading off to Swaffham.
After the Narborough walk, the line went off to Swaffham.
Looking at old survey maps, it seems like an old road was where the A1122 now sits.
The short video below shows where the railway would have crossed where the A1122 now stands.
If the railway were still open, it would need to cross the A1122 close to Swaffham, through the Swaffham raceway, across the A47 Bypass, and then head into Swaffham station.
There also seemed to be another bridge here, and seeing a post on a Facebook group years back, this bridge was either demolished or filled in and is no longer accessible today.
Here we see below the Swaffham raceway.
At this point, the railway would have run through the after-built race track before approaching Swaffham station.
After the Swaffham raceway, the line would have crossed the A47 bypass roughly over where the modern slipway sits.
After crossing the A47, the line would have run under this bridge. I can make out that this bridge used to take a road over the top, most likely farm access.
Sadly I could not find a bridge id number painted here.
This part is easy to reach, not fenced off, and used as a busy walkway.
After this bridge, the path does enter someone's private residence and the A47, so this is as far as you can walk.
After this old bridge, the line would have continued to Swaffham, as seen below.
Next, a few yards down the path, we come across this next bridge, where the line crosses over the top and a roadway underneath.
Once again, I could not find any bridge id number.
After the second Bridge along this walk, we can see here as I walked to the next and the final bridge before arriving at Swaffham station.
Here we see where the path is now and where the line used to run into Swaffham station.
This is now used as a public walkway, and I recommend any disused railway fan to walk this lovely walkway.
Next along the line, we come across this final bridge before reaching Swaffham station MTD2360 road bridge that carries the West acre road.
This bridge remains still and has part of the old signal left, as seen in the photographs below.
Not long after the bridge in the same cutting just by where the line would have run, I found this brick wall.
This is likely a support to keep the bank from collapsing.
At the top of this bank are a few industrial units down bears lane.
Swaffham station opened on the 10th of August 1847
Swaffham was a junction station for the King's Lynn to Dereham line and the Swaffham to Thetford line via Watton.
Swaffham had two platforms and was closed in 1968 after the Lynn Dereham line closed.
The Thetford branch had already closed on the 15th of June, 1964
Swaffham in the present day is hidden away and now used as what I could make out a social services centre, and on a Sunday when I visited, a few HGVs were parked up for the weekend in the old station area.
To the rear of the station, one platform remains, and this area is used for industrial units.
Swaffham engine sheds are also intact and used as a car repair unit, amongst other trades.
After the engine sheds, there is no trace at all of where the old railway was.
The next part of an old railway found in Swaffham is from the Thetford branch and can be seen on the
Other Norfolks Railway page page
Swaffham station year unknown credit to Geoffrey Skelsey via Wikipedia
Swaffham station photographed in 2020
Now used as a social services community centre.
The rear of Swaffham station is seen from the end of the railway walk.
The old platform at the car park can be seen below.
Swaffham railway Engine sheds are still in use as commercial units.
Taken in 2020
After Swaffham Station the old Railway Route is Built over with new Commercial units in-between Swaffham and the Junction for the Swaffham Bury Branch.
Just after Swaffham, we see where the Swaffham to Bury Thetford branch ran out of Swaffham.
After we leave Swaffham, we head out towards the next station Dunham.
Here we see the old line track bed from the top of the bridge looking towards Swaffham, close to where Dunham station sits.
Drone footage of the old line taken from Dunham looking towards Swaffham.
In the distance you can just make out the eco centre wind turbines at Swaffham.
Next, we see the Bridge near Dunham with an unknown bridge code.
The Lynn to Dereham line passed underneath this bridge.
Dunham railway station remains taken from the old bridge just at the end of the platforms.
Dunham, like all of the stations, opened in 1848 and closed in 1968
In the present day, Dunham is used as a private residence.
Dunham station was 18 miles from King's Lynn & had two platforms with a passing loop.
Dunham also had a freight shed sited 90 degrees to the main line and was accessed by a turntable. By looking at Ordnance Survey maps, the turntable had gone, and the sidings were extended by the early 1900s
Dunham close-up Ordnance Survey maps dating from the early 1900s
Showing the cattle sheds and what looks to be a turntable.
Thanks to the national library of Scotland.
The map here, dated 1937-1964, Shows Dunham with just railway sidings & a passing loop.
Fransham station again, like most stations along the line, opened in 1848 and closed in 1968
Fransham Station had two platforms and a level crossing, and after closure, the station was kept in fantastic condition by the owners, and they also have a few items of rolling stock in their garden.
After leaving Fransham and heading off towards Wendling station the railway would have crossed over these bridges as seen below.
The MTD code stands for
Middleton Towers | Dereham
MTD 2377 Bridge
The next station would have stood where the A47 now stands; in the present day, there is no trace of the station as it was demolished during the construction of the A47 bypass.
Wendling had two platforms, and after the closure of the next station at Scarning in 1850, Wendling was the last station before reaching Dereham.
Wendling station during the station's open days
Credit to Tvp Videos
Credit to Norfolk orbital Facebook
Wendling station site photographs were taken in June 2022 from an overpass bridge close to Wendling village.
There is no trace whatsoever left of the station to this day.
The station now sits under the A47
All that remains is the name of the road in Wendling that is still called Station road.
Scarning station on the Lynn Dereham line had a very short life; to this day, there are no remains left.
Researching online, there seem to be no pictures of what Scarning station looked like in its two years of being open.
There is also a minimal history of this long-lost station.
Scarning was only 3 miles away from Dereham and even less distance from Wendling station.
In between Wendling and Dereham, the railway crossed over what was the old main road.
After the railway closed the A47 was built on the old track bed here and the thing that helped kill the railway the motor car now runs over the old track bed.
In the late 1970s, the A47 bypass was built.
Here we see a view from a DMU crossing the main road with the railway crossing over the top of the road.
The second picture shows where the old main road still runs but now the A47 runs over the top on the old track line.
On route to the approach to Dereham, the railway slightly curved to the left, approaching the Norfolk town of Dereham, going over a level crossing before reaching the last station on this closed route.
There has been housing and a bowling complex built where the old disused line once ran.
Dereham is the terminus of the Lynn to Dereham railway
Opened on 15 February 1847
6 October 1969 Closed to passengers
12 September 1984 Closed as a coal depot
26 July 1997 reopened as the MidNorfolk railway
Dereham had four platforms and a Locomotive shed, and a turn table.
Dereham also had lines running off to Wymondham and wells.
The line between Wymondham and Dereham is used by the Mid-Norfolk Railway.
Dereham loco sheds closed in 1955 for steam use and were used to stable Dmu trains until 1968, when it was demolished for a leisure centre.
In 2020 a smaller shed was built with funds from the Eu on the part of the site of the old shed.
King's Lynn trains Mostly arrived and departed from platform 4.
Platforms 2 & 3 were for through routes to Wells & Wymondham & Norwich.
King's Lynn bound trains arrived from a junction at Dereham and into platform four, as seen from this screenshot from a railway history DVD from Tvp videos.
The platform was seen here in 1994 before the reconstruction from the Mid Norfolk railway.
The track here was removed
after the line closed.
King's Lynn trains would arrive from a junction roughly where the leisure centre was.
The white roof that can be seen in the distance to the right of this picture is the leisure centre/Bowls alley and would of been where King's Lynn trains arrived at Dereham.
When this picture was taken there is no trace of the junction at all and the track bed here has been built over .
Dereham Station in 2020, now part of the Mid-Norfolk Railway
Platform 4 to the left, seen here, is where the King's Lynn Trains mainly arrived and departed from.
The line to the right was where the through trains from Wymondham to wells stopped.
This platform is now used for the Mid Norfolk Heritage railway, and platform four is used to stable spare heritage stock.
King's Lynn bound Platform 4 to the right in this picture now used for stabling old Greater Anglia Sets.
Used for the polar express & other duties.
Dereham Station viewed from the Wells Side, where the Wells Wymondham trains would have run pre-closure.
At the time of writing this, the Mid Norfolk railway is running special services to Hoe crossing and hopefully will extend their heritage service along this part of the old line to hopefully one day to County School.
End of the line
Thanks for making it this far, and I hope I have not bored you with my humble attempt at Norfolk's old railway history.
The Lynn to Dereham line was the second line I traced after the Lynn to Hunstanton branch line.
These two lines are the lines so far I have traced the most; being born in King's Lynn, these lines meant the most historically to me personally.
Like the Hunstanton branch, I have revisited the Dereham line time after time.
The more I traced and researched, the more parts I discovered still existed and the more I looked on social media, the more and more bridges appeared and off again. I went hunting for all these long-lost wonders before one day, like Wendling station, they are lost forever or filled in like many bridges now are.
The Dereham line surprised me with how many bridges there were along this short line for a supposed flat Norfolk.
The Hunstanton Line only had one small Bridge passing over a small river, and the Dereham line had many fantastic built bridges that remain today.
It shows the quality that the railway navvies in the construction days put into building the railways back in the day.
Also, what surprised me is that both stations are still in use, King's Lynn as the Cambridge-London Fenline.
Dereham was used as the Mid-Norfolk Heritage railway.
Even though Dereham is still open, the railway is now in private Heritage use and not the railway that the Lynn line used.
Only platform 4 remains at Dereham; the entry path where the rails once ran have long been ripped up and built over.
The Mid Norfolk uses the Wells Wymondham branch.
Some parts, like the Narborough walk and the Walk at Swaffham, are busy public walks with some unique bridges to be seen along these walks.
Some were more challenging to find, and after a few arguments with stinging nettles, I got some pictures.
One bridge I still need to get to is the bridge in King's Lynn, where the M&gn passed over the Dereham line. This bridge is seen clearly from the A149 bypass, but to get to this bridge, you will be trespassing on farmland and Network rail land as this old crossing is still in use as the railway is still used by freight traffic as far as Middleton Towers.
The M&gn part of the crossing and the track has long been lifted, but like many lines, they are still visible where they once ran.
The Dereham line, I noticed, has hardly been built over and remains clear in many parts until Swaffham and the A47 close to Dereham, where the car that helped kill the railway now travels along where the sound of the railway could once be heard.
So from 2020 to 2022, I hope this page is finished after adding more and more parts.
Until maybe either I discover another bridge or someone Tweets me and says you missed this one, and off again I go hunting.
I do know there was another bridge before the Swaffham raceway. Still, social media tells me it's either filled in or so overgrown it's pretty much impossible to reach and also would mean trespassing to get this maybe remaining wonder.
I bid you farewell and thank you for reading my website.