The Mid-Norfolk Railway welcomed the return of military freight traffic last week to its Wymondham to Dereham heritage line.

MoD traffic returns to Mid-Norfolk Railway for first time since 2009

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MoD traffic returns to Mid-Norfolk Railway line

The Mid-Norfolk Railway welcomed the return of military freight traffic last week to its Wymondham to Dereham heritage line.

After a successful season in 2019, which saw plenty of summer steam journeys and a busy Polar Express special schedule over Christmas, one of the longest preserved railways in the UK saw sixteen wheeled, armoured vehicles, including Jackals and Panthers, transported along the line for the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards.

The vehicles had been used by the soldiers of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards during the last month, while testing their skills during Exercise Wessex Storm on Salisbury Plain.

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The special cargo was moved by rail overnight from Ludgershall on the edge of Salisbury Plain, to Wymondham, where resident preserved Class 47 diesel locomotive No. 47367 pulled the 12 wagons, tailed by GB Railfreight Class 66 No. 66778, to Dereham yard and into the recently built maintenance shed.

The soldiers from Robertson Barracks could then refresh their skills loading and unloading their vehicles from the rail wagons. The vehicles then just had the short distance to drive to Robertson Barracks, Swanton Morley.

Transporting the vehicles by rail avoided moving the vehicles across the country using sixteen low-loader lorries.

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The Mid-Norfolk Railway has helped the military transport vehicles before, starting in 1998 when the 9th/12th Lancers were based at Swanton Morley. Military traffic was last carried 11 years ago.

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Sam Hewitt

Let off some steam...