The Story of WWLR

Wells & Walsingham Railway

The longest 10¼" narrow gauge steam railway in the world was built by Lt.Cmdr Roy Francis.  It began its service in 1982 and runs from Wells-Next-the-Sea along four miles of of Old Great Eastern track through lovely countryside to Walsingham. This is an insight into the passion and determination of one man to build his dream

The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway (or the WWLR as it is affectionately known) began operating in April 1982 and runs on the trackbed of the former Great Eastern Railway line from Wells to Fakenham.

The WWLR is the world’s longest 10 ¼ gauge railway as well as Britain’s smallest public railway

Almost every month of year this 10 ¼ gauge railway runs steam and diesel hauled services from the bustling coastal town of Wells-next-the-Sea to the heart of the county’s pilgrimage seat; Walsingham. Trains also stop on request at the picturesque villages of Warham and Wighton.

Passengers enjoy a gentle 4 mile ride, taking in an abundance of flora and fauna as well as views of the Iron Age fort at Warham and the big blue skies Norfolk is famed for.
The railway owes its existence to the late Lt. Cmdr.

Roy Francis who, after a heroic career in the Royal Navy, dedicated his time and his money into bringing the forgotten line back to life. Lt. Cmdr. Francis, along with a small group of supporters, set to work and prepared the redundant trackbed, laid rail (some of which originates from the narrow gauge railways of The Somme) , cleared a cutting of three thousand tons of rubbish and obtained a Light Railway Order from the Department for Transport. After three solid years of hard work, heavy finance and determination, the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway welcomed its first passengers. Today, the WWLR remains in the hands of Lt. Cmdr. Francis’ family

"Pilgrim", an 0-6-0 side tank engine, hauled the train until 1987 when the new unique 2-6-0 + 0-6-2 Garratt locomotive "Norfolk Hero" came into service.

"Norfolk Hero" was built in 1986 specially for the line, being joined by "Norfolk Heroine" in 2011.

Two extra coaches were added to the train increasing the seating capacity to 76.

"Norfolk Heroine" entered service in April 2011. 

Our main station at Wells has a charming restored signal box where refreshments, gifts and souvenirs are available.  

Regular steam trains from the seaside town of Wells-next-the-Sea run along 4 miles of track to the beautiful village of Walsingham with its famous shrines and Abbey. from the seaside and harbour town of Wells to the picturesque town of Walsingham, famed for centuries as a centre of pilgrimage. A scenic journey with five bridges through lovely countryside. Halts at Warham St Mary and Wighton. With the regular service you have ample time to explore Walsingham with its shops, restaurants and inns as well as the famous shrine before catching the train back.

It is a 30 minute trip each way through glorious North Norfolk countryside, clanking over and under bridges, past a hill-fort and an abandoned platform.

The Railway runs daily from March to October with special events during every school holiday plus Christmas Specials during December weekends. June 2017 will see the return of the popular 'Wells at War' 1940s weekend.

The WWLR runs a number of additional themed events over the year, all of which are family friendly. Children especially love the free I-Spy events which are laid on over half term holidays. The Santa Specials in November and December are particularly popular and many families travel from afar for the festive welcome that awaits. The Station Café is open daily during the running season and offers hot and cold refreshments, gifts and souvenirs.

A great adventure for all the family in the delightful countryside of the North Norfolk coast.

Dogs travel for free and are most welcome if there is room. Mostly, dogs sit by their owners feet so we rarely have to ask dogs to run along beside the train!

The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway
Coast Road
Wells-next-the-Sea
Norfolk
NR23 1QB

01328 711630

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