Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership celebrates 20th anniversary

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

An organisation which promotes a Norfolk railway line is celebrating its 20th anniversary by holding a week-long series of events starting next week.

The Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP), which helps to promote and develop the Norwich to Sheringham rail line, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with special events including live music, guided walks and craft sessions. More celebrations are being planned for later in the year, too.

Over the last 20 years, the CRP has played an invaluable role in supporting and developing projects to promote the line, build community links, improve station facilities and upgrade train services.

As a result, passenger journeys on the line have more than tripled since 1997 from around 200,000 journeys a year to more than 600,000 journeys a year.

Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia said: “We’re very pleased to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership.

“The CRP has been a great success, working closely with successive train operators to help promote and develop the Norwich to Sheringham line.

“Its proactive support has strengthened local links and has helped to increase passenger journeys on the line over the last two decades.

“With the prospect of brand new, high quality trains in 2019/20, there are great opportunities for the CRP to help the line continue to thrive, to the benefit of both customers and local communities.”

Peter Mayne, Chairman of the Bittern Line CRP said: "We are hugely proud and excited to be celebrating our 20th birthday. 50 years after closure of the line was contemplated, the Partnership, with support from the communities we serve, has ensured that the line has gone from strength to strength.

“This is an opportune time for rail travel between Norwich and Sheringham with a growing population in towns and villages along the route and brand new longer trains arriving shortly."

The Bittern Line CRP was launched in 1997, as part of a joint initiative between Anglia Railways and Norfolk County Council, aimed at revitalising the important rail link between Norwich and the North Norfolk coast.

It has also helped successive train operators to significantly increase service frequency on weekday afternoons, evenings and at weekends, provide additional station facilities such as ticket machines, customer information screens and cycle parking and enhance community links, with additional capacity for special events and better coordination for Paston College students.

The line is set to benefit from significant investment during Greater Anglia’s nine year franchise. The operator plans to introduce a complete new fleet of trains in 2019/20, with more seats, air conditioning, wi-fi and plug points.

Greater Anglia also plans to install ticket machines at all stations on the route, providing even more opportunities to encourage rail travel and support tourism and the local economy.

Greater Anglia, which is the major funder of the CRP, has recently increased its financial support, as part of its new franchise, whilst the CRP also benefits from support from local authorities including Norfolk County Council, Broadland District Council and North Norfolk District Council.

The CRP also works closely with attractions along the route including the Bure Valley Railway and the North Norfolk Railway and connects with the Coast Hopper bus service to make public transport a convenient option for many journeys in North Norfolk.

Please see the table below for details of next week’s celebration activities:

Date Time Station Activity
21st – 25th August All day Norwich

BITTERN LINE COLOURING STATION

Come and draw the Bittern bird or colour in one of artist Alice Lee’s Bittern bird designs, then apply them onto a pre-made panel of plain wallpaper at Norwich station!

Take home your own Bittern colouring sheet as a souvenir of the celebrations. There will be a “Meet The Artist” session on 23rd August 12pm – 2pm at Norwich station.
21st – 25th August 10am to 4pm Wroxham

WROXHAM SIGNAL BOX TOURS

Volunteers at the Wroxham Signal Box Trust will be offering free guided tours on Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm. Learn about the history of the signal box which opened in 1900 and closed in 1983.
21st – 25th August 12pm-9pm Wroxham

WROXHAM STATION SMOKEHOUSE

The Station Smokehouse is proud to be officially opening its tables on the platform at Hoveton and Wroxham, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary celebrations of The Bittern Line. They will be offering tasty samples all week as well as displaying their brand new steam train smoker and BBQ grill which will be used to take The Smokehouse show "on the road"!
21st – 25th August Various trains (times tbc)

BITTERN LINE CAKE TIME

Little cakes will be distributed up and down the line by friendly volunteers who will be happy to chat with passengers about the history of the line. A birthday flyer celebrating the partnership and featuring the timetable will be handed out as well.
21 August 11:30am to 2pm Wroxham

SOODLE STREET WORKSHOP

Join artist Caitlin Law at this free drop-in collage workshop at the Wroxham Signal Box. Take home your own collage of a train or a train station!
21 August 12pm to 2pm Wroxham

LIVE MUSIC

Listen to some lively musicians celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership with music at Wroxham station. The musicians include members of Catfield’s "Occasional Ceilidh Band" and singers and instrumentalists who perform folk, roots and acoustic music in local sessions such as the Friendly Music Cafe, which takes place every month in Horning.
22 August 12pm Salhouse

GUIDED WALK: SALHOUSE

Join Eileen Oliver as she leads this new 2.5 mile-long guided walk along quiet lanes and paths to All Saints Church, a beautiful thatched church dating to the 14th century, and onto Salhouse village. There may be a quick visit to the The Bell pub before the return walk to Salhouse station.

To join this free guided walk, catch the 1145 train from Norwich or the 1047 train from Sheringham. Trains back to Norwich are at 1328 or 1529 while trains back to Sheringham are at 1355 and 1555.

23 August 1:30pm to 4:30pm West Runton

GEOLOGY WALK: WEST RUNTON EAST TO WOOD HILL

Join Martin Warren as he takes you on a journey through 13.7 billion years of geological time. You can gaze over Doggerland, a whole Mesolithic landscape drowned 8,000 years ago by the rising North Sea, and pay your respects at the grave of the 700,000-year-old West Runton elephant when Norfolk was a ‘big game’ country.

Tickets are purchased on the day, £6.00 per adult, £3.00 per child. To book a place on the walk, email Martin Warren via http://www.northfolk.org.uk/geology.html
25 August 11:30am to 2pm Wroxham

SOODLE STREET WORKSHOP

Join artist Caitlin Law at this free drop-in collage workshop at the Wroxham Signal Box. Take home your own collage of a train or a train station!