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Village group proposes to restore Middleton Towers back to health



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A campaigning group, with support from local councillors and MP James Wild, has been formed to make proposals to restore the station at Middleton Towers focusing on the waiting room, the ticket office and the two entrances.

On September 7, 1968, the Lynn to Dereham railway closed to passengers, ending more than 120 years of use and marked the end of what is now a much-needed rail connection.

Middleton Towers served as the first station on the line and remains to be the only station to have retained some track.

The former ticket office and platform access room are in dire need of repair (54162745)
The former ticket office and platform access room are in dire need of repair (54162745)

The station now serves as a freight-loading point for silica sand from the local Leziate quarry run by Sibelco UK.

In the 1990s, there was a brief but ultimately unsuccessful proposal to restore passenger services to the station following a housing development at Leziate.

Alex Brammer, founder and organiser of the Middleton Towers Restoration Group said: “The Middleton Towers Restoration Group comprise of over 270-plus railway enthusiasts, engineers and historians who came together in July 2021 to fully restore the former railway station on the outskirts of King’s Lynn.

The former ticket office and platform access room are in dire need of repair (54162748)
The former ticket office and platform access room are in dire need of repair (54162748)

“We are a group of over 130 railway enthusiasts, engineers and tradespeople who want to see our community effort come into fruition.

“The former ticket office and platform access room are in dire need of repair.

“The station house however is in great condition and this is privately owned and used by Sibelco while the rest is owned by Network Rail.

the King’s Lynn to Dereham railway closed to passengers, ending over 120 years of use and marked the end of what is now a much-needed rail connection (54162739)
the King’s Lynn to Dereham railway closed to passengers, ending over 120 years of use and marked the end of what is now a much-needed rail connection (54162739)

“We aim to hold discussions with Network Rail and obtain permission from Sibelco to renovate their portion of the site.

“A consensus amongst our members is that, under our plans, it would serve as a public tea room and a museum for the former King’s Lynn to Dereham railway.

“However, our ambitions cannot end here.

Middleton Towers Restoration Group are a group aiming to restore the former railway station on the outskirts of Lynn. (54162736)
Middleton Towers Restoration Group are a group aiming to restore the former railway station on the outskirts of Lynn. (54162736)

“While we focus on our current plans, we must be ready to campaign for reinstatement of a passenger service at least as far as Middleton Towers or East Winch.

“A substantial amount of potential rail users reside in this area and it would certainly relieve some pressure on our roads.

“We must not let central or local government make knee-jerk decisions to develop on any portions of the line or, worst of all, tear it up entirely as regrettably done in the 1960s.”

A sign donated by group member Graham Ashwell. (54269484)
A sign donated by group member Graham Ashwell. (54269484)

Mr Brammer, 25, works as a carebroker for the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Ely said his initial idea to look into the restoration has gained momentum with the group expanding in support.

He said: “The plan is to do it up for free via public donations and make it into a cafe/museum.

“There’s the sense that we want to protect history and it is so important that young people know it exists.

“It has tangible history behind it having been there or 150 years and it has been left to ruin.

“This is for people who care about their local area and with potential for even more.”

With support from councillors the group aim to start a working group to begin on the project.

Rob Colwell, councillor for Gaywood South said: “I’m supporting the Middleton Towers Restoration Group and I am interested in preserving this site, track and buildings for future generations.

“I hope that at some point it can again serve the local community.”

Jim Moriarty, county councillor for Massingham with Castle Acre ward said: “When pounding the streets during an election one notices things out of the corner of the eye which pass you by when driving, so I was intrigued when the Middleton Towers Restoration Group first contacted me at the end of last year with their proposals and ambitions for the former Middleton Towers railway station site at Leziate.

“Their enthusiasm is infectious and I am happy to support their aims and will encourage any fellow councillors on the borough or county council with an interest in railways or the history of rail to learn more of their plans.

Interested? Contact the Facebook page Middleton Towers Restoration Group or email mtrg.norfolk@gmail.com

For further information visit the website www.middletontowers.org.uk



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