Preparing the Poppy Line for passengers

LNER Quad Art Set 48661-4 at Sheringham station on the North Norfolk Railway
Gresley Quad Art Set at Sheringham station: Photo courtesy of Ashely Dace [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

With the creation of a heritage railway line comes the need for historical accuracy, so when the North Norfolk Railway needed to replace its track, we helped them maintain their authenticity with BS 95RBH bullhead rail.

Heritage railways are lovingly restored and operated as a form of living history and the North Norfolk Railway (NNR), or the Poppy Line as it is commonly known, is no exception. Built in 1887 by William Marriott, the 5¼ mile line runs from Sheringham to Holt and has hosted a number of popular events including The 40s Weekend since the line’s closure and subsequent transformation into a running heritage line in the mid-1960s.

2 workers replacing the North Norfolk Railway track with bullhead rails from British Steel
Rail replacement taking place on the North Norfolk Railway.

NNR Head of Infrastructure and Planning Harvey Smith said: “We only use bullhead rail on our track as it was commonly used in railways from the mid-19th to mid-20th century. It’s similar to the double-headed rail from the 1830s that had a parallel cross section - the idea being that once the rail head became worn, the rail could be turned over and reused – in reality, I’m not sure how successful this was! 

“We’re delighted that British Steel could help us preserve the historical accuracy of the Poppy Line with bullhead rail. Our rails hadn’t been replaced since they were last relaid in 1940, so we were ready for the upgrade.”

British Steel Rail Account Manager Darren Cole said: “Although no longer common, bullhead is still sometimes used today in tunnels and under bridges where a lower track system is required. I’m really pleased we were able to support NNR with their maintenance project and keep the line true to its historic roots.”

North Norfolk Railways will reopen to the public on Wednesday 8 July 2020.

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We’re delighted that British Steel could help us preserve the historical accuracy of the Poppy Line with bullhead rail. Our rails hadn’t been replaced since they were last relaid in 1940, so we were ready for the upgrade.

Harvey Smith, Head of Infrastructure and Planning, NNR