A heritage railway has announced a delay to its planned reopening as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

Following the latest government Covid-19 announcement, the Mid Norfolk Railway (MNR) will now reopen for public passengers on July 3. It had been due to reopen on June 23.

Explaining the reasons behind the delay, Charlie Robinson, chairman of the MNR Preservation Trust, said: “The Trust Council has sadly decided that the railway must postpone our reopening until July 3.

“This was not a decision we have made lightly and we understand it is disappointing for our passengers and indeed our members and working volunteers and staff who have worked so hard to reopen.

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“The Trust Council however recognises that we want to be able to put on a service that meets the expectations of our passengers and is also safe for them and our own staff.

“All heritage railways are different and at this current time we will find it extremely difficult to deliver the level of service that we would want to provide to our customers due to the nature of our stations and our rolling stock.”

The MNR will now be completing some additional Covid-19 precautions in line with government requirements before reopening on July 3.

The initial service will be a steam-hauled train using the newly refurbished Maroon liveried heritage coaching stock.

Tickets will initially only be available via the MNR website.

It is hoped that the world-famous steam engine, The Flying Scotsman, will also visit the MNR for the first time ever in October 2021.

Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury: Flying Scotsman (c) Tony BartlettFlying Scotsman (c) Tony Bartlett (Image: Archant)

The visit was originally due to take place in October 2020 but was cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Now it has been confirmed that subject to restrictions, the locomotive will visit the newly refurbished track between Dereham and Wymondham Abbey between October 2 and 17, 2021.

Although this will be The Flying Scotsman’s first visit to the MNR, the locomotive has visited Norfolk a number of times before, most recently in October 2017.

Further announcements about the full reopening of the MNR will follow in due course and will be dependant of future government announcements.