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Former Norfolk station house given new lease of life through restoration

Work is almost complete to restore Attleborough station house. Picture: Greater Anglia

Work is almost complete to restore Attleborough station house. Picture: Greater Anglia

Archant

The former station house of Attleborough rail station has been brought back to life following restoration by Greater Anglia.

Decorative terracotta brick detailing at Thetford station, which will be restored. Picture: Greater AngliaDecorative terracotta brick detailing at Thetford station, which will be restored. Picture: Greater Anglia

After a grant from the Railway Heritage Trust, the train operator has restored the listed building to its former glory and hopes that it will be brought back for use in the community.

It was previously used as a veterinary practice but fell into disrepair, eventually deemed unsafe because of roof leaks that threatened to bring down the ceilings and, in 2013, had to be closed.

Since 2018, Greater Anglia began renovating the building, spending £177,000 on the scheme.

The work has seen the interior of the building stripped back, UPVC windows replaced with timber sash windows, new doors fitted, redecoration in the building's original heritage colours and extensive repairs to the roofs to restore the building to its former glory.

Andy Savage, executive director of the Railway Heritage Trust, said: “We look forward to a tenant, or tenants, with sustainable uses for the space created, moving in, and we hope to be able to help them by further grants towards the restoration of the interior spaces.”

Attleborough station was built in 1845 for the Norfolk Railway, comprising of a booking office, waiting room and station master's house, with a signal box added in 1883.

It was opened as part of the double track between Bishop's Stortford and Norwich. The line is more than 92 miles long and is believed to be the longest section of railway ever opened at one time in England.

Greater Anglia's asset management director, Simone Bailey, said, “We are very grateful to the Railway Heritage Trust for their help and support in restoring these beautiful old stations to conserve their unique features for future generations to enjoy and to protect them, making them fit for use in the 21st Century.”

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Wooden level crossing gates next to the station used to be opened and closed manually by a signaller in the signal box.

But in 2012 the signal box was closed and the crossing was renewed with automatic barriers with warning lights.

Thetford Station

The heritage features of Thetford rail station are due to be restored this Summer after a £19,200 grant from the Railway Heritage Trust.

The money will be used to restore the four rare 130 year old terracotta decorative brick panels and detailing on the front of the grade II listed former ticket office as well as the Victorian flint building, which is also listed.

The vacant building saw a serious fire in 1990 and a new roof was put on with timber shingles making the station unique.

The roof's gable end copings and parapet walls have weathered badly over the years and now require repair to remove the risk of them falling into the public car park below.

Andy Savage, executive director of the Railway Heritage Trust said, “We have been aware of the deteriorating state of the exterior of Thetford station for some time.

“We congratulate Greater Anglia on their input to this, and we hope that a suitably sustainable operation can be found that will enable the interior of the flint building to be restored.”

What do you think the station building could be used for? Email marc.betts@archant.co.uk

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