Yaxham Road Crossing Works 2020

1st June 2020 - Yaxham Road replacement success!

Many congratulations and a huge thank you to Stewart Robinson, Sonic Rail Services and everyone from the MNR who have spent the last six days (or more) putting in a huge effort to replace Yaxham Road Level Crossing in Dereham. This was by far the largest single Permanent Way project the Railway has ever undertaken and was successfully completed yesterday on time and on budget.

Yaxham Road is now open again to road traffic, not only are we the proud owners of a brand new crossing deck but also upgraded warning lights for road vehicles and brand new rails and concrete sleepers for a distance of approximately 200 yards to the south of the crossing and most of the track between the two level crossings to the north.

Under the current circumstances, how nice it is to be able to report on a really positive piece of news for the Railway and many thanks again to everyone concerned in making it happen.

Charles Robinson
Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust

Photos are available on our Friends of the Mid-Norfolk Railway group.


Between 27th and 31st May, the Mid-Norfolk Railway and our contractors are replacing the track in the level crossing on Yaxham Road, Dereham (underneath the A47). This will involve closing the road. Signed diversions including a pedestrian diversion route will be in place.

The current level crossing surface and railway track are reaching the end of their life and are increasingly difficult to maintain. In October 2018, whilst replacing wooden sleepers under the north edge of the level crossing, the extent of corrosion damage to the rails caused by winter gritting of the road became apparent.

In order to operate the railway safely for trains, passengers and road users, this major work is required to replace the track and road surface.

The MNR has worked closely with Norfolk Highways to schedule the work to cause as little disruption as possible. The work will happen during the May half-term school holiday from Wednesday 27th May 2020 to Sunday 31st May 2020. Since COVID-19 came onto the scene we've continued to plan this work, with less traffic on the roads, we hope disruption caused is minimal.

The engineering solution being installed should provide a low maintenance, long lasting, smoother and safer level crossing for pedestrians, road users and trains.

Since the MNR took over the Dereham to Wymondham line in 1995 from British Rail, the rails in the level crossing have been replaced once. The condition of the sleepers under the middle of the road is unknown.

Currently the rails are joined in the middle of the road using fishplates meaning the track moves very slightly with every train wheel passing over, therefore the tarmac isn't sealed around the rails and salty water gets in and corrodes the rails. Uniquely at this level crossing, the problem is made much worse; due to the bridge above the level crossing, there is very little rain water to wash the salt away or dilute it.

The new design will involve embedding longer rails in resin in slots within pre-cast concrete panels. This should seal the rails in to prevent corrosion. And when the rails need replacing in the future, it will be much easier and quicker to do.

The work will safeguard the MNR's operating future. Like everyone else, our 2020 calendar is obviously under review due to Coronvirus regulations. We hope to have news of future events soon and look forward to welcoming visitors from far and wide to Mid-Norfolk.

The MNR apologises for the short-term inconvenience, but are confident that this investment will have much wider benefits to the local community with the tourism income brought to the area in future years.

If you would like to donate towards our Coronavirus Closure Fund, please click here.