Located on the historic King’s Lynn to Hunstanton line, the picturesque Wolferton Station opened to the public in 1862. By chance, this was the same year that the nearby Sandringham Estate was purchased as a private residence for the young Prince of Wales. As Wolferton was just 21/4 miles from the house, it quickly earned itself a reputation as the most upmarket station in the country. Within easy reach of The King William, Wolferton Station offers a unique glimpse into the glamorous past of rail travel and the unique role the Royal Family have played in shaping Norfolk’s landscape. A must see for all railway enthusiasts, Wolferton is an important part of our local history and heritage.
Early years – Thanks to its Royal patronage, Wolferton Station was completely renovated in 1898, transforming it from an everyday stop into a station fit for a king. The refit saw Wolferton kitted out with Tudor-style platform buildings including a specially designed Royal waiting room complete with oak panelling couches and easy chairs. Also a clock tower and ornate lamps topped with crowns were fitted. Between 1884 and 1911, almost 650 royal trains called at Wolferton. The station played host to numerous luncheon parties and was a focal point for many Royal occasions including the funerals of Queen Alexandra in 1925, King George V in 1936 and King George VI in 1952. In 1886, for the 21st birthday of the then Prince George, the station saw a special Royal service bring a circus to Wolferton. At the end of the performance, one elephant refused to be loaded back onto the train, ripping up a lamppost and demolishing the station’s gates before finally being coaxed back on board.
Closure – By the end of the 1960s, many of the country’s regional train lines were being cut and Wolferton saw its last Royal service in 1966. In 1970, railwayman Eric Walker, who had purchased the station following its closure, reopened the waiting room as a museum. Over 6,000 pieces of memorabilia were on display, most of which Walker had collected himself. When Eric Walker died in 1985, his son was sadly unable to support the up keep of the station. In 2001, the station was sold to railway enthusiast Richard Brown who has undertaken significant restorations and returned much of Wolferton to its former glory.
Today –Though some parts of the station are private, visitors can still explore the platforms and other selected areas. Souvenirs are available on site and the owner is generally very happy to talk to visitors and to share his extensive knowledge about the history of the station and its Royal connections.