The Bure Valley Railway won a top honour at the Heritage Railway Association Annual Awards last month for its work on sustainable steam.
The railway was the winner of the HRA Award for Environmental Innovation thanks to taking a leading role in the development and trialling of e-coal – a project becoming increasingly relevant with the end of UK coal supplies and European supplies restricted following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Andrew Barnes, managing director, said: “We are proud to be taking a leading role in the environmental sustainability of steam railways and at the same time be recognised as one of the top steam railways in the country.”
E-coal is made of waste biomass from the olive oil production process, which is blended with coal dust – both of which would otherwise go to landfill – giving a 42pc reduction in carbon dioxide.
The trials, which are ongoing, have the engagement and support of The Advanced Steam Traction Trust, the Heritage Railway Association and Network Rail.
The railway was also runner-up in the HRA Outstanding Visitor Attraction category.
At the other end of the line, at Aylsham station, The Whistlestop Café has reopened with a new menu of homemade cakes and a loyalty card for frequent travellers.
It will be open seven days a week, with special events also lined up.