Volume 56 No. 6 Nov / Dec 2011
It is with much regret we report that John Clarke, our immediate Past Chairman, died on
16th November following a lengthy illness. His Obituary will be found on page 11.
news from railways in and around Norfolk
Drought Closes Line....in November
After a spate of disruption to rail services attributed to cable theft, drought is the latest phenomenon to close a line for two days in
November. The Ely to Downham Market line has become out of direct alignment with the overhead power lines due to ground
movement resulting from the dry weather of recent months. Repairs are taking place on the 20th and 27th of the month with services
running at reduced speeds at other times.
Colin Sampson, chairman of the Fen Line Users' Association, said the reason for the closure might seem unusual but was not
unexpected. "If you lived in other parts of the county, you might wonder what on earth was going on but for most of us here I don't
think it's that much of a surprise," he said. "The reasons are perfectly understandable. It's due to the poor Fenland soil quality. It's
unfortunate because it causes disruption but we're lucky it hasn't happened before. It's a result of the incredibly dry summer."
Drought is latest natural event blamed for disruption on the railways. Previously, problems have been caused by leaves on the line,
snow and extreme heat.
New Speed Record Liverpool St. to Cambridge
A Class 379 'Stansted Express' electric multiple unit broke the record for a non-stop run from London Liverpool Street to Cambridge
on 30 September 2011. NXEA Set No. 379015 operating a special service achieved a time of 48min13sec. The previous record,
set in 1987 by Class 86 loco No.86401, was 48min 17 sec. On arrival at Cambridge a ceremony conferred the name 'City of
Cambridge' on the unit. The Class 379s have taken over from class 317s on the Stansted run, offering improved quality and wi-fi
The improvements we need for our rail service
This was the title of an article in the Norwich Evening News dated 29th November (page 8 if you still have it). Space does not
permit of an in-depth resume, but the following may be of interest:
Among the facts and figures was one that said around 110 million passenger journeys are made on NXEA services each year
(over 350,000 passenger journeys each working day).
The moving annual average (MAA) punctuality for NXEA is currently 90.3%. When NXEA took over the franchise in 2004 the
MAA was just under 85%. Punctuality is not defined in the article.
IN THIS ISSUE Swing Bridges Get Revamp
A pair of century-old railway swing bridges on the Norfolk Broads are
Track Report receiving a much-needed £900,000 revamp as Network Rail engineers
National Network carry out an extensive programme of repairs on the historic structures.
1 Somerleyton swing bridge, like its sister bridge at Reedham, was built in
Heritage, Narrow Gauge & Miniature 3 1905 to replace the single track bridges that carried the railway between
Away from the Tracks 3 Norwich and Lowestoft over the Yare and Waveney rivers. Both bridges
Pick-up Goods 5 are constructed from wrought iron, brick, cast steel and timber and require
NRS News 10 regular maintenance to keep them in full working order.
The work to carry out essential steel work repairs as well as signalling,
Features plant and equipment refurbishment, was due to be completed during the
Liverpool St Traffic Manager’s Office
Northern Ireland July 2011 school half term break between 22 and 31 October. However the timing
One Day in a PTG Tour of Sardinia 12 drew criticism from the Broads Authority's Director of Navigation who,
13 according to the EDP, was given less than two months notice of the work
14 and was concerned at the likely impact on the last major boating opportunity
Working Timetable 15 of the season.
Chris Curtis, Network Rail general manager, speaking in advance of the
work said: "Running a twenty-first century railway on Edwardian
infrastructure is a challenge but it’s a challenge we are committed to meeting.
"This essential investment is designed to make the bridges more reliable for train operators and the boating community. We recognise
that the timing is not ideal for everyone but always look to minimise disruption with our works, and the half-term week is when the
railway is at its quietest. Thanks go to rail and boat users in advance for their patience while our engineers carry out this important
To allow engineers to complete the work as quickly and as safely as possible, the line between Reedham and Lowestoft was closed
to trains with alterations to services between Norwich and Lowestoft/Great Yarmouth.
Buses replaced trains between Norwich and Lowestoft throughout the period. A train service was planned between Norwich and
Reedham. On Sundays buses were also planned to run between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
Port of Felixstowe launches new freight service……
A new five day a week service from Felixstowe to Manchester began on 1 October operated by GB Railfreight. It comes after the
completion of new sidings, some track re-laying and installation of two new gantry cranes at the South Terminal. Further expansion
of facilities will occur in 2012 with a third rail terminal designed to accommodate longer 30 wagon freight trains.
…….and Stobart Rail Trial Train runs from Felixstowe
Direct Rail Services (DRS), the UK’s leading rail freight operator, has collaborated with Stobart Rail to run a Special rail service from
the Port of Felixstowe to the new Stobart Rail facility at Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT 2) on 15 October 2011.
This initial trial service was organised at short notice with a significant multi-agency effort between DRS, Stobart Rail, Network Rail
and the Port of Felixstowe. The result was a train carrying 24 Stobart Rail Curtain Sided containers distinctively liveried with ‘Less
CO2 Rail’ departing the Port of Felixstowe heading for DIRFT 2.
The Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the UK and following the success of this first train it is anticipated that more
services could follow in the near future.
Going Dutch - Abellio Promises Improvements
Transport campaigners have pledged to maintain pressure on East Anglia’s new Dutch rail operator to honour its promises of
improvements for the region’s train passengers. Nederlandse Spoorwegen, operating as Abellio Greater Anglia Ltd, has been
chosen by the Department of Transport as the new operator for the “Greater Anglia” franchise across Norfolk, Suffolk,
Cambridgeshire and Essex. Abellio beat off competition from rival bidders Go-Ahead and Stagecoach to win the government
Making the announcement on Thursday 20 October, rail minister Theresa Villiers said the franchise would play a “significant role”
in transport for the London 2012 Games, providing crucial services to the Olympic Park. “The reliability requirements for the new
Norfolk Railway Society franchise are also more demanding than the previous one.” the
(Founded 1955) minister said and added “When the franchise is renewed again
in July 2014, the contract is expected to be 15 years in length.
President: Arnold Hoskins, Esq. This forthcoming franchise will provide the opportunity to seek
Vice-President: Ken Mills, Esq. further improvements for passengers." She promised the terms
of the contract agreed with the government will deliver a series
Committee and officers 2011-2012 Telephone of improvements during the 29 month franchise.
Chairman Peter Davies Abellio will take over station leases from Network Rail, taking on
Vice Chairman Peter Adds responsibility for all repairs and renewals at stations.
Secretary Ian Woodruff
Treasurer and Andrew Wright The contract has been held by National Express since 2004, but
Website Editor Arranged by sub-committee was involved in a major spat with the previous government after
Fixtures Mike Handscomb the company walked away from its East Coast franchise after it
Membership Sec. Edward Mann suffered heavy losses following the onset of the recession.
Publicity Mike Fordham But a note of realism was sounded by passenger groups and
MPs, who warned that fundamental improvements in journey
Archivists Peter Allison & times and reliability should not be expected within the short-term
29-month contract, due to start in February. Norwich North MP
Raymond Meek Chloe Smith, who led Norfolk MPs in lobbying for improvements
to the county’s rail links, said the overwhelming priority of faster
Committee Member Graham Kenworthy
Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter
Editor Edward Mann services between Norwich and London may have to wait until
after the contract is renewed again in 2014. But she said she
would urge the short-term contractor to “commit to investment
Distribution Graham Smith over profit” and lay the foundations for long-term future
Please contact Graham if the next edition does not arrive by Passenger groups said they also hoped for greater
the end of the month of publication improvements in the longer term. Peter Lawrence, president of
Railfuture, said: “My suspicions are that there will be very little
Opinions expressed in any article are the author's and should change for the next 18 months. I don’t think there will be
not be taken to represent those of the Society. anything major to speed up services – to do that, you have to
tackle the problem of rail capacity between Colchester and
Next issue published mid-February 2012 Shenfield and that will be a long-term effort. We welcome the
Copy date: Thursday 2 February 2012 minor improvements that they are proposing but we look forward
to seeing much better improvements when the long-term
franchise is let.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Passenger Focus, said: “Congratulations to Abellio, although it is a short franchise we look
forward to working with them, ensuring they keep delivering for passengers. Passengers will want to see a clear focus on
punctuality, improving information and management of any disruption, and attention to driving up the overall quality of service.”
Abellio chief executive Anton Valk said he was “delighted” the company had been selected. “This win adds to Abellio’s already
successfully operated franchises in the UK, Northern and Merseyrail, and is a testament to the growing confidence that the
Department for Transport has in our ability to bring positive change to rail services,” he said.
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Miniature
NNR close to setting a passenger record
The North Norfolk Railway is confident of setting a passenger record this year. By mid-October ticket sales were 600 up on the
same period last year, helped by the successful steam gala (2-4 September) and the 1940's War Weekend (17-18 September).
Santa Trains are yet to run, but most are now pre-booked, so last year's record should easily be topped.
Hire of the Class 4 Preservation Trust Ltd's Hunslet 0-6-0ST 'No. 68030' has been extended to provide cover for the Santa
operations. This arrived for the September gala to take the place of Hunslet 0-6-0ST Ring Haw after its tubes finally expired. Also
David Shepherd's 9F No. 92203 Black Prince and GWR 0-6-2T No. 5619 are due to receive piston and valve exams.
Restoration of two ex-Great Eastern Railway wagons completed
Mid Suffolk Light Railway has completed the restoration of five plank open wagon No. 28601. Acquired in 2005 from Swindon &
Cricklade Railway it has been rebuilt in a project taking more than a year to complete. Another wagon arrived at the MSLR as a
five plank but was found to have been originally a seven plank vehicle. This has been rebuilt as a loco coal wagon with fixed
upper planks and given the fictional number 600043. It could be converted to original form if suitable hinges can be found.
On the move
Class 31 No. 31438 has been sold and moved from the Mid Norfolk to the Epping Ongar Railway.
Derailment blamed on axle failure
The derailment of a Bure Valley Railway train on 30 May 2011 was caused by the failure of an axle by fatigue cracking. The Rail
Accident Investigation Branch Report, published on 6 October, concludes this failure most likely resulted from the welding of the
worn journal end in order to restore its diameter so as to provide a secure fit in the bearings. There were no identification
markings on the failed wheelset apart from what appeared to be cast numbers, thus making it difficult to trace the history of the
wheelset after its manufacture. The wheelset involved had been built up with weld metal when the BVR was under different
The consequences of the accident were increased because the other wheelset on the same bogie forced its way through the
plywood floor of the coach into the passenger compartment. The vehicle was awaiting refurbishment as part of an ongoing
programme which included replacing the plywood panels over the bogies with steel panels.
The investigation by the ORR found shortcomings in the safety management documentation and issued an Improvement Notice.
Following the accident BVR initiated several actions to relating to its wheelsets, engineering procedures and documentation.
These included removing the other three wheelsets of the batch of four manufactured in 1990 with the intention of scrapping
them; checking all other passenger vehicles and concluding none of the axles had been welded; prohibiting use of welding on the
axles of wheelsets; and improving recording of components and maintenance.
Members will recall that we have provided financial assistance in connection with this loco's restoration. We are pleased to read
from the M&GNJRS Newsletter dated 12th November that re-wheeling has taken place, bringing its return to service that bit
Not a bridge too far !
The Ashmanhaugh Light Railway has obtained planning permission to erect a 10' long bridge on the Lakeside back straight. Work
is anticipated being completed by next Spring.
Away from the Tracks
Bright Ideas Required
In the last issue (NRS NL 56/5 p.4) we reported the Attleborough Heritage Group's success in obtaining "Listed" status for the
station and signalbox. We have been asked if anybody is able to suggest another use for the signalbox, and if you can think of
one please contact Peter Scofield on 01953 - 602826 (or email [email protected]).
B17 tenders for Mid Norfolk Railway
Some few months ago the MNR’s Board of Directors authorised its Vice-Chairman Mr John Hull to open talks with the newly
formed B17 Steam Locomotive Trust. The upshot of this is that MNR invited the B17 Group to bring their two tenders to the MNR
and have offered them a section of siding, where restoration can commence.
The B17 Group’s Press release, does indicate that they have a vibrant and considered project ready to move ahead. On top of
works to the tender chassis, initial new design work involves completing a strengthened locomotive frame with roller bearings and
cannon axleboxes on the main driving axles. These will replace the original design of plain bearings, axleboxes and wedges,
which needed frequent adjustment to compensate for the wear and tear within the horns, a problem dogging the B17s during their
life in service.
And more signalling news...
Housed in "what is likely to be" its original 46"
x 23" glazed frame was the coloured diagram
from Wolferton Signalbox. Wolferton station's
fame came through its association with the
Royal Family and their visitors who used it
because it was close to Sandringham House.
However the Hunstanton branch closed in
1969, and from the late 1970s Eric Walker,
the station's then owner, opened the oak-
panelled retiring rooms on the down side as a
"royalty and railway" museum. After the
station's last change of ownership (NRS NL
47/5) it became a private residence once
more. The new owner, Richard Brown,
undertook a thorough restoration of the
station and signalbox, and in 2003 it was
among the winners of the Campaign to
Protect Rural England's Norfolk Awards for
projects or buildings which enhance the
\\Server\nrs\Archive Newsletters\...\Norwich thorpe junc pre 1977.jpg county's environment. It would be nice to think it was
Richard who paid the £230 to secure the diagram.
The LNER-era signalbox board from Norwich Thorpe
Junction was one of the pieces of railwayana which
used to surround diners at David Turner's Brief
Encounter restaurant at Wymondham station. David
sold the business earlier this year, since when the
railway items have been turning up at auction. The
board sold for £490.
Thanks to Mike Handscomb for reporting on
railwayana.net's September auction.
The station house occupants have advised that the box
Norwich Thorpe Junction Signalbox Spring 1977. > Dave Pearce arrived at Kimberley Park on 4th November. The plan
was to drive the lorry on to the railway facing Dereham,
then reverse over the crossing to the box's destination
i.e. on the up side, about opposite the down waiting shelter. Try as they might, they couldn't manoeuvre the lorry on to the tracks.
So they gave up and unloaded it at Dereham !
It is understood that the latest plan is to build the brick base at Kimberley Park. The wooden superstructure will be restored at
Dereham, then moved to Kimberley Park when appropriate.
BaBa Class 0-4-0 'Wiltshire Horn' to manage cutting
Network Rail has "borrowed" a flock of Wiltshire horn sheep to graze a railway cutting at Great Stukeley in Cambridgeshire. The
land is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to rare plants and orchids. The sheep's owner assured
the company that the animals would clear the scrub without harming other plants. Russell Spink, from Network Rail, said: "We
have a legal responsibility to maintain those areas and it costs us a fair bit of money. For a number of years, before Network
Rail's time, that maintenance was fairly low-level. It's very overgrown with brambles and thorny bushes which are harmful to the
flowers that are protected."
Rare plants at the Great Stukeley SSSI include lady's bedstraw, bird's-foot trefoil, hairy violet, cowslip and fairy flax as well as py-
ramidal orchids. Network Rail usually employs its own maintenance crews and uses volunteer conservationists to manage its
land. "The sheep are just better at this kind of work than our guys, and running our railway has to be our main focus," said Mr
Spink. "We are very confident that they will leave the protected species alone. We're told by the owner that they are very discern-
ing and will only chomp their way through the non-native vegetation and leave the rare orchids so they can bloom."
The 35-hectare (86-acre) site runs along the East Coast Main Line and is fenced off to prevent the sheep from wandering on to
Local MPs visit Friends of Brandon Station Open Afternoon
The campaign to revitalise Brandon station and make it a “gateway to the Brecks” was given an extra shunt on Friday 11 Novem-
ber when two MPs visited the station. The derelict and dilapidated station building has wooden boards covering the windows,
paint peeling from the walls and doors and stained carpets.
But the Friends of Brandon Station group hopes to transform the building and the neighbouring stationmaster’s house into a com-
munity facility and received high profile support from two of the area’s MPs – South West Norfolk’s Elizabeth Truss and Matthew
Hancock, who represents West Suffolk. Miss Truss said a regenerated station could be used to help bring more tourists into the
Brecks region. She added with Cambridge expanding as a city, the station could become an even more important asset and said
funding could be sought from such bodies as the East of England Buildings Preservation Trust, which helps regenerate important
community buildings. “This is the first time I have been inside the building and I think we could be able to use this building better
so I am very supportive of what is happening,” she said.
Mr Hancock spoke to the Friends and joked about the importance of the station to him– so much so that he had ventured “15
yards” outside his constituency to promote the campaign. He said: “I think it is important to the whole of Brandon because if you
look to the future and what Brandon can be, one of the great areas of growth is Cambridge and right here we have a train link into
the centre of what is one of the leading scientific research cities in the world.”
The long-term goal of the Friends is to restore the building and make it available for a variety of uses including passenger facilities
and a booking office, new community rooms for hire to businesses and local groups and an information centre with details of local
tourist attractions. However, Tony Wojtasz, the Friends’ vice-chairman, said the cost of achieving this vision could be in the re-
gion of £200,000. The Friends also need to secure agreements from the bodies which have a stake in the station and to per-
suade Network Rail to extend its two-year lease on the building. He said proof of the station’s popularity was that the number of
passengers visiting it had increased from 17,000 in 2006 to 70,000 this year..
A miscellany of news and members’ contributions
Corrections corner: \\Server\nrs\Archive Newsletters\Sept-Oct ...\Isle of Man 1 016 m-banyer-1.jpg
I was so busy thinking that the photo of B1
61204 (page 10 NRS NL 56/5) would serve a
dual purpose that I erred in its location as
Trowse road bridge has somehow vanished!
Of course, the photo was taken from the
"country" side, with the bridge behind the
photographer ! Pleased to put things right.
Page 10 didn't do Malcolm Banyer's
photographic caption any favours either.The
photograph and entire caption are right.
And what was it about page 10? The cross-
reference to Richard Adderson's front page
photo should have been NRS NL 56/5 p.1).
Recently at the URC Hall On one of his regular trips to the Isle of Man Malcolm Banyer photographed
Santa Fe loco taken at Crogga House Rly near Port Soderick.
On 20th October Mike Lamport of the Olympic Delivery Authority gave an illustrated presentation entitled “Rail's Olympic
Mike began with slides emphasising the size and scale of the Games, in which 203 countries compete in what he called the
“biggest event in the world”. The stadiums, venues and competitors' living accommodation have been built in a huge landscaped
waterside park. Jaws dropped when we heard that a media centre has been built to hold 22,000 journalists and broadcasters.
Like Greece and Sydney before, London’s Olympics will be car-free, a public transport only Games. The transport challenge is to
move all client groups in a safe and reliable manner and at the same time keep London moving as normal. This will be an
immense task as Stratford, Stratford International and the newly-built DLR station will be handling up to a quarter of a million
passengers per hour. Stratford International was a major plus factor in London winning the bid. Javelins (class 395) will shuttle
spectators to and from there to Ebbsfleet, and Ashford in 28 minutes is possible. A new DLR line connecting Beckton and
Woolwich to the Olympic Park is already running and all DLR units have been increased from 2 to 3 cars. Stratford regional
station has been upgraded with lifts to every platform and new stairways to cope with the extra visitors. A 1600 tonne bridge has
been built to span 11 live railway lines and will be used to connect old Stratford to the new Olympic Park.
All London venues away from Stratford are well placed and have good transport links. At The Excel Arena next to The Royal
Victoria Docks a temporary pedestrian bridge has been installed across the dock basin. This will enable spectators to access the
DLR Pontoon Docks station opposite the arena.
Mike touched on other modes of transport including the Underground, river cruisers, and drop-off places for coach travellers.
Walking and cycle paths were also mentioned. Freight traffic using the Stratford corridor will be scaled down during the Games,
to give priority to passenger services. Work on Crossrail will also cease during the Games to minimise disruption to transport.
As for the Legacy, all Olympic Park sporting arenas will continue to be used after the Games although some will have to be
modified. The Olympic stadium itself will be used by one of the local professional football clubs and the Olympic Village, with its
2,800 dwellings will become housing for local people. The improvements to transport will ensure decades of quality travel to this
redeveloped area. Add to this, the fact that Crossrail will follow in 2018, making Stratford an even more accessible hub for
business, sport, shopping, leisure and tourism.
Mike concluded by saying that the huge challenge has been met, the transport upgrade has been delivered, and everything is
ready for the Games !
Thanks to Mike for a most enjoyable and interesting evening's presentation. (Steve Cane)
On 3rd November Jill Wright gave an illustrated presentation entitled ‘Return to Indian Railways’
Being married to not only a keen railway enthusiast but also one of the Norfolk Railway Society’s most dearly-loved members until
his tragic death two years ago was always going to be a challenge for Jill Wright. But clearly David’s love of railways was shared
by his wife, in spirit if not in minute detail, and this evening Jill came to tell us of not one but two railway-based expeditions she
had made since her husband’s passing.
In the first half of the evening Jill recounted a visit to north-east India made in November 2010, to fulfil a life-long dream to revisit
the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Eschewing a railway-themed package holiday for a more ‘mainstream’ tour, her visit to India
began in Calcutta, a city seen to be teeming with buses, trams, rickshaws, taxis (mostly LPG-fuelled) and motorcycles. Her hotel
was a large floating edifice on the Hooghly River. Many buildings dating from the days of the Raj remain. Moving on to Kurseong,
we saw the HQ of the Darjeeling line, and also the congested hillside town of Darjeeling. Sadly the weather was not too kind to
Jill’s party, and the lower part of the line proved impossible to traverse due to storm damage to a bridge, however we did get to
see a couple of the vintage Sharp Stewart locos in use. A total of 34 of these machines were originally supplied to the Railway
between 1889 and 1925, but only a dozen or so remain on the line in various states of repair or disrepair. A number of diesels
have taken over some of the duties, notably on the lower section. Various experiments with oil-firing and railbuses proved to be
less than successful, and were quickly abandoned.
Since 1999 the DHR has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is operated by Indian Railways, with assistance
from a local railway society. While not all of the famous loops and switchbacks remain in use today, there was still plenty for Jill
to admire and enjoy during her trip over the legendary line between Kurseong, the summit at Ghum, and Darjeeling. At all of the
settlements traversed by the line street running is commonplace, and hence the locos have very loud horns which sound almost
continuously to warn locals of the advance of one of the 2 daily trains. Indeed, one fact not mentioned by Jill but gleaned from
Wikipedia is that “people with sensitive ears (especially foreigners from countries that are more quiet than India) should wear ear
protection while riding the train”!
After the coffee break we moved from India to Canada, for a journey from Vancouver to Toronto undertaken in May this year.
Some impressive aerial views of Vancouver opened proceedings, including the massive freight yards down by the water’s edge.
The present Vancouver station is a vast modern affair, but the original station building still survives, along with the former half-
roundhouse, as a shopping and restaurant complex. A steam loco stands on display outside the former roundhouse.
The journey she undertook was on the tracks of the Canadian National Railway, along the North Thompson River, to Jasper via
the Yellowhead Pass. Everything seen was on a massive scale – from the jaw-dropping scenery of the Rockies, the huge
double-deck container trains, the sheer length of the journey, to the length of the passenger train itself. Jill didn’t miss the
opportunity to ride part of the journey in one of the dome-roofed tourist carriages.
Passing into Prairie country and through Edmonton and Winnipeg, Toronto was eventually reached on day five. A visit was made
to the railway museum in a former roundhouse, ending up – as so many tourists to the city do – looking down from Toronto’s most
famous building, the CN Tower, reminding us that the ‘CN’ refers to the Canadian National Railway, on whose land the edifice
An exhausting trip around the world, which was warmly appreciated by the large audience in attendance. (Gordon Bruce)
On 17th November the Beachy Head Project was explained to us by Paul Curson. Who better to report the evening than Ken
You would be forgiven for thinking, from the title of the talk, that it concerned the building of a huge concrete wall in front of the
famous headland to prevent it crumbling into the English Channel. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, and it related
to the construction of a new-build steam locomotive which bore the same name.
Paul commenced with the official reason why the 4.4.2. wheel arrangement of a steam locomotive had acquired the name
"Atlantic". This was, apparently, due to the 1894-built Baldwin engines of the same wheel arrangement which worked on the
Atlantic Coast Line, a railway on the eastern seaboard of the U.S.A.
We then learned something of the life of the designer of the renowned "Brighton Atlantics", Douglas Earle Marsh. Born in Norfolk
in 1862, educated at Brighton College and University College, London, he joined the Great Northern Railway in 1895 as Assistant
Mechanical Engineer to the famed Harry Ivatt at Doncaster Works. Here, he assisted with building of the 22 GNR "Small"
Atlantics (LNER Class C2) during 1898-1903 and enjoyed a couple of years on the construction of the "Large" Atlantics (94
engines of LNER Class C1 1902-1910) before accepting the chance to become Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London,
Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) in November 1904.
Armed with several borrowed drawings from Doncaster, Marsh lost no time in ordering a batch of 5 Atlantics for his new
employers from Kitsons of Leeds in 1905. It was no surprise, therefore, that the 5 engines for the LB&SCR closely resembled
their GNR forebears. The new additions were allocated the LBSCR numbers 37 - 41 (SR 2037 - 2041 as class H1) (BR 32037 -
32041 Class H1) and featured larger cylinders and higher boiler pressure than their GNR counterparts. Five years later, a second
batch of 6 Atlantics were built using LBSCR
numbers 421 - 426 (SR 2421 - 2426 class H2) \\Server\nrs\Archive Newsletters\56-6 Nov-Dec 2...\Beachey Head photo.jpg
(BR 32421 - 32426 class H2) employing greater
heating surfaces in the boiler and again a slight
increase in cylinder size produced a healthy
tractive effort of 24,520 lbs.
While the H1 class locos were all withdrawn by
1951, 5 of the 6 class H2's survived until 1956.
However 32424 (named "Beachy Head" by the
SR in the mid-1920s ) hung on (and operated
several "special" trains in the meantime) until cut
up at Eastleigh in April 1958, despite a last-ditch
attempt to purchase the locomotive privately.
So ...end of story ?
Fast forward to 1986…
With the preservation movement getting into its
stride, a group of enthusiasts - working on a
rumour - discovered four former GNR locomotive
boilers in industrial use at a sawmill in Maldon, R.C.T.S. Brighton Works Centenary Special 5/10/52. 32424 Beachy Head
Essex. After some examination, two of the boilers after arrival at Brighton >Barry Stevens
were found to be from the GN "Large" Atlantics,
and one of these two had only been used for no
more than two years. Silver crossed palms, and the latter boiler was delivered to the Bluebell Railway in 1987. Since 1991, the
"Manston" group of enthusiasts were known to possess a spare tender frame from an old C2X 0.6.0., but suitable for an Atlantic.
In 1995, after much wrangling, a cheque was drawn and the Bluebell received another birthday present.
The key pieces of the jigsaw were now starting to fall into place. At a meeting in August 2001 it was decided that the "Beachy
Head" project should be got under way along with some promised sponsorship. An early requirement was a shed building large
enough to accommodate a locomotive, tender, boiler and frames separately. A two-road kit-built depot was delivered in
September 2005 and erected by a society member by March 2006. A small drawing office was situated within the depot to house
all the "paper-trail" documentation required by law for new constructions. Basic equipment such as a milling machine, a lathe and
pulley-blocks were obtained second-hand, while small items like the regulator handle , whistle, shed plate and class plate were
donated. The frame plates (1¾ tons each) had been cast, cut and delivered from Corus Steel in 2004.
York Railway Museum provided the locomotive drawings and over 700 individual plans were copied by the members of the
project group. Paul showed us pictures of a selection of locomotive parts already acquired, reminding me of a No. 10 Meccano
set waiting to be bolted together, with the cylinder block being an especially complicated piece of engineering. Project policy was
to fabricate the small jobs in-house but sending away the larger and more complex work to the professionals. Bogie wheels were
at Rileys in Lancashire, while the 6'7½" diameter driving wheels would go to Pridhams. As the LBSCR was a Westinghouse-
braked railway, it was hoped that the necessary pump and brake gear could be tackled locally.
Finishing up with questions from the audience, we found out that the new Brighton Atlantic No. 32424 "Beachy Head" would
hopefully be in steam within five years , and that it was envisaged that as the engine would be working only on preservation lines
the project would not be be seeking "main-line" authorisation.
A hearty vote of thanks completed the evening along with best wishes for the project's successful finale.
And Ken concludes:
Several of Britain's pre-grouping railways used the 4.4.2. wheel arrangement, notably the GN, LBSCR, Lancashire & Yorkshire,
North British & North Eastern. Most of these engines had been withdrawn many years before I came on the scene; however, on
an Ian Allan Locospotters Club (Norwich Branch) trip to Doncaster shed and works on Saturday 5th January 1952 no less than 6
of the GN "Large" Atlantics (LNER Class C1) were seen in and around the works.
These were: Withdrawal Date GN Number Notes
Locomotive 7/47 251 Preserved
62800 5/46 274
62803 8/47 283 Stationary Boiler
62812 5/46 285 "" "
62814 11/49 447
62877 8/45 461
A memorable day during which I logged 268 locos - 72 between Norwich & Doncaster, 117 on Doncaster shed, 54 in the
workshops and a further 25 on the way home (in the dark).
I saw none of the first batch of Brighton Atlantics as they were all withdrawn by 1951, but was more fortunate in seeing 5 out of 6
of the second batch (32423 was withdrawn in 1949). One of their regular jobs was the Victoria to Newhaven boat train,
connecting across the Channel to Dieppe, from where the French would continue via Rouen to Paris St Lazare station, usually
with a 4-cylinder De Glehn compound Pacific in charge. My only sighting of an Atlantic in steam was on 19th August 1953 at
London Bridge (LBSCR section) when our old favourite 32424 "Beachy Head" worked in on a passenger service. The other four
from the second batch were on shed and seemingly stored but intact at Brighton on 21st August 1955 and again 3 weeks later
on 14th September 1955. These four were withdrawn in April 1956.
Thanks to Paul for the amazing presentation, and to Ken for the excellent report and personal observations.
Richard Joby continues his reminiscences with three very varied short articles:
Great Central Flats
When the Great Central Railway came to London in the late 19th century they demolished a large swathe of property in the parish
of Marylebone to reach their terminus and build the large goods depot and stables in Lodge Road and were compelled to
construct alternative accommodation for those displaced. They bought the Estate of Sir Edwin Landseer on the banks of the
Regent's Canal in St John's Wood, home of the sculptor of the Trafalgar Square lions and many other artists including Norwich's
John Cotman whose grave is in St John's Wood cemetery. They gave the contract to the proven contractor Joseph Firbank to
build five five-storey blocks known as Wharncliffe Dwellings named after their chairman Lord Wharncliffe.
The Joby family connection started when my grandfather - a Sheffield surgical instrument maker - took a tenement to be near his
workshop in Harley Street, centre of the medical profession and near his large family. His second son, Charles, found
employment at the Edgware Road depot of the Metropolitan Railway, serving the Inner Circle route using open footplate 4.4.0Ts.
The location of the flats, a short walk from Regent's Park and across the road from Lord's Cricket Ground, shaped our lives in
many ways and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue drew upmarket residents to the area. The working classes of Wharncliffe were a
useful reserve of household labour for the upper class inhabitants !
One of the G.C. employees was horse keeper Arthur Hawkes whose daughter Sylvia left to work at Selfridges in nearby Oxford
Street . She became a model and later went on the stage as a chorus girl where she attracted the attention of the young Earl of
Shaftesbury who proposed to her. The family forced him to divorce her and marry a "safer" wife but she kept her title of Lady
Sylvia Ashley-Cooper and was paid off to leave the country, which she did with Hollywood in view where she lured Douglas
Fairbanks Senior away from Mary Pickford, the screen darling, in the 1930s, later marrying successively Lord Stanley, Clark
Gable and lastly the racing driver Prince Djordjadze, a Georgian who gave her the title "Princess" under which she is buried at
Hollywood's Forever Cemetery. [She was married to Fairbanks until his death in 1939 - Ed.]
She did not forget her old Dad, who moved in with my Aunt Maria to live in comfortable retirement and always had the money to
treat my father to a pint at the local pub. I inherited enough from the Fairbanks millions to buy a racing bike ! My sister married the
grandson of T W Worsdell, C.M.E. of the G.E.R. & N.E.R., who lived in a house built above the Inner Circle line. Trains braking for
Notting Hill Gate station shook the house - it was a marvellous alarm clock when my wife & I house-sat there !
New Zealand Railways
The two large islands in the South Pacific built up a network of
state railways in the 19th century to serve an economy based
The North Island is centred around a huge active volcano -
Mount Ruapehu - whose slopes are scored by deep river
gorges crossed by spindly viaducts. The gauge of the track
was standardised at 3'6" in the mid 19th century and the main
trunk line was commenced in the north from Wellington the
capital to Auckland, the largest commercial city, with through
running starting in 1909 - a very difficult construction.
The city of Christchurch on South Island was the centre for the
Canterbury Plains, home of the lamb that became a major
export along with wool. Construction here was easy and the
South Island Main Trunk line to Dunedin and Invercargill was
quickly built. Gold was found on the West Coast where towns were quickly built and linked to Christchurch by the Otira Tunnel
which was electrified in the 1920s as coal traffic built up and the tunnel was too foul for steam traction. Japanese and, later,
Chinese demand for coal led to the development of super mines, and readers may recall last November's mining disaster at
Greymouth, one of the country's worst.
The TranzAlpine scenic train covers the picturesque line from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass and the return trip can
be made in a day.
Two Journeys, 1942
Once the Nazis were embroiled in Russia air raids on London ceased and it was safe for my school to return. The train left Hayle
early in the morning; at Plymouth a large number of service personnel boarded the train, some in unfamiliar uniforms and
speaking in a strange accent. Two lads settled near us in the corridor - they turned out to be Chinese Americans from California
and plied us with grapefruit juice in little cartons, quite different from orange juice. They had come over from America on the
Queen Mary. Back in London, school restarted, our larger flat was just large enough for our larger family !
My father wanted to visit Sheffield for his annual leave so he was asked to take me to give mother a break. Marylebone to
Sheffield did not suffer the overcrowding of other lines - first stop Harrow-on-the-Hill was satisfyingly modern with Crittall curved
windows and Art Deco brickwork. After Nottingham the coalfields provided a new landscape of industry. The bomb damage in
Sheffield was less than in London but Meadowhill had a gaping hole in one wall, covered with a flapping tarpaulin. Blue and
cream trams with fares as low as a farthing for a child carried us everywhere, blissfully free of air raid sirens.
"That's the ticket"
I was sure that Rod Lock would be providing an explanation for the fare anomaly highlighted in NRS NL 56/5 (page 9). He has
not disappointed me and his explanation is as follows:
" Mr Wayne of Horncastle questions the logic of a Cheap Day Return to Ryburgh costing 5/- (25p) whereas an Ordinary Single
cost 5/6 (27p). When DMUs replaced steam services on the Norwich to Wells and Dereham to King's Lynn branches in
September 1955, doubling the service frequency, Cheap Day Returns (a lovely mauve colour) were introduced between every
other station on these routes. Cheap Day Returns were imposed on the existing fares structure for Ordinary Singles and Monthly
Returns, which was based on distance travelled. This resulted in anomalies such as the one described. I, other Station Masters
and Booking Clerks, invariably passed the benefit on to passengers, issuing a Cheap Day Return if it was cheaper than an
Ordinary Single with an explanation, of course".
And Ron Bocking has weighed in with his similar experience in LNER days: " In 1936 I was staying for a few days with my
Grandparents who were holidaying in Thorpeness. I was 13 at that time and so entitled to half fare.
One evening I walked across to Leiston and went to the ticket office at the station and asked for a half-fare return to Aldeburgh.
The cheap day return fare was 4d (2p) so I should pay 2d (1p). But the ticket office clerk pointed out that my train would be the
last one of the day, there would not be one back and therefore I must pay 3.5d (half the adult single fare). I demurred and
ultimately got my ticket for 2d.
So what the correspondent wrote in the Telegraph was not unique (though post-war), and the logic no less questionable".
Ron Bocking has given me a leaflet relating to Shillingstone station, built by the Dorset Central Railway and opened on 31st
August 1863. It became part of the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway and, to enable you to get your bearings, it's north-west of
Blandford Forum in deepest Dorset on the A 357. It is the last surviving station built by the DCR, and the Shillingstone Railway
Project aims to restore the station to its 1950s state. Have a look at www.shillingstone-railway-project.co.uk for further
information, history and pictures.
Mike Handscomb obtained two photographs from Stephen Dean, Chair of Friends of Brandon Station (see Track Reports page 5)
showing the disappearance of the Brandon crossover. Taken only days apart the crossover is clearly visible (below left) but
consigned to history in the second shot.
\\Server\nrs\Archive Newsletters\56-6 ...\brandon-lge-1.jpg \\Server\nrs\Archive Newsletters\56-6 ...\brandon-lge-2.jpg
_________NRS NEWS forms or money to collect ! However, if any of your details
(e.g. address, telephone number, email address) have
Membership matters changed recently, please let me know so that the Society's
records can be kept up to date.
We are sorry to learn that George Honour of Thetford passed
away in April. He joined the Society in December 2004, his Mike Handscomb
initial membership being a gift from his son. We do not
believe that George ever attended a Society meeting, but Help, Please
nevertheless send our condolences to his widow and family.
Chris Mitchell recently met Robert Gwynne, the Assistant
On a brighter note, we welcome the following new members: Curator, Rail Vehicles, NRM, and it transpired that he is
aware that out late President, Bill Harvey, was involved with
Stan Jeavons, Erpingham, Norwich. the early restoration of various steam locomotives including
"Green Arrow" and "Thundersley". Robert would be pleased
Terence Lemmon, Norwich. to receive any documented account of what took place and
when from any Society members involved in those activities.
Mark Rhodes, Norwich, He is aware that Bill undertook several projects, either
actively or passively, providing information and advice to the
From the Membership Secretary relevant groups.
January is usually the time of year when NRS subscriptions The NRM has recently learnt that one of Bill's proteges -
are due for renewal. This time, though, the New Year will Erica Arneil - died recently and a photograph of Erica and Bill
bring a most welcome change for us. exists in the NRM archives. Robert is accessing records from
her Penrith home and documents refer to restoration and, in
As announced in the last issue (NRS/NL 56/5, p12) the particular, valve setting which Bill passed on to her during
generous bequest from our late member Roger Harrison their association in preservation's early days.
means that we shall all enjoy a subscription "holiday".
If you have any relevant recollections / documents would you
The Committee has decided that everyone who was a please pass them on to Chris who will collate them and pass
member during 2011 - including those who joined towards them on to the NRM for safe keeping in their archives.
the end of the year - will automatically have their
membership renewed for 2012, and no further payment is
A side effect of this unexpected windfall is that my first year
as Membership Secretary has become very much easier: no
OBITUARY: John Clarke
John Clarke was born in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, on 1st June 1939, and he was often heard to remark that his childhood memories
of activities at the local railway station may have sown the seeds for his future transport career.
During University holidays John enjoyed working as a \\Server\nrs\Archive Newsletters\56-6 Nov-D...\jc (1 of 2)-2.jpg
conductor and then as a bus driver in Lincolnshire. In January
1964 John took his first step on the bus industry promotion
ladder by joining the Management Training scheme and was
initially posted to Eastern Counties in Norwich for two years
before moving to Alder Valley in Reading as a Traffic Assistant.
He then became Personal Assistant to the MD at Bristol
Omnibus, followed by promotion to General Manager at Devon
General based in Torquay, before returning to Alder Valley as
John then left the bus industry, bringing his undoubted
knowledge and experience to bear in the road transport
industry, becoming Distribution Manager at Buxted Poultry in
Norwich; National Distribution Manager at Bulmers Cider in
Hereford, and finally Regional Director for the Transport
Development Group in Thetford before redundancy beckoned.
John changed transport modes, becoming a signalman, John alongside 90005 on 19 January 2011 > Peter Adds
progressing from Harling Road to Brandon and then to
Somerleyton Swingbridge on the Norwich to Lowestoft line. This isolated signalbox, opened in 1904, operated the adjacent
swingbridge whenever river traffic needed clear headroom (subject to the needs of the operational railway) and in good weather
was an idyllic location. Wintry weather was a different matter and the age of the swingbridge and weather conditions experienced
meant that turning the bridge was always a potential headache ! John retired from railway service in 2004.
\\Server\nrs\Archive Newsletters\56-6 Nov-Dec ...\jc (2 of 2).jpg In retirement John pursued his interests in all transport
modes, enjoying membership of a number of transport
societies. He had joined our Society in December 2005 and
was Chairman from April 2010 to April 2011. He took delight
in being able to respond to searching questions, particularly
about buses and bus routes, and made several informative
and enjoyable presentations to local transport groups, all
drawing on his superb memory and unique personal
John and Joy Clarke at Douglas alongside Isle of Man Steam In late 2010 John was diagnosed with an inoperable brain
Railway no. 12 “Hutchinson" before departure on the 1150 Port tumour. Fortunately the serious effects of that illness did not
Erin service on 14 April 2011 > Peter Adds become apparent for some months, enabling him to enjoy a
footplate run from Norwich to London, and a family holiday in
North Norfolk, and to achieve his ambition of visiting the
historic transport systems on the Isle of Man with behind-the-
scenes tours of the Steam Railway and Electric Tramway
depots kindly arranged by the authorities.
To everyone who knew him, John was a true gentleman of the old
school combining intellect, an excellent knowledge of transport
subjects and a good sense of humour. His standing among those
who knew him is evidenced by his signalling colleagues referring
to him, kindly, as "the Bishop"!
John passed away on 16th November and our sympathies are
extended to Joy, his wife for 48 years, and to their children Rachel
and Edward and to their families.
The Society was well-represented at John's funeral on 28th
November, and an immaculately restored Lincolnshire Road Car
Co. Bristol FS5G "Lodekka" DFE 963D (2537) was driven down
from Lincolnshire by two of John's friends as a very unusual mark DFE 963D outside Stoke Holy Cross Church Hall on 28
of respect, adding colour to an otherwise sad occasion. (The bus is November 2011 > Graham Smith
owned by Messrs Gallagher & Stopper.)
Finally, thanks to Joy, and to Peter Adds, for John's career information.
Liverpool Street Traffic Manager’s Office 1960 - 1965 (Rod Lock) - Part 1
After 9 months at the Cambridge TMO I was promoted to the Liverpool Street TMO's Works and Signalling Section. I was the lone
Signalling element. Although the Section was heavily involved in the final throes of preparing for the North London electrification -
to Enfield Town, Chingford, Hertford East & Bishop's Stortford via the Southbury Loop - the Lea Valley was not to be electrified
until May 1968 - I was made very welcome.
My duties included: signals passed at danger, signalling irregularities, level crossing keeper's working instructions (signalmen's
instructions were prepared by the Line Traffic Manager's Signalling section, although I was responsible for distributing them),
some infrastructure schemes, serious signalling failures , checking overhead line possessions and advising train crew depots of
emergency engineering works. However, if a signalling irregularity resulted in derailment, injury or loss of life these incidents were
dealt with by our sister section, the General and Accidents Section, located next door on the top floor of Hamilton House.
As much of the District was still controlled by semaphore signalling it was possible to "cover up" signals passed at danger
(SPADs) if everybody agreed to keep quiet, although I am not suggesting the practice was widespread. When a SPAD was
reported it was always the subject of a joint enquiry, the panel consisting of the Chief District Signalling Inspector (Charles
Martin), the Chief District Motive Power Inspector (Percy Howard) and me. Evidence taken down by a shorthand typist was typed
up and signed if the individual agreed with it.
The first incident I was involved with related to a transfer freight off the North London line hauled by a Type 1 diesel with a
Devons Road driver in charge, which passed a signal at danger in the early hours at Stratford High Meads signalbox. The driver
was not very articulate, so I had to try and make sense of what happened. He duly signed a statement and was blamed for not
properly controlling his train. A more serious incident occurred involving a down Norwich express, which was hauled by a
"Britannia" class Pacific. I am pretty sure it was Chantry's (between Chelmsford and Hatfield Peverel) starting signal which was
passed at danger, but instead of going to Chantry signalbox the driver proceeded forward to Hatfield Peverel, for which he was
rightly disciplined. Another "Britannia" incident occurred at - of all places - Swainsthorpe, when a down Norwich express passed
the starting signal at danger. I was involved because a Stratford driver was in charge. Another SPAD occurred at Gidea Park
when the down "Hook Continental", hauled by an English Electric Type 4 diesel, passed a colour light at danger. However as this
incident was dealt with in a most unorthodox manner I
will say no more ...
Some signalling irregularities arose from drivers taking
a signalled route which was not the correct route for
their train. This situation is covered by Rule 127 (viii) of
the British Railways 1950 Rule Book which stated:
"When approaching a junction give the required signal if
the signals are at Danger... If, however, when
approaching a junction he finds the signals lowered for
a wrong route, at once whistle for the proper signal and
should this not be lowered bring his train to a stand at
the junction directing signal and ascertain by which
route he is to travel ".
Marks Tey Yard signalbox in 1980 > Peter Adds The driver of the Sundays 2149 Ipswich to Liverpool St,
in charge of a Sulzer Type 2 loco, was signalled into the
Ilford Car Sheds complex and did not challenge this
routeing. As this driver was from Ipswich depot I had to
ring Norwich TMO for the driver's report, only to be told
in a Norfolk accent, much broader than mine: "Thas nothin'
bor, we had a DMU routed into Cantley beet factory the other
week". This was highly improbable.
One afternoon when Liverpool St was not performing well,
the signalman at Bethnal Green - the busiest single-manned
box in the London and South East area - mistook the 1636
EMU to Clacton for the 1630 "Fenman" to King's Lynn and
routed it on to the Down Fast towards Hackney Downs ! The
Colchester driver realised his mistake and brought his train
to a stand before reaching Cambridge Heath. Both the driver
and the signalman were disciplined, but the latter claimed he
had received the wrong description from Liverpool St, which
it was impossible to disprove.
Another incident occurred shortly after the introduction of the
North London electrified services in November 1960 when, in
thick fog, the Wormley (between Broxbourne and Cheshunt)
signalman routed the up "Fenman", hauled by a Brush Type Bishop’s Stortford (South) signalbox in 1978 > Peter Adds
2 diesel, into his up goods loop.
Surprisingly, two incidents involved single lines. In the first, the signalmen at Chappel Junction and Marks Tey managed to have
two tokens in use for the Chappel to Marks Tey section during S & T maintenance work. Both men were disciplined. The other
involved the Bishop's Stortford to Dunmow branch freight, hauled by a Brush diesel, D5545 (I have never forgotten the number),
which ran through to Dunmow without the train staff !
The issuing of train staffs for the Dunmow branch had a complex history. Before Bishop's Stortford North box was abolished as
part of the North London electrification scheme, the signalman took a staff out of the machine and placed it in another machine,
which enabled the Station Inspector to remove a staff from the machine on the station. The North signalman never issued or
collected train staffs. The Station Inspector walked across to the goods yard to issue the train staff to the driver of the Dunmow
freight. This enabled trains to get a good run up the 1 in 66 bank on to the branch, after crossing both main lines. After the North
box was abolished on 12th August 1960, the staff machines were transferred to the South box. Some freight trains were banked
up the gradient by the station pilot but this was an unofficial arrangement.
Northern Ireland - July 2011 by Ken Mills (Part 1)
My brother Neil had never been before and I was last there in the summer of 1964 (47 years ago), so for me it was a chance to
see the changes made over the years and to discover what was happening on the steam preservation scene.
Neil organised the trip, the hotel and the itinerary, while I tagged along taking the pictures. He flew into Belfast City airport from
Exeter (he lives in Penzance) on the Wednesday afternoon and I followed later from Stansted, just an hour away. We planned to
have 4 whole days in the province, staying in Belfast and working out daily to the various country sites/sights.
What follows is a daily account of steam locomotives seen, together with some useful travel information. We chose the
"Travelodge" hotel, adequate for all our needs and reasonable at £28 per night (£14 each). Being within 3 minutes walk of Great
Victoria Street station was a good move, as it still appears to be the hub of the present rail system in Belfast. And would you
believe it ? The Europa bus terminal is incorporated into the same vast new edifice. While the hotel had no eating facilities, the
next-door restaurant catered for breakfasts and evening meals at reasonable prices. There are many eating houses in this area,
and just round the corner from the hotel a real Irish pub - "The Crown" - is worth a visit. It is on the tourist route and is a lovely
relic of former days with its decorative ceiling and "cubby-holes" - small private sitting areas but which are open at the top to the
main bar area. Here we go:
Thursday 21st July
Destination: Londonderry - £16 return. 93 miles each way. 9 trains daily except Sunday (5).
All N.I. Railways trains are 3-car diesel units and take advantage of the broader gauge of 5'3" providing more room at seat and
wider gangways. We used the 0830 service, due to arrive arrive at 1045. Stops were made at the main large towns en route,
namely Antrim, Ballymena and Coleraine, plus a few others. Leaving Coleraine the line runs beside the estuary of the river Bann,
then at Castlerock we saw some impressive cliffs with waterfalls and pass through two tunnels. Upon arrival in Londonderry I
noticed that the original overall-roofed BNCR "Waterside" station was now disused and had been replaced by a modern building
of no architectural merit some 150 yards further south on the site of the former goods yard and had been renamed "Riverside".
From this station, an easy fifteen minute walk took us over the double-decked Craigavon Bridge to our visit for the day on the
west side of the river Foyle, below and to the left of the bridge. The lower deck of the bridge was formerly a railway, which
connected the four termini then extant in the city. The Foyle Valley Railway Museum is built on the site of the former 5'3" gauge
GNR (I) Foyle Road passenger station, goods yard and loco depot. 3' gauge tracks now lead from the Museum southwards and
we gleaned that sometimes a small diesel loco and coaches run for the public's benefit. We walked south for about half a mile
and the tracks ran on still further.
There were two steam locomotives at the Museum - both 3' gauge 2.6.4Ts of the County Donegal system.
No. 4 "Meenglas" built Nasmyth Wilson 828/1907 (painted red) stood in the open at the north end of the building and was in poor
condition. No. 6 "Columbkille" NW 830/1907 was inside the Museum and was apparently being slowly restored by members of
the local County Donegal Railway Society. It is a small museum, but entirely devoted to railways. Coaches, an old diesel railcar,
photographs, wagons and other small exhibits give rise to spending an hour or so there, even if only to watch the film show. Entry
is free. I have pictures of the two locos seen today taken in black and white at Strabane in 1963 awaiting shipment to the USA.
Obviously the intending purchaser changed his mind ! Before returning to Belfast we had a walk round the city centre, sampling
the city walls, and crossing the new "Friendship" pedestrian bridge back to the east side of the river. I hear that Londonderry is
to become a future "City of Culture" in 2013 !
And in connection with Londonderry's City of Culture status from April 2013, the N.I. Transport Minister has announced £27M
funding for the relaying of the line from Coleraine. This will enable the first stage of works to be brought forward by 2 years to July
2012. The relaying and essential bridge works will mean complete closure of the route for 9 months, but should be completed to
coincide with the start of the "City of Culture" year. Re-signalling will be carried out in 2013/2014, and the final phase will provide
a new passing loop and remaining bridge works, with the total improvements costing around £75M. Anyone planning to visit the
area before April 2013 please take note - Ed.
Friday 22nd July
Destination: Giant's Causeway - £16 return. 68 miles each way.
Either train tickets are zoned or N.I. Railways are cashing in on the popularity of the Giant's Causeway spectacle. Yesterday we
clocked up 50 miles extra for the same fare !
Using the same 0830 train to Londonderry, we alighted at Coleraine and swapped to the branch train to Portrush, formed of a 2-
car railcar resembling a 5'3" gauge class 156. This 6-mile long branch must hold Ireland's record for train frequency, as the
current timetable shows 20 trains in each direction during weekdays. Before WW2 it was easy to travel from Portrush direct to
the Giant's Causeway using the electric tramway, but now it means a bus ride to Bushmills village, from where the current railway
uses the final 2 miles of the earlier tramway. If you are a Whiskey fan, the name Bushmills will be known to you and the distillery
is close to the village. We had a ride on the 3' gauge line; I think the cost was £6 return and the motive power is a diesel with
the motor built into one of the four coach set, operating on a push/pull basis. Just a basic platform and run-round are at
Bushmills but a proper station and shed buildings are at the Giant's Causeway end. Inside the shed here, we discovered two
steam locomotives which, we learned, would only be used on special occasions, considering that the diesel tram and train was
quite a recent investment. Anyway, for the record the two locos were:
1. No. 1 "Tyrone" 0.4.0T Built by Peckett 1026 / 1904. Formerly used by British Aluminium at Larne Harbour.
2. No. 3 "Shane" 0.4.0T Built by Andrew Barclay 2265 / 1949. Formerly worked on the Shane Castle tourist line.
It was a glorious day and the views from the cliffs leading down to the "stones", as they are called, was magnificent, with the hills
of Donegal to the west and what must be the Mull of Kintyre, in Scotland, to the east. 15 - 20 minutes to walk the mile or so to
the Giant's Causeway and then photograph the stones. It is Northern Ireland's most visited site, so you can
imagine the humanity present in mid-summer on a nice day. But the opportunity couldn't be missed Back to Bushmills on the
train, a quick stop at the Bush pub (somebody's front room) on main street, then bus direct back to Coleraine, where the bus
station was once again adjacent to the railway. (This is getting boring.) We could have gone this way earlier but, of course,
you miss the Portrush branch.
There was an hour before the next train to Belfast so we strolled down the High Street, now pedestrianised, which slopes gently
down to the River Bann at the far end. A pleasant and busy town.
(to be continued)
One Day in a PTG Tour of Sardinia – October 2011 by Graham Smith
The following is just a snippet from an eight-day holiday attempting to do all the FdS narrow gauge lines open to passengers,
likewise FS standard gauge, and to see all the sheds and museums and record everything! Sardinia is a larger island than you think
(probably the size of Wales) and all these aims were not achieved, although a fair proportion were.
This was the Tuesday of the tour, and we had already had a diesel loco-hauled
run from Palau to Sassari on a mothballed line, but could not continue to Alghero
by train because it was a Sunday and the newly introduced winter timetable had
a bus replacement. (sound familiar?)
On the Monday we should have travelled the beautiful coastal Bosa-Macomer
line (also mothballed) on a charter train but someone at FdS failed to renew
their licence to run on it! Likewise in the afternoon we should have had a service
train from Macomer to Nuoro but that was closed for a station rebuild and
resignalling. You can feel the frustration mounting!
Anyway on Monday we short-circuited most of that by coach after taking the
railcar from Alghero to Sassari, and we needed to do the miles to get in the right
place for Tuesday. An excellent trip round the works and shed at Macomer was
still included en route.
The Tuesday trip was to be a steam-hauled special with a restored Bauchiero
teak coach, but that was replaced by a 1930’s steel version because FdS said
that the steam loco could not haul the preserved coach up the steep gradient!
They were right about that as we shall see.
Before dinner on Monday we walked down the harbour branch at Arbatax in
the dark to find the loco, in case that was also a fiction, but it was there, in steam,
with coach and coal wagon and the crew had a fire ready for a barbecue prior
to their long night on guard duty.
Early the next morning the party of 57 in coach and minibus trooped down to
the harbour in the early morning sun to find the loco (FCS 400, a 2-6-2T by OM
Reggiane, 1931), busily shunting its train ready for our trip. We had little time
for photography before being ordered aboard, although the crew got more
friendly and helpful as the day progressed. The loco itself was puffing and
wheezing as if it had asthma, which did not augur well for the climb to the
equivalent of Snowdon, starting from sea
We set off and bowled along the straight
flat line through Tortoli, pausing at the station
(now a bus depot as most stations are)
before tackling the initial upward grade. After
a stop for a blow-up we had a “false start” at
Sella Ellecci which was a beautiful
picturesque spot, where we saw the first of
several bolt-on snow ploughs awaiting the
Every time we stopped, one member of the
party had a ride to the next stop in the quite
After a couple more stops for asthmatic
attacks, we paused at Elini where the local
kindergarten turned out in their pink aprons
to shout and wave. A former engine driver
did likewise, but he was also shaking his
Further on we reached a curve under trees
on the ascent to Lanusei where, after several
attempts and a lot of wheelspin, the loco returned to the bottom of that hill to await hand-sanding of some ½ - ¾ mile of track. Five
minutes later we proceeded gingerly and made the station where the female crossing-keeper did a lot of head shaking and looking
at her watch. However, she and the rest of the crew all knuckled down to refill the bunker from the wagon and to remove and rebuild
the fire. Another hour (and a few ice-creams and coffees) later we proceeded further upwards to Arzana, where we were to meet a
railcar waiting for another party from the Railway Touring Company of King’s Lynn. Small world, isn’t it!
There we had another false start before
reboarding and on to Gairo, another
picturesque station redolent of the Swiss Alps.
Following a couple of hairy run-pasts on
box girder bridges with the peaks behind, we
reached the summit at Annulus (365M) at
5.40 pm, and Seui, the limit of travel for the
steam loco, at 6.45 after more slow running
and blowups. By this time it was practically
dark and we still had a further 1½ hours of
travel to go to Mandas Junction, hauled by a
diesel. We were five hours late by now, and
rather hungry and tired.
Blood pressure was raised considerably
when we learnt that the majority were to be
overruled (41 to 16) and the train would
continue to Mandas, in pitch darkness, so the
track bashers could get their way, as the
coach driver had run out of hours and could
not do two return trips to the hotel.
We arrived at Mandas at 9pm and the hotel
after 10, dinner being served around 11pm.
All this goes to show that such trips cannot be entertained lightly, even in Europe, and you have to be prepared to put up with
whatever happens, bearing in mind that next day starts again at 8am at the bus with your bag packed ready to go.
Footnote – 400 is supposed to be the only steamable loco of six repaired at EU expense in the recent past. They now intend to send
it “off the island” for further repair, funds permitting. This was the only steam we had during the week, and the RTC were due to
inherit it next day, for two separate half-day trips. News of their plight has not yet reached us!
a selective look ahead at local railway events
NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY, GER Society (Norwich Branch) and Norfolk Transport Group meetings take place (unless
otherwise stated) at: United Reformed Church Hall, Ipswich Road, Norwich, NR4 6QR
Events are listed in good faith, but visitors should check with the organisation concerned before travelling.
19th Sun BARTON HOUSE RAILWAY
Santa Special – 12.00 – 15.00. Advance booking essential
22nd Thu GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY – Norwich Branch
Allsorts with Arthur Barrett
5TH Thu 19.30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY
Chairman’s Address - Lawrence, Arabia and all that Hejaz - Peter Davies
12th Thu 19.30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP
Malta Buses – Graham Smith
19th Thu 19.30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY
Railways of Brazil – Ken Mills
26th Thu 19.30 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY – Norwich Branch
Norfolk and Suffolk Railways in 2011 - Richard Adderson
28th Sat 13.00 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY ANNUAL SHOW
2nd Thu 19.30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY
Emmental Cheese and Marmots - Chris Mitchell
9th Thu 19.30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP
A Lifetime At Sea (Joint Meeting with The World Ship Society) - David Tranter
16th Thu 19.30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY
To be announced
23rd Thu 19.30 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY – Norwich Branch
30 Years In The Planning; 8 Years In The Building - Chris Mitchell
1. What do Edge Hill, Needham Market & Thirsk stations have in common, service-wise ?
2. Disregarding "Great Northern", how many A3s were not named after famous racehorses ?
3. I think we all know where Watton is. In railway terms what did it have in common with Brecon ?
4. How many ex-LMS locos from LMR depots were cut up at Archie King's ? Was it (a) None; (b) 16 or (c) 26 ?
5. What was the bizarre fate of "King Arthur" 30740 "Merlin" ?
There is no prize. Answers in the next issue or by email if desired sooner.
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