Volume 59 No. 1 Jan/Feb 2014
news from railways in and around Norfolk
A4 Pacific 60009 Union of South Africa is
on the first stage of its journey to York with
The York Yuletide Express on 12th
December 2013. (Chris Mitchell)
GEML Update delivered via the former Tarmac site at Marks Tey, known for
its historic exportation by rail of locally-quarried sand.
Network Rail was busy using heavy lift cranes Abellio Livery Change:
at Ipswich, Marks Tey and Witham on 2 Class 90s – nos. 90005/014 were seen sporting a revised
Christmas Day. At Ipswich, a new bridge livery in mid-January; 90013 is next in line. On 2nd January,
structure was being installed beneath the East 90005 worked a test train on a full Mark 3 set (in reverse
Suffolk line in connection with the new Europa formation) between Crown Point and Ipswich after overhaul
Chord, whilst at Marks Tey and Witham (Motts prior to being repainted at DBS’ Toton depot.
Lane) new footbridge structures with stairs and
ramp access were being craned into position. The first refurbished Mark 3s (Standard class vehicles
From a passing car on the nearby A12, the 12035/148 have entered traffic after overhaul at Wolverton
Marks Tey footbridge deck was noted being Works. The bodyside is predominantly white with red doors.
carried aloft before 0900. The window line is included in a black strip and there is a grey
line along the bottom of the body. The bodyside logo has
Work to install an underpass subway, to replace changed from “Greater Anglia” to “abellio (Dutch Railway
the historic footpath crossing on the London side of logo) greateranglia”.
Ingatestone station/level-crossing, has commenced in earnest
necessitating a 40 m.p.h. speed restriction past the site of the Fencing:
works. In common with other routes into London, island platforms
between Shenfield & Stratford are having fences erected
Chelmsford Goods Yard: along them bisecting the shared slow/fast line platforms
Delivery of rail-borne aggregates using the SDT (Self- where the fast line side is not scheduled for use as a
Discharging Train) to the Lafarge site in the Lower Goods deterrent to would-be suicide candidates. Work has been
Yard on the “down” side north of the station appears to have completed at Harold Wood and Manor Park with work
ceased last year. With the creation of larger aggregate ongoing at a number of other stations. There are gates
companies (now Lafarge Tarmac in this case), rationalisation inserted in the fence-line but it remains to be seen how long
of sites is ongoing partly to meet Competition Commission these would take to be opened in the event of service
requirements. It is believed that, in future, aggregate may be disruption preventing trains stopping on the slow lines
necessitating use of the fast line platforms instead.
In This Issue 1 (Peter Adds)
Track Report 3
National Network 5
Heritage, Narrow-Gauge & Miniature
Summer Season Relief Stationmaster (Part 2)
– Rod Lock
New Life for Croxley Green - Mike Handscomb
Working Timetable 15
Oh Deer, Oh Deer! (Steve Cane) Midlands service to Norwich. It came in on time; there was
plenty of room on board and I settled in for the journey.
On 4th January I travelled to Lincoln to watch Luton Town
play Lincoln City in a 1300 kick off. After the match I had Then the guard made an announcement saying that the train
intended to catch a train to Newark and then on to had hit a deer on the stretch between Grantham and
Peterborough and Norwich, but because it was so wet and Peterborough, and that the driver was checking for damage.
dreary I opted to go on the earlier 1602 Peterborough direct After about 15 minutes, having seen the driver looking under
the unit with his torch, the guard said we would be leaving
shortly. This we did and although going quite slowly as far as
March the unit picked up speed to Ely. Imagine our surprise
when we were told that we had to leave the train because of
the damage, but that a replacement would be along in 10
service. An uneventful journey saw me arrive in Peterborough I thought to myself: “where are they going to find a
on time and with 15 minutes to wait for the 1740 East replacement on a Saturday night in Ely?” But out of the
darkness a unit approached and pulled up in front of our
stricken unit in platform 3. There was a downside though! It
was full of passengers en route from Norwich on the 1750
service to Nottingham! What happened next reminded me of
a drawing from the Illustrated London News (opposite)
showing broad gauge meeting standard gauge at Gloucester
station circa 1846 because, basically, we were asked to swap
trains, and so for a couple of minutes passengers struggled
past each other with suitcases, crying children in buggies,
and others who were not quite sure what was going on!
Norfolk Railway Society It would seem that the damaged train could make it to
(Founded 1955) Nottingham, after which it could receive a proper inspection at
Etches Park Depot, Derby.
President: Arnold Hoskins, Esq.
Vice-President: Ken Mills, Esq. My train arrived back in Norwich about 23 minutes late, not
too bad considering. This may be standard practice when
Committee and Officers 2013-2014 Telephone these circumstances occur but I was still impressed with the
way that East Midlands handled the problem.
Chairman Gordon Bruce
Oh… I forgot… Luton and Lincoln played out a dour goalless
Vice Chairman Peter Cooke draw in pouring rain. Well you can’t win them all!
Past Chairman Peter Adds Peterborough Station Upgrade
Secretary Ian Woodruff Christmas saw three days of intensive activity at
Peterborough Station as a £43m upgrade nears completion.
Treasurer John Laycock The track layout has been modified and two additional
platforms (Nos 6 and 7) installed to the west side of the
Fixtures Arranged by sub-committee station. Platforms 2, 3, 4 and 5 have been lengthened to
accommodate longer trains and new footbridges and lifts will
Membership Sec. Mike Handscomb improve accessibility. A new signalling system also went live.
The improvements will help ease a bottleneck by segregating
Newsletter Editor Edward Mann East Coast Main Line services from those running to and from
East Anglia and also separating freight from passenger
Publicity Mike Fordham services. The revised track layout will accommodate longer
freight trains thus supporting the strategy to increase freight
Committee Members: capacity.
Website Editor Andrew Wright
Archivists Peter Allison &
Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter
Editor Edward Mann
Distribution Graham Smith Heritage, Narrow-gauge
Please contact Graham if the next edition does not arrive by
the end of the month of publication MNR is Heritage Railway of the Year 2013
Opinions expressed in any articles are the author's and Congratulations to the Mid-Norfolk Railway on winning the
should not be taken to represent those of the Society. Heritage Railway of the Year Award 2013. The announce-
ment was made at the prestigious National Railway Heritage
Next issue published 3rd April 2014 Awards ceremony on 4th December and Lloyd Grossman
Copy date: 27th March 2014 OBE FSA presented the winning plaque to the MNR’s Chair-
man Barry Woodgett and Operations Manager George
Record Breaking Year for the NNR weather-hit Spring Gala at the start of the season. Key factors
in the performance were an excellent August, and record
The North Norfolk railway carried 157,800 passengers during traffic levels at Day Out With Thomas in May, the summer
2013 - a rise of 6% on the previous year. The next best year Steam Gala, and the September '40s Weekend." (Source:
was 150,497 during 2011. NNR website)
Trevor Eady, NNR General Manager said: "Our volunteers The 2014 season starts in March with week-end running from
and staff have produced an outstanding result, especially Saturday 1st and the Spring Steam Gala on 7th - 9th of the
given the year's constraints on disposable income and a month.
GERALD RAYMOND SIVIOUR
“Talking of trains, if you want to see an unspoilt,
quintessential, abandoned Colonel Stephens station in
limbo then go and have a look at Bodiam – it’s almost as
if they locked the doors and walked away 6 months ago!”
That this suggestion was made in May 1995, over 40
years after passengers had been a regular, if dwindling,
feature of the station, and over 30 years since any goods
had passed that way, it said as much about the person
making the suggestion as anything about the station itself
and its remarkable survival.
Gerry Siviour was no ordinary railway enthusiast. He had
an immense knowledge and passion for the whole
concept of railways, inextricably linked to his equally
passionate knowledge and love of geography and travel.
As is often the way, the link between the two manifested
itself in a teaching career that would ultimately, and most 2P 4-4-0 No 40569 piloting 9F 2-10-0 No 92212 on what, I think,
markedly, culminate in 18 years as class tutor leading a is the down 'Pines Express' climbing to Devonshire Tunnel, Bath
programme of education, entertainment and variety for all in the summer of 1961. (Gerald Siviour Collection)
those interested in railways, rail travel and public
transport. His decision to retire from this was prompted
more by a house move than any waning of his zeal for ruminations on anything from Brighton ‘Atlantics’ to milk
sharing his knowledge and, as a consequence, he trains!
continued to educate and entertain for several more years
until illness sapped his physical ability to deliver. Equally, his pictures were not those of a ‘happy snapper’!
So, what of the man? Well, he was born on the island of Despite being very modest about his photography, he had a
Jersey and spent his childhood in Mitcham, being educated good eye for a picture and could produce classic railway
at Wallington County Grammar School. In 1959 he obtained portraits as well as demonstrating an ability to convey the
an honours degree in Geography from Southampton railway in the wider landscape or in an environment of its
University, following which his entire working life was own making. It was this that caught my attention in the late
absorbed by education, a profession that took him from 1980s when I came across an article written and illustrated
Wymondham College to Uganda, to a junior school in by Gerry about Nottingham Victoria. His evocative images
Ruddington, Nottingham, to a teacher training college at prompted me to attempt to make contact to see what else
Keyworth, not to mention a college in Sydney, Australia, and he might have as part of an abortive book project I had
another at Twickenham. As might be expected, this itinerant embarked upon at the time.
existence offered plenty of opportunities to observe and What I got was far more than I’d bargained for, revealing, as
photograph the local railway scene which, in turn, it did, a remarkable generosity, warmth and friendship that
contributed to an ever expanding library of knowledge and never diminished in all the years that followed. I was invited
illustrations to entertain and inform. Along the way he picked to his home in Tenterden and was introduced to Di, who
up a PhD at Nottingham for his study of the links between turned out to be a Norfolk lass from Brundall, where they
industry and transportation in the East Midlands, particularly had married, harking back to Gerry’s days at Wymondham. I
the coal industry. came away with not only a bunch of negatives on loan to
His writings didn’t stop at a PhD either. Over the years he print, but a tremendous feeling that I’d almost known them
produced many articles and papers for railway and other for years, despite this being the first time we had met.
periodicals, but particularly memorable were the two books The many visits, and encounters, that followed consolidated
he wrote with his pal, Mike Esau - ‘Waterloo - Exeter that friendship and allowed me to discover the extent of that
Heyday’ and ‘Kent Coast Heyday’ - for Ian Allan. He always generosity of spirit, energy and unfailing loyalty. By now he
said that the articles were much more lucrative than any had been running the Workers’ Education Authority “Talking
remuneration for books, but was always pleasantly of Trains” programme for several years at Surbiton, having
surprised when a cheque came through the letterbox for his taken over from John Spencer Gilks in 1984. If John had
been a ‘hard act to follow’, when Gerry retired 18 years
later, the group had gone from strength to strength, in no
small way as a consequence of that indomitable
knowledge, energy and enthusiasm that Gerry possessed.
That he was also able to run a “Talking of Trains” course in
Ashford for a number of years as well suggests a passion
that remained firmly undiminished wherever there was an
opportunity for sharing his knowledge for the benefit of
Indeed, it didn’t lie down when he and Di arrived back in A westbound coal train hauled by BR Sulzer Type 2s Nos
Norfolk. After he joined the Society in autumn 2003, it was D7612 and 5270 on what is a local trip working from
not long before Gerry had become an active member, Nottingham goods yard to Toton. The train is passing Beeston
presenting shows and joining the committee, ultimately Freightliner terminal only fairly recently opened in this 1969
becoming Chairman – you just can’t keep a good man view. (Gerald Siviour Collection)
down! His links with the WEA also continued with a series
of courses he ran, this time connecting with a Norfolk them very often, his affection for that manifestation of the
community. country railway, the ‘Terrier’ tank engine, was something
dear to his heart, so much so that for several years he was
When he and Di were living in Tenterden, he, naturally, the treasurer of the Terrier Trust. After the move to
made many friends through his voluntary work on the Kent Attleborough in 2002, the North Norfolk Railway would also
and East Sussex Railway, what else but as education benefit from his skills and experience. Whether he was
officer(!), and on the Bluebell. And even if he couldn’t drive acting as guard or signalman, the work turned an
intellectual working knowledge of railways into a practical,
operational reality, something I know Gerry relished. Not
surprisingly, when ill health began to interfere it was not
difficult to feel the frustration he was experiencing at his
inability to ‘practice what he preached’.
WD 2-8-0 No 90393 getting under way following a signal check Gerry was devoted to his family, Di, Mark and David, and
at Nottingham Victoria with northbound coal empties. It's about very proud of what they had achieved. Their loss of a
to plunge into Mansfield Road Tunnel and dates from 1965. husband and father is deeply felt and shared with our loss
(Gerald Siviour Collection) of a good friend who will be fondly remembered. Our
thoughts go out to them. He often said to me, ‘make the
most of every moment’, a philosophy he certainly practised
throughout his life. The benefits of his intrepid lifelong
interest in travel and transport have enriched countless
lives and there’s no doubting that, wherever he is now, he’ll
still be talking of trains! (David Pearce)
Gerald Siviour died on 28th October 2013.
Annual General Meeting Another view of A4 Pacific 60009 Union of South Africa on
the first stage of its journey to York with The York Yuletide
The Society’s A.G.M. will be held on Thursday 3rd April, Express on 12th December 2013. (Mike Fordham)
commencing at 1930. With this issue you should have
received an Agenda, Accounts and Minutes of the last A.G.M.
If you plan to attend the A.G.M., please bring these
documents with you as only limited spare copies will be
available that evening.
From the Membership Secretary
Our newest member is Keith Hardy of Aylsham, Norfolk.
My thanks to the many members who have returned their
2014 membership form and payment. However a few people
have yet to do so. Sadly, I must remind you that this NRS
Newsletter will be your final one unless your green renewal
form and subscription reach me soon.
A miscellany of news and members’ contributions
Recently at the URC Hall The presentation was much appreciated, and fully deserved
the hearty applause. (Peter Adds)
The GN/GE Joint Line Members’ Evening
(Chris Mitchell & Ken Mills – 5th December) (19th December)
The Joint Line was built by the two railway companies which The pre-Christmas meeting is full of traditions – mince pies
did not make natural bedfellows but the rail traffic potential produced by Graham & Joy Kenworthy – and it is turned over
between the coalfields and industrial areas in South Yorkshire to members to talk, show images or films for about 10 min-
to the market places in East Anglia, London and the South- utes.
East was sufficient justification for the project to proceed.
Peter Knights began proceedings – he used to be a mechanic
The 119 mile long GN/GE Joint Line left the GN (now East at St Benedict’s Garage – and one day the garage owner was
Coast) main line at Huntingdon and then ran via St Ives, “hovering” & eventually asked Peter if he’d like to go to Ox-
Chatteris, March, Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln, Gainsborough ford to bring back a new car. In the 1950s, he explained, cars
and Doncaster, passing through the counties of Huntingdon, were not delivered by transporter but were collected by the
Cambridge, Lincoln and Yorkshire. Sections of the line were garage that placed the order. These cars were meant to be
built between 1845 and 1912. The Sleaford to Lincoln section driven carefully – max. 30 m.p.h. for the first 500 miles and
was a more difficult section to construct, compared with the “run-in”. Peter’s day began at Ditchingham, taking the works
alternative route between March and Lincoln via Boston, van to the station to catch the 0700 to Liverpool St, then Cir-
because of the topography encountered. cle Line to Paddington & then 1018 or 1100 to Oxford; no. 1
bus to Cowley, Gate 18 Morris Motors, find the car and bring
Chris showed numerous photographs of the stations and it home. Sometimes, he recalled, the car was not made, and
major engineering structures along the route – an interesting he had to wait at the end of the assembly line – or it might be
view was taken during the construction of a new chord at a body and nothing else – and sometimes he had to find it on
Murrow West allowing rail access to the Murrow – a huge sports field! His homeward trip was via Oxford, Bices-
Peterborough section otherwise cut off by rail following the ter, Buckingham, Bedford and Cambridge. Early trips were in
closure of the M&GN which had crossed the Joint Line by pre-motorway days, and other trips were to Longbridge
means of a flat crossing at Murrow West. (Austins) and Manchester (Morris Commercials).
The March to Spalding section closed on 27th November 1982 Next, we heard from Graham Kenworthy who had taken a
and one line was quickly removed. Views of intermediate holiday in the Black Forest in September. The rail route from
stations such as Guyhirne, Murrow West, French Drove, Paris was Strasbourg – Freiburg and Titisee (for Lake Titi-
Postland, Cowbit and Welland Bridge were shown. Most see). They had a coach excursion to Triberg, seeing an
wayside stations on the Joint were closed from 11th amazing cuckoo-clock manufacturer without, sadly, any ap-
September 1961. prentices to follow. Among the other excursions was one to
the Pigtailbahn (see NRS/NL 58/3 p.6). Strasbourg station
Ken Mills continued our tour explaining the traffic flows and was a remarkable sight; the original part with its stained-glass
their associated locomotive workings normally involving a windows was cathedral-like, but the less said about the mod-
loco change at March. In the September 1955 – June 1956 ern extension the better.
Working Timetable some 55 freight trains, predominantly
unbraked Class H freights, were timetabled each way and Mike Handscomb, with a box of books and wearing his sales-
given their unbraked nature the trains ran at relatively low man’s hat, explained that, through the good offices of Graham
speeds. There were 5 passenger trains scheduled each way Smith, Derek Norris (brother of deceased member Raymond
daily including Colchester – Glasgow (Queen St); Harwich – Norris) had given the Society Raymond’s book collection for
Liverpool (Central) and Yarmouth – York services. The disposal. Choice items were displayed and, at future meet-
passenger trains effectively occupied a 45 minute path ings, Mike will bring some more boxes of these books.
window reflecting their much higher speed potential along the
route compared with the much slower freights. He also Peter Cooke had been given a DVD of several steam locomo-
commented on the influx of specials to Spalding for the tives that have visited Norwich, including 6024 King Edward I,
annual Flower Parade, these running until the early 1980s. 4472 Flying Scotsman, 35005 Canadian Pacific, 60009 Union
of South Africa (making a very smoky departure) & 73096,
After the interval Chris described the remaining parts of the whilst B1 61264 was seen at Ingatestone.
route and its future strategic use as a diversionary route for
the East Coast Main Line, particularly for container services Graham Smith began the second half with some early 1970s
originating from Felixstowe and the new London Gateway slides of a visit to Brimsdown Power Station, where RSH
terminal. The infrastructure was being renewed (including the 7597 was in action. This loco later went to the Chappel &
restoration of the northbound Sleaford avoiding line) and Wakes Colne Railway, then the GCR and is now at Peak Rail.
would be resignalled within the next few months with the new Early memories of Sheringham followed, with the B12 & J15
signalling largely controlled from Peterborough and Lincoln. awaiting restoration. He then moved on to another power sta-
tion where some fireless locomotives were seen, and ended
Chris had been given unique access to visit the 12 surviving up at Wymondham, with an amazing number of wagons
signalboxes between St James Deeping, Spalding and which would be shunted by the 03 pilot.
Sleaford and his fine photographic record of his visits was
much appreciated by the audience. Ken concluded the Hadrian Jeffs then recounted an early 1960s visit to Harrods
evening with further photographic and personal memories of Toy Department, which began with a slow train from Dunsta-
the services north of March. ble to King’s Cross, but occupying the westernmost (subur-
ban) platform was a train with an A4 on the front. Hadrian’s
father spoke to the A4’s driver; 4 year-old Hadrian was lifted services in 1955, Ollerton remained very busy with coal traf-
into the cab and asked if he’d like to drive the train a little fic. His grandfather retired to Skegness in 1964.
way. Gradually he opened the regulator, the train moved, and
he wonders if he’s the youngest person to have driven an A4! No doubt because they were his transport to and from school,
Gordon is a great fan of real buses (i.e. the Bristol/E.C.W.
Chris Mitchell summarised the many events of 2013 (150 type of fond memory) though the Park Royal products for
years of the Metropolitan, the 6 A4s at the NRM etc) and said London Transport are close behind, so these were not over-
that the tunnelling machine Phyllis completed the break- looked.
through on Crossrail’s line from Royal Oak to Farringdon in
November. He then showed a film, courtesy of the Institution However, to get back to railways, albeit miniature ones, he
of Civil Engineers, which began with animations of the crea- has been a regular visitor to the system at Hemsby since the
tion of the Thames Tunnel, then the steam-operated Metro- mid-1980s, and we saw many Society members in his photo-
politan before finally going on to more recent achievements graphs some, sadly, no longer with us. He had been up to
such as the opening of the Victoria Line in 1968 and the sub- Tanfield last year and, whatever the merits of the railway,
sequent Jubilee Line and Docklands Light Railway. they seemed to have a lot of decrepit carriages and wagons,
which are sorely in need of an army of carpenters. The NNR,
Peter Willis showed film of A4 60009 Union of South Africa on the other hand, with the J15 on the vintage stock and the
leaving Norwich on a very cold day, two “Black Fives” B12 on the quad-arts, showed what could be done.
(44871/45407) at Ely, modern traction between Ely & Manea
and the two “Black Fives” at Pymoor after turning, and on de- The second half opened with one of Gordon’s predilections –
parture from Ely. obscure arty films from the Channel 4 series “Art of Land-
scape”. Two of these were railway-themed and it was a pleas-
Steve Cane wrote about the Luton Busway in NRS/NL 58/6 ure to see steam-heat Class 26s on the West Highland
p.10 and developed his theme through visits to Luton to see Extension. The other film covered the Ffestiniog Railway and
his football team, and staying in a hotel overlooking the Mid- was shot entirely from the observation car.
land Main Line. He also showed some then-and-now shots of
the Great Northern’s former station at Luton (Bute St.) and of We then saw / cringed our way through some old Pathé News
the last steam train on the Dunstable branch. He spoke highly Pictorials; in summary these included: radio-controlled mar-
of the Busway, which runs between Luton and Dunstable, and shalling in Whitemoor Yard (1949); a trip up Snowdon (1948)
showed photographs of its operation in an area full of traffic – fare 50p (even then) with loco no. 2 “Enid”; early days on
problems. the Tal-y-llyn (1955) with someone hand-sanding on the front
buffer-beam; the return to work after the ASLEF strike (1955);
Arthur Barrett showed film of the replica Rocket at Shering- cutting-up a “King Arthur 4-6-0 at Eastleigh and the entry into
ham in 1993, GNR 1247 at the Centenary Gala, Romney service of brand-new “Hastings” units (1957); an 08 shunter
“Santa Specials” from Hythe to New Romney c.1990 and fin- and the prototype “Deltic” being exhibited (1959) and the self-
ished off by playing “The Santa Claus Express”. propelled track recording trolley Neptune (also 1959). Artist
Terence Cuneo put in a welcome appearance, working-up a
Ken Mills recalled the April visit to the Baie de Somme Rail- drawing that would become a famous publicity poster for the
way and interested members are referred to NRS/NL 58/4 pp “Condor” express freight service (1960), track welding at
7-9. He showed slides of a vintage 3-car Paris Metro set, Dinsdale (1960), with “Monty Python” interlude, the then-new
many narrow gauge locomotives from various French build- Temple Mills marshalling yard (1960), followed by new goods
ers, a 1942 S.N.C.F. compound 4-8-0 on display, as well as depots, signalboxes and the striking new station at Manches-
some street running (60 cm. gauge). The K&ESR supplied a ter (Oxford Road). Colonel Stephens might have approved of
coach, though their locomotive was out of action. the Land Rover-cum-road-railer, before we saw 6100 “Royal
Scot” being transported to its resting-place at Butlin’s, Skeg-
Contributors were generously applauded at the end. ness in 1964 - who had a crystal ball to predict its eventual
return to the main line? We also saw the early days of a very
And that almost concludes the members’ evening report ex- short Bluebell Railway and, finally, the last railway shunting
cept to thank Andy Wright for projection services, and Gra- horse at Newmarket. Commentators must have graduated
ham & Joy Kenworthy for the mince pies. They, in turn, would from the Bob Danvers-Walker dumbing-down school with fly-
like to thank everyone for the sum of £135 which was raised ing colours!
for the St. Martin’s Housing Trust (Norwich Night Shelter).
(EM) Gordon closed the show with a couple of films shot on the
NNR and, where appropriate throughout the presentation, he
Chairman’s Address “Striking a Chord” had made sure there was a background of classical music.
(2nd January - Gordon Bruce) Gordon received deserved applause from the audience
though it was a pity (indisposed members and family gather-
Past Chairman Peter Adds introduced Gordon’s presentation ings excepted) that more did not turn out for an excellent
with the reassurance that all previous Chairmen had survived evening. Thanks also to Andy Wright for projection services.
Vice-Chairman Peter Cooke, warmly thanked Gordon for his
Gordon hails from Nottinghamshire and went on to explain his superb presentation, and said that he was already working on
railway ancestry – though his parents were teachers his his show for next year! (EM)
grandfather (Bill) had joined the GNR aged 14. He rose
through the ranks, eventually becoming Stationmaster at “The Railways of Patagonia”
Claypole, just south of Newark on the ECML, which closed in (Ken Mills – 16th January)
1957, but which would have given Gordon’s father the oppor-
tunity for unauthorised cab rides on A4 “Pacifics” on test from Ken Mills, who is probably the most widely travelled member
Doncaster. His final posting was to Ollerton on the Chester- of the Society (sampling over 9000 miles of rail travel in South
field – Lincoln line. Although closed to regular passenger America), visited Patagonia in 1969 and 1972.
_________PICK-UP GOODS construction of the railway were delivered via the beach! The
line was first worked by eight Henschel class 75H 2-8-2
Ken gave a few facts about Patagonia which is a region locomotives transferred from the Esquel line to the north
shared by Argentina and Chile at the southern end of South before being replaced by the first batch of 10 modern and
America. It has a population of some 2m with a very sparse more powerful Santa Fé 2-10-2 locomotives built by
density of less than 2 people per square kilometre (UK Mitsubishi in 1956 with a second batch of 10 delivered in
density is 256 people). Only four towns or cities have a 1963. The coal fired locos, fitted with mechanical screw
population exceeding 100,000 residents with the largest stokers, have 2’ 11’’ diameter driving wheels but despite
having a population of 345,000 with the next largest having being on only 75cm gauge are reputed to produce almost the
only 173,000 residents. The name reputedly comes from the same tractive effort as a “Black 5”.
word “patagon” used by Magellan in 1520 to describe the
native people that his expedition thought to be giants. Much Prior to his visit Ken had met Señor Ingeniero Porta of
of the country features desert-like conditions with much scrub Argentinian Railways to discuss all matters steam and, when
– rainfall can be as little as 5’’ per annum - sometimes he had mentioned his intention of visiting the freight only line
relieved by a few lakes with surrounding greenery. Roads are during his trip to Patagonia, Señor Porta wrote an introductory
predominantly unmade apart from the approaches close to letter to the Locomotive Engineer for the railway which
towns. resulted in a little passenger coach being added to an empty
coal train on its westbound journey!
The first part of the talk featured a journey on the 250 mile
long branch of the General Roca Railway from Jacobacci to The train concerned consisted of 51 empty wagons, two
Esquel laid to 75cm gauge (standard gauge is 5’ 6” or covered wagons with supplies for Rio Turbio and the bogied
168cm). Buenos Aires is some 1200 miles to the north. This coach at the rear, weighing some 460 tonnes and being
line was completely steam worked with oil-fired 2-8-2s of two almost a kilometre in length. Loaded eastbound trains can
types constructed by Baldwin Loco Works or Henschel in weigh up to 1800 tonnes. A 2-10-2 steam locomotive No 113
Germany during 1922 – the locos are designated as 75 with provided the motive power for the journey and the train made
the manufacturer’s initial letter following as a suffix (ie 75B or its way west at a maximum speed of some 20-25 mph. Ken
75H). The quantity of locomotives ordered and delivered far mentioned that it was normal for the leading 30 wagons to be
exceeded the number actually needed allowing some to be braked with the remainder unbraked. The fine colour slides
transferred to new railways (see Part 2 of the talk). (skilfully projected under Graham Kenworthy’s guiding hand)
showed various views of the scenery and stations
One passenger train makes the journey each way daily – that encountered en route, the locomotive depot at nearby La
from Jacobacci departed at 0615 for a scheduled journey Dorotea and the coal mine’s own internal electrified narrow
time of 14 hours for the 250 miles. Ken recounted that the gauge line serving the coal mine headings.
train frequently slowed to such an extent that one could
dismount, walk alongside and then rejoin the train – perhaps The return journey to the coast was by way of a Permanent
even moving closer to the locomotive(s) ahead! The Way department railbus. Several slides showed how the coal
restaurant car was sampled – although very narrow with trains were discharged at the port by means of rakes of
single seats on either side of the aisle, good food and wine wagons being rotated in tipplers, their couplings being able to
was served from the miniature kitchen. (Unfortunately the line accommodate this rotation and back. It was interesting to
was out of use by the 1980s – Ed.) view the coal loading dock facilities which can cope with a
tidal range of 50 ft.
Before the interval Ken circulated copies of a magazine
article he had written previously helping to set the scene for The Chairman proposed a well-earned vote of thanks and all
the second part of his talk which recounted his travels in the members present showed their appreciation for a most
March 1972 on what was then the southernmost railway in interesting and absorbing presentation. (Peter Adds)
the world at 52° south (by coincidence Norwich is 52° north of
the Equator). The railway concerned was the 162 mile long Editor’s Note: Sadly, the railway was privatised in the 1990s.
Rio Turbio freight-only line which runs from coal mines at Rio The all-too-familiar tale of asset-stripping followed; a few
Turbio eastwards to Rio Gallegos where the coal is diesels worked briefly but a massive mine explosion in 2001
transferred to ships for the sea journey to power stations stopped production at the Rio Turbio mine; the railway has
serving Buenos Aires – the nearest railway is 1045 miles never run since.
north of the port. The 75cm gauge line was constructed
between September 1950 and September 1951 following the
Turbio and Gallegos River valleys. Before Gallegos port was
constructed 50,000 tons of materials for use in the
Some old photographs of Claypole and
During Gordon’s Chairman’s address, he mentioned that
his grandfather was stationmaster at Claypole, just south
of Newark, which closed from 16th September 1957.
David Pearce has kindly delved into his archives, and a
couple of interesting photographs of 1950s vintage show
the station before closure. Few services called there.
And, with David’s help, the photographs are explained as
Right: Claypole signalbox (April 1954) is at the south or
“up” end of the station, looking towards the “up” and
“down” loops to the south of the station. (D. Thompson
from the David Pearce collection)
Below: This view, taken from Claypole signalbox in April Below: Class A5/1 69812 takes water at Ollerton on 23rd
1954, is looking in the northbound or “down” direction towards October 1951 whilst working the 1245 Lincoln (Central) –
the goods yard which was on the “down” side of the line. (D. Chesterfield (Market Place). It was booked to call at Ollerton
Thompson from the David Pearce collection.) between 1332 & 1335, due Chesterfield at 1433 – if you
missed that there wasn’t another in that direction until 1912!
(C.Townley/David Pearce collection.)
Gordon’s grandfather’s final posting was as stationmaster at Below: Class 04/8 63828 heads east through Ollerton with a
Ollerton on the Lincoln (Central) – Chesterfield (Market Place) coal train in 1963. (D.Leckonby/David Pearce collection.)
route which closed from 19th September 1955. If you, or your
parents, were keen Norwich City supporters some of the
special trains to Sheffield came this way in 1959. Taking the
photographs in chronological order we have:
Below: The delightful “period” photo of station staff and
traders clearly dates back to Lancashire, Derbyshire & East
Coast/Great Central days, the station having opened to
passenger traffic on 15th December 1896. Associated with
that, the station building which is on the “up” (to Lincoln)
platform betrays a dominant GC presence, together with
much foliage and apparent tidiness and pride, the line having
been absorbed by the GC in 1907. (David Pearce collection.)
Below: It is thought that this Ollerton photo by D. Thompson,
dates from the 1930s. We are looking east. (David Pearce
Finally, above: A Class 37 heads west with 1M73 1244
Skegness – Manchester (Piccadilly) which was timed to pass
Ollerton around 1440. Interestingly, in the summer 1963 WTT
the train was booked a water stop at Pyewipe Junc (Lincoln).
The train was re-routed in 1964, which dates the photo to late
summer 1963. (D.Leckonby/David Pearce collection.)
Model Trains (in a German Market setting)
Such was the title of Graham Smith’s display at the All Saints’
Centre from 9th-12th December. See photograph, right, by
Mike Fordham. I saw Graham (and his display) on 10th De-
cember. Would you believe that someone asked me where
the German Market was?
The All Saints’ Centre offers a rich view of life - the Big Issue
sellers coming in for a cup of tea and a rest, the poor souls
who have their life’s possessions on their backs, the old la-
dies meeting for a chat and a cuppa, young women with
young children, and so on. Not particularly fruitful territory for
Graham to be handing out Society brochures to anyone with
a spark of railway interest, but you never know.
Thanks to Graham for putting his display together, and gener-
ally talking to anyone who came along.
Mystery Map Answer Annual Show
Well done to David Pearce for realising it was Bolton (Great The Society is having its Annual Show on Saturday 1st March
Moor St.) – see NRS/NL 58/6 p.11. If you were a football fan, (see advert below). If you’re able to come along, we’ll be
you might have spotted Burnden Park (the former home of pleased to see you and, if you haven’t been before, you’ll be
Bolton Wanderers) in the bottom right-hand corner, with its surprised at the range of layouts, displays and exhibits we
“uncovered” end closest to the Rochdale line. The line head- bring together for the big day. If you feel like being a little
ing S.E. goes to Manchester (Victoria). more active, then please have a word with organisers Chris
Mitchell or Peter Willis at any of the intervening meetings –
And the latest challenge! they’ll be delighted to find a job for you!
This triangle has declined in importance, and only one side is
open for traffic today. The name of the station/halt may be a
bit difficult to pin down now, so if you’re able to name the
stations just off the 3 sides of the triangle it will be sufficient.
Send your answers by email please.
A short-lived halt existed on the extant side of the triangle.
Does anybody know its name, and why it closed?
Holidays in the English Lakes
The two postcards are probably reproductions of L.M.S. posters of the 1930s and call for
little further comment so long as we remember that the Lakes were reasonably well-
served by passenger trains.
If Derwentwater (right) was your choice then, at its northern end, the sadly-missed line
from Penrith, to Keswick, Cockermouth & Workington could be used. There would have
been through carriages from Euston, and if anyone knows if there were through trains
please enlighten me.
Windermere (below) is close to Lake Windermere and, surprise, surprise, it is still rail-
connected, being at the end of the branch from Oxenholme (Lake District).
Those are the Lake District branches that probably spring to mind, but there used to be
a branch from Foxfield (on the Cumbrian Coast line) to Coniston, and another one from
Ulverston to Windermere (Lake Side) at the southern end of the aforementioned Lake,
part of which lives on as the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.
The Colchester – Glasgow (Queen St)
The Chris Mitchell/Ken Mills GN/GE Joint presentation (see p.
5 of this Newsletter) stirred a few Editorial memories, and
perhaps I should start by explaining why the service started
from Colchester. Well, it’s a garrison town; servicemen going
on and off duty needed to be provided for and, in any case,
the train made some very useful connections en route, the
great pity being that such train services have no place on
Christmas meal But, just to confuse matters, there were two long-distance
services from Colchester. Taking my Eastern Region Winter
Just like our Annual Show – originally planned as a one-off 1957/58 Timetable as the reference point, the daytime service
‘Open Day’ but then thought too good to drop – the NRS – if I may call it that – left Colchester at 0730, and this was the
Christmas meal began tentatively a few years back, but has train that used the Joint. The evening service left Colchester
since become an institution. This is in large part thanks to at 1715, but did not use the Joint – perhaps the signalboxes
Edward Mann’s organisation and the venues he’s found (it were closed and/or there was greater traffic potential on the
takes intensive culinary research, he assures us). ECML.
The 2013 meal was held on December 2nd at the Maid To return to the 0730 departure, after calls at Manningtree,
Marian, a large pub just south of Norwich city centre. Jon Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds & Ely, it reached March at 0941
McAlavey, the Maid Marian’s landlord, lets us use his large where it connected with the 0750 Norwich – Birmingham.
car park on the day of our Show (a useful facility which frees Thus, a large part of northern and western Britain was
up a lot of parking space at the URC Hall), and it’s also a available to passengers from the Eastern Counties. The
good venue for our Christmas celebration. Norwich - Birmingham service might well have been hauled by
a B1 4-6-0 and a “Black Five” 4-6-0 was most likely to take the
Our party, including partners and guests, numbered 36, and train on to the Midlands. Another B1 might have worked the
Jon and his hard-working, cheerful staff did us proud once Colchester service, perhaps handing over to a V2 2-6-2 at
again. Most people opted for the traditional turkey dinner with March. This train enjoyed a buffet car; in those days the
all the trimmings, but alternatives were on offer. Between Norwich – Birmingham did not. Leaving March at 0949 its calls
courses we puzzled over an intriguing quiz set by John on the Joint were Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln (Central in those
Laycock – a sheet of paper on which 30 cryptic clues each days) & Gainsborough (Lea Road) before reaching Doncaster
represented a type of sweet. Two sweet-toothed tables tied at 1224. Perhaps another engine-change occurred here
with 28 out of a possible 30. before it left at 1229. Then it called at Selby, York, Darlington
& Durham before depositing its passengers at Newcastle at
Thanks are due to Edward who, once again, arranged a first- 1509.
class evening. As Edward also wears the NRS ‘Fixtures’ and
‘Newsletter’ hats, it was not surprising that he rounded off the The southbound service left Newcastle at 1205 (presumably
evening by asking for a volunteer to organise next year’s the work for the coaching stock was northbound one day and
event. We’re pleased to report that Brian Cornwell has risen southbound the next) and was (unusually) routed via
to the challenge. When Brian announces details of 2014’s Sunderland, West Hartlepool, Stockton and Northallerton
Christmas meal, do think about putting your name down for it (where it joined the ECML) to York. After calling at Selby the
– it’s an excellent and convivial event. (Mike Handscomb) train reached Doncaster at 1523. Only 4 minutes were allowed
for station/locomotive purposes before, once again, calls were
made at Gainsborough and Lincoln but not at Sleaford and
Spalding. After the March stop (1751 arrival) further calls were
made at Ely and Ipswich (only) and Colchester was reached Bentley & Whittlesea, then ran ECML to York (arr 0032), but it
at 2006. These trains did not run on Sundays. appears to be a through service to Edinburgh arr 0531.
Without the relevant N.E.R. & ScR timetables the rest is
What would be interesting to know is whether this service conjecture. Southbound, there were through carriages from
ever ran to Glasgow. Glasgow (Queen St) dep 2135, then 2330 from Edinburgh
and York 0444. Running via the ECML and Ely/Ipswich it
The evening service from Colchester did run through to reached Colchester at 1152.
Glasgow (Queen St). Departing at 1715, it called at Ardleigh
(!), Manningtree, Ipswich, Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Ely, I made just one journey from Norwich to Doncaster, using the
March and Peterborough (both stations) before taking the morning train from Colchester, on 6th January 1962, when the
ECML and calling at Doncaster, Selby, York, Newcastle, trains still connected at March, for a party visit to Doncaster
Berwick-upon-Tweed & Edinburgh before reaching Glasgow Works & Shed. I seem to remember Class 40 D352 making
(Queen St) at 0550. Its counterpart left Queen St at 2230 and light work of its train on the Joint. The frustrating part of the
ran ECML to Peterborough, then via March & Ely to reach day has turned out to be the loss of my notes!
Colchester at 1211. On Sundays, the train left Colchester at
1800 and made similar calls before getting to Queen St at Did anybody else use these services? (EM)
And a quirky fact: The 1957/58 timetable shows Spalding as
Richard Adderson has kindly delved into his E.R. Summer Spalding (Town), suggesting that Spalding had another
1952 Timetable; timetable reading for the public was even station somewhere or there was another rail-served Spalding
less user-friendly then than it was a few years later, but he from which it needed to be distinguished. If, like me, you’re
has found an 0720 Colchester – Newcastle which called at puzzled, the Midland had a goods depot at Spalding St
the principal Joint Line stations before reaching Doncaster. John’s, on the M&GN, just west of the present station, and
There was a separate N.E.R. timetable then, so only a few which finally closed on 4th July 1966. Latterly it was a coal
details are available. It called at York before reaching concentration depot. Although this information has come from
Newcastle at 1536. The southbound train appears as a 1450 Clinker’s Register, which is normally reliable, I should like to
York – Colchester, calling at Selby & Doncaster plus the hear from anyone with local knowledge.
principal Joint Line ones, and usual East Anglian stops plus
Soham before arriving at Colchester at 2117. In 1952, the And finally…2013 may have been the last year of the Flower
1715 from Colchester even deigned to call at Ardleigh, Parade.
Summer Season Relief Stationmaster – Home one platform so down trains had to be allowed to enter the
Station: Dereham (1956 -1959) – Part 2 station first, with the up trains held in the loop opposite the
(Rod Lock) signal box, 230 yards north of the station. After the down train
was on its way to Walsingham, the up train was then sig-
Ryburgh was one of the stations in Norfolk which suffered nalled into the platform.
from enemy action. During the late evening of 25th August
1942, German bombers dropped several incendiary bombs A different method of working was in use in 1931 when, on
on the station. Five fire brigades attended the blaze, which 27th May, there was a collision between two passenger trains
was said to be visible in Norwich, destroying the Maltings and – the 0906 ex-Wells and the 0817 ex-Norwich – which result-
the station’s booking office and porters’ room. These were ed in one passenger on the Wells train being killed and two
never replaced, resulting in very cramped accommodation, passengers injured. The Wells train ran forward beyond the
there hardly being room to swing a cat in what became the platform and was then signalled into the bay platform. After
Stationmaster’s office cum-booking office. The rebuilt Malt- this movement, the signalman could not release the points
ings of F & G Smith Ltd dominated the scene. During my
time they produced no rail traffic, the firm using their own “C”
licensed articulated lorries to convey their products. In addi-
tion to the SM, there were the two porter-signalmen. Ry-
burgh was not a block post so, unless the up and down
pick-up freights called at the station, the porter-signalmen
operated only the level-crossing gates and protecting sig-
nals. Nothing of the station now remains, the site having
been subsumed into the Maltings complex.
I covered the Fakenham East Stationmaster’s annual leave Ryburgh, looking north towards Fakenham circa 1964. Smiths’
in the summer of 1959. Before closure of the M&GN the SM, maltings dominate the scene.
Les Seal, who had moved to Fakenham from a similar posi-
tion at Mistley, and who later moved to Goods Agent, Yar-
mouth Vauxhall, was based at Fakenham West. The West
was a railhead for Goods Sundries for North Norfolk, so it
was appropriate the SM should be based there, rather than
at the East. Although not suffering from enemy action, the
office accommodation at the East was equally cramped, ad-
jacent to the combined Booking/Goods Office. Although
passenger trains crossed at Fakenham (E), there was only
transfer of guards’ duties to Dereham & Norwich. However,
one of the station’s long-standing traffics remained – cockles
– despatched in nets. To prevent the brake compartments
becoming contaminated with juices the nets were conveyed
in metal trays in the brake compartments, the trays being
emptied when appropriate. Innovation was the order of the
day one summer Sunday during my time at Walsingham
when, with a class 4MT 2-6-0 on the turntable, the combined
efforts of driver, fireman and guard failed to get it on the
move. Beefy males were enrolled from the waiting passen-
gers on the platform, resulting in the required chimney-first
working from Wells to Norwich.
Fakenham (East) looking north towards Wells circa 1964. Wells station suffered badly from the January 1953 East
Coast floods, with one of the signalmen, Arthur Bottomley,
being stranded in his signalbox for several hours. Arthur was
still on the paybill in 1959. Wells signalbox, with its 45 levers,
was marginally the largest frame on the branch north of
Dereham, but several spare levers were created with the
complete closure of the Heacham branch.
(no. 32) to normal, such that they remained set for the bay Before leaving this part of Norfolk, I also worked at three sta-
platform. It was intended to crank the points to normal, but the tions on the County School to Wroxham branch. The first
driver of the Norwich train ignored both home signals at dan- posting, to Cawston in 1956, I found most depressing. First
ger and collided with the Wells train, with disastrous results. impressions were pleasant enough, seeing the station house
Both the E4s – 7457 and 7486 – were withdrawn. with roses growing round the door of the stationmaster’s
house. The man in charge was Mr Burgess, a former signal-
Fakenham had a fairly extensive goods yard layout and dealt man at the station. The odd wagon was received off the Nor-
with a variety of traffics. A Stationmaster’s duties included wich to Reepham freight, but usually the only break in the
maintaining contact with farmers and businesses to maintain boredom was the daily visit by the B.R. motor driver from Nor-
and secure traffic to rail. Les Seal was very assiduous and wich, who delived an envelope containing letters, circulars,
obtained rate quotations from the Freight Commercial section operating notices etc from the District Office and collected
at Norwich. Domestic coal was a traffic common to most sta- outwards parcels, brought to the station by the good folk of
tions, Fakenham had several merchants with stacking Cawston. A phone call from the District Commercial Manager,
Mr Beattie, asking for a report on coach travel by R.A.F.
Marham personnel at weekends, gave me something to get
my teeth into. My contact at the base was a Sergeant Ritchie
who was able to fill the gaps in my knowledge.
The logical solution would have been to place the branch
under the control of one stationmaster, say, based at Ayl-
sham, but in those days mobility was the problem. Very few
stationmasters owned cars and the distances were too great
to be covered by cycle. To get to Cawston I caught the re-
placement bus service from Dereham Market Place which
was introduced following the withdrawal of the rail passenger
service in 1952.
Had Cawston been located on the North Eastern Region, the
daily routine would have been much more interesting. There,
many stationmasters were also coal merchants – I cannot
remember the station concerned, but one of the SMs on my
Wells-Next-the-Sea circa 1964, looking towards the buffer-stops. course at the B.R. School of Transport, Derby, in 1956, was
It’s slightly strange that the waiting passengers are on the also a coal merchant. Arthur Daley would have described it
platform and not aboard the Norwich-bound d.m.u. We can be as “a nice little earner”, although profits had to be shared
sure, however, that they are not awaiting a Heacham with the station’s staff, who were responsible for bagging
connection! and delivery. Unloading was simple! Most stations had coal
staithes. A recently published book by the North Eastern
Railway Association – “A History of the Hull & Scarborough
ground. In line with national trends, freight tonnage declined Railway” – records that, of the 14 intermediate stations, one
in the late 1960s, from 28,128 tonnes in 1966 to 9,270 tonnes had no sidings, one SM did not wish to get involved but, of
in 1971. The SM was also responsible for Barsham L.C. and the remaining 12 stations, the annual coal profits for the years
the adjacent Parkers private siding, both in the Walsingham 1906 to 1920 varied between £7 and £135. In 1920, SM’s sal-
section. aries varied between £200 p.a. (Gristhorpe and Arram) and
£350 p.a. (Cottingham).
Walsingham and its northern outpost, Wighton Halt, were de-
scribed in an earlier article and so on to Wells, another 1959 In 1959 I had a spell at Reepham also i/c Foulsham. Although
posting. The staff establishment had been reduced since my it was still possible to reach both by using the same bus serv-
time at Walsingham, with the closure of the MPD following the ice which served Cawston, I needed to be able to visit Foul-
introduction of DMUs in September 1955 and the associated sham as and when required. The answer was the trusty bike.
I used to catch the train to North Elmham and cycle from Fransham was manned by two leading porters, one of whom
there. The section between Reepham and Foulsham had lived in the Station House. The booking office was even
been closed to freight in 1955, with track-lifting commencing smaller than Ryburgh’s which must have been uncomfortable
in 1956. During my time, Foulsham was busy with the des- for the other leading porter, a very rotund gentleman. There
patch of dismantled sections of hangars from the former was a signalbox at Fransham until 1914, when it was abol-
R.A.F. base at Foulsham, which were loaded on to bogie bol- ished and replaced by a ground frame controlling a single sid-
ster wagons and secured with chains. There was only a ing, released by the token for the Dunham to Wendling
young leading porter at Foulsham, so I kept an eye on things. section.
There was an intermediate level crossing between County
School and Foulsham, at Twyford, on the main Norwich to
Fakenham road but, as this was operated by the guard on
the daily freight, there was no requirement to visit the cross-
Reepham was the natural terminus of the other freight serv-
ice. The main user was Stimpson, coke, coal and corn mer-
chants as they described themselves, but they also received
large quantities of fertiliser. As the firm occupied part of the
station premises as offices there was a cosy relationship
with them. The daily freight from Norwich was usually
worked by a J17 0-6-0, occasionally by a Class 4MT 2-6-0.
In 1952, before the withdrawal of passenger services in Sep- Fransham, looking west towards Swaffham in 1964.
tember that year, the outward freight pick-up left Thorpe
Goods Yard at 0810, serving all stations to County School. It Dunham was also in charge of Fransham, the SM visiting
departed there on to the Wroxham branch at 1330, not arriv- there daily. Ironically, though not well-situated relative to ei-
ing at Wensum Sidings until 2115. In the reverse direction, ther of the Dunhams, passenger numbers were quite high.
another pick-up left Wensum Sidings at 0430, but terminated There were three local coal merchants, and from time to time,
at Dereham at 1158. trees, loaded on bogie bolsters, were despatched to the
former LNER wagon works at Faverdale. As it was impossible
Retracing our steps to Dereham and the King’s Lynn branch, to weigh them, they were measured by an inspector and so a
Wendling was the least busy in passenger numbers. Eastern tonnage was arrived at. The staffing was identical to Wend-
Counties no. 34 service, Norwich to King’s Lynn, passed ling. The station house, although spacious and architecturally
through the village, but it did so at Swaffham, Narborough, attractive, lacked the basic facilities of running water and
East Winch and Middleton Towers. The long-serving SM, Len electricity. Life must have been difficult for the SM, his wife,
Tuck, was there from the early 1950s until the economies of and young family. Water was sent daily, in churns, from
1964 effectively put him out of a job, when both Dunham & Swaffham, doubled up on Saturdays as there was no Sunday
Wendling signalboxes closed, and all there was left to super- service. I remember the SM, on one occasion, telling me with
vise were 3 level-crossings. Len became a relief SM. It had great pride that he had bought his wife a flat-iron that was
had the usual staffing – 2 Class 4 signalmen, 1 porter, plus 2 heated by methylated spirit, a time saving compared with
resident crossing keepers in the Dereham section. The box heating an iron in front of an open or grated fire.
had a 23-lever frame, and was the only one on the branch to
have a token delivery frame, which was situated at the end of
the down (to Dereham) platform. In the opposite direction,
token exchanges for non-stop trains were undertaken by
After wartime service the SM was posted to an almost un-
known goods depot, Langford Siding, on the GN main line
near Biggleswade. He was next promoted to Dunham, where
he remained for several years. His luck changed in 1956,
when he was promoted to SM, Haughley. He then had sev-
eral promotions, to Maldon East, to Harlow Town, the first
SM at the newly-constructed station, also i/c Harlow Mill,
where he had an Assistant SM, and finally Area Manager
Bishop’s Stortford. On his departure from Dunham, Len Tuck
took control until Conductor Guard working was introduced
(All photos from the Richard Adderson collection, and thanks
to Graham Kenworthy for help with the captions.)
Dunham, looking east towards Dereham in 1963. The d.m.u. Editor’s Notes: Faverdale Wagon Works was at Darlington; it
could be a through Norwich – King’s Lynn service, though the closed in 1963. If you travel on the B1110 from Guist to
trains from Norwich usually went to Wells with a King’s Lynn Dereham you make a sharp left past bridge abutments. This
connection from Dereham. was the site of the County School – Fakenham route, and
not far from here the County School – Reepham (etc) line
diverged. Presumably it isn’t cost-effective to re-align the
road and demolish the abutments.
To be concluded.
New life for Croxley Green (Mike Handscomb) The entrance to Croxley Green station today: only the
double arrow and a long-disused notice tells you a
Picture this: you’ve just bought your new flat, conveniently railway used to be there (Google Streetview)
sited a few minutes’ walk from a well-established London
Underground terminus. Each morning you stroll to the station,
where you know there’s a 15-minute interval service with
even more trains at peak hours.
Then one morning you see to your horror that your station is
to close – for good.
Far fetched? Not for many residents of Watford it isn’t. 19th
century disagreements about railway routes in the town are
combining with today’s emphasis on ‘connectivity’ to alter the
rail layout at Watford quite dramatically.
Last October I spent a day exploring the railways in and
around Watford, and working out what the changes will mean.
The Metropolitan Line terminus is about a mile from the
town’s High Street. The Metropolitan Railway did intend to
carry on into central Watford. In preparation, Watford Met
station was built at a low level to allow for the line to continue
in a cut-and-cover tunnel under the park. The MR also bought
old terminus, if you take advantage of a hole in the fence
and climb up the short wooded embankment. Stumbling
upon NSE red-lamp-posts when they’re all but hidden by
young trees and bushes is an unusual experience. There are
a few ivy-clad rails but no sign of a platform, as latterly it was
a scaffolding structure with timber decking.
At various times since 1948 schemes have been put forward
with County Council support to link the Metropolitan to the
BR Croxley Green branch line. Finally, in December 2011
the ‘Croxley Rail Link project' was given the green light.
The roadside entrance to Croxley Green station in April 1998, Beyond Croxley, Watford services will take a new route,
two years after the last train ran. The only indication that the sta- avoid Watford Met and head for Watford Junction. A key part
tion is closed is a padlock on the gate. of the project will be the construction of the ‘missing link’ – a
short line connecting the Metropolitan to the old Croxley
Green branch. This will mean creating a new junction near
Baldwins Lane, about 1 km north-east of Croxley station, and
building a curved viaduct and bridge to carry the line over
the A412 dual carriageway and the Grand Union Canal.
Much of the disused Croxley Green trackbed will be
reinstated as far as Watford High Street; from this point,
Underground trains will share track with the London
a property at 44 High Street, which it planned to make the
booking hall for a new Watford Central station.
However Watford Urban District Council had recently bought
part of the Cassiobury Estate from the Earl of Essex to
create Cassiobury Park. The council was not at all keen on
the thought of a railway across their beautiful park. So the
Metropolitan’s extension was cancelled, leaving the terminus
stuck far from the business centre. 44 High Street, the
planned new Central station, still stands; it’s now The Moon
Under Water, a J D Wetherspoon pub. In the interests of
research I visited The Moon Under Water, but found no
transport memorabilia, just the usual good-value ale.
Also in the area was the LNWR’s branch to Croxley Green. It
ran very close to the Metropolitan Line (at one point just 200
metres away), but the two lines were never linked. BR ran a
skeleton service on the Croxley Green branch until 1996,
then closed it ‘temporarily’. Seven years on ‘temporary’
became ‘permanent’. You can still see some remnants of the
Watford (Metropolitan Line) terminus will have trains for just two Vicarage Road will replace both Watford West and Watford
more years (geograph.org.uk) Stadium, the football specials halt.
So where does that leave Watford Met line station?
Overground along the Watford DC Line to the project’s goal: Transport for London has stated that passenger services
Watford Junction. between Croxley and Watford will cease when the new link
opens, and so Watford Met will close. The nearest station
The former BR stations won’t re-open. Instead there’ll be two will then be Cassiobridge, nearly a mile away. Needless to
new stations: Cassiobridge (originally to have been called say, the closure plan has been the subject of local
Ascot Road) will replace Croxley Green; and Watford opposition. Campaigners are trying to keep a shuttle
service, even if at a reduced interval.
Construction is expected to start in June 2014 and be
finished by January 2016. Trains will then run regularly from
Watford Junction to Baker Street via Harrow and Wembley.
Another possibility which has been suggested is a new
Chiltern Railways service linking Watford and Aylesbury via
the rarely-used Croxley north curve.
Editor’s Note: What an excellent piece of research about an
area many of us know hardly at all. The station names are
very confusing. However, Watford is purely Underground (or
whatever you like to call it).
Watford Junction is on the WCML and it used to be the limit
of the Bakerloo. Croxley is the intermediate station on the
Met’s Watford branch, whilst Croxley Green was at the end
of the BR branch from Watford Junc. This branch had
intermediate stations at Watford High St (also on the
Bakerloo) & Watford West, in case they feel left out! If you
have an old Baker Atlas, BR timetable and/or Underground
map do have a look at them for the historic position.
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.
Great Eastern Railway Society (Norwich Branch) - contact Mike Fordham
Norfolk Transport Group - contact John Laycock
13th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “More Buses, Trains, Boats & Planes” – John Hutchinson.
15th - 23rd Sat onwards BURE VALLEY RAILWAY - “Teddy Bear Expresses”
20th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “South Eastern & North Eastern Matters” – Chris King.
27th Thurs 19:30 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) – “East Anglian Railways in the 1980s”
28th - 2nd Fri - Sun – Richard Adderson.
WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – 5th Anniversary & Beer Festival
1st Sat NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – ANNUAL SHOW 1300 – 1700. Please see page 9 for full
1st - 2nd Sat - Sun details.
BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Weekend running begins.
1st - 2nd Sat - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Weekend running begins.
2nd Sun MID – NORFOLK RAILWAY – “Short Set Sunday”.
2nd Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – Steam Sunday.
6th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “How Inspectors make enforcement decisions” – Steven
7th - 9th Bateson, H.M. Inspector of Railways, working for the Office of Rail Regulation.
Fri - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Spring Steam Gala – Prospective visit from A4 60007 “Sir Nigel
9th Gresley” subject to gauging clearance. More details see www.nnrailway.co.uk
Sat PATHFINDER TOURS - “Mid Norfolk Navigator” Leaves Crewe at 06:30, arrives Wymondham
approx. 12:30 and visits the Mid Norfolk Railway to its limit at Hoe. Returns to Crewe from
Wymondham at 16:30.
Sun MID – NORFOLK RAILWAY – “Short Set Sunday”.
13th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – An evening with Keith Buttifant.
13th Thurs SOUTHWOLD RAILWAY TRUST - Southwold Railway Vintage Bus Tour along the scenic Blyth
16th Sun Valley including visits to Southwold museum and the Trust’s workshops. For details see
MID – NORFOLK RAILWAY – “Short Set Sunday”.
20th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Railway Modelling with an M&GN Theme” – John Hobden.
23rd Sun MID – NORFOLK RAILWAY – “Short Set Sunday”.
27th Thurs 19:30 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) – “Miniature Railways” – Brian Baker.
28th Fri NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY - Daily running begins and continues until 2nd November
30th Sun MID – NORFOLK RAILWAY – “Short Set Sunday”.
APRIL Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – Annual General Meeting.
5th Sat BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Daily running begins.
6th Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – Steam Sunday.
10th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – An evening with Malcolm Cooper.
12th Sat 10:00 - NORWICH RAILWAY HERITAGE AND MODEL SOCIETY - Railway Exhibition at Hellesdon High
12th - 13th 16:30 School, Middletons Lane, Norwich NR6 5SB
Sat - Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – “1940s Weekend” (Steam).
17th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Stations & Structures of the M&GN” – Nigel Digby.
20th - 21st Sun - Mon BARTON HOUSE RAILWAY - Easter Running.
20th 14:30 - 17:30
Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – “Easter Steam Sunday”.
24th Thurs 19:30 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) – “Making Connections - Railway
Bridges and Viaducts” – Andy Wright.
26th Sat NENTA TRAINTOURS – “The Mid-Wales Rambler”. From Norwich (dep. 0535 approx) then via
Ipswich & Ely to Ironbridge & Blists Hill/Llangollen Steam Railway/Welshpool & Llanfair Light
Railway/Chester/Shrewsbury (Norwich return approx. 0030). Fares from £65.75. Premier
Class/Dining available. Details: www.nentatraintours.co.uk or telephone: 01692-406152.
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