Norfolk Railway Society
Founded 1955 ww.norfolkrailwaysociety.org.uk
Volume 59 No. 6 Nov/Dec 2014
news from railways in and around Norfolk
The Moment of Exchange National Network
The giving and receiving of tablets by NRS member and GEML UPDATE: November
Weybourne signalman Robert Scarfe is captured in this image
made by David Pearce during the M&GN Society’s Members’ 90011 has received the new AGA white livery. On 13th
Day on 4th October 2014. October it was renamed at Ipswich after an Ipswich based
newspaper (East Anglian Daily Times Suffolk and Proud).
GE LINES INCIDENTS:
Abellio Greater Anglia services have experienced further
delays in recent weeks – not all of their making!
Thursday 23rd October – Norwich – Sheringham:
Early morning services were cancelled due to a signalling
problem. The 0715 from Norwich ran at the very last minute!
Friday 24th October – Various:
Over-running engineering works led to a few early morning
services being cancelled including the 0730 London –
DMU shortage this week due to leaf-fall season flats. At least
3 x 156 units stopped. One of the three Norwich – Cambridge
diagrams was without a serviceable unit so it was cancelled –
plus other services across Norfolk and Suffolk.
A weak underbridge at Acle (country side of station) saw a
speed restriction imposed and loco-hauled services barred so
that if the DRS 47 short formation was in use it had to travel
via Reedham meaning that Lingwood and Acle stations lost
In This Issue 1 Thursday 30th October:
Track Report 3 A 42 year-old woman was struck a glancing blow by the 1530
National Network 4 London – Norwich service whilst on the railway embankment
Heritage, Narrow-Gauge & Miniature 11 near Long John Hill, Norwich. 1600 and 1630 services from
Away From the Tracks London were terminated at Diss whilst the 1700 was held at
11 Ipswich and Stowmarket, arriving Norwich 49L.
Pick-up Goods 14
NRS News 15 Friday 31st October - Lingwood rail accident:
Another Sorry Scottish Saga by John Hutchinson In the early afternoon the Station Road LC gates were run
The Italian Job by Brian Cornwell through by 57010 and 57009 topping and tailing RHTT
Working Timetable heading towards Acle from Norwich. 57010 suffered front end
damage. New gates and concrete support posts had to be
provided. Local media highlighted the fact that a potential
disaster had been narrowly avoided. A local publican
complained that with Station Road being closed to the public
his business was suffering as the village had been cut in half
(Chapel Lane LC is within ½ mile…).
The two LCs at Lingwood are manually worked and when the introduce.
gates are proved closed the gate distant signals can be
cleared for approaching trains. The Chapel Lane LC slots the Thursday 13th November – Downham Market:
Station Road LC distant preventing that to be cleared for
trains from the Norwich direction whilst the Chapel Lane A lorry overran the Downham Market bypass ahb and was in
gates are still open to road traffic and closed to rail traffic. An collision with a GBRf Class 66 hauling the sand train from
RAIB Inquiry will report. Middleton Towers. The road remained closed from 0930 –
1515 when the train was moved clear. A Romanian lorry
37604 returned repainted DVT 82121 to Norwich that driver is to be prosecuted!
afternoon and the following day was noted within a RHTT set
having replaced 57010. The 37 has continued in the Wednesday 19th November - Cambridge Chesterton Junc:
otherwise 57-operated RHTT fleet based at Stowmarket.
Editor’s Note: RHTT = Rail Head Treatment Train. The 1701 Cross-Country service from Cambridge (Stansted
Airport – Birmingham) and its southbound equivalent struck
Wednesday 12th November - Kelvedon OLE damage: several horses and ponies between Chesterton Junc and the
A14 overbridge (a permanent gypsy site is adjacent). The
Severe disruption, delays and numerous cancellations 1701 was unable to continue in service and passengers were
followed early morning OLE damage on the Up line at the detrained at Waterbeach. It is believed that a second incident
London end of Kelvedon station platforms. An owl was may have happened after the first had been cleared. A total of
blamed for instigating the problem which saw the wires come 12 animals were killed.
down. Single-line working over the Down line between
Witham and Marks Tey was made possible by bi-directional 170207 suffered damage in the area and returned to Norwich
signalling. The 0703 ex-Norwich was 55L at Liverpool St. the following morning attached to 170273 forming the 0605
Substitute bus services south of Colchester proved difficult to Cambridge - Norwich service.
Friday 21st November – Various:
Norfolk Railway Society The 1130 London – Norwich struck a bird on the approach to
(Founded 1955) Ipswich damaging equipment on the front of the DVT. The
remainder of the diagram including the 1430 ex-Norwich and
President: Arnold Hoskins, Esq. the 1700 ex-Liverpool St was cancelled as a result.
Vice-President: Ken Mills, Esq.
A person was killed by a train between Colchester and
Committee and Officers 2014-2015 Telephone Manningtree just after 1800. Severe disruption to services
resulted and there were numerous cancellations. The line
Chairman Peter Cooke was not reopened for some 2½ hours. Notwithstanding
platform end and platform fencing the number of railway
Vice Chairman Brian Cornwell suicides continues to increase. Network Rail is to install blue
lighting at platform ends as this is supposed to have a
Past Chairman Gordon Bruce soothing effect.
Secretary Peter Adds Sunday 23rd November - A day’s heavy rain:
Treasurer John Laycock After several hours continuous rain, flooding of the line
occurred near Worstead during the afternoon. Shuttle
Fixtures Arranged by sub-committee services were introduced between Norwich – Hoveton and
North Walsham – Sheringham with a bus link between
Membership Sec. Mike Handscomb Hoveton & Wroxham and North Walsham.
Newsletter Editor Edward Mann Monday 24th November - Freight train failure at Chelmsford:
Publicity Mike Fordham The 0446 Ipswich – Ditton container service, booked for
electric haulage, failed in the vicinity of Chelmsford station.
Committee Members: Having passed Witham at 0529 (11L) it then passed
Ingatestone at 0846 (192L) 15 miles later! The container
Graham Kenworthy service lost another 2 hours or more in the Willesden area,
presumably on account of a loco-change, and passed Hemel
Chris Mitchell Hempstead 6½ hours behind schedule.
Peter Willis Needless to say, it was another bad start to the commuting
week (and this after Friday night’s delays)!
Tuesday 25th November – General:
Website Editor Andrew Wright
With the imminent commencement of the Mk3 carriage
Archivist Raymond Meek refurbishment scheme – and with repainting continuing –
AGA have acted to make good the shortfall in Mk3 carriages
============================================= (short formations were featured in BBC Look East coverage
Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter recently but not, as they stated, 2 vehicles per train!) by
securing part of the ex “Pretendolino” set which was last used
Editor Edward Mann on WCML services on 24th October.
Layout and Picture Editor Andrew Wright
Distribution Graham Smith
Please contact Graham if the next edition does not arrive by
the end of the month of publication
Opinions expressed in any articles are the author's and
should not be taken to represent those of the Society.
Next issue published 5th February 2015
Copy date: 29th January 2015
The entire set was noted at Crown Point by 28th November. Class 68s
DRS 37405/409 were stabled in the “Royal” sidings at This class is being built at Vossloh’s plant in Spain – the
Norwich. same plant that built the Class 67s – and the two classes
share a strong family likeness. The Caterpillar engine
Other news: produces 3,750 b.h.p. They weigh 85 tons and have a
maximum speed of 100 m.p.h. Some will go to Direct Rail
The lever frame from the closed signalbox at Brandon has Services and some to Chiltern Rail.
been recovered for re-use on the North Norfolk Railway.
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Away from the Tracks
Treasure Quest From the Salerooms
I know some of you listen to Radio Norfolk’s Treasure Quest Anyone who invested in the 1st edition of “The Railways of
on a Sunday morning. On 28th September one of the clues Britain – A Historical Atlas” (2003) by the late Colonel
took the deadly duo comprising driver Ian Forster and M.H.Cobb might be interested to learn that the 2-volume set
“runner” Chrissie Jackson to the miniature railway at Eaton realised £420 at auction recently.
Park, run by the NDSME.
A B.R. Signalbox Train Register from Hardingham box
The clue that needed to be unravelled was: “It sounds as if covering the period September 1956 to December 1957 and
you have consumed the man behind a famous fictional dog. another part-completed book (from Holt) were sold to one of
Find a magnificent warship in the class of the man in black’s our local members but the price is being kept confidential.
Finally, a copy of the Society’s 14pp “Report of a Traffic
Duly unravelled by clever listeners, the man behind the Census” held on 19th July 1958 (including ex-M&GN lines)
famous fictional dog was Nick Park, creator of Wallace & sold for £12.
Gromit. Sounds as if you have consumed = eaten i.e. Eaton.
The magnificent warship was Eaton Park’s own miniature Thanks to Mike Handscomb for supplying this information.
loco (B.R. D 828 Magnificent); the man in black was Valentine
Dyall, not Johnny Cash, and his answer was “Forty-two”, to Trust me…I’m an Estate Agent…Commuting
which class D 828 belonged! from Spooner Row will be easy!
The particular clue was hidden in their “Warship” locomotive The EDP’s Property Column for Friday 17th October
Magnificent, and Mike Fordham’s image (below) shows exceeded the usual “estate agent hype” over a new
Chrissie extracting the brown envelope, watched by NDSME development at Spooner Row. Mike Handscomb kindly drew
Chairman Barry Fane, whilst Ian records the moment for my attention to the following extract from a feature by Richard
posterity. During the day a collection was made in aid of the Aldous, Head of new homes in the eastern region at Savills:
BBC’s “Children in Need” appeal, which raised the equally- “One new development due to launch in the New Year will be
magnificent sum of £1531. an early test; this collection of 20 detached houses at
Spooner Row is likely to have strong appeal. They will be
With thanks to our man on the spot, Mike Fordham. homes that we might expect to attract buyers connected to
the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, for example, but now we
predict interest from the direction of Addenbrooke’s
too. And, given what we know about the appeal of
transport connections generally, the presence of a
local train station is likely to broaden its appeal even
And how might the presence of Spooner Row’s “local
train station” help commuters? Well…anyone
connected to the NNUH may work shifts and would, in
any case, need to get to the NNUH from Thorpe
station. Just for fun let’s look at the timetable (readily
available on the internet if Savills cared to look) to see
what commuters might expect. Well, there’s a
Mondays to Fridays 0704 ex-Cambridge, due Spooner
Row 0811 and Norwich 0830, followed by an 0912
ex-Cambridge, due Spooner Row 1011 and Norwich
1030. Then there’s an almighty gap…until the next
day! Are the hordes of prospective Addenbrooke’s
commuters likely to have an easier journey? Sadly not
– miss the 1638 Norwich - Cambridge, due Spooner
Row 1654 and Cambridge 1759, and you’ve got to
spend the night there!
A miscellany of news and members’ contributions
Recently at the URC Hall Mass Transit Rail Hong Kong, he became Head of
Operations for London Overground Rail Ltd and MTR
“The Train to Sóller” and “Diesel Train Driver” Crossrail won the bid to run Crossrail. He will be moving to
(Bob Brister & Roger Kingstone - 2nd October) MTR Crossrail in January.
On another warm evening we enjoyed presentations on He explained that London Overground is a concession (as
disparate subjects! opposed to a franchise) which is a contract to supply a
service, with no fare box income. It receives a fixed price +
Before the interval, Bob Brister took us to Majorca (or inflation but there are lots of penalties for non-delivery e.g.
Mallorca, if you prefer) and gave a digital show describing the £62 per minute of lateness.
railway to Sóller which ran north from the capital, Palma. It is
privately owned and opened in 1912. Steam locomotives (4- London Overground’s humble beginnings were in November
6-0Ts) and the British influence – along with British 2007 with just the North London line, West London line
equipment – has meant the gauge was – and is – 3’. (Willesden Junc – Clapham Junc), Tottenham & Hampstead
Construction of the line took some 5 years, and above (Gospel Oak – Barking) & the D.C. line (Euston – Watford
Bunyola there are 13 tunnels and a viaduct. Steam continued Junc). Traction was Class 150 DMU and Classes 313 & 508
until the line was electrified in 1929 and the electrical EMU with 166 drivers.
equipment still in use is probably unique. The line runs on a
1200V overhead supply and is single track with passing New traction appeared in October 2009 with 24 x 3-car Class
loops. There are numerous citrus orchards, almond orchards 378 EMU and 8 x 2-car Class 172 DMU. 2010 saw 23 x 4-car
and olive groves to be seen as the train heads north before 378s for the East London line whilst 2011 saw the 378s
serious climbing starts after Bunyola. Having reached the boosted to 4-car units throughout.
summit above Sóller the train has to travel 4 miles on a
horseshoe descent to cover the last direct mile into Sóller. To run the services, there are now 448 drivers on new terms
The coaches are all wood, are in excellent condition, have and conditions which include Sunday in the working week, the
toastrack seating and have verandahs at each end. The only difference being that on Sunday mornings services start
journey takes just under an hour. Sóller station was originally later. There is full Driver Only Operation (DOO). The
a manor house, built in 1606, and it also houses a small but reduction of operational incidents (e.g. SPAD) is coupled with
notable art gallery. a new style of learning with much use made of DVDs (using
professional actors) and we were treated to some very
Bob concluded an excellent presentation with some images of amusing clips, but the most disturbing incident was drivers
the main rail/bus interchange at Palma – spotlessly clean and releasing doors on the wrong side. A general reduction of
very modern! these incidents was essential with the Olympics fast
approaching (and, in the event, passed off very well).
After the interval, Roger Kingstone presented “Diesel Train Route expansion has continued with the East London Line
Driver” – a B.R. instructional film from the mid-1950s, co- Core Route opening in December 2009 and the full ELL
incident with the introduction of DMUs in Lincolnshire and opening in May 2010. In 2011, the ELL was extended to
Norfolk. This was divided into sections – “Driving the Trains”, Highbury & Islington (Victoria Line), now a massive hub. The
“Dealing with Faults” and “Operational Matters”. South London line from Clapham Junc to Surrey Quays
opened in December 2012, making it possible to have a
The film opened with a standard Derby unit being started up circular journey around London. DOO now exists on all
at Lincoln, and then we saw shots at Firsby and Skegness. It routes.
came as a surprise to see this unit in Norfolk along with the
usual Derby “Lightweight” and Metro-Cammell units. The In May 2015, London Overground will take over the West
units then put in appearances all over Norfolk – sometimes Anglia routes to Cheshunt, Chingford, Enfield Town and
with a cast of “passengers” – and we saw them at diverse Romford to Upminster. In 2018 there will be new electric
locations including County School, North Walsham, Tivetshall trains for the T & H, West Anglia & D.C. lines.
and Wymondham, as well as a session on the Ashwellthorpe
branch where D16/3 4-4-0 62619, amid cheers from the Crossrail is a concession, similar to London Overground, but
audience, “rescued” a defective unit! with tougher targets – delays costed @ £126 per minute.
Driver numbers will increase from 86 to 396 and the Class
An enthralling film, showing so much that has since been 315s will be replaced by the Class 345s. Crossrail’s opening
swept away, and thanks to Roger for bringing it to our timetable is:
attention. Thanks also to Andy Wright, our projectionist. (EM) ▪ May 2015 – Liverpool St – Shenfield (effectively a take-
“The London Outer Orbital Railway – over of the present suburban services), with Class 345s
Historical, Construction & Proposed coming in May 2017;
Developments” (Les Bird - 16th October) ▪ May 2018 – Paddington – Heathrow;
▪ December 2018 – Paddington – Abbey Wood along with
A large audience was present to hear from Les Bird, the Central Operating Section (& its 3 measurement points
Operations Manager, Transport for London. Les began by to calculate delays);
explaining that his 34 years in the rail industry had begun ▪ May 2019 - Paddington – Shenfield;
trackside. He later went on to become General Manager at ▪ December 2019 – full opening to Maidenhead, with the
Nottingham for Central Trains, but was made redundant and likelihood of extending to Reading.
Crossrail’s stock will be maintained at 2 depots – Old Oak
Having helped win the London Rail Concession (LRC) with Common & Ilford. Those of you with long memories may
recall visiting Old Oak in steam days, and just think of the
number of uses the depot and surrounding area have seen
We are often reminded that the Norwich – London line has all visited a few “branch lines” serving various mines and
sorts of problems so it was refreshing to hear some railway isolated communities in the Rockies – one such “branch line”
good news from a real expert. was 357 miles long (about 50 miles longer than Paddington –
Penzance – Ed.)!
There was time at the end for a comprehensive Q & A Locations such as Ashcroft, Kamloops, Jasper, Jasper Park,
session, in which Les ably dealt with all of the questions put Field and Cathedral Rock yielded stunning Rocky Mountains
to him. He was warmly applauded and we are grateful to Les images and colossal bridges, whereas Winnipeg and Toronto
for taking the time to make this presentation. Thanks also go showed the other extreme of freight yards in a large city. The
to Chris Mitchell for acting as “go-between” and to Andy extreme cold could be felt at Churchill, Manitoba, where there
Wright for projection services. is no road access to the outside world. Everything goes in
and out by rail, the inward freight train preceding the
Chris has told me that, since the meeting, he has received passenger with much-needed supplies. Tender scenes of
several very favourable reports from members which he has polar bears at Churchill served to remind us that Canada is
kindly relayed to Les. (EM) not all about railways.
“Railways across Canada” (John Day - 6th Chairman Peter Cooke thanked John for an entertaining
November) evening, while John took a number of questions from the
appreciative audience. (Gordon Bruce)
Regular Society visitor John Day entertained us on a
November evening, when the heating was turned up high, An Evening with Colin Gifford (20th November)
with an illustrated account of his train-chasing adventures in
Canada. John’s high-quality pictures were taken from 7 63 shillings. 3 guineas. £3 3s….whichever pre-decimal
different trips to the large country, accompanied by a small terminology you favour, it was a lot to pay for a railway
group of similarly-minded enthusiasts, and followed the ‘picture book’ in 1965, particularly when you were just starting
railway scene between Toronto and Vancouver (a distance of to earn a living. But I’d been brought up on railway
2,775 miles) and then on to Churchill, on Hudson Bay. photographs with standard front-three-quarter views of a loco
or train, so I was bowled over by the images in Colin Gifford’s
John’s talk was divided into a number of geographical Decline of Steam. Here was an eye-opening cornucopia:
sections (which didn’t necessarily tie in with individual visits). gloomy industrial landscapes, silhouetted viaducts, smoky
For instance, we began in British Columbia, running through engine sheds penetrated by the occasional shaft of sunlight.
Thompson and the Fraser River Canyon to Ashcroft BC, a
distance of only 125 miles but which took 10 hours for a Colin trained as a designer, and was fortunate to have
freight train to traverse, as a result of the many constraints on worked as art editor for Ian Allan for a few years. After IA
speed - steep gradients, sharp curves, and not forgetting the published Decline of Steam, more of Colin’s photographs
sheer length of the trains. These could be two or even three have reached us through a few prestigious volumes: notably
miles in length – the longest train noted had two locos at the Each A Glimpse (1970) and And Gone Forever (1994).
front and no less than 220 empty wagons in tow! Through the good offices of Dave Pearce – for whom
Comparisons were made with the extremely short Sandite chairman Peter Cooke stepped aside for the evening – the
train which came to grief at Lingwood a few days prior to the Society was privileged to have Colin as our speaker for the
Many of the routes depicted had separate lines owned and
operated by Canadian National and Canadian Pacific,
although some of the time these lines were on alternative
sides of river valleys, with trains of both companies sharing
one line in one direction, and the other the opposite way. The
(very long) passing loops were similarly shared, with 4-aspect
colour lights (red, yellow, green and white) controlling
John is an excellent raconteur, and his stories of train-chasing In 1994 Royal Mail issued a set of five postage stamps
were very entertaining. He explained that the group always featuring Colin’s photographs.
hired 4x4 vehicles, as these – along with the slow speed of
the trains – made chasing very easy. There were encounters His early railway expeditions, he told us, were on RCTS shed
with the local wildlife to contend with, mind you, be they bashes, but while the rest of the party were busy collecting
rattlesnakes, a golden eagle, bears (brown, black, grizzly and every number Colin would wander off and explore photo
polar) and elks! Experience, coupled with sound advice from possibilities. Later he favoured public transport for reaching
the locals, taught them how to deal with such creatures, many his locations, which must have involved some complicated
of which were depicted in John’s images in case we needed a journey planning in that pre-internet age.
respite from the trains! We also heard tales about
accommodation, getting permission to enter Indian lands, and
how taking a package tour to Canada but choosing to depart
from the main party to do their own thing proved to be
Although some passenger trains were seen, it was the
immense freight trains that North America is known for.
Principal traffics included grain, coal, sulphur, ingots and
“stacks” (containers stacked one above the other). We also
Through his books we associate him with monochrome
images – so it was a surprise that all the evening’s images
were in colour. He warned us that the nearest we’d get to
East Anglia was Spalding (in fact we did see a shot of
Ipswich) - but even so, the geographic spread was
breathtaking, with no time to get accustomed to a particular
location. After the Tay bridge came Barmouth bridge, and
then the timber swing bridge over Langstone Harbour on
the Hayling Island branch - and so on.
Shed scenes abounded, from Weymouth to Polmadie.
Colin has always had a fondness for industrial lines (his
Steam Railways in Industry album appeared in 1976), and
we saw wonderful shots of the delightful RSH crane tanks
at Doxford & Sunderland Shipbuilding Co.
The pictures were enlivened by Colin’s self-deprecating
commentary on his technique, which provided a useful
pointer to elements which would not have occurred to many Shafts of light penetrate the smoky gloom at Leeds (Holbeck)
of us - here, he had taken care to position the yard lamps; shed; also from Decline of Steam.
here, the train had been captured a second or two before
the ‘usual’ position as he felt it related to the background
more sympathetically. As with his monochrome work, a
foreground object would often occupy pride of place: a Help wanted, please
grounded wagon body, a clump of rosebay willow herb in
front of a Bolton viaduct, a line-up of 1970s cars (Colin and Every Society meeting depends upon a willing band of
many in the audience having fun identifying them). Meanwhile helpers – getting a meeting programme together, organising
the train was in the background but not as the centre of refreshments, arranging projection equipment and so forth.
attention. Colin doesn’t believe in digitally manipulating Then there is the little matter of the Society Newsletter – 6
images, but he did confess to having occasionally enhanced issues a year – each issue having 16 pages to be filled.
things: one view had a red oil drum rolled into a more suitable
location, while snow scenes on occasions had extra footprints One of the ways this is achieved is by reporting the meetings
for effect. that have taken place – partly for record purposes and partly
Perhaps his best piece of advice was ‘there’s no such thing to encourage others to come along. You have just read 4
as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ weather’. You can, as he’s proved time and reports – compiled by 3 members of the Committee – so you
time again, create superb photographs on a gloomy wet day. have a good idea how it’s done.
Both Dave Pearce and Peter Cooke thanked Colin for giving Reporting these meetings is a task that could well be
us a wonderful evening, and several Society members left the delegated to any number of people but, for the past year or
URC Hall happy to have the author’s signature on their so, reporting has been done by members of your Committee
treasured copy of Decline of Steam or Each a Glimpse. (see above) simply because nobody else seems willing to
come forward to offer their services. This has been aired at
Thanks also to Andy Wright for operating the projector. Annual General Meetings so it should hardly be a surprise,
and it refuses to go away. Would you like to help?
I am sure there are several people who are able to write a
meeting report or two but there is a reluctance to come
forward. Do, please, have a word with me as the alternative
may simply be to drop these reports if people are not
prepared to write them. Over to you, as they say. (Edward
This atmospheric shot of Crumlin Viaduct (long-since Norfolk Transport Group – “Team Quiz Night”
demolished) appeared in Decline of Steam. (13th November)
Some 15 participants submitted to Malcolm Cooper’s annual
brain-teasers. Time did not permit us to get through all of the
rounds Malcolm had devised, but a round we had required us
to place Norwich’s bridges in correct sequence, east to west.
Seasonal refreshments are always part of the proceedings
and a good time was enjoyed by all. Winners and runners-up
all received prizes and if more people come along next year,
so much the better. All forms of transport are covered, so
there’s something for everyone. Many thanks to Malcolm for
taking the time and trouble to research the questions, which
was no mean feat! (EM)
Portsmouth Long Weekend (1st- 4th August) - carriage and wagon workshops, refreshment rooms, gift and
Concluding Part (Ken Mills) model shop, secondhand bookshop, toilets, baby-changing
facilities, picnic area, events field and a free car park! But the
Day 3 Sunday (Sunny & Warm) pièce de résistance is the recently-constructed “Train Story
Discovery Centre” – a large shed of a building containing four
I hadn’t been to the Isle of Wight since 1966 so I was very tracks featuring various rolling stock items which included a
interested to see what had happened in the intervening 48 Southern E1 class 0-6-0T numbered W2 to represent the four
years. Our member, Ian Woodruff, had made several trips in original engines of this type brought to the Island to work the
recent years and provided glowing reports of the high freight traffic. The Discovery Centre also sheltered a
standards on the preservation railway, so here was my neglected and chimney-less LMS 2-6-2T 41313. Apart from
chance, at last, to see for myself. We crossed the Solent on the two working engines plus the two above in the Discovery
the 0915 “fast cat” from Portsmouth Harbour station, changed Centre, a further six locomotives were noted around the loco
at Ryde Pier Head on to the 0949 “tube” train for the “Island depot. These were: A1X 0-6-2T W11 (ex-32640), LMS 2-6-
Line” on to Shanklin. Peter Davies and I walked down from 2T 41298, 2 Hunslet standard 0-6-0STs from 1953 (198
the station to the cliff-top overlooking the beach below, taking Royal Engineer and Waggoner), 0-6-2T 38 Ajax (Andrew
in the view of Sandown Bay with Calver Cliff prominent in the Barclay 1918) and finally 0-4-0ST 37 Invincible (Hawthorn
background. We then returned to Brading station, former Leslie 1915). Returning from Haven Street at 1526 we were
junction for the Bembridge branch, where a visit to the able to connect with the 1647 ferry to Portsmouth, so ending
preserved signalbox was on offer, along with the inspection of an eye-opening day on the I.O.W. Steam Railway. It had
two rooms devoted to conserving relics of the old I.O.W. been as good as Ian said it would be! As an alternative
railways. The chance of a drink and a piece of cake was venue, some of the ladies opted for a visit to Osborne House,
taken up while chatting to an enthusiastic member of the Queen Victoria’s hideaway on the Island, enjoying a regal day
I.O.W. Steam Railway. The same person also introduced out.
Peter and I to the duties of a signalman and we had half-an- Day 4 Monday (Sunny & Warm)
hour’s tuition, ringing the bell codes and familiarising
ourselves with the attendant instruments involved. In the The brochure indicated that, on the way back to Norwich, we
1960s there were two stretches of double track on the Island were to visit a “Mystery Railway” so, on leaving Portsmouth in
– first from Ryde Pier Head through Esplanade and St John’s the morning, tensions were high. Where were we going?
Road stations out to Smallbrook where the Ventnor and Joining the A27 eastbound, immediate thoughts were the
Newport/Cowes lines parted company - and secondly from Amberley Chalk Pits Museum, only a short distance along the
Brading to Sandown. The latter has been singled, but the same road. This idea was quickly dashed as we turned north
former remains. During the peak summer services the on to the A3 (M) at Havant and continued past Petersfield
signalman at Brading handled 5 trains an hour in each until turning left at Liss, taking the B3006. This road led to
direction, requiring an extra pair of hands physically to Alton, but we had already been there! Anyway, we didn’t stop
transport the single-line tokens to and from the locomotive but took the A339 to Basingstoke (was Southall a chance?)
crews. Taking the 1228 service from Brading to Smallbrook again passing through on the A33 to Reading. Got to be
(no station here in BR days), we were able to transfer across Didcot; through Reading on to the A4074. Must be Didcot! Or
to the platform of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and was it the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway? Caught out
connect with 1259 non-stop to Wootton, which the local again! Just through Wallingford, we turned right on to the
timetable refers to as “The Tourist”, backed up by a B4009 moving in a north-easterly direction. Ah! Getting out of
headboard with the same name*. The Island Line electric my depth here - Buckinghamshire Railway Centre? Leighton
trains serve Smallbrook only on Steam Railway operating Buzzard? It wasn’t until Watlington that something began to
days and times. stir in the old grey matter. Even so, I still couldn’t put a name
to the railway involved.
Our train, made up of four-wheeled coaches, beautifully
restored, was full, departure on time and
A1X 0-6-0T, W8, Freshwater (ex-32646) in
charge. We hit the “red” timetable – 2
trains operating, each making 5 return
trips with an additional Haven Street to
Wootton service at the day’s end.
Fortunately, the other service was being
worked by O2 0-4-4T 24 Calbourne – the
last remaining example of 23 similar
machines which once graced the Island’s
tracks. Not only was the “red” timetable in
operation, but we caught the “Victorian
Weekend” featuring many fine suits and
dresses of the period, plus hats, spats and
umbrellas. I.K. Brunel could be spotted,
strutting his stuff around the premises,
every inch the man himself! Haven Street,
formerly a small wayside station, reminded
me just how much development had
occurred over the past 48 years. The
1920’s station, complete with built-in
signalbox was still there, as was the island
platform, but what can only be described
as a small village has now grown around it Chinnor station with the refreshment coach on the left.
– museum, locomotive running sheds,
At this point John told us that Watlington was the terminus of BR class 17 D8568 on the site of Chinnor “shed”.
the original line but that it had been cut back to the present
site at Chinnor, where we arrived shortly afterwards. So now had a long ride home ahead of us. Final call was for
we knew! The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, a line photographs of the now derelict signalbox at Princes
of which I had never heard, and difficult to reach. Currently it Risborough which in its day was one of the largest on the
runs for 3 miles, just a ½ mile short of reaching back to the GWR. Norwich was reached at about 2030 after using the
main line at Princes Risborough (the Icknield Line). Not big roads - M40/M25/A12/A14/A140.
normally open to the public on a Monday, the volunteers had
turned out specially for us and put on a light lunch of
sandwiches and cake plus a drink before taking us on a
return journey over their line in the railway’s “Bubble Car”
(W55023 – Ed.). Arriving back at the pretty station at
Chinnor, there was time for a stroll along the track to the
west for quarter of a mile, now used as storage sidings. Here
was their collection of diesel locomotives, including a rare
Class 17 and, at last, a sight of the solitary steamer in the
shape of “1366” class 0-6-0PT 1369, fitted with outside
cylinders and built in 1934 for the GWR. So let us hope that
the next time we visit Chinnor it will be by rail from Princes
Risborough. Somewhat unwillingly, we had to leave as we
Thanks to John and Lyn of Spratts Coaches for a successful
venture with plenty for everyone.
Refreshment time at Chinnor. * Editor’s Note: Believe it or not The Tourist was once the
Island’s named train (express?) which ran from Ventnor to
Freshwater via – presumably – Sandown, Merstone and
Newport (reverse). However, the train ceased to run after
1953 when the Newport – Freshwater section was closed.
And where else might an 0-4-4T regularly haul a named
train? The purge of the Island’s branches in the 1950s is the
subject of a 2-part article in the October & December 2014
issues of Backtrack. Thanks to Mike Fordham for supplying
Ely: 66148 with stone from Potters Group with EMU for Kings Cross & DMU for Norwich on 5th September. (David Pearce).
A visit to Carlisle (Steve Cane)
Luton Town’s first match in League Division Two was an
away trip to Carlisle on 9th August. My wife and I decided to
travel by train to the Border City and spend four days there.
We booked a Premier Inn hotel and then used the Internet to
find our rail tickets. By buying single tickets for the outward
and inward journeys we were able to do the round trip for less
than £40 each.
We left Norwich at 0857, and picked up an East Coast train at
Peterborough for Leeds where we had 40 minutes to wait
before our connection to Carlisle. After a quick snack in the
beautifully restored Art Deco North Concourse, we boarded
the 1249 for the journey across the Yorkshire Dales and
North Pennines to Cumbria. It was a perfect sunny summer’s
day for viewing the spectacular landscapes from our carriage
window - thank goodness the line was reprieved from closure
in 1989. Our train pulled into Carlisle Citadel station bang on
time at 1532, and to be fair every leg of the journey left and 45699 Galatea at Carlisle on 10th August (Steve Cane).
arrived on time.
Next day we went to Keswick on the bus; the weather had Keynes. We found a seat on a morning “Pendolino” for £60 in
changed so we had to dodge the showers while there. As to standard class; when I scrolled down further I was surprised
be expected in August there were crowds of tourists, and to find a first class ticket on the same train for £30! It was a
down at the shore of Derwent Water the lake cruise boats “no-brainer”, the ticket was purchased, and the next day my
were doing a roaring trade. wife headed south in an almost empty carriage being served
complimentary drinks and snacks. I hate to think how much a
From Keswick we caught another bus to Workington, and similar “walk on ticket” would have cost.
after a meal boarded a bus back to Carlisle. Not any bus but
a rather special one called the Stagecoach Gold. As the The weather changed for the worse; on the Sunday it poured
name implies it had gold livery and all leather seats plus free down all day. I decided to pop into the Citadel station, and on
WiFi - very comfortable. On the outskirts of Workington is a entering saw a rake of West Coast Railway carriages. They
were there for a steam tour which had come up from Hellifield
earlier in the day.
Simmering in the sidings was “Jubilee” 45699 Galatea, which
strangely enough I’d seen at the MNR earlier in the year. It
was accompanied by diesel 47580 County of Essex which is
based at the MNR and owned by the Stratford 47 Group.
It was lucky that the rail tour was there, as Carlisle station on
a wet Sunday afternoon would not be very interesting. The
tour passengers made their way back to the train for its 1618
departure, and many could be seen sitting in the Pullman
carriages for afternoon tea as the train pulled away.
Almost forgot: the reason for going to Carlisle was to watch a
football match; my team won the opening game of the season
1 – 0 and are currently doing very well back in the Football
For the bus fans, this is the Stagecoach Gold coach referred Editor’s Note: John Hutchinson should clearly liaise with
to in the text (Steve Cane). Steve for hassle-free journeys! And if anyone can understand
rail fares, well…
huge paperboard mill owned by Iggesund. It has a new Stop Lines aren’t just road markings!
biomass boiler which burns woodchips and coppiced willow to
produce its own electricity to power the paperboard making When I was on holiday I was close to part of the Camel Trail.
processes. The steam from the boiler is also used to heat the No chance of seeing the animals, of course, but part of it
drying cylinders for the paperboard drying section, and any follows the old line from Boscarne to Wenford Bridge.
surplus electricity is fed into the National Grid. With the recent Another unusually-named one I have come across is the Stop
closure of the nearby Tata steelworks this plant provides Line Way. To thwart or impede a possible German invasion
much needed employment for 400 workers. during WW2, various Stop Lines were constructed across the
country, including the Taunton Stop Line. The Taunton Stop
That evening my wife received a message saying that her Line originally ran from Axminster to the coast near
mother wasn’t well, and decided she’d have to go to Highbridge, just south of Weston-super-Mare, and part of it
Dunstable the next day by train to be with her. Once again we came very close to the old line from Taunton to Chard Junc
needed Trainline. com - this time for a single ticket to Milton which closed from 10th September 1962, having left the GW
main line at the wonderfully named Creech Junc. One of the
minor halts on the line was
Donyatt Halt, and here the
substantial concrete defences
can still be seen above the little
halt, which has been restored.
The Stop Line kept close to the
railway as far as Ilminster in
the Taunton direction. (EM)
New Mystery Map
Chris King and David Pearce
may have a bit of head-
scratching to do here, but I
reckon they’ll locate this closed
halt fairly quickly despite its
remote location. As usual,
send your answers to
The solution to the challenge Wissington approaches Weybourne with some of the NNR’s vintage coaching stock (above)
in NRS/NL 59/5 p.8 didn’t tax whilst Robert Scarfe prepares for a token exchange at the M&GN Society’s Members’ Day on
many of our readers who 4th October (David Pearce [upper] and Jane Goodyear [lower]).
realised it was Cowes on the
Isle of Wight. Cowes was
closed to passengers from 21st
February 1966 and to goods
some 3 months later.
Corrections Corner not complete. Its classmate D6703, now in preservation, was
named 1st East Anglian Regiment, but so briefly that the
In our report of the Members’ Summer Round-Up in NRS/NL nameplates were never unveiled. Likewise, D6704 was briefly
59/5 p.6 we inadvertently omitted the most interesting set of named 2nd East Anglian Regiment. The name seems to have
Argentinian/Paraguayan images that had come into John been on D6707 for about 5 months from April 1963 but the
Hutchinson’s possession. These dated from the 1930s and, reason for its removal and the non-unveiling of the other two
as fate would have it, our South American expert (Ken Mills) names isn’t clear. Maybe it was connected with these
was unfortunately absent. If John and Ken are able to put regiments amalgamating to become part of The Royal
their heads together and identify some of the locations etc it Anglian Regiment in September 1964, but the dates are not a
would be good to see this set once more. tidy match. The information on the internet is, well, “iffy”.
Apologies to all concerned, and in particular to Mike
Fordham, for the omission of the words “the foreground” from
the end of the caption to the lower left image in NRS/NL 59/5
This one is down to me. The front-page image of 68009/011
in NRS/NL 59/5 should have been shown as dated 6th
September. But Richard Adderson has compared that image
to one taken nearby on 15th October (right), which shows
47813 and 37604. 47813 entered service as D1720 on 6th
March 1964 whilst 37604 entered service as D6707 on 3rd
February 1961. That’s an aggregate service life of 104 years
or so. We will skip their various renumberings, but D6707 was
briefly named The East Anglian Regiment in the early 1960s,
at a time when a few Class 45 “Peaks”, the Class 52
“Westerns”, and a few Class 47s were deemed worthy of
names. Naming of the Class 55 “Deltics” had begun but was
___________NRS NEWS Membership Matters
New members – we’re past the elusive “ton” At the Society’s AGM last April I reported that we had 93
members - close to a record. Since then I’m delighted to say
Thanks to our presence at the Broadland Model Railway Club that recruitment has continued, thanks in part to Mike
and then the “Silver Sunday” event at Poringland Community Fordham’s undimmed powers of persuasion. As a result our
Centre at the beginning of October, we are pleased to membership now stands at 102 - yes, we’re at an all-time
David Rowlands of Norwich All of which leads seamlessly to the (maybe less welcome)
news that your 2015 subscription to the Society becomes due
and Malcolm Wright of Framingham Earl, on January 1st. But you’ll be pleased to learn that the rates
are, once again, unchanged:
As a result of his attending our meetings, we are pleased to
welcome Ian Bond of Norwich £18.50 for adults
£29.50 for two adults at the same address
Following Les Bird’s presentation, we are also pleased to £9.50 for under-18s.
welcome Brian Kirton of Little Plumstead
. Enclosed with this issue you’ll find a blue renewal form.
This spurt in recruitment means that we now have 102 Please complete it and return it to me with your cheque,
members – an unprecedented figure, and maybe some more either by post or at a meeting. Thank you.
scribes/tea-makers! Mike Handscomb, Membership Secretary.
ANOTHER SORRY SCOTTISH SAGA! (John Hutchinson)
In a previous issue of the Newsletter (NRS/NL 58/6 pp 7/8/9 whenever I travel by train. So, let me bring you up-to-date
– Ed.) I shared with members of the Society the tale of a with some other journeys taken during 2014.
pretty horrendous journey in October 2013 that I experienced
on one of my regular jaunts to the Scottish Highlands. Well, I At the end of March, yet another trip to Scotland went
am about to relate another one, a trip that took place exactly somewhat awry, although not on the scale of the earlier one.
a year and three days later – on this occasion on the return Firstly, a reminder of our well-trodden path (or track) to the
leg. But first, being aware that since the appearance of that Highlands [I shall mainly use the plural 'our' and 'we'
woeful story in these hallowed pages, some of my NRS throughout, as my ever-patient wife, Mary, accompanied me
friends have become very concerned for my welfare on all that follows]: 0757 Norwich-Peterborough, 0946
Peterborough-Edinburgh, 1336 Edinburgh-Inverness, 1715 complete the journey to Norwich, arriving only 20 minutes
Inverness-Forres, arriving 1742. On this occasion, on the later than originally planned.
outward leg a fault occurred in the cab of our East Coast
Class 91 loco somewhere in the Chester-le-Street area; A re-arranged visit to Devon in early September, including a
consequently we were some 20 minutes late into Edinburgh trip along the Dawlish sea-wall to Torquay, produced no real
and missed the Inverness connection. The next available delays to speak of. (Torquay station is rather a sad place
train, the 1428 East Coast HST to Aberdeen (our alternative these days, a shadow of its former self in the heyday of
'Plan B' route), was an hour late from London due to a summer holidays by rail in the 1950s and '60s. Visual proof
lightning strike in the Newcastle area; we just made our will be on the big screen at my NTG presentation next
connection at Aberdeen, arriving at Forres at 2005, nearly February. Oh, and be aware, that if you have cause to use
two-and-a-half hours behind schedule. Happily, the return this large but sparsely-staffed station, the toilets are locked by
journey on 1st April was spot on. 4pm!) Later in the month Bracknell was the destination, a first
time here, although we had previously visited Ascot – two
stops nearer Waterloo – on numerous occasions. The
outward journey involved Norwich to Liverpool Street,
Central Line to Bank, Waterloo & City Line to Waterloo and
Waterloo to Bracknell. Returning was slightly odd, as initially
we travelled further westward to Reading, then Reading to
Paddington, Hammersmith & City Line to Liverpool Street,
and onward to Norwich on the 1900 departure. The only
journey that was delayed was the latter one, a 20-minute
late arrival in Norwich being caused by an earlier breakdown
outside Liverpool Street (I will refrain from comment).
So, let's return to the main theme of this article – I've kept
you waiting long enough! First, the good news; the outward
trip to Forres on 2nd October was faultless and totally stress
free. Four trains used - and never more than two or three
minutes late at any point. Especially gratifying was the on-
time 1322 arrival at Edinburgh Waverley of the East Coast
train; thus no mad dash up the platform and over the
footbridge to catch the 1336 to Inverness.
Rear unit 158727 at Perth on 6th October (John Hutchinson). To capture the full flavour of the return journey on Monday
6th October, first a little background information to set the
In late April, a journey from Norwich to Devon went totally scene. On most occasions in the past we have travelled on
pear-shaped! Our 1000 Norwich to London service behaved the 'Highland Chieftain', East Coast's daily 0755 HST service
impeccably until suddenly grinding to a halt between from Inverness to London. However, because of Sunday
Kelvedon and Witham. After a few minutes’ silence, engineering works on the line from Perth to Inverness, the
passengers were informed that somebody had jumped in down 'Chieftain' on that day was unable to get to the Highland
front of a train at Witham (the 1000 from Liverpool Street). capital and thus there was no set in situ for the Monday
Another announcement followed shortly: our train would service. (By the way, do you know that the HST set on this
reverse to Colchester and a bus replacement might be put in
place around the obstruction. A sad scenario. Suffice to say
that we aborted the journey and returned to Norwich on the
Happily, a June rail-orientated holiday brought a much 158711 (leading) at Perth on 6th October (John Hutchinson).
happier experience (if one can count travelling on a crowded
Pendolino or a Pacer as such). Based in Carlisle, numerous named train, which has been running since 1984, leaves
journeys on Virgin, Northern Rail, ScotRail and King's Cross at midday, returns to the capital around 1550 the
TransPennine services around Cumbria and the Lake following day, Monday to Saturday – a round trip of 1162
District saw no delays of any real consequence. More of that miles?) As a consequence of there being no 'Highland
in future issues, all being well. In late July, in connection with
a major age-related event in my life, we were off down the
East Coast main line yet again, this time only as far as
Northallerton. On the outward trip on the 24th our 1316
service from Peterborough arrived best part of 30 minutes
late from King's Cross, delayed by a signal problem in the
Stevenage area, as I recall; needless to say this was the first
train affected, as those immediately in front of it were on
time. The return journey on the 29th was mildly affected by a
strike involving administrative staff at East Midlands Trains,
Norwich services running only at peak times. Consequently,
at Peterborough we had to avail ourselves of the Cross
Country Birmingham to Stansted Airport service to Ely, then
change onto the regular hourly Greater Anglia service to
Chieftain', we were booked on the 0941 ScotRail service from revealed (allegedly) that our train was to be terminated at
Inverness, due to arrive at Edinburgh at 1323, connecting Perth – oh no it wasn't!). Around 1430 hopes rose when
with the 1400 East Coast train to Peterborough. This would replacement train crew members were noted on the platform,
have meant a Norwich arrival at around 2015, three hours but mutterings, shrugs and head-shaking did not augur well.
later than normal if we had been on the 0755. However, it However, five minutes or so later came a belated
gets worse – much worse! announcement that 'This train will now run non-stop to
Edinburgh', causing a further panic and delay while
Taking a step back, so to speak, our journey actually started passengers for Ladybank, Markinch and Kirkcaldy hastily
at Forres with 170409 operating the slightly late 0805 grabbed their luggage and alighted. Departure from Perth
departure to Inverness, originating at Aberdeen. We then had thankfully came at last, at 1440, some 72 minutes after
an hour to kill at Inverness while the same set was prepared arrival. As compensation, one free item from the trolley was
to form our 0941 Edinburgh-bound train. Although there had offered to all passengers – not just us First Class types (First
been gales overnight in the area and further afield, with Class on a ScotRail 158 means that one is seated adjacent to
122mph recorded in the Cairngorms, there was no hint at this the serfs, unlike the 170s, where one is able to remain distant
stage that there might be problems ahead. Departure was and aloof in a small separate compartment, as per the
on-the-dot but we stopped soon after leaving Inverness to Greater Anglia regular Cambridge 170 sets). Progress was
wait for an incoming freight train to pass (with a new Class 68 unhindered until we reached Waverley, where, just to rub it in,
loco on the front), setting off again after about five minutes. a five-minute wait occurred while awaiting a platform. So,
However, progress was painfully slow as our three-coach 170 here we finally were in the capital at 1550, close on eight
unit attempted to climb the quite steep gradient encountered hours since leaving Forres.
from Inverness and up over Slochd Summit and down to
Aviemore. Eventually, we ground to a halt, followed shortly by By now, we were aware that our next East Coast train for
the driver walking through our front First Class compartment Peterborough was not due to depart until 1700, another 70
to the rear of the train – not a good omen! Sure enough came minutes away. So it was off to the East Coast Trains First
the announcement that due to leaves on the track and poor Class Lounge, situated on platform 8, to get our tickets
rail conditions, etc, etc, the driver was unable to get sufficient amended (i.e. 'due to late-running ScotRail service' scribbled
traction to allow the train to proceed . . . and that the train thereon), enjoy a cuppa and eventually be escorted to the
would return to Inverness. 1700 departure – awaiting us on platform 2, with ample non-
reserved First Class seats to choose from. With 82219
Therefore, some 55 minutes after departing, we were back in leading and 91108 on the rear, departure was five late
the Highland capital still at our table on the train awaiting a because of a 'signal problem on the platform'. I am pleased to
further announcement. This duly came, to the effect that we report that the journey was otherwise uneventful; by York we
would be transferred to the 1045 Edinburgh service, which were nine minutes adrift, four of which were clawed back, but
was now, obviously, delayed. Credit here to ScotRail's station an arrival time at Peterborough of 2052 was in good time for
staff, who allowed passengers from the aborted 0941 to our Norwich connection at 2138. Fortunately it was a mild
board the 1045 train before passengers awaiting that service. evening and we (or I should say I) actually enjoyed the
The consist for the 1045 was two Class 158 units (158711 experience of wandering about a mostly quiet and deserted
and 158727). Thus, an extra carriage but a great deal of station for 45 minutes, observing the late evening comings
confusion as a double-load of passengers tried to find seats and goings of several services not normally seen close to in
and luggage space, albeit, it is good to report, with brilliant the busier hours. Included in this was a Govia Great Northern
assistance from platform and on-board staff, including the Class 365 from King's Cross which terminated at platform 4
trolley attendants. I should add here that with everybody (the regular platform for northbound services) before
eventually settled, panic ensued when an automated reversing to the sidings for the night, and an East Midlands
announcement stated 'This train is for Aberdeen'! However, single-car Class 153 on platform 6, having arrived from
confirmation quickly followed that this was indeed an Spalding before trolling off to Nottingham for the night on the
Edinburgh service. After apologies for the delay and an 2131 service, following a day spent travelling up and down to
announcement to the effect that 'We now have four motors Lincoln.
instead of three, so we should be okay' (!), we departed
Inverness for the second time at 1108 (23 late) – with fingers And so, finally, we boarded the last East Midlands service of
crossed and something of a Dunkirk spirit prevailing on board. the day to Norwich, on time at 2138, with 158812 arriving at
With motors quite obviously straining at times, a slow but Thorpe Station just a couple of minutes or so early at 2315 . .
steady laboured progress was nevertheless made on the a grand total of 15 hours and 10 minutes since leaving
ascent to Slochd Summit and onward to Aviemore, albeit with Forres! I am not sure if I have adequately described the ups
a journey time of 54 minutes instead of the timetabled 38, and and downs of the day, but we survived the experience,
by now running 37 minutes late. The next challenge up and although we were both completely k--------d (can I say that?)
over Druimuachdar Summit from Dalwhinnie and down to the following day.
Blair Atholl was negotiated without incident. Such was the
progress that six minutes was clawed back by the time we As I conclude this article (mid-November), you may be
arrived at Perth, 31 minutes adrift at 1328. interested to know that at present we have no further Scottish
trips in the pipeline. Doubtless, come 2015 I shall be busy at
Earlier, discussion with our conductor indicated that, all being some point booking tickets on the East Coast Trains website,
well, arrival at Edinburgh should just about be in time for us to safe in the knowledge that it can't get any worse . . . or can it?
catch the 1500 East Coast service for Peterborough. And, Or we can go by air to Inverness – trouble is it's more than
indeed, the situation looked quite rosy as we pulled into twice as expensive. And there are no Senior 'Flying' Cards!
Perth. But the aura of hope quickly dissipated with the news
that owing to earlier poor rail conditions between Perth and Editor’s Note: The first 23 or so miles to Slochd includes long
Ladybank, services were disrupted and that our train would stretches at 1 in 60, after which it’s downhill to Aviemore.
be delayed whilst waiting for a replacement crew change. The Serious climbing resumes at Newtonmore – 1 in 95
anticipated departure time was 1410. Oh, and I should add steepening to 1 in 80 (max) near Druimuachdar Summit
that a quick look at the ScotRail website on our laptop before it’s generally downhill to Perth.
The Italian Job (Brian Cornwell)
Regular readers of this Newsletter will recall my wife Julie Termini. If we had opted to stay on our current train we would
and I on our railway walks in Derbyshire and East Yorkshire. have been travelling for a further 2 hours from Naples
In a departure from this activity we had planned a 30th however our revised service got to Rome in only 1 hour.
anniversary trip to Italy and Switzerland which included a rail When we finally arrived at Naples we had six minutes to find
trip starting from Catania on Sicily, travelling the entire length our train and board it! A helpful English - speaking member
of Italy via Naples, Rome, Milan and then through the
Gotthard Pass to Zurich in Switzerland, a journey of around
some 700 miles. I’d like to start by putting Italy, and
particularly Sicily, in context. Our description of “Shabby
Chic” sums up most of what we saw, though in a lot of places
you could readily drop the “Chic”. Also for a country not too
far from the UK we found the culture vastly different from
what we had expected – far less regard for the law
(European-wide seat-belt laws flouted) and little regard for
the country itself (vast piles of household rubbish by the
roadside on the tourist route up Mount Etna). This surprised
and saddened us.
After five nights on Sicily we were to travel to Naples on the Frecciarosso at Roma Termini.
1137 from Catania Centrale. Catania -which is located on the
eastern coast of Sicily, is a bigger city than Norwich and the of the platform staff directed us and by the skin of our teeth,
second largest on Sicily – has a main station with five with Mrs Cornwell and the luggage being thrown on board
platforms and a Metro interchange. Unfortunately the station just before the doors closed, we made our connection. This
infrastructure for travellers is almost non-existent with no train was a “Frecciarosso” which was modern, comfortable
shops or café open at the time we travelled. There was a and fast, touching 300 Kph at times.
“preserved” steam locomotive on platform 1 and platform 2
still had, what looked to be, an operational water crane. With We had one day in Rome so did the usual tourist stuff and
the temperature in mid-September at 34° the shade of the visited the Vatican and Coliseum using the Rome
canopied station was most welcomed. Our route up the coast Metro to get about. The system is a lot simpler than
to Messina, the ferry port to the mainland, took us through the the London Underground with only the Red and Blue
towns of Acireale, Giarre-Riposto and Taormina. Our train lines, ticket machines that “do” English, and relatively
consisted of four compartment coaches with an electric class cheap too. There are trams but not many buses. The
655 Bo-Bo-Bo Trenitalia articulated locomotive at the helm. following day we continued north to Zurich via Milano
The journey time to Messina took 1½ hours where the train Centrale and were booked on the 1100 from Roma
was split, shunted and rolled onto the ferry. Termini. E-Tickets had been used thus far – receipt
printed at home with a PNR or ticket number which
Train on ferry leaving Messina. was checked by the train conductor on an electronic
gizmo – no validation needed. However the final
The crossing to Villa San Giovanni on the mainland takes journey from Milan to Zurich on SBB (Schweizerische
around 30 minutes and you can get off the train and go out on Bundesbahnen) required us to have a printed card
deck to admire the beautiful views. This also gave you an ticket that was validated by the little yellow/orange
opportunity to get a drink or snack as the train had no buffet. machines you find on platforms. (Frankly I can’t see
We left Villa San Giovanni on time and worked our way north the need for this – if you have a valid ticket what does
through the olive groves and vineyards, hugging the west this activity achieve?) I decided to try and get this
coast as we went. We noticed that Italy does not seem to ticket before we left Rome and after three attempts on
have the number of farm animals as in the UK – no fields of a stroppy ticket machine managed to secure it. We
cows, sheep or pigs. We were running to time until we left on time at 1100 on another “Frecciarosso”
reached Salerno, the stop before Naples, where the train sat service, this time travelling first class, which got us
for 15 minutes, wiping out our connection window with the leather seats, more leg room and free coffee and
TGV which was going to take us on the final leg to Roma
snacks. This train ran directly to Milan with no stops and
arrived on time at 1355. Unfortunately our SBB connection to
Zurich at 1445 had been cancelled and we were directed to
customer services in a corner of Milano Centrale. The staff
were most impressive – new itinerary produced with revised
reservations – stamped ticket with details and all done with
perfect spoken English. This journey now involved a change
at Bellinzona with a 6-minute connection so we weren’t out of
the woods yet.
At Lugano the Trenitalia locomotive was removed and we
continued our journey through the Alps under the control of
an archetypical red painted Swiss electric locomotive. The
change of train at Bellinzona went to plan and we found that
we were then travelling on the evening school train. The
route through the Gotthard Pass was awesome – bridges
and tunnels of fantastic engineering prowess and the
mountain and lake scenery just breath-taking. Having
already had several hours of train travel over the past few
days I said to Julie: “Now I remember why I wanted us to
come this way!” The final approach to Zurich is through quite
a long tunnel and we arrived at 1950, only 45 minutes later
than planned. We were staying at an airport hotel for two
nights so we took the train, an electric class 514 double-
deck suburban four-car unit and used the hotel bus from the
airport. The next day we were going to explore Zurich so
headed to Rumlang Bahnhof which was the closest station
to our hotel and had the unexpected bonus of a steam
special running through the station.
The Zurich transport system is very efficient. Zurich SBB Cargo Re4/4 II 11263 brings a freight through Rumlang.
Hauptbanhof has two levels, and reminded me of St Pancras
– there is an extensive tram system which we used, bendy £91 each or around 13p per mile. I am sure that we could not
buses and the Polybahn which is a funicular railway up to the have got air travel cheaper and know that we would not have
university. Zurich (and Switzerland) has order and a feeling seen the countryside in the way that we did.
of security unlike Rome (or Italy) and I must confess that we
felt more comfortable. We took a trip on Zurichsee by water (Thanks to Brian for the images.)
ferry, had Bratwurst for lunch, purchased Swiss chocolate
from the Sprungli shop (the uber posh bit of Lindt) and one of
us (not me!) brought a Swatch watch. The cost of our rail
travel booked via the Trenitalia website well in advance was
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
Services on our Local Railways
Ashmanhaugh Light Railway, East View Farm, Stone Lane, Ashmanhaugh, NR12 8YW. For information:
Barton House Railway, Hartwell Road, Wroxham, NR12 8TL. For information: www.bartonhouserailway.org.uk – Tel: 01603-
The Bure Valley Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.bvrw.co.uk - or telephone 01263-
The Mid-Norfolk Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.mnr.org.uk - or telephone 01362-
The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, Brockford Station, Wetheringsett, IP14 5PW - For details of individual events please visit their
website - www.mslr.org.uk - or telephone 01449-766899.
The North Norfolk Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.nnrailway.co.uk - or telephone 01263-
The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway. For information: www. wellswalsinghamrailway.co.uk or tel: 01328 711630 (up to 1700
The Whitwell & Reepham Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.whitwellstation.com - or
Editor’s Note: All “Mince Pie” & “Santa Specials” have been excluded from our Working Timetable as the information is readily
available elsewhere e.g. from the railway company websites, from railway company leaflets or by telephoning the railway
DECEMBER STEAM DREAMS - “The Cathedrals Express”. Southend & Upminster to Norwich. Scheduled
6th Sat haulage by two Black Fives. For details see steamdreams.com or telephone 01483 209888.
7th Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – “Steam Sunday”.
11th Thur 1930 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - “Warships” – Hadrian Jeffs.
11th Thur RAILWAY TOURING COMPANY - “The Yuletide Express”. Norwich (08:00) - Wymondham -
Attleborough - Thetford - Brandon - Ely - March - Peterborough - Grantham - Doncaster - York
(13:20). Return from York at 17:00 due to arrive Norwich 22:15. For details see railwaytouring.net
or telephone 01553 661500.
18th Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – Members’ Evening: Pictures, Films, Readings, Short Talks
etc. Maximum of 10 min. per member, please. No doubt there will be the usual collection for
the St. Martin’s Housing Trust.
27th - 28th Sat - Sun MID NORFOLK RAILWAY - Christmas Diesel Gala. A fleet of BR diesel locomotives will be in
4th Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – “Steam Sunday”.
8th Thur NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – Chairman’s Address - Part 1 - “The History of Railway
Guns”; Part 2 - “Railways in the Cinema”; Part 3 - “Commercial Breaks” - Peter Cooke.
15th Thur 1930 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – An Evening with Graham Smith.
22nd Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Radipole Halt to Wymondham Abbey: Chronicles of a
Mis-spent Youth” - Mike Handscomb.
29th Thur 1930 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) – “Changes on the Isle of Wight” - Mike
Fordham and Keith Greentree.
FEBRUARY WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – “Steam Sunday”.
5th Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Pictures from Here and There” - David Pearce.
11th Weds STEAM DREAMS – “The Cathedrals Express” - Norwich & Ipswich to Windsor. Scheduled haulage
ex-LNER B1 61306 Mayflower. For details see steamdreams.com or telephone 01483 209888.
12th Thur 1930 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - Out and about with John Hutchinson.
19th Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “South American Standard Gauge (Argentina and Guyana)”
- Ken Mills.
21st Sat 1200 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - ANNUAL SHOW. Please reserve the date.
26th Thur 1930 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) - “Preserved French Steam” - Peter
8th Sun RAILWAY TOURING COMPANY – “The Easterling”. Scheduled haulage either ex-LNER B1 61306
Mayflower or Britannia Class Pacific 70000 Britannia. London Kings Cross (pu) - Potters Bar (pu) -
Stevenage (pu) - Cambridge (pu) -Norwich - Reedham – Lowestoft - Beecles - Saxmundham -
Bacon Factory Curve - Stowmarket - Bury St.Edmunds - Newmarket - Cambridge (sd) - Stevenage
(sd) - Potters Bar (sd) - London Kings Cross. For details see railwaytouring.net or telephone 01553
Printed by Express Impressions. Tel. 01603 301127