1955 Now in our 60th Year 2015
Norfolk Railway Society
Founded 1955 www.norfolkrailwaysociety.org.uk
Volume 60 No. 1 Jan/Feb 2015
news from railways in and around Norfolk
GE LINES UPDATE: January
Mk 3 refurbishment:
Abellio Greater Anglia marked the formal
commencement of the Mk3 coach
refurbishment upgrade with due ceremony
held at Crown Point depot with the Norwich
MPs present on 22nd December. 29
Standard Class vehicles will see an
additional 4 seats inserted and 7 RFMs will
see their seating changed from First to
Standard Class arrangement.
The former West Coast “Pretendolino” Mk3
set has been leased by AGA to provide
additional cover during its own
refurbishment programme. Following
modifications the set was taken out on test
behind 90013 from Crown Point to 47790 Galloway Princess, one of the “Northern Belle” liveried locos, makes a
Colchester on 21st January and is scheduled change from the usual DRS liveried 47s on the short set. It was used for a few
to enter traffic, possibly with an AGA DVT days earlier this month before going back to Crewe, and here it is at Acle with the
and refreshment vehicle, on 26th January. 1036 Norwich – Great Yarmouth on 13th January (Richard Adderson).
Whilst out on test the set passed DRS
57012 stabled at Stowmarket - this loco had
suffered a seized traction motor and awaits a wheel skate during each week-night possession.
journey to Dereham for collection by road for repair.
The high output ballast cleaner train features the actual
High Output Ballast Cleaner: ballast cleaner machine with wagons carrying either
excavated spoil and/or new ballast and is top and tailed by
In early January Network Rail commenced an intensive GBRf Class 66 locomotives. The train is of such length and to
programme of ballast cleaning to restore the ride quality along cater for the emptying/replenishing of the wagons that it is
the GEML. The first stage will be to deal with the Norwich to stabled at Harwich Parkeston Quay during the day.
Stowmarket section which will see late night weekday and
some weekend services from London terminate at Ipswich Disruption of GEML weekend services until 22nd March:
with bus substitution for onward passengers and some early
morning services retimed to cater for single line working past During the week commencing 19th January Network Rail
the site of the works. More than ¼ mile of track can be treated announced that services between Norwich and London would
In This Issue be disrupted every weekend between 31st January and 22nd
Track Report March with replacement bus services provided between
Billericay and Colchester/Manningtree/Ipswich whilst point
1 and crossing renewals take place at Colchester, Witham and
Heritage, Narrow-Gauge & Miniature 3 Chelmsford. As part of the £15m scheme some overhead line
Away From the Tracks 4 renewal work will be undertaken. Fingers crossed, hoping for
Pick-up Goods 4 no “over-running engineering works” scenarios on the
Monday mornings such as when problems were experienced
NRS News 11 at Stratford which made a change from past problems at
Features Colchester and Ipswich!
Lake District and Mountains Rail Roamer by 11 IPEMU (Independently Powered EMU) - Batteries included:
Working Timetable 15 Newly-converted class member 379013 commenced a 5-
week trial on the Manningtree to Harwich Town branch on
12th January. The EMU has been converted to enable arrived at Manningtree with the pantograph raised! Prior to
operation either under 25kV catenary or the new battery departure the pan was lowered and the unit performed well
mode. One just had to try out the new prototype (which is a on the run to Harwich Town. Acceleration may not have been
further development of previous battery powered stock such up to 25kV standards but was more than adequate. On arrival
as London Underground engineering locomotives, battery at Harwich the pan was raised for the return journey to
locos - converted from Class 501 EMU vehicles - for use on Manningtree – the unit has a range of 60 miles on battery
the GN Northern City lines to Moorgate and, more recently, power and requires 2 hours charging for each hour of battery
the Hitachi HST power car) and on 19th January the unit operation running. Some charging is possible courtesy of
Norfolk Railway Society braking. Under
(Founded 1955) battery power the
President: Arnold Hoskins, Esq. extremely quiet
Vice-President: Ken Mills, Esq. compared with
Committee and Officers 2014-2015 Telephone equipment hum
when under 25kV
Chairman Peter Cooke supply. The six
rafts of batteries
Vice Chairman Brian Cornwell used are Lithium
Past Chairman Gordon Bruce Phosphate based
Secretary Peter Adds
A future candidate for direct Great Yarmouth to Liverpool St
Treasurer John Laycock services perhaps? The prototype is designed to establish the
feasibility of operating on short non-electrified branches off
Fixtures Arranged by sub-committee electrified routes and/or when there is a need to have long
“neutral sections” where clearances etc are such that 25kV is
Membership Sec. Mike Handscomb not possible.
Newsletter Editor Edward Mann Signalling problems:
Publicity Mike Fordham A mini-epidemic with at least two instances between Ipswich
and Colchester on 9th and 22nd December and Shenfield –
Committee Members: Ingatestone on 20th December necessitated the termination of
some Up services at Colchester and Norwich-bound services
Graham Kenworthy running up to 90 minutes late. The worst problem occurred on
the morning of 18th December when services were unable to
Chris Mitchell run between Ipswich and Stowmarket for over 3 hours.
Peter Willis The New Year started with a signalling/points issue at
Haughley Junction on 6th January with the 1158 Ipswich –
------------------------------ Peterborough service diverted to Norwich – and another
problem occurred between Ingatestone and Chelmsford on
Website Editor Andrew Wright 7th January. Problems at Cambridge disrupted travel on the
Norwich – Ely route on the 17th; a points issue at Whitlingham
Archivist Raymond Meek Junc prevented access to the Sheringham line early that
same morning, and a short duration problem occurred at
============================================= Norwich the following morning. The rich tapestry of rail travel!
Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter
Editor Edward Mann A new turnback siding has been installed on the country side
of Chadwell Heath station between the Up and Down Electric
Layout and Picture Editor Andrew Wright Lines to serve future Crossrail services which may terminate
at Chadwell Heath.
Distribution Graham Smith Class 315 EMUs:
Please contact Graham if the next edition does not arrive by These are now running with no AGA branding presumably in
the end of the month of publication anticipation of some West Anglia services, and a number of
the 315s, transferring to London Overground in May.
Opinions expressed in any articles are the author's and
should not be taken to represent those of the Society. Chelmsford Down Yard:
Next issue published 2nd April 2015
Copy date: 12th March 2015 After several months inactivity 66177 was noted with an
aggregates train discharging at the Lafarge Tarmac terminal
on 20th January.
Richard Adderson took this image of 66598 heading south the W&PR’s station buildings – Nigel Digby has dubbed the
over the River Bure at Wroxham on 20th December. It was design ‘twin pavilion’ – were ‘uncannily similar’ to Caister and
shuttling to and from North Walsham for route-learning Great Ormesby.
purposes. Occasional Freightliner-worked engineers’ trains
have since been run from Norwich to North Walsham and The common features of the W&PR and GY&S stations, in
back, usually in the early hours of Sunday mornings, so that layout and elevation, are not hard to see. Most obvious,
the loco can run round its train. Apparently, it’s easier to run perhaps, are the bargeboards on the pavilion gables. Their
round at North Walsham than it is at Norwich. lower edge is shaped to a concave curve, and they’re topped
with a large finial. Later variations on the twin pavilion theme
could be be found on many M&GN stations.
Did JJW come up with the twin pavilion, or had he seen it
elsewhere? It may be that he had observed something similar
on the Wirksworth branch of the Midland Railway as, in 1868,
he was the civil engineer for a proposed line from the MR at
Idridgehay to Ashbourne.
Further details of J J Wilkinson and his buildings can be found
in M&GN Circle Bulletin no.639 (June 2014). Thanks to Mick
Clark, Editor of the Bulletin for permission to quote from this
issue. (Mike Handscomb)
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Miniature
Making the connection Great Ormesby station. The right-hand section of the build-
ing was a later addition. (Commercial postcard)
In NRS NL 59/6 pp7/8 Ken Mills told how his Portsmouth
Long Weekend was rounded off on the way home with a visit Overhauling its operations
to the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway. In Ken’s
photograph Chinnor station – rebuilt to the original design a The NNR bought Chatham Steam Ltd towards the end of
dozen or so years ago by preservationists – looks vaguely 2013 so that it has a complete loco overhaul operation.
familiar, and there’s a good reason for that.
Since then, 3 600mm gauge locos have arrived at Weybourne
Chinnor station lay on the the Watlington and Princes Works, the first being Chrzanow LAS 0-6-0T 3297/1954. It
Risborough Railway, which opened in 1872. Engineer for the was ready for a boiler test in June and left briefly for a special
line was J J Wilkinson, a partner in the firm of Wilkinson & event in Belgium. It was back on 23rd June along with
Jarvis. A few years later W&J prepared plans for the Great Henschel 0-4-0 Aquila, which will work at the same Belgian
Yarmouth & Stalham Light Railway, one of the M&GN’s location. When the Chrzanow loco came back it was stripped
antecedents, and these plans would have included Caister down, and should now be in Polish State Railways olive
and Great Ormesby stations. In 1998 it was Paul Karau, green livery.
founder of Wild Swan Publications, who first pointed out that
There is a lot of work to be done on Aquila (15862/1917) as it
was originally an 0-6-0T and will return to that configuration.
Another loco - a Hanomag 0-4-0T - arrived more recently for
overhaul at Weybourne.
Chinnor station, re-created in 2002 and now HQ of Lieut-Commander Roy Francis R.N. (ret’d)
the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway. (Chinnor
and Princes Risborough Railway Association) As this issue closed for press we were saddened to learn
of the death, on 26th January, of Lieut.-Commander Roy
Francis, R.N. (ret’d) aged 92. He was the founder of the
Wells Beach Harbour Railway and the Wells &
Walsingham Light Railway, and a good friend of the
Society. We send our condolences to his widow and
Away from the Tracks The ferry’s location may cause a bit of head-scratching,
however. You need to find St Mawes (of “Castle” fame),
Any More for the Ferry? opposite Falmouth, and then follow the A3078/B3289 to the
ferry. The nearest village seems to be Philleigh, and the ferry
This roughly 50 year-old image is of the old King Harry Ferry takes you across King Harry’s Reach in the general direction
in Cornwall. No doubt car experts will tell me if the rearmost of Feock. Those interested in ferries should note that it’s one
car is a Ford Corsair or Cortina. Looking at an old AA Road of our few chain ferries.
Book (1962 Edition) the ferry had space for 24 cars. As you
can see, the cars were squeezed in and in those pre-Health & It was the scene of an unfortunate accident almost 2 years
Safety days one wonders how rigidly the rule was applied. ago when a Mazda rolled down the slipway into the river and
the elderly lady passenger was drowned, her husband having
got out of the car to take a picture. Forensic examination
showed that the handbrake had been applied to the second of
six notches only.
With thanks to Mike Roach for the image.
Under the Hammer in New York
Two 40” x 50” railway posters advertising the delights of
Great Yarmouth & Gorleston went under the hammer at
Swann Galleries, New York, last October. The first,
commissioned by the L.N.E.R., was the work of H. Forster
and fetched £2,295. The second, by Septimus Scott, jointly
commissioned by the L.M.S. & L.N.E.R. fetched £2,142. Both
depicted holidaymakers enjoying the sea. Unfortunately
neither could be traced in Volume 4 of Poster to Poster so the
trail goes cold. With thanks to Mike Fordham for the press
A miscellany of news and members’ contributions
Recently at the URC Hall however, the return half could not be used as there was no
scheduled return journey because the train was normally
“Norfolk’s Beeching closures of 1964” stabled at Melton to provide the first up journey of the
(Richard Adderson - 4th December) following day, a journey which, in this case, never took place.
Richard’s father provided the substitute service using the
An image of the cover of the infamous Beeching Report set Swaffham to Thetford
the scene for Richard’s subject. It was published on 27th Slightly more than two months later, on 15th June, it was the
March 1963 and its contents, as far as proposed Norfolk closure of the service from Swaffham to Thetford that made
closures were concerned, appeared in the Norwich “Eastern the local Press. The Beeching Report had noted that, by way
Evening News” on the same day. The branches listed were:- of example, the line from Thetford to Swaffham carried five
trains each weekday in each direction, carrying an average of
Melton Constable to Sheringham
Swaffham to Thetford A Norwich-bound DMU waits for custom at Melton Constable
Mundesley to North Walsham on the last day of services – 4th April 1964. Note the trackbed
Dereham to Wells of the M&GN “main line” to South Lynn, closed 2nd March
Richard continued by covering each of these lines in 1959 (Richard Adderson).
chronological order of subsequent closure.
Melton Constable to Sheringham
In order to show the differences that had occurred since
closure of the M&GN system in 1959, we were shown the
evidence of what remained during the five years prior to the
withdrawal of the passenger service on 6th April 1964. This
included views of the formation westwards to Fakenham and
east towards North Walsham. The general rundown of the
various buildings and sidings was also illustrated as was the
continued use of Melton East signal box merely to transfer the
ten daily DMUs from the arrival platform to the departure side.
A trip along the line to Sheringham also showed the situation
at the intermediate locations of Briningham Junction, Holt and
Weybourne. Illustrations of trains on the last day, including
that of a normally law-abiding teenager (Richard, of course)
venturing onto the trackbed at Melton to use his camera, were
shown. This section was completed with illustration of the
return ticket from Norwich to Melton used by Richard to travel
on the last train, the 2142, arriving at Melton at 2304;
nine passengers with only 10% of the costs of operating the some 45 years later, he discovered the shot taken by the
line covered by fares. other individual. Both images were shown.
We were again taken for a trip along the line, pausing at
Roudham Junction, Wretham & Hockham, Stow Bedon, Having used the paternal taxi service to tour the Wells line,
Watton and Holme Hale. At each location the tidiness of the Richard returned home for tea, after which the same mode of
station platforms and surroundings were noted, as was the transport was used to get to North Walsham for a ride on the
small number of passengers either leaving or joining the last train to Mundesley and back. It was on this trip that he
trains where these were illustrated. The platforms at Watton met Norfolk Railway Society Secretary, Gerry Wright, who
were enhanced considerably by an impressive display of suggested he should join – the rest, as they say, is history.
immaculate topiary work which included the station name.
The number of stations where freight facilities existed was Richard then presented a table which suggested how
pointed out, although most sidings obviously saw little use in (relatively) little Beeching had been to blame for the closure of
the general rundown of the line. Norfolk branch lines to passengers. Before the report,
between 1952 and 1959, 184 miles had been closed. After
the report, but not actually itemised in it, a further 74½ miles
succumbed between 1966 and 1970. The report itself was
only to blame for the closure of 60¾ miles.
The meeting was rounded off with views of some of the
closed station locations, in several of which all traces of the
structures themselves had disappeared. (Graham Kenworthy)
Thanks to Andy Wright for operating the projector – and what
an obliging father Richard had – Ed.
Members’ Evening (19th December)
The passenger service from Mundesley-on-Sea to North When I became a Society member these evenings were a
Walsham was withdrawn from 5th October 1964. The image mix of slide shows and videos, with some talks and readings
is full of interest – note the Camping Coaches on the left. The thrown in for good measure. Nowadays, memory sticks and
track gang – some 6 months before the line closed (!) – are disks tend to rule the roost but the advances in technology
shortening the run-round loop (goodness knows why) and the give our projectionist, Andy Wright, a few headaches.
DMU is one of the old Derby “Lightweight” sets (Richard
Adderson). This was amply demonstrated when Lewis Kenworthy opened
proceedings with “My Railway Summer”, mainly moving
Mundesley to North Walsham footage shot at the NNR’s Diesel and Steam Galas. The
The illustrations of the other two lines followed, with sound part was fine but, unfortunately, the pictorial part was
Mundesley to North Walsham covered first, although both inexplicably a long way behind. It was a great pity that nothing
closed on the same day, 5th October. Both branch stations, could be done to make Lewis’s efforts synchronise properly,
Mundesley and Paston & Knapton, displayed somewhat and his presentation had to be abandoned. It’s to be hoped
upmarket architecture, having been opened optimistically in that we can see his intended show again soon.
1898, in the wake of the “Poppyland” publicity at a time when
seaside holidays were beginning to gain in popularity. Ray Halliday is a part-time ticket inspector on the NNR, and
Unfortunately this small corner of Norfolk never managed to back in 2007 artist and wildlife conservationist David
catch up with its near neighbour, Cromer, and the through Shepherd brought 92203 Black Prince to the NNR. We saw
route beyond Mundesley closed in 1953. This closure left an interview with David and the locomotive working to
Mundesley with more grandiose facilities than it required for Weybourne, culminating in some side-by-side running with
what was, latterly, a 2-car DMU service at approximately 90775. Apparently the 9F is for sale, David having bought it
hourly intervals. However, it did mean that there was ample for just £3,000!
room to stand what was at one time reputed to be the location
with the largest number of camping coaches. Ivor Self then took us to Chambéry where the early 20th
Both stations were provided with sidings for goods traffic, but, century roundhouse is still intact. As well as servicing SNCF
towards the end, this was largely used for loading sugar beet. locomotives, a number of preserved locomotives – including
In fact the branch remained open for this traffic after the early electric “dinosaurs” – are housed there along with other
passenger closure until the end of the autumn “campaign”. SNCF locomotives that seem to be awaiting disposal. By a
quirk of fate both of our European experts were absent, and
so the many locomotives could not be identified. We also saw
images of a heritage line, fairly close by, the engine driver
being a refugee from the K&ESR!
Dereham to Wells John Hanchet gave a short and sweet presentation just
More stations and halts were deprived of a passenger service before the interval, recalling the late spring Plandampf he and
by this closure, even though the line had been the first in several Society members attended. We saw classes 52, 58,
Norfolk to be served by DMUs in 1954. All, including 41 and 01 as well as a class 95 railcar and a VW Camper van
Dereham itself, were shown in their operational days. on rails! Heilbronn depot consists of a half-roundhouse where
Richard visited the line on its final day, obtaining souvenir we saw the recently-restored 01 after arrival from Switzerland
tickets at most of them, notably Walsingham where the but, best of all, was a stunning night shot of the roundhouse
signalman came down from his box to open up the booking with about a dozen engines arranged outside.
office specially. At Wighton Halt he took a photograph which
included another photographer; much to his amazement, After the interval, Chris Mitchell said that he’d been with
Crossrail for 3 years 8 months. He said that the Technical & massive siege gun – the 420 mm “Big Bertha” which was very
Financial Audit was 80% complete, with the Civil Engineering accurate against French and Belgian fortifications, the
due to be completed next August. We saw 2 film clips – there armaments firm Krupp modifying naval gun designs with rail
are few visible signs of the work – and learned that the 2 mountings to develop some long range guns including the
Tunnel Boring Machines operate in echelon. Crossrail will K5E which was used against Verdun.
increase rail capacity in London by 10%!
Although all major combatants used rail-mounted guns in
Graham Kenworthy had also been in London, taking WW1, special mention should be made of the long-range
advantage of a voucher to go to the top of the Shard. Timed siege guns (the Paris guns) used to bombard the city in 1918.
entrances are issued, and you go up 70 floors in 2 stages but They could fire a 234 lb shell at a range of some 81 miles
then have to climb 2 flights of stairs to reach the viewing (roughly Norwich to Chelmsford) but they lacked the accuracy
gallery. London Bridge station – which is being extended - is to hit a small target, whilst the British – using rail guns also for
almost beneath, and good views could be had of a much- coastal defence – had success with a rail gun, landing a
improved Cannon St, and the lines leading to Charing Cross direct hit on Douai railway station with a larger payload.
and Waterloo (East). Landmarks that could be seen included
the London Eye, Wembley Stadium and the Thames Gateway In WW2 some very large guns were developed by the
cranes some 30 miles away. Germans, notably “Gustav” and Dora”. Krupps were given the
job of creating them and the technical specification was
Ken Mills has placed his early “Box Brownie” photographs on amazing – a 31½” diameter barrel firing a 7 ton shell! It was
disk, and what a mix we saw! We opened with a Society visit designed to blast fortifications such as the Maginot Line but,
to the B.S.C. factory at Wissington in June 1957 – Wissington impressive as the guns were, it came at a cost. Two parallel
and Newcastle were prominent, along with many others which sets of track were needed, and it took 2,000 men 6 weeks to
would have needed an I.R.S. handbook to identify them. Ken assemble the gun ready for firing. As the German “Blitzkrieg”
also got to the Cantley factory which, for many years, had an had by-passed the Maginot Line the guns were later used –
ex-L.N.E.R. J79 0-6-0T performing shunting duties after being successfully – to bombard a number of Russian forts. With
sold out of service in the 1930s. We were then treated to a the tide of war going against Germany these guns were
tour of depots mainly in the Eastern, North Eastern and destroyed to prevent their re-use. Another very successful rail
Scottish Regions much to your scribe’s delight. Although gun was “Anzio Annie”, an 11” gun with a respectable rate of
many of these depots were dilapidated they continued to fire which was deployed against the Allied Anzio landings.
serve for several years. With the advantage of a railway tunnel, these guns kept being
brought out to fire several rounds before retreating inside the
Whilst Andy made way for a slide show Peter Cooke read an rail tunnel once again. Despite air reconnaissance these guns
extract from a book by the late Sir John Betjeman which were never located, and were eventually destroyed by the
commented unfavourably on BR’s attitude to its architectural retreating Germans.
heritage and some of the concrete monstrosities that replaced
good Victorian buildings. As the first part of Peter’s presentation reached its end, we
were entertained by a couple of medical clips – Hancock’s
Malcolm Cooper concluded matters with a set of Blackhawk The Blood Donor and Porridge starring Ronnie Barker,
colour slides of U.S. steam taken in the 1950s. The Union obsessed with his flat feet!
Pacific featured strongly with its 39xx Challenger articulated
4-6-6-4s and 40xx Big Boy articulated 4-8-8-4s hauling Part 2 opened with a clip from The Password is Courage with
massive freight trains across Wyoming. We also saw a determined group of P.O.W. being transported in cattle
something of the Norfolk & Western, centred on Roanoke, trucks after Dunkirk. How fortunate that there was straw in the
Virginia, where its impressive J class 4-8-4s were seen on trucks, a lighted cigarette and a passing German munitions
passenger trains. train! All filmed in England!
Thanks to everyone who contributed towards our evening’s The next film clip came from The Eagle Has Landed, starring
entertainment, and thanks also to Andy Wright for his Michael Caine, about a plot to capture or kill Winston
projection work. (EM) Churchill, and we saw a confrontation between Michael
Caine’s Special Forces and a group of S.S. soldiers in a rail
Chairman’s Address – Part 1 – “Railway yard. This time the rail scenes, and the locomotive, were
Guns”; Part 2 – “Railways in the Cinema” & Finnish.
Part 3 – “Commercial Breaks” Time for more commercial breaks – the ever popular “Four
(Peter Cooke - 8th January) Candles” sketch from the Two Ronnies and the classic clip
from Only Fools and Horses where Del Boy falls through the
Past Chairman Gordon Bruce introduced our Chairman’s bar!
address, and Peter opened by showing scale models
(another of his interests) to demonstrate how a rail-mounted Finally, we saw lengthy extracts from The Train, directed by
gun dwarfed two modern battle tanks. John Frankenheimer and starring Burt Lancaster. I will not
dwell on the story – about the running of a special train of
Although the rail-mounted gun was eventually superseded by looted French art treasures and the Resistance’s efforts to
the use of aircraft they were part of the artillery arsenal for stop it at all costs - as I’m sure nearly everyone has seen it
some 75 years. Both sides used railroad guns in the and enjoys every opportunity to see the rail action (and the
American Civil War, and the Union used them in the 1864 spectacular crashes) one more time! And it was all in the right
siege of Petersburg. The British intended using rail guns country for once.
against the Boer capital of Pretoria but the city fell before they
were deployed. Just to conclude, what’s better than a clip from The
Ladykillers where we saw several gang members “bumped
The French made experiments in the 1870s but the Germans off” near Copenhagen Tunnel, not far from King’s Cross!
were quick to exploit them in WW1. They developed a
Thank you, Peter, for an entertaining and instructive evening, from Corfe Castle was repatriated from Glasgow – having
and thanks also to Andy Wright for making the evening such been sailed up there – via the WCML and then the London
a success. (EM) Underground with extreme personal difficulty! The sign now
resides in the Swanage railway museum having been
“From Radipole Halt to Wymondham Abbey: swapped for a single line token. Mike showed an original
Chronicles of a mis-spent life” copy of the 4’ 6” gauge Merchants Tramway Act of Parliament
dated 10th June 1825 now in his possession but previously
(Mike Handscomb – 22nd January) owned by E. Lomax (depicted in “The Railway Man” film). The
tramway allowed stone to be carried from the quarries down
Mike commenced his presentation by stating that he had to the pier at Castletown on the Isle of Portland.
been a member of the Society for 30 years and, apart from
his Chairman’s address in 1990, he had not given a full Mike then went to Exeter University to read French and Latin.
evening’s talk since. The long wait was definitely worth it! Joining the railway society and another model railway society
visits took place to Meldon Quarry with brake van rides
What followed was a personal autobiography commencing behind a Hymek diesel and a “WC/BB” Pacific-hauled ballast
when Mike was a mere 11 years old. Being enrolled at train en route; HM Dockyard at Devonport; Halwill & Meeth
Hardye’s (boys only) School in Dorchester necessitated the Railway, part of the North Devon & Cornwall Junc Light
hardship of commuting daily by train from Radipole Halt – Railway (closed 1965), and others. Mike became the
about 1 mile north of Weymouth - to Dorchester South (S.R.) University Railway Society’s secretary, riding on the last
or West (W.R.) stations initially by steam but later with early Tiverton Junc to Tiverton freight service and gate-crashing
diesel locomotive haulage to/from Dorchester West station. the arrival of 1442 in steam prior to it being lifted and taken to
The first picture was 1450 plus an auto coach standing at Tiverton Museum for display. Other visits shown included the
Radipole Halt and this image was followed by many others in Dartmoor tramway of 1820 and the Brendon Hill Incline which
the Dorchester/Weymouth locality illustrating the railways in took iron ore to Watchet harbour for export..
the area including images of Bincombe Tunnel and After his Final exams Mike had to endure a 6 months stay in
Dorchester Junction signal boxes – Mike is the proud owner
of both ‘box nameboards. Mike admitted to having fond
memories of using Third Class Lavatory First vehicles – one
had to get into the right compartment to use the on-board
School came out at 1550 (no doubt 3.50pm at that time!) and Gardner-engined 0-6-0 shunter D2133 (later Class 03) re-
Mike had a choice of either a dash for the 1601 service from turns to Tiverton Junc with the very last scheduled freight
Dorchester South or the 1615 from the West station with WR from Tiverton in June 1967. Occupying the leading brake
motive power. Saturday afternoons and Sundays offered the vans are members of Exeter University Railway Society,
chance of spotting from Alexander Bridge situated near the hence the headboard (Mike Handscomb).
throat of Weymouth station with Weymouth locomotive shed
beyond. Photographs taken at the shed included a Bulldog Lausanne, Switzerland. What hardship! Further visits took
locomotive 3319 Weymouth taken before 1930 as these place to the Settle & Carlisle line; Sunderland South Dock
locomotives lost their nameplates that year lest the travelling shed and Seaham with pictures of a Steven Lewin 0-4-0
public take the locomotive name as the train’s destination; a saddletank – now restored as no. 18 at Beamish.
fireman struggling with the manually worked turntable and a
letter dated 9th December 1931 written by Locomotive Another of Mike’s interests is railway literature and he is the
Superintendent C.B. Collett to H.C. Casserley who would proud owner of all 15 volumes of “The Regional History of the
later become a renowned railway author and photographer. Railways of Great Britain” (volume 2 came as a book prize at
SR steam ended in July 1967 and after the shed had been school) and Colonel Cobb’s Atlas using 1” OS base maps to
used to store condemned locos the site was ultimately overlay all lines. Mike said that if anyone had a publication not
redeveloped as a housing estate. listed in George Ottley’s Bibliography of British railway book
titles – 7950 titles in the original volume now with two
He was briefly interested in model railways and a newspaper supplements – they could be worth money!
picture was shown featuring Mike and friends at a model
railway exhibition – one of his friends held a BTC booklet “All
along the Lines” which was a potential recruitment publication
featuring diesel locomotive 10000 on the cover.
Mike showed pictures of his enamel sign collection of local
SR station totems including a green Dorchester West sign –
historically WR brown but became SR green following the
revision of regional boundaries in 1950. Another sign showed
directions for passengers alighting at Dorchester West either
for the town centre or Dorchester South station.
Photographs displayed showed the Weymouth Quay branch Mike’s career path saw him employed by Sainsburys rather
in operation – plus a view of BR coach label BR 21778/16 than BR. Commuting to Sainsbury’s offices near Blackfriars
which asked passengers not to use the lavatories whilst the saw him commute from various homes near Notting Hill Gate,
train was passing along the Quay line – the branches to Streatham, Whyteleafe (on the Caterham branch to London
Portland, Abbotsbury, Bridport (change for West Bay – the Bridge), and then Colliers Wood (an annual season ticket in
location for the current ITV series “Broadchurch”), Lyme March 1982 cost just £307). We also saw views of the unique
Regis and Swanage all long closed with only the last named double-deck vehicles 4001/2 withdrawn in October 1971 (one
re-opened as a heritage line. A 5’6” long running-in board vehicle survives).
A BR document on the Channel Tunnel released in 1974 railway magazine and you’ll soon find examples of his work.
proposed a London terminal being created at White City with
a tunnel beneath East Croydon but this scheme did not I have also read that Geoff Rixon – another prolific transport
proceed. Neither did another proposal to join the main line photographer and one not associated with any particular area
railways between Euston and Victoria. – passed away on 18th December 2013. He was the proud
owner of RM254 (VLT 254).
Electrified Lines Where All Regular Passenger
Services Are Diesel-Worked
The Branch Line News posed its Christmas competition in the
above terms. They came up with a list of 32 locations (which
are really difficult) but the local ones were:
● Manningtree North Junc – Manningtree East Junc –
Parkeston (direct services);
● Norwich, Thorpe Junc – Wensum Junc (and slightly
● Peterborough station (exclusive) – start of the March line
(access to Nene Carriage Sidings).
Until 1970, when a platform was built on the curve, Up trains Cantley Shunter
had to reverse into Dorchester South before continuing their
journey east. Here, “WC” Pacific 34105 Swanage has During Ken Mills’ presentation at the Members’ evening (see
performed that manoeuvre and is ready to leave with a train report ibid.) many of you will have been surprised to see an
for Waterloo in 1956. Down trains to Weymouth had always image of an ex-N.E.R. 0-6-0 tank locomotive shunting at
benefited from the curved platform seen here. Cantley in the 1950s. In L.N.E.R. classification it was a J79 –
(R.C. Riley/Mike Handscomb collection). one of a class of three, N.E.R. class H2, built at Gateshead
between 1897 & 1907. The Cantley engine, N.E.R. 1662,
In 1984 Mike and his wife Ann decided to move to Norfolk acted as works and shed shunter at Gateshead, being fitted
where Mike joined the Society. Our 10th anniversary souvenir with vacuum brakes in 1930. Two, including 1662, were sold
booklet 1955-65 was displayed. Mike met Philip Standley (a for further service in 1937, and thus 1662 was purchased by
local collector of postcards) and in collaboration they the British Sugar Corporation for use at Cantley. It was
published Norfolk’s Railways Vol. 1 the GER and then Vol. 2 withdrawn in 1955 and Kings cut it up on site in 1957. (EM)
the M&GNJR based on the postcard images available.
Mike was Editor of the Society Newsletter for 10 years
becoming an expert in local railway developments in the
process and in 1968 he founded “The Railway Collectors
Newsletter” which he then sold to Keith Montague to
concentrate on running a railwayana business - “All stations
to Runhall”. Mike’s retail enterprise has now concentrated on
eBay sales and he has successfully disposed of a number of
collections owned by deceased Society members and others.
He became a crossing keeper on the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Here is old 1662 at Cantley awaiting cutting-up. (Ken Mills)
1998 manning different crossings along the line (various
lineside views including Mike in action!) but he has now
decided to take life out of the wind and rain and act as a ticket
clerk at Wymondham Abbey station.
Mike concluded his enthralling presentation by displaying the The Carmarthen – Aberystwyth line revisited
rail tickets he and his parents used on a family outing
travelling from Radipole Halt to Weymouth and back on 26th Andy Wright’s report of his visit to the Gwili Railway in
February 1983 for nostalgic reasons. The station closed on NRS/NL 59/5 p.10 brought forth a most interesting response
31st December 1983 and was demolished subsequently. from Michael Roach, who happened to read the Newsletter.
He paid two visits to the line in 1963/64 and, from his
Judging by the spontaneous applause which greeted the comments and images, you’re left in no doubt that milk traffic
conclusion of Mike’s talk the audience certainly did not was essential to the line’s existence. He first visited the line
believe that he had had a mis-spent life. Come back again on 22nd July 1963, having travelled overnight, and caught the
soon, Mike! Thanks also to Andy Wright for operating the 0610 to Aberystwyth and the 1155 return service. The train
projector. (Peter Adds) was hauled by 7826 Longworth Manor – then allocated to
Carmarthen – and consisted of 3 coaches. On the way back,
Michael Mensing & Geoff Rixon it picked up a loaded milk tank at Pont Llanio, and also
collected a number of milk churns.
Some of you may have read that the well-known
photographer of the West Midlands railway scene – Michael He paid his second visit on 10th October 1964, this time using
Mensing – passed away on 6th December. Pick up any the 1035 Carmarthen – Aberystwyth, and although 7826 was
interesting material on the internet if you Google ‘Sir Winston
Churchill Funeral Train’ and I will leave those interested to
follow that up. Meanwhile, I am grateful to Michael Roach for
sending a couple of images of the train, taken from near the
bridge which carries the railway over the River Thames
between Culham and Radley. It was the last State funeral in
this country and, of course, the last occasion on which a
British steam engine was seen by such a large worldwide
still the motive power it had moved to Llanelly following
Carmarthen shed’s closure. The first image (above) shows
the train awaiting departure – the train consisted of 8 empty
milk wagons & 2 coaches. The track under the bridge has
now been lifted. The second image (below) shows 7826
awaiting departure from Pont Llanio after leaving the milk
wagons in the goods loop.
Sir Winston Churchill’s Funeral – 50 Years Ago Cornwall & Devon from a Railway Perspective
and a Ride on the “ACE” (Concluding Part)
Sir Winston Churchill died on 24th January 1965. After a State (Edward Mann)
funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral on 30th January, the cortège
made its way to Waterloo station where unrebuilt “BB” Pacific Plymouth station is a shadow of its former self. When its
34051 Winston Churchill would haul the funeral train to rebuilding was completed there were 8 platforms for all sorts
Hanborough, Oxfordshire, before he was laid to rest at of main-line and local services, including the Southern’s trains
Bladon. The route was via Staines, Ascot, Reading Southern, to and from Exeter and beyond. Nowadays, there are the
Reading General and Oxford. The engine was in excellent FGW services to/from Paddington/Penzance, the Cross-
condition, having been prepared at Nine Elms during the Country trains to the Midlands, Northern England and to
preceding week. Just in case, however, 34064 Fighter Scotland, the all-stations DMUs to Exeter/Penzance and the
Command was on standby at Staines. There is some very Gunnislake DMUs, although that makes it sound busier than it
is. Platforms 1/2 are no longer used. There is a large train-
care depot at Laira. I suspect the long-closed main-line
stations at Plymouth (Friary) and Plymouth (Millbay) are just
Newton Abbot once had 9 platforms, platform 9 - for
Moretonhampstead - being isolated from the main booking-
office area and reached by crossing the station forecourt.
That branch is but a memory, as are the long delays
experienced by Down trains (Torbay/Plymouth/Penzance)
and Up trains (Paddington/Bristol/Midlands etc.), especially
on Summer Saturdays. Hard to believe now, when 3
platforms suffice, but I have it on good authority that even 9
platforms were insufficient at busy times. The loco works was
adjacent. And if you’re in the area, take a diversion to the
Bovey Tracey Heritage Centre, housed in the old station, just
off the A382.
I came back to Exeter (St David’s) on the 1400 Penzance –
Paddington HST to see what work had been done to the cliffs
etc at Dawlish. I wasn’t really sure where to look, but work is
continuing although the cliffs look crumbly. Return from
Exeter was on the 1406 ex-Paddington HST. As I sat
watching the green signal it suddenly returned to red. The
first PA announcement was of a “holding” nature but there
was much amusement when the second announcement said
that we were waiting for a driver! Had someone misread his
duty roster or had management forgotten that a driver was
required? A driver was seen walking purposefully along the
platform soon after, and the train left about 20 min. late!
And, to conclude, back to the heritage lines. I think’s it’s
easier to drive to Buckfastleigh (South Devon Railway), where
there is a large, free car park and take the train to Totnes
(Littlehempston), which is some 500 yards from the main-line Kingswear and take the ferry over to Dartmouth. Main-line
station, than it is to go from Totnes. The line is part of the old services were withdrawn between Paignton and Kingswear
Ashburton branch which closed to passengers from 3rd from 30th December 1972. I came back to Paignton on the
November 1958. On Sunday 17th August the two-train service 1500, this time hauled by “5205” 2-8-0T 5239 (below). If the
was in the capable hands of “2251” 0-6-0 3205 (below) and fireman has it easy on the way down, he really works hard on
“4575” 2-6-2T 5542. Great Western coaches were included in the way back! Had everything gone according to plan,
Dartmouth would have had its own railway station, but this
never happened and Kingswear benefited instead. Dartmouth
“station” can still be seen, and it is amusing to recall that
Dartmouth’s “stationmaster” was paid more than his
counterpart at Kingswear because of the importance attached
to the traffic to and from what was then known as the Royal
Naval College. With two excellent heritage lines close
together, the area is well worth visiting.
If the counties’ branch lines (open and closed) interest you,
then look out for a copy of Branch Line Memories (Devon &
Cornwall) by Eric R. Shepherd.
(For Part 1 please see NRS/NL 59/5 pp9/10)
both rakes and I rode in TK 536. It is an 8-compartment And now, I’ve changed things a bit. Please have a look at the
Collett “Sunshine” Third, but the sun may be setting as it was O.S. extract (below). After Insch, and going approximately
decidedly shabby. It was in need of re-upholstery, and varnish north-west, there would have been 3 stations on older
was peeling from the corridor side. editions of the map, all now closed, although only 2 are
shown on this edition (the other one closed a few years
Two days later, I was at Paignton for the 1000 to Kingswear, earlier). With a little delving, two should be fairly
which was hauled by 42xx 2-8-0T 4277. Unusually, the straightforward. What were the 3 stations? And what is the
Dartmouth Steam Railway augments its trains with the name of the distillery (formerly rail-served) adjacent to one of
“middle” cars of old 3-car DMUs. This train was pretty full and these stations? As usual, send your solutions to
there are all sorts of train/boat options after you arrive at [email protected] please.
Mystery Map Solution – And Another
Congratulations to David Pearce who solved the very difficult
challenge in NRS/NL 59/6 p.10. We are in Kent, close to Hoo
Junction, and the halt was Uralite Halt, which served an
adjacent factory. The line from Gravesend (Central) to Port
Victoria, including Uralite Halt, closed from 4th December
1961 but it is still open for freight services. The other line runs
from Gravesend (Central) to Strood.
What is this, you may well ask! Well it's a GWR bullion van,
seen at Shrewsbury on 3rd September 1965. The GWR only
had five and it is thought to be on the back of a train from
Paddington. There were doors on one side only - the side
visible in the picture. Thanks to Michael Roach for
supplying this rare image.
___________NRS NEWS New member
Annual Show Mike took sufficient time out from his presentation to enrol Ian
Fisher of Norwich. Welcome, Ian.
The Society’s Annual Show takes place on Saturday 21st
February, commencing at midday (see advert right). If you’re
able to come along, we’ll be pleased to see you and, if you
haven’t been before, you’ll be surprised at the range of
layouts, displays and exhibits we bring together for the big
day. If you feel like being a little more active, then please
have a word with organisers Chris Mitchell or Peter Willis at
any of the intervening meetings – they’ll be delighted to find a
job for you.
Annual General Meeting
The Society’s A.G.M. will be held on Thursday 2nd April, and
with this Newsletter you will find an Agenda, Minutes of the
2014 A.G.M. and Accounts. Please bring all of these with you
if you’re coming to the A.G.M.
We regret to advise you that, for personal reasons, our
Secretary, Peter Adds, will be standing down at the A.G.M.
This means that we shall need to appoint a new Secretary,
and anyone interested should please speak to Peter or
another member of the Committee. As the position requires
regular contact with other Committee members an email
address is essential.
LAKE DISTRICT & MOUNTAINS RAIL ROAMER . . . AND MORE (John Hutchinson)
The article title is the name of the Railtrail Tours holiday that companies are marketed as part of the 'holiday' experience.
my wife, Mary, and I enjoyed at the tail end of June last year. Most Railtrail customers are quite happy to let the tour
Based in Carlisle, the quite intensive itinerary embraced trips company book their rail tickets to and from the tour base as
to Hexham, Hadrian's Wall, Bowness-on-Windermere, part of the overall holiday price. I have done this once, but
Ravenglass, Carnforth, the Settle & Carlisle line and Haworth have found that I can get more favourable prices by booking
– nearly all by rail on ordinary service trains and including my own journeys online with our Senior Railcards, taking
preserved and narrow-gauge railways. The 'And More' relates advantage of Advance Tickets. Members who know me well
to an add-on visit to a friend on the outskirts of Stoke-on- will not be surprised that there is a fair degree of number
Trent, which enabled us to make an acquaintance with two crunching in the details that follow – all trains having been
North Staffordshire railways – one standard gauge and one dutifully recorded. I also set myself the target of
miniature. photographing every train travelled on throughout, 22 in all; I
almost succeeded but just failed quality-wise on the
I propose to describe our experiences on a day-to-day basis, Underground journeys.
including the trips from Norwich to Carlisle, and from Stoke-
on-Trent back to Norwich, which in common with most tour DAY 1 – Norwich to Carlisle. There are four options for this
journey: via London, Newcastle, Leeds or Warrington (the made little impression. First stop was Warrington Bank Quay,
latter involving a longish walk from Central to Bank Quay two minutes down, with further stops at Wigan (Wallgate),
station and thus a non-starter). The most sensible way, with Preston, Lancaster and Penrith, arrival at Carlisle being ten
holiday luggage in tow, is probably via Newcastle, i.e. minutes adrift at 1555, following a complete stop for a few
Norwich-Peterborough (East Midlands DMU), Peterborough- minutes somewhere out in the wilds. A busy train on a busy
Newcastle (East Coast inter-city), Newcastle-Carlisle route. Accommodation for our group for the following six
(Northern Rail DMU), transfers involving platform changes nights was at the Hallmark Hotel, nothing special but very
only. This would have meant booking separate tickets from handily placed just 30 seconds walk from the city's Citadel
Norwich to Newcastle (£35.75) and Newcastle to Carlisle station.
(£5.60). Via Leeds or Warrington would have been £71.15!
However, surprisingly the London option turned out by far to DAY 2 – Carlisle to Hexham. The first of four Class 156
be cheapest at £18.50 per standard ticket (unlike East Coast, journeys, with First ScotRail's 156432 on the 0939 departure,
Virgin's first class offers are not at all attractive), via Liverpool bound for Newcastle. This train left Glasgow Central at 0708,
Street, Underground to Euston Square, and a 7-minute walk arrival time at Newcastle 1103, a fair old journey for a two-
to Euston mainline station. Again, some of this is not carriage DMU. The pleasant 45-minute journey to Hexham is
particularly appealing in terms of carting luggage about, along the former Newcastle and Carlisle Railway line, opened
especially over the footbridge at Liverpool Street for the in 1838. This early cross-country railway has retained much
Underground and also up steps at Euston Square. But the of its distinctive early character, notably its particular style of
cost and the opportunity for a first-ever journey on a station buildings. The morning was spent exploring Hexham's
Pendolino over-rode that concern! I should, perhaps, add that market town attractions, followed by an afternoon coach visit
with hindsight the Newcastle option would have been the to Hadrian's Wall and its associated attractions, the
most sensible, as I will explain shortly. fascinating Roman fort and settlement at Vindolanda and the
Roman Army Museum. For the return rail journey to Carlisle
So, we set off on Monday 23rd June on board Greater we were dropped off at Haltwhistle station, 18 minutes back
Anglia's 0930 service to Liverpool Street. Sadly, in these down the line from Hexham. Perhaps not widely known,
times one approaches this journey with a certain sense of Haltwhistle's claim to fame is that it's one of two settlements
trepidation and no real faith that one will arrive in London on in Great Britain which claim to be the exact geographic centre
time, if at all! But all was well and 90003 Raedwald and of the island, along with Dunsop Bridge in Lancashire, located
82152 got us safely to the capital exactly on time at 1119. As 71 miles to the south (if Scotland eventually becomes
ever, when not in a hurry, a Metropolitan 'S' stock train bound independent there will have to be a rethink!). Our on-time
for Uxbridge pulled in immediately at Liverpool Street and we 1726 departure back to Carlisle was on board Northern Rail's
found ourselves on the extremely busy concourse at Euston 156481 on one of the regular hourly services from Tyneside
by 1150, well in time for the 1230 Virgin departure to to Carlisle, with a journey time averaging around 90 minutes.
Glasgow. As I intimated earlier, I was looking forward to the
Pendolino experience and we walked almost the full length of DAY 3– Carlisle to the Lake District. Another day of mainline
the 11-carriage set (390130) to coach B. Within a few minutes rail and coach travel, plus a lake cruise and some vintage
of boarding my enthusiasm had waned: totally inadequate steam. A later start today, as we boarded the 1008 Virgin
luggage space, low roof, narrow windows – in other words, Trains departure for the relatively short 25-minute journey to
claustrophobic. And as for the seat reservation details: no Oxenholme Lake District, with Super Voyager 222115
ticket, just a narrow slit above head height with a Polmadie Depot on an Edinburgh to London service – not my
computerised sign in small print stating 'Reserved'. favourite rolling stock but at least an improvement on the
aforementioned Pendolino. At Oxenholme we were once
Haltwhistle was once an important junction on the again met by a private coach and transported to the bustling
Newcastle to Carlisle line of the North Eastern Railway, shoreside of Bowness-on-Windermere. Time here for a
where the Alston branch diverged (formerly on the right of wander and a spot of lakeside lunch before taking a 40-
the 85-lever box). Although out of use since 1993, the minute cruise to Lakeside Pier on board the 1936-built MV
cabin is a listed building. Teal, one of three grand old vessels plying the lake, the other
two being Tern (1891) and Swan (1938). Then straight on to
Smooth running and the tilting facility was impressive but the the 1440 Lakeside & Haverthwaite departure through the Vale
narrowness of the windows meant that views were limited, of Leven to Haverthwaite. The Railway runs on part of the
meaning that Shap, for example (a new experience for me), former Furness Railway, opening in 1869, mainly as a freight
line. Just under eight miles in length, it ran from Plumpton
Junction (near Ulverston) to Lakeside, finally closing in 1965.
The loco on our short one-way 18-minute trip was Peckett
0-6-0 Repulse. Named after the World War 2 battle-cruiser,
Repulse had an arduous career working for the North
Western Area of the National Coal Board. Our coach returned
us to mainline territory, to Windermere station, situated on the
branch line from Oxenholme via Kendal. This is First
TransPennine territory (but possibly moving to Northern Rail
in 2015), and Class 185 185125 was our steed for the short
journey to Oxenholme at 1651, the journey back to Carlisle
being completed on Pendolino 390152.
DAY 4 – Carlisle to Carnforth (via the Ravenglass & Eskdale
Railway). A day of mixed blessings! The day began on board
Northern Rail's 0938 service to Lancaster with 156484
(adorned with colourful views of the Settle & Carlisle line)
travelling as far as Ravenglass, a journey time of around 1
hour and 40 minutes. The full trip to Lancaster, partly over the
tracks of the former Maryport & Carlisle Railway, and known season assisting on 'The Ratty', also spent last summer's
these days as the Cumbrian Coast Line, varies between 3½ peak weeks hauling their trains, very successfully by all
and 4 hours depending on the service taken. Not surprisingly, accounts.
perhaps, a train announcement prior to departure advises On the return to Ravenglass it was back to the mainline
possibly unsuspecting passengers that the quickest service to station for a continuation of our earlier journey, on the 1425
Lancaster is on southbound trains, taking approximately 50 departure for the trip to Carnforth. This was the point at which
minutes! I can thoroughly recommend the journey to the day took a downward turn. The reason? The rolling stock
Ravenglass, which, although it takes one through such for the 1¾-hour journey was one of the aforementioned
unromantic places such as Workington and Sellafield, also dreaded Pacers - 142026. Horrible! Anybody who has
enables views of the Solway Estuary and embraces a very travelled on one of these bus-bodied units will know precisely
slow and winding single-track sea-wall experience between what I mean, especially as much of the track on this line is of
Harrington and Parton, between Workington and Whitehaven.
As an aside, I should share the fact that we had a two-person A dog's life: a contented canine passenger on board Pacer
television crew on board from Carlisle as far as Workington, 142026!
filming and interviewing passengers. We learnt the reason
why later in the day: apparently the locals are very unhappy the non-welded variety – and we were sitting over the front
about the continuing use of elderly Pacer units which are still bogies. The expression ‘not fit for a dog’ comes to mind . . .
abundant in the region. Watching the BBC 'Look North' but the accompanying picture, taken during the journey,
programme in our hotel during the early evening, there I was rather dispels that theory! All was soon forgotten, though, as
– on 'telly', sitting at the table and grinning inanely at the we spent nearly an hour enjoying a cream tea in the 'Brief
cameraman as he walked down the aisle and past us. Such is Encounter' cafe at Carnforth, followed by a wander around
fame! the Heritage Centre - a most enjoyable and recommended
experience. To return to Carlisle we had to go forward one
Arrival at Ravenglass was on time at 1118, with just a short stop to Lancaster (Northern Rail's 156484, our earlier steed
walk to 'The Ratty' station where our reserved carriages
awaited at the rear of the 1125 departure – no time to check
on the motive power at the other end. Whilst I took a few
quick pictures, my ever-caring other half managed to procure
backward-facing seats in a very snug compartment with
windows at the rear of the train, enabling excellent views of
the line as we travelled through the Eskdale Valley. During
the summer of 2013 the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
suffered from a very serious fire that badly hit their locomotive
stock and parts. Loans from other railways are still ongoing
and on arrival at the Dalegarth terminal it was a pleasant
surprise to find that we had been hauled by the Romney,
The turntable at Dalegarth on the Ravenglass & Eskdale
Railway; RH&DR No. 5 Hercules is far too big and has to be
split to be turned.
Hythe & Dymchurch Railway's No. 5 Hercules. Much interest The Brief Encounter Refreshment Room at Carnforth
was caused at the turntable, as the loco is too long to be Station Heritage Centre opened in October 2003 following
turned in its full length and the tender and engine have to be three years work to renovate the buildings, which had
parted to turn separately. Some 40 minutes later we departed been derelict since 1968. The buffet has been
on the return journey, this time seated in an open carriage – reconstructed to the same as that used in the famous
much more fun. It's a pity that the BVR can't offer that facility . 1945 film.
. . but the Health & Safety people might just have something
to say about travelling through the tunnel in and out of
Aylsham! Mention of the BVR prompts me to record that their
No. 1 Wroxham Broad, having spent much of the 2013
from Carlisle to Ravenglass). Here, with a 40-minute break, organised trip of a most enjoyable holiday.
we should have caught the 1755 Virgin Pendolino service
back to the Citadel station. However, our party managed to DAYS 7-9 – Staffordshire Interlude
scramble aboard a crowded slightly late-running 1714 As stated earlier, before returning to Norwich we spent two
TransPennine Express from Manchester Airport to Edinburgh. days or so in the Stoke-on-Trent area, specifically at Milton,
This was on one of the operator's Class 350s (350407), then on the outskirts, near to the Caldon Canal. Travelling from
recently introduced on the route. Not impressed. As I read Carlisle to Stoke-on-Trent, changing at Crewe, seemed a very
somewhere not so long ago, the word 'Express' as in Trans- straightforward exercise when I booked the tickets; however,
Pennine is something of a misnomer. in future I have resolved to avoid long-distance journeys on a
Sunday if possible. We were booked in Coach H on the 1207
DAY 5 – Free Day. I will gloss over this, as a bus trip from Virgin Trains departure. Virgin platform staff at Carlisle are
Carlisle to the Gretna Gateway Retail Outlet hardly set the readily available to deal with queries and I had earlier
pulses racing. Mind you, we did check first that we could ascertained that the train would be a 10-coach Super
cross the border with our English bus passes. Voyager, consisting of two five-coach sets. The platform edge
here is marked '1', '2', '3' etc to indicate where each coach will
DAY 6 – Settle & Carlisle line and Keighley & Worth Valley stop and I had been assured that Coach H would be adjacent
Railway. Another day of lengthy rail journeys but well worth to the '4' mark. The train duly pulled in just after mid-day
the effort, of course, to experience the pleasure of the (222115 Polmadie Depot, again, and 222110 Captain Cook)
exceptional delights of travelling on the S & C. Northern Rail and although it was difficult, if not impossible, to see the
operate the Carlisle to Leeds services on this line, using lettering on the coaches we boarded as instructed at the '4'
mainly two-car Class 158 units, sometimes doubled up and mark, only to find that we were in Coach D. Now, that would
sometimes with a single-unit Class 153 hitched up for normally be a minor irritation but not a major problem.
additional capacity; three-car 158s can also be noted. Our However, we were in the wrong five-coach set and being two
steed on the 0926 departure was two-car 158905 for the trip totally contained units there was no access to Coach H in the
to Keighley. The operator does not provide an official trolley other unit. In other words, the train was assembled in the
service on these trains but we were lucky to be served at opposite order to the paperwork held by the platform staff.
table by a delightful lady volunteer from the Friends of the
Settle-Carlisle Line, with specially produced beakers Fortunately, we just had time to de-train and scramble aboard
celebrating the 25th anniversary of the saving of the line, the first carriage of the adjoining set. Suffice to say, we
which I sadly omitted to keep as a memento. Arrival at eventually found our seats but had to park our luggage two
Keighley was more or less on time at 1137, thanks to some coaches away. I was most surprised at how busy the service
'catch-up' time allowed at Skipton. was, expecting things to be quieter on a Sunday. Passengers
were sprawled on the floor in the vestibules, and although
Here, we changed platforms for the 1145 K&WVR departure there was a mass exodus at Preston, just as many people
to Oxenhope, in a specially reserved carriage for our party. boarded again and it was a relief to leave the train at Crewe.
Our loco was the railway's huge Class S160 2-8-0 No. 5820, Here we boarded London Midland's four-car Class 350
built in 1945 by Lima in the USA for service in Europe during 350109 Crewe-London service for the 21-minute journey to
WW2. Initially shipped to the UK, it was soon working in Stoke-on-Trent.
France. After the war had ended, it went to Polish Railways
where it was numbered Tr203.474 and allocated to Katowice We then had two very sunny and pleasant days exploring the
shed. It arrived at the K&WVR in 1977 and has been part of North Staffordshire countryside, during which we paid visits to
the operational fleet ever since. However, there was the Churnet Valley Railway (at Cheddleton and Kingsley &
something of a delay as there appeared to be a problem Froghall) and to the Rudyard Lake Railway, near Leek. I have
coupling up 5820, confirmed by the sight of a chap in a to admit that the latter was a complete surprise to me, the
grubby overall wandering down the platform with an oily 10¼-inch miniature gauge railway and the lake itself being
hosepipe over his shoulder, re-appearing a little later with a utterly charming. Have a look at www.rlsr.org (Timetable) for
much cleaner example, which obviously solved the problem, a look at a very short video featuring a train hauled by five of
as we were soon underway some 20 minutes late. their delightful little locos! I must go back, as, sadly, neither
days were working days. If you would like to see some views
After a brief sojourn at Oxenhope, while the loco ran round, it of both of these railways, and, indeed, the whole holiday
was back on board for the short journey to Haworth, with just experience, may I recommend my Norfolk Transport Group
sufficient time to have a bite and a cuppa opposite the station presentation on 12th March!
before a quick stroll up to the town and back for the 1406
departure returning to Keighley. Here we had about 45 DAY 10 – Stoke-on-Trent to Norwich. And so, finally, back
minutes to soak up the atmosphere of this splendid old station home to Norfolk, with our £10.90 Advance Saver tickets,
while awaiting our 1512 Northern Rail service back over the starting with the 90-minute journey to London. Pendolino
S&C to Carlisle. This duly arrived on time, with a three- 390155 was on the 1112 departure, a set gaudily decorated
carriage train consisting of 158906 coupled to 153304. Initially with adverts for the latest 'X-Men' film, which I'm sure you
quite crowded with Saturday shoppers returning from Leeds. have all been to see. An on-time arrival and a leisurely Circle
We managed to find a table seat, where we shared an Line journey from Euston Square to Liverpool Street saw us
enjoyable 15-minute journey to Skipton with a most pleasant safely aboard the Greater Anglia 1330 departure. DVT 82118,
elderly gentlemen who was returning from a trip to Beverley with 90012 Royal Anglian Regiment on the rear, was our
that he had made especially to see 70013 Oliver Cromwell motive power for the last leg back to Norwich – arriving 10
when it paused there at the head of 'The East Riding' en route min late due to signal problems at Witham. Now where I have
from King's Cross to Scarborough. It also transpired that he heard that before?
was of an evangelical ilk and we had a lovely discussion
during which he insisted that he would like me to present my Editor’s Note: Many thanks to John for providing such an
wife with a bible. Never a dull moment! Arrival back in Carlisle impressive record. If anyone would like to send me an
was more or less on time around 1730, completing the last account of their 2015 holidays/wanderings then please do so.
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
FEBRUARY NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “Great Yarmouth’s Buses” – David Clayton, Managing Editor,
12th Thur 1930
BBC Radio Norfolk.
14th - 22nd Sat - Sun BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – “Teddy Bear Expresses”.
14th - 22nd Sat - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Half-term services (Yellow timetable). Also on 14th & 15th a Vintage
Train hauled by Wissington will be running. Limited ticket availability so book in advance.
19th Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “South American Standard Gauge (Argentina and Guyana)”
- Ken Mills.
21st Sat 1200 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY ANNUAL SHOW.
26th Thur 1930 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) - “Preserved French Steam” - Peter
27th - 1st Mar Fri - Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – 6th Anniversary & Beer Festival.
28th Sat MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY – Running Day with Class 47 (100 miles running day).
28th Sat BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Running Day (Blue timetable).
MARCH Sun BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Running Day (Blue timetable).
5th Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Victorian Railways – Recent Academic Research” – Dr
6th - 8th Fri - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – March Steam Gala, with guest appearance by D49 4-4-0 246
7th - 8th Sat - Sun BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Volunteers’ Open Weekend.
Sun RAILWAY TOURING COMPANY – “The Easterling”. Scheduled haulage either ex-LNER B1 61306
12th Thur 1930 Mayflower or Britannia Class Pacific 70000 Britannia. London Kings Cross - Norwich and return.
For full details see railwaytouring.net or telephone 01553 661500.
NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “Out & about with John Hutchinson”.
14th - 15th Sat - Sun BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Saturday: Running Day (Blue timetable), Sunday: Mothers’ V.I.P. Day.
14th - 15th Sat - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Running Day (Yellow timetable).
19th Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Rebirth of the Waverley Route” – Chris Mitchell.
21st - 22nd Sat - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Running Day (Yellow timetable).
21st - 22nd Sat - Sun BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Running Day (Blue timetable).
26th Thur 1930 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) – “East Anglia 1986 - 1990” – Richard
27th - 29th Fri NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Daily running until 1st November.
28th Fri - Sun MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY - Spring Diesel Gala.
31st Sat BURE VALLEY RAILWAY - Daily running until 1st November.
APRIL Tue MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY - Regular running (minimum 3 days per week) from today.
Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – Annual General Meeting.
3rd - 6th Fri - Mon MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY – Easter Egg Specials.
3rd - 6th Fri - Mon BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Easter Eggspresses.
5th Sun NORWICH & DISTRICT SOCIETY OF MODEL ENGINEERS – Sunday Running commences at
5th Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – Easter Steam Sunday & Easter Egg Hunt.
5th - 6th Sun - Mon MID-SUFFOLK LIGHT RAILWAY - Easter Steam-ups.
9th Mon BARTON HOUSE RAILWAY – Easter Monday Running 1430 – 1730.
Thur 1930 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – Members’ Evening.
11th - 12th
16th Sat NORWICH M.R.C. Exhibition, Hellesdon High School, Middleton’s Lane, Norwich, NR6 5SB, 1000
Sat - Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – 1940s Weekend (Steam).
Thur 1930 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “National Operating Strategy – Signalling trains into the
next decade and beyond” – Steve Ashling.
Sat NENTA TRAINTOURS – “The Dean Forest Explorer”. From Dereham (MNR) 0600 (approx) & Nor-
wich 0700 (approx) then via Cambridge & Royston to Bath & Bristol for Bath/Bristol/Longleat
/D.F.R./ Bristol Harbour & Avon River Cruise. Norwich return 2325 (approx) Dereham return 0030
(approx). Fares from £67.75. First Class & Premier Class available. Details:
www.nentatraintours.co.uk or telephone 01692-406152.
Printed by Express Impressions. Tel. 01603 301127