Norfolk Railway Society
Founded 1955 www.norfolkrailwaysociety.org.uk
Volume 62 No. 5 Sept/Oct 2017
news from railways in and around Norfolk
National Network Tornado in Norfolk
GE LINES UPDATE: September
GE LINES NEWS
Threatened industrial action: Tornado at Witton on the Berney Arms line approaching Reedham on 28th
On 12th September the RMT Union August (Chris Mitchell).
announced the result of balloting its
members regarding the future duties of Complimentary B17 Brochure
guards. The guards voted 9 to 1 for strike
action on a 90% turnout and drivers voted 2
to 1 on a 75% turnout. The RMT is now
considering strike action similar to that
which has disrupted Southern, Merseyside
and Northern services in recent months on
the same agenda. RMT said that Abellio
had failed to provide the union with
assurances over the role and
responsibilities of guards when new trains
are introduced in 2019/20. The RMT’s
General Secretary, Mick Cash, was quoted
as saying “GA have been given every
opportunity to give a guarantee on the
future role of the guards on their services”.
GA say that they have guaranteed jobs for
existing guards until the end of the
franchise in October 2025 and GA will in
fact be recruiting additional conductors as
GA intend to run more services when the
new train fleet enters service.
The RMT announced on 19th September A commemorative brochure accompanies this Newsletter, thanks to our member
that its GA members would hold two 24- John Peat and the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust. The Trust had displays at
hour strikes on 3rd and 5th October. Norwich & Ipswich stations at the end of September when this brochure was
available. If you were unable to attend, the brochure serves as a reminder of the
New GA train fleet: event. (EM)
When the Greater Anglia franchise renewal
was awarded to Abellio last year they announced the manufacturers selected – Bombardier - who would supply 665
complete replacement of all existing train fleets with two Aventra EMU vehicles in 5 or 10 car formations as a follow-on
order to the Class 345 Crossrail units, which will replace the
In This Issue present London commuter EMU fleets, and a new entrant to
the UK market - Stadler of Switzerland - who will provide 378
Track Report vehicles based on their Flirt design. A total of twenty 12 car
National Network 1 EMUs are to be provided for Norwich – London and Stansted
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Miniature 5 Express services and 24 x 4 car units and 14 x 3 car bi-mode
Away from the tracks 7 units for regional services.
Pick-up Goods 7 Bombardier presented a mock-up of the proposed interior fit-
NRS News 12 out of the Aventra EMU vehicles on 11th September
“Afloat in Friesland” - Brian Kirton (described as being “a prototype unit” on BBC Look East and
a “full size model” on BBC Local Live Norfolk which also
13 mentioned “more than 600 units” (engines or carriages?))
15 which showed 3 + 2 seating across the vehicle to maximise
seating which is now believed will be Standard class
throughout but with free wi-fi, power points, air conditioning future use during the new construction works. Preliminary
and underfloor heating. ground works have commenced.
Crossrail/The Elizabeth Line: Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership:
The new Crossrail Class 345 emus are gradually being The CRP celebrated its 20th anniversary in late August. Since
introduced to Liverpool Street – Shenfield services. 1997 passenger journeys have trebled from 200,000 to more
than 600,000 journeys a year. Formal closure proposals were
Pudding Mill Lane DLR: refused in 1969.
This station was relocated southwards in April 2014 so as to
make way for the future Crossrail tunnel portal. TBMs were Wymondham Access Group:
“launched” from this site driving the new tunnels towards In late July the WAG presented a 500 signature petition
Farringdon. In preparation for the connections to be made supporting their campaign for step-free access to be provided
between Crossrail (the final Crossrail trackworks having been to the Cambridge-bound platform which is currently only
completed in mid-September) and the GEML the Up accessible via the two flights of steps of the station footbridge.
Slow/Electric Line between Stratford and Bow Junc was An operational siding (for on-track maintenance plant) and the
diverted from the north to the south side of the tunnel portal fact that the Up side Goods Yard was sold some years ago
over the weekend of 16th/17th September. The physical makes a resolution difficult.
connections to the Crossrail infrastructure will be made soon. Class 68 Farewell Special - Saturday 16th September:
To mark the end of Class 68s topping and tailing 3 Mk2
Crossrail/replacement of OLE/engineering blockades: carriages on Wherry Line services (introduced following the
On 19th September Network Rail announced that extensive collision at Larling which badly damaged 170204), withdrawn
engineering blockades would take place during most on 8th September, GA organised a repeat of the special
weekends from the end of September to the end of the year itinerary previously undertaken by Class 37s. Hauling a
to enable progress chiefly on the on-going OLE replacement standard Mk3 set the 68s (the first and last of the fleet 68001
works. Ingatestone becomes the London-bound terminus with & 68034) worked a 1020 Norwich to Ely and a 1155 return
replacement buses ferrying passengers to/from Newbury before heading for London at 1333 (scheduled arrival 1536)
Park for Underground transfer to/from central London for and then a 1624 London – Norwich due 1824 (arrived 11E).
these weekend blockades and between 23rd December and
2nd January when the line will be closed for 10 days. Just before the 68s ended their association with Wherry
Line services, 68028/001 enter Lowestoft on 7th September
Manningtree - new train maintenance depot: (above).The trailing end of the 1333 Norwich - Liverpool St
By the beginning of September all the derelict buildings had EACH special (68001 on the front) speeds through
been demolished leaving a large pile of crushed hardcore for Swainsthorpe on 16th September (below) (Peter Adds).
Norfolk Railway Society
President: Ken Mills, Esq.
Committee and Officers 2017-2018 Telephone
Chairman Brian Kirton
Vice Chairman Warren Wordsworth
Past Chairman Ray Halliday
Secretary & Andrew Wright
Treasurer John Laycock
Membership Sec Mike Handscomb
Newsletter Editor & Edward Mann
Indoor Programme Graham Kenworthy
Show Day Manager Brian Cornwell
& Outdoor visits
Committee Member Malcolm Wright
Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter
Editor: Edward Mann
Layout & 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 those of the author
and should not be taken to represent those of the Society.
Next issue published 7th December 2017.
Copy date: 30th November 2017.
_________TRACK REPORT Saturday 12th August - Points failure near Ipswich (at
Europa Junc): This caused significant disruption to Norwich
Fares were £60 Standard and £95 for First class with profits to London services. The 0800 ex-Norwich was held at
being donated to the East Anglian Children’s Hospice. Stowmarket from 0832 to 0941 departing 71L, Ipswich dep
103L and arrival in London 116L. The 0830 ex-Norwich
GE INCIDENTS departed Diss on time then passed Haughley Junc 48L,
Ipswich dep 88L and terminated at Colchester 95L. The 0900
Thursday 27th July: An early morning container train failure ex-Norwich was 33L at Stowmarket, 71L at Ipswich and 75L
near Felixstowe delayed services on the branch with the 0418 in London. The 0930 ex-Norwich departed 14L, was 61L at
Felixstowe – Burton service departing at 0536 (78L) passing Ipswich and 68L arriving in London. The 1030 ex-Norwich
Colchester 133L before being recessed in Shenfield Up Loop was a mere 32L at Ipswich.
(180L) and passing Gidea Park 200L. The train was then
heavily delayed in the Rugby area (150L becoming a mere In reaction to the late running Up services the 1030, 1100,
307L), with it terminating at Bescot 320L. The 0158 1130 and 1200 ex-London were cancelled with a special at
Felixstowe – Masborough train (222L) followed directly 1150 which departed 15L.
behind the 0418 service and arrived at its destination only
165L. Sunday 13th August: An “operating incident” at Lowestoft led
to the cancellation of the 1346 to Norwich and the 1405 to
Saturday 5th August - Lightning damage: Signalling Ipswich together with their return workings.
equipment was damaged between Eccles Road and Harling
Road about 1430. Train shuttle services were introduced Monday 14th August - Derailment at Ely: At about 1420 the
between Norwich - Wymondham and Thetford – Ely last 11 wagons of a 33 wagon GBRf-operated container train
supported by replacement road services. The damage was service from Felixstowe South to Doncaster Railport hauled
repaired enabling a 2300 Thetford – Norwich to operate (dep by 66713 derailed between Ely North and West Junctions
8L and arrive Norwich 22L). This train was then followed by closing the Ely – March line until 0500 the following Monday
the 1752 Liverpool Lime St – Norwich which lost over 50 21st August. Before the derailed wagons could be removed
minutes in the Ely area (perhaps waiting for the line to re- Network Rail had to source a 100-tonne rail crane (Colas-
open) reaching Norwich at 0036, 77L. owned) which lifted the containers before placing them on
container flat wagons positioned on the other line. Then the
Tuesday 8th August - Lightning damage again: Norwich - derailed wagons could be lifted and removed enabling
Cromer line services were suspended after 1440 due to a Network Rail to relay the section of line which had been badly
problem at North Walsham. A shuttle service operated damaged during the derailment. (There was a letter in the
between Cromer and Sheringham. The 1649 Sheringham – Evening News a few days later to the effect that in the “good
Norwich ran but the signalling then failed leading to the train old days” it would not have taken a week to restore services
service being suspended again. Services were restored with –Ed.)
the 1955 Norwich – Sheringham and the 2110 return.
The EMT Norwich – Liverpool Lime St services operated west
Wednesday 9th August: The 1330 London – Norwich service of Peterborough with bus links to Ely, Norwich and Bury St
was terminated at Chelmsford 35L due to loco failure. The Edmunds (no trains ran Bury St Edmunds – Ely during the
following 1400 ex-London was delayed by 30 minutes in line blockage). EMT reintroduced a Norwich – Ely shuttle
reaction. A Class 90 locomotive was seen preparing to leave service on and from 16th August.
Wensum Curve at 1845 to recover the failed set recessed in
the Down Loop at Chelmsford. Friday 18th August: An afternoon signal failure in the
Norwich area led to many delays and cancellations on all
The 1745 Norwich – Sheringham was terminated at Cromer routes.
due to a passenger being taken ill. The 1852 Sheringham –
Norwich (Cromer dep 1903) was cancelled due to the Wednesday 23rd August: A fatality at Chadwell Heath
emergency services being in attendance and then a special blocked the line between 0910 and 1010. The 0900 London –
1943 Cromer – Norwich was able to run. Norwich was held at Ilford for 60 minutes and the 0740 ex-
Norwich was delayed by 56 minutes. The 1000 and 1030
Friday 11th August - Somerleyton swingbridge defective: London – Norwich services were cancelled in reaction and
The 0850 Lowestoft – Norwich was terminated at the 1230 Norwich – London was started from Ipswich.
Somerleyton and the 0825 ecs and 0855 Norwich – Lowestoft
services were terminated at Reedham. A Norwich – Reedham Sunday 27th & Monday 28th August: Bank Holiday
shuttle service then operated until normal services were engineering works saw Norwich to London services
reinstated with the 1205 Norwich – Lowestoft and 1257 terminating at Ingatestone enabling Network Rail to install a
return. Due to the lack of serviceable trains a number of further 1km of new OLE at Brentwood together with new OLE
services between Norwich and Yarmouth were cancelled structures at Ilford and Manor Park as part of their £250m
including the 0906, 1025, 1318, 1425 and 1536 departures programme to replace the old compound catenary which is
from Norwich. prone to sagging in hot weather.
Due to “traction problems” (possibly OLE issues) the 1718 The March – Peterborough line was blocked during the B/H
London – Ipswich was terminated at Shenfield. The following weekend whilst an underbridge was renewed at Whittlesey.
1730 London – Norwich lost 40 minutes between Gidea Park
and Shenfield. The 1630 ex-Norwich passed Shenfield 23L Monday 28th August: A1 Tornado steam locomotive worked
and reached London 40L. The 1743 Witham – London was a King’s Cross to Yarmouth special routed via Ely and the
held at Chelmsford from 1753 to 1827 (34L), only to be Wensum Curve. After turning at Norwich the loco worked the
terminated at Shenfield 40L. The 1705 Clacton to London return train which was delayed by some 20 minutes at
was terminated at Chelmsford, the 1700 Norwich – London Wymondham and further delayed in the Cambridge area,
was terminated at Colchester and the 1830 Norwich – London reaching King’s Cross almost an hour late.
was terminated at Ipswich. The 1930 and 2030 London –
Norwich services were cancelled in reaction.
Wednesday 30th August: The 0600 Norwich – London Class 800 sets at Peterborough
service experienced brake trouble after leaving Chelmsford
and was finally recovered and dragged back to Chelmsford Thanks to Malcolm Banyer for the two images(below) of the 800
where it was taken out of service. With one line blocked for a sets seen at Peterborough on 11th September.
considerable time, followed by the failed train being rescued,
significant delays were experienced. The 0624 ex-Norwich
had been on time passing Chelmsford but was 38L by
Shenfield. The 0730 London – Norwich passed Shenfield
27L, Chelmsford 48L and reached Norwich 55L. The 0716
ex-Harwich was held at Colchester from 0751 to 0855 (61L),
Witham 0916-0927 (76L) and reached London 80L. The
0705 Norwich – London was held at Manningtree from 0758
to 0832 (33L) and was 54L arriving at Liverpool St.
The 0740 and 0800 Norwich – London services were both
terminated at Ipswich.
The 0800 London – Ipswich service departed 70L and was
terminated at Colchester 100L. The 0830, 1030 and 1100
London - Norwich services were cancelled with the 0900
London – Norwich being started from Colchester. The 1330
Norwich – London and its return 1810 service were also
cancelled in reaction to the original failure.
Friday 1st September: A number of morning trains were
cancelled due to the lack of serviceable units including the
0906, 0936 and 1025 Norwich – Yarmouth services.
Wednesday 6th September - Bridge strike at North
Walsham: Whilst the Eastern Daily Press made much of this
(railway line closed for 35 minutes) no trains appear to have
been affected as none was timetabled to pass!
Thursday 7th September: The 0705 Norwich – London
terminated at Colchester 31L because of brake problems.
The following 0740 ex-Norwich was delayed by 20 minutes.
Bridge strike at Needham Market about 1615: The 1620 Thursday 14th September: Two Network Rail trains were
Ipswich – Cambridge and 1600 Norwich – London were noted on the opposite sides of Norwich station in the early
delayed – the latter at Stowmarket from1632 to 1714, evening. In addition to NR’s Class 150 unit was another test
departing 44L and terminating at Colchester 49L. The 1530 train topped and tailed by Colas locos 37254 (orange and
London – Norwich was terminated at Ipswich 20L. The 1600 yellow livery) and 37057 (BR green livery).
London – Norwich departed Ipswich 1L and reached Norwich
30L to form the 1800 Norwich – London which departed 21L Friday 15th September - Lineside fire at Claydon: The
running non-stop save for an Ipswich call to reach London in scrap yard on the Down side at Claydon (between Ipswich
100 minutes (6L). and Needham Market) decided to create another lineside fire
disrupting train services which were halted between about
Wednesday 13th September: The strong winds associated 1900 and 2130. The 1750, 1810 and 1830 London – Norwich
with Storm Aileen caused a number of trees to fall on to local services were all terminated at Ipswich. The following 1900
railway lines. The 0611 Norwich –Yarmouth appears to have ex-London having been on time passing Marks Tey was 20L
been able to pass the site of a fallen tree (only 11L at at Manningtree with an Ipswich arrival 64L. The train was held
Brundall) but then the line was blocked for almost two hours. at Ipswich from 2112 to 2147, departing 99L with a Norwich
The 0543 Yarmouth - Norwich departed Brundall 4L but was arrival 108L. The 1930 was held at Ipswich from 2121 to 2154
then recorded as being 131L passing Whitlingham Junc! The (72L) with a Norwich arrival 89L. The 2000 was held at
following 0524 Lowestoft – Norwich was held at Brundall from Colchester from 2049 to 2116 (27L), Ipswich from 2140 to
0622 to 0825 departing 128L. The 0624 Yarmouth – Norwich 2201 (52L) with a Norwich arrival 71L. The 2030 was only
was terminated at Acle. 47L!
A tree falling on the line at Needham Market caused some In the London-bound direction the 1830, 1900, 2000 and
damage to the OLE and prompted some services to be 2100 Norwich – London services were all terminated at
cancelled or starting/terminating stations being amended. The Stowmarket (with return services departing Stowmarket at
0600/0625 London – Norwich were terminated at Colchester 2015, 2045, 2130 and 2200) and the 1930 ex-Norwich was
with the 0700 running through to Norwich arriving 18L. The cancelled.
0639 Ipswich – Norwich due 0724 was cancelled. In the
opposite direction the 0810 ex-Stowmarket was started from
Manningtree, the 0800 ex-Norwich was started from Ipswich
and the 0830 ex- Norwich started from Colchester whilst the
0900 was cancelled - the 0930 ran. The 1030 ex-London and
return 1300 ex-Norwich services were cancelled.
_________TRACK REPORT Re-boot at Dorchester South
In reaction to this, the 2100, 2130 and 2230 departures from Have you ever called an IT Helpline with a computer problem
London to Norwich were cancelled but the 2330 did run! only to be asked in effect “Have you tried switching it off and
on again?” The same advice, it seems, is given to drivers on
Tuesday 19th September: A brick was thrown through the some of our trains. During a recent visit to Dorset we travelled
windscreen of the Class 90 hauling the 0830 Norwich – from Wareham to Weymouth courtesy of the company with an
London service as it passed Palgrave (having just left Diss). identity crisis. The South Western franchise having been
The driver managed to continue to its next calling stop at taken over by First/MTR is still in the early stages of working
Ipswich where the service was terminated enabling repairs to out who it is as it transitions from South West Trains to South
be carried out at Crown Point depot. Western Railway.
The RHTT sets were delivered to Stowmarket Yard in Having departed Wareham on the late running 12.28 service
readiness for the forthcoming leaf-fall season workings. courtesy of 444028 we reached the third stop at Dorchester
(Peter Adds) South. A few passengers got off,some more joined and we
waited. And waited. The conductor announced he was with
Signalling Upgrade for Norwich – Lowestoft the driver and there was a problem with the train which they
and Great Yarmouth were trying to fix. Then 444041 with the next service to
Weymouth pulled into the up platform. Perhaps we will be told
Network Rail recently announced commencement of work to to transfer to that service? Not a bit of it. The lights went out
“replace some of the oldest signalling equipment on the in our train and the latter service pulled out to continue its
network”. Work will take place at several locations on the journey to Weymouth. Some minutes later our train came
Norwich – Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth routes between back to life - to the extent that lights came on and motors
October 2017 and March 2019 resulting in changes to train somewhere in the vehicle began rumbling away again. At this
services. Some 66 new colour light LED signals, 22 power point the conductor announced that they had performed a full
operated points and a remote computer-based signalling re-boot of the train adding that unfortunately this meant
control system will replace “levers and physical operations”. shutting all the systems down so they could not let us transfer
Level crossings currently operated by a crossing keeper will to the other service as the doors were locked. Having had
be replaced with a barrier type remotely controlled by a visions of driver and conductor working away with a bag of
signaller using CCTV cameras. Platform 1 at Great Yarmouth spanners, screwdriver and electrical testing kit it seems they
will also be removed. had simply switched the train off and on again. All solved! We
continued to Weymouth where 444028 had to prepare for a
rapid turnaround with the next service to Waterloo. I never did
find out whether they got there. (AW)
Network Rail graphics showing the proposed remodelling
at Great Yarmouth, looking west (above) and east (below).
The offending 444028 at Weymouth on 15th September
about to start its return journey to Waterloo (Andy Wright).
The first batch of work will take place between Saturday 21st Heritage, Narrow-gauge and
and Monday 30th October. The ever present refrain is “check Miniature
before you travel”! (AW)
The Churnet Valley Railway – Mike Fordham
pays a return visit
I first visited the railway in 2011, when it was only open
between Froghall and Leek Brook Junc, just through the
Cheddleton tunnel - a round trip of 11 miles. The railway
shares the valley with the Caldon Canal and the River
Churnet between Froghall, Consall and Cheddleton, the between 1942-6. After war service 5197 went to China and
railway’s main base and workshop site. The sleepy rural 6046 to Hungary before returning to the U.K.
station at Consall is well worth a stopover if only to visit the
Black Lion pub or to photograph passing trains while walking When I returned in 2017 Greg had become Managing
by the canal. At the time the railway was short of steam Director and the railway had made a controversial decision to
engines and our train was pulled by hired G.W.R. 2-6-2T hire foreign locomotives - a Polish 0-6-0T 2944 and his two
5199. S160s which were now operational. While we waited at
Froghall for our train my fingers were crossed for it to be a
5199 passing the canal at Consall, the fishermen are S160, I was lucky - it was Lima-built 5197 which arrived
catching Crayfish in the canal in 2011 (Mike Fordham). producing much black smoke even though it was a coal
In the workshop loco owner and Director Greg Wilson had his burner. As we passed the workshops at Chaddleton I noticed
two S160s under restoration - 5197 from 1942 & 6046 from 6046 was under repair; was this the engine that missed the
1945. 2,120 S160 2-8-0s were built in the U.S. for the U.S. MNR Gala this year? Also in the yard were many sheeted-
Army Transportation Corps for use in Europe during WW2 over diesels awaiting work or repair.
Cheddleton station, above, and below, 5199 waits to leave The Cauldon Low branch had now been extended to the
Froghall station(Mike Fordham). former Ipstones station which gives you a 20-mile round trip.
The engine has to tackle the 1 in 59 gradient as it passes
through the beautiful Staffordshire moorland to Ipstones,
where the engine runs round but at present you are unable to
If you are around Stoke-on-Trent or Leek do find time to visit
this contrasting valley and moorland railway with its
interesting engines. The Foxfield and Chasewater Railways
are both not far away and both worth a visit.
Editor’s Note: The CVR is a most unusual line, effectively
being two “prongs”. Also worth visiting are the Rudyard Lake
Railway and the old Leek & Manifold station at Hulme End.
For those of a different persuasion, there’s even somewhere
called Alton Towers!
Number 93 on the Mid-Norfolk
On a Sunday each September the town of Wymondham
holds a ‘Vintage Day’. Roads are closed to traffic, cars of
many eras fill the market square and a car park, and local
halls mount displays of historic material. There are also
vintage bus rides around town; this year Jon Moore’s 1959
Bedford coach and the East Anglian Transport Museum's
1962 Bristol Lodekka did the honours.
To add to the transport delights, this year the Mid-Norfolk
Railway joined in the fun. By happy coincidence GWR steam
railmotor no.93 was paying a short visit to the MNR, and on
Vintage Day, September 10, people were invited to pay £2 for
the short trip from Church Lane level crossing to the Network
Rail boundary and back. There’s no platform on the south
side of the crossing (although see below), so the railmotor’s
own retractable steps were brought into use.
No. 93 was built at Swindon in 1908. It was initially allocated
to Southall shed but then spent time at many other depots
including Bristol, Chalford, Gloucester, Stourbridge and
Yatton. After running nearly half a million miles it was
converted into a non-powered Auto Trailer in 1935. In this
guise it lasted until 1956, when it underwent another
conversion, this time into a 'Work Study Coach'.
In 1970 the Great Western Society acquired it and moved it to
Didcot, but it was not until 1998 that the GWS made a start on
returning it to original condition as a steam rail motor. The
frame of the new power bogie was erected at Tyseley and
then mounted on wheels and fitted with a boiler. In January
2009 the carriage portion was restored at Llangollen and two
years later no. 93 returned to public service at Didcot. It’s run
on various heritage lines, and has been approved – with
restrictions – for main line operation, even though the re-use
of wooden bodied vehicles has not been allowed on the
national network for many years. Thus in 2012 it was able to
run services on NR’s Looe branch.
It’s an attractive little beast with wooden end panels, a slatted a station for a short while after the Wymondham - Dereham
wood floor and nicely upholstered seating – partly longitudinal line opened in 1847; traces of a rudimentary platform have
and partly reversible (tram-type) to give passengers the been unearthed there. No. 93 therefore worked the first
opportunity to face the direction of travel. The boiler is 'official' passenger trains from Church Lane station for well
separated from the passenger area by a surprisingly spacious over 150 years. It was also probably the first time that a
guard’s compartment. steam railmotor had been seen in Norfolk for at least 70
years. (Mike Handscomb)
Its Wymondham shuttles created a couple of ‘firsts’. It’s
reckoned that the crossing cottage at Church Lane was in fact
Above, No. 93 is eased carefully into position south of the The interior of the railmotor (photo: supplied).
Church Crossing gates so that its retractable steps will line
up with the home-made alighting point. Below, No 93 pulls Away from the Tracks
away from Church Crossing on its way to the Network Rail
boundary. In the background is the partly-completed A Times Obituary
Church Lane Crossing signal box (Ian McDonald).
My neighbour occasionally gives me a Times obituary, and a
recent one related to Gerry Burt O.B.E., Chief Secretary of
British Railways 1976-1984, who died on 4th June. Although a
lifelong railwayman, his secretarial tenure went back to the
days of Sir Peter Parker, B.R.B. Chairman, and he attended
frequent meetings with civil servants and politicians. It would
come as no surprise that the late Harold Macmillan (whose
family had once been directors of the old G.W.R.) suggested:
“Bring back the Great Western”! Relations with Margaret
Thatcher started badly and went downhill! It was interesting
(but not surprising) to learn that he regarded privatisation as
“a complete mess” and regretted the loss of the unified
structure, including B.R’s highly respected research and
development arm. (EM)
A miscellany of news and members’ contributions
Recently at the URC Hall Gwinear Road, once junction for Helston. There were
sobering views of Brent (for Kingsbridge) – everything has
Members’ Summer Reports – 21st September gone now, but then it was busy. The Brixham branch train at
Churston and the “right-angled” Looe branch at Liskeard were
A few loyal souls had brought disks or memory sticks to mark added for good measure. The S. & D. was represented by
the traditional start to our autumn programme. one of its 2-8-0s and an ancient Midland 0-4-4T at Bath
Ken Mills had been very busy, transferring many of his 1950s
photographs to a disk, and for the traditionalists it was a joy to And then we moved to Northampton & Bedford, a “Jubilee” at
see so many old classes. Local shots naturally abounded and Willesden and Stanier Pacifics at Camden. The Society had
there were quite a few from Beccles. He also went west – to visited both Ipswich & Parkeston Quay where a
Penzance, and took in the Gunnislake branch and long- Westinghouse-fitted J39 made an unusual sight.
closed Plymouth Friary. Views of Wadebridge produced
Pacifics and the 0298 class of well-tanks (30585-87), and to Ken didn’t forget Scotland with V1s at Bridgeton Cross and
Milngavie, C16s at Dundee, an older C15 on the
Craigendoran – Arrochar push-pulls, and Forres and
Inverness depots. The Isle of Man also featured – all its lines Thanks to all of our contributors, and to Andy Wright for
were still open then. operating the projector.
Some sombre sights were 04s awaiting their last call at Brandon Update
Gorton, N5s at Agecroft and several Stanier 0-4-4Ts out of
use at Buxton. Following site clearance works previously reported (i.e.
demolition of the old goods shed) the first trainload of
After the break, Brian Kirton tested your scribe’s knowledge aggregates arrived on 19th July. The material is then being
with a detailed look at Buckinghamshire’s railways, beginning taken by road to R.A.F. Marham for the runway upgrade and
at Quainton Road which has acquired the station building new buildings being created for the new F35A Lightning II
from Oxford Rewley Road - HS2 will eventually pass nearby. fighter aircraft. The area seems to look like a virtual quarry at
Quainton Road was the junction for the Brill branch, and the the moment. With thanks to Peter Adds & Ian Dinmore who
“Mud” trains regularly run to the Calvert waste disposal took the image (below) from a passing train on 14th August.
complex. There will be a HS2 infrastructure depot just north of
Calvert. The Bicester – Bletchley line ran just north of here, North Berwick Interlude
and is currently “mothballed”, but when Winslow station is
reopened it will be in a different location. Some nice topiary One of my weaknesses is purchasing a calendar of vintage
was visible at Swanbourne, near Bletchley, and if advocates railway posters. The August poster took us to North Berwick,
of the line as an East Coast ports – South Wales freight route accessed from the ECML at Drem. The well-known artist
in the 1950s had been successful there would have been a Frank Newbould has depicted a diverse group on the beach –
“white elephant” of a marshalling yard nearby (cf. a tanned, swimsuit-clad lady pouring something from a flask;
Carlisle/Perth). Bedford – Bletchley retains its passenger an over-dressed gentleman is also prominent – he’s also
service and at Ridgmont station there is a small heritage caught the sun but still finds it necessary to wear a suit, shirt
museum. and tie, pullover, long socks and a trilby hat! We are left in no
doubt that the wealthy golfing clientele would be most
It was good to have a contribution from the well-travelled welcome at the resort as his clubs are beside him. Finally, a
Malcolm Wright, who began with the various types of tram younger lady, dressed in yellow, completes the scene. All
that could be seen in Delft. He also visited the NNR’s Diesel very different from my own experience at the end of June –
Gala, where “Peaks” were prominent, along with the L.T.- strong winds, driving rain and the inevitable soaking! I didn’t
liveried Class 20 and the Class 101 d.m.u. We also saw hang about.
60009 Union of South Africa on the MNR. The next venue
was the South Devon Railway, and several HSTs and A damp North Berwick on 29th June! (Edward Mann).
Voyagers were seen at Totnes, before G.W. locos were noted
on the adjacent heritage line. The sole surviving broad-gauge
locomotive - Tiny - is in the museum at Buckfastleigh after a
long spell on display at Newton Abbot station, whilst Newton
Abbot’s G.W.R./Town Museum was also visited. Finally, we
saw something of the Spa Valley Railway (Eridge – Tunbridge
Wells West), including a very odd-liveried Class 31.
Mike Handscomb had sold some of the late Bernard
Harrison’s black & white slides, although the prices obtained
were disappointing (first-generation diesels fared better).
These included a D16 at Heacham on the last day of the
Wells branch, Cromer Links Halt on its last day, and
Mundesley, complete with camping coaches. The rebuilding
of Melton Constable’s turntable, a Thetford – Swaffham
branch train, an F5 at Norwich, and an N7 at Thorpe-le-Soken
were other local items. Further afield, a gas-turbine near
Paddington, and shots of Barking’s rebuilding were
interesting. He concluded with a 1959 view of a Class 26 (a
Hornsey one, presumably) coming off the Wensum Curve
with a coast-bound special.
“More Summer Madness” was, inevitably, a David Pearce
“short” and it was full of interest. He was on hand when 2 x
08s were delivered to replace withdrawn counterparts from
Crown Point. We saw Classes 37 & 68 at Lowestoft, and the
impressive results from his Panoramic Smartphone. Trips to
France had produced images of a nondescript Dieppe but
more interesting images of the better-used stations at Nice
Airport and Cannes. It came as no great surprise that David
and his wife were fans of the Impressionist movement, and
that they had visited Monet’s garden at Giverny, west of
Paris. Back home, he had been to Warrington, to Hale (just
beyond the Manchester Metrolink) and to the Churnet Valley
Railway. Visits to the NNR had produced 92203 Black Prince
and the S. & D. 2-8-0 in tandem and the two Y7s on the Mid-
Suffolk. He concluded with some excellent views of Railmotor
93 on the MNR.
NNR Autumn Gala July/August Answers and another quiz
The NNR Autumn Steam Gala took place over the weekend of 1st - How did you do? Answers are: 1. Glasgow; 2. Dover
3rd September. Originally billed as running two WD 2-8-0 locos, Priory/Marine, Lincoln Central/St Mark’s & Richmond; 3.
90733 was withdrawn leaving 90775 as the sole representative of 62418 The Pirate as “The Pirates” is a club nickname; 4.
the Class. Fortunately the S&DJR Class 7F 53809 was present, Bucks & Northants; 5. Drayton Green, Heald Green just
courtesy of John Moorehouse and the WSR, and was joined by before Manchester Airport & Slade Green; 6. Pontypool
another visitor GWR Collett 5700 class 0-6-0PT 7714 courtesy of Road & Stratford; 7. South West Coast Path or Combe Rail
the SVR and owner the SVR Pannier Tank Fund. Project; 8. Mount Pleasant Halt was just east of Exeter
Central and Point Pleasant was in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Images by Andy Wright seen below are - top to bottom - 53809, (Riverside branch); 9.Tywyn is best-known; 10. Blackpool &
90775 (both at Weybourne) and 7714 at Holt. Other locos in action New Brighton.
were 4MT 76084, N2 1744, B12 8572 and 9F 92203 Black Prince.
Here’s another opportunity to pit your wits against those of
your Editor. By all means email your answers to
[email protected] if you feel inclined.
1. What name connects an R.A.F torpedo bomber, a
member of the “Castle” class and a station be-
tween Abergavenny & Merthyr?
2. Explain Cross Hands and Tumble in a railway, as
opposed to a gymnastic, context.
3. Penda’s Way sounds as if ancient Britons may
have used it as a trade route. Maybe, but explain it
in railway terms.
4. What is unusual about the ticket-selling at Gobo-
5. What connects Royal St George’s, a “Jubilee” and
one of the Cinque Ports?
6. Where was Preston Platform (it wasn’t in Lanca-
7. Most “West Country” Pacifics took their names
from cities, towns and villages in the West Country.
How many took their names from high points, val-
leys, landmarks etc? Please use a 1955, or later,
8. What connects Eastbourne with Scotland’s Nation-
9. Lancashire-born entertainers whose surnames are
those of stations. Just name the 3 locations,
please. First, “the Kid” was a mere 4’3”. Second,
we have a stable lad/jockey who might now have
found work cleaning a computer operating system.
Third, we could have had the choice of Euston
Road or Promenade, but it’s easy to be wise after
the event. Stations are still open at all locations.
10. What is unusual about Pilning’s train services? It’s
just the Bristol side of the Severn Tunnel if you’re
The 15 Guinea Special
Roger Kingstone recalls that just over 49 years ago he was
amidst a group of enthusiasts filling the platforms at
Blackburn. Everybody watched in silence as 2 “Black 5s”
departed with the very last B.R. steam train – the 15 Guinea
(£15/15/- or £15.75) Special. Earlier that day he had seen
70013 Oliver Cromwell hauling the same train on the Settle
& Carlisle line.
Roger would be interested to know if any events marking
the occasion will be held next year, so if you become aware
of anything please let me know. (EM)
In NRS/NL 62/1 pp. 13-15 Chris Mitchell recalled the work
that went into the re-opening of the Nottingham –
Shirebrook – Worksop line. The re-opening of the
Shirebrook – Warsop – Edwinstowe – Ollerton line, closed
to passengers in the mid-1950s, is now being explored.
Corrections Corner he decided to part with 92203 Black Prince the NNR became
its new custodian. Not bad for a man told by London’s Slade
We had a problem with NRS/NL 62/4 p.13, for which we School of Art that he had no talent for art whatsoever!
apologise to Brian Cornwell and Mike Fordham in particular.
Had things gone according to plan, the image of Brian would The image above taken by Andy Wright during “An Evening
have had the following text overlaid: with David Shepherd” at the NNR on 20th August 2011.
URC’s 65th Birthday
Brian Cornwell & Mike Fordham flew the flag for the Society
and the Norfolk Transport Group on the Church’s birthday on
3rd June, Brian wasting no opportunity to display his Lego
collection (Mike Fordham).
This isn’t fake news!
South West Railways (who have succeeded to the South
West Trains franchise recently) have reported a bizarre haul
of lost property, including an inflatable shark (!) and an ironing
board. Add to these a set of false teeth, laptops, umbrellas
etc and there’s more than 10,000 items already. What
wouldn’t we give to know the stories behind that shark and
the ironing board!
David Shepherd CBE, FRSA, FGRA
It was sad to learn that David Shepherd passed away on 19th
September. He was a very well-known painter of wildlife and,
closer to home, steam engines and aircraft. His first solo
exhibition was in 1962, and Royal portraits followed in 1969.
The BBC documentary “The Man Who Loves Giants” was
made in 1970 followed, some 5 years later, by his like-titled
autobiography. The local connection was strong, and when
Swanage to Wareham – the Steve Cane
(Mike Handscomb’s account was in NRS/NL 62/4 p. 10/11,
but Steve happened to be there on 13th June, when services
ran again after a 45-year break.)
In early June my wife and I were having a week’s holiday in
Dorset, staying in the delightfully named Puddletown on the
river Piddle. The weather was fantastic and for the first few
days we made for the coast visiting Weymouth, Portland Bill
and Osmington Mills. We also went to the nearby Tolpuddle,
where an excellent museum run by the TUC tells the story of
“The Martyrs” which led to the founding of the modern trade
On Tuesday 13th June we visited Swanage, and after a walk
on the front made our way to Swanage railway station. The
platform was heaving with people, and I noticed two Lord
Mayors wearing their chains of office, TV cameramen and
radio interviewers talking to local dignitaries.
The reason for all this was that a diesel service between
Swanage and the main line at Wareham was running that
day, for the first time in 45 years. The railway is conducting a
trial over the summer months with four trains a day in both
directions. On that day class 33 D6515 and a West Coast
Railway class 37 37518 were “top and tailing” the journeys. At
a later date the railway will be using its own DMU which is
currently being overhauled at Eastleigh.
If the trials are successful it will prove to be a boon to both
towns and the area as a whole, as passengers will be able to
alight at Wareham main line station and visit Swanage and
Corfe Castle without using their cars. We didn’t have a
chance to ride on the service that day as it was fully booked,
but I managed to get a few photos of the last train as it
arrived, and later departed from Swanage at 1623.
_________PICK-UP GOODS month and would be withdrawn from there in June 1962. The
dirt, filth, oily waste, surface water and junk lying around
Laira M.P.D. – Decline & Demolition seem to be even worse at this location than at most steam
(Michael Roach) sheds. The wooden boxes would probably have brought new
or reconditioned engine parts from Swindon Works in
Our President apart, it’s unlikely many of us reached "Enparts" vans.
Plymouth’s Laira depot in steam days. Mike Roach lived in
the area, and had a high success rate when visiting the
depot. The extended-caption images are self-explanatory.
Auto-fitted pannier 6438 is sitting on the 1931 built link 4570 receives attention under the hoist at Laira on 22nd
between the second access to the roundhouse and the south September 1962. The hoist was later moved to the adjacent
side of the coaling stage on 20th October 1962. The diesel depot. 4570 had only arrived at Laira on 14th July 1962
photographer is looking due north and there are many points and would last just 6 months until withdrawn soon after the
of interest: the water crane behind the locomotive; “Hall” 5967 closure of the Launceston branch. Although the loco survived
Bickmarsh Hall of Old Oak Common in the background; the for another 3 months after the date of this photo I never saw it
jib of the crane used for picking up the ash and dropping it working again. Generally when you saw a loco supported like
into mineral wagons; the houses on the hillside which were this under the front buffer-beam it was because the other end
not there in early photos of locos at the shed; the veteran was directly under the hoist and would be lifted up to a steep
driver resting in his cab and the fence in front of the loco. The angle so that the wheelsets could be run out for attention. On
fence surrounded a large a depression in the ground which the left is the bicycle shed with the main line just above the
held a low-level pumping station, but it is not known if the roof.
pumping station was there to pump out groundwater, to pump
water up to the large tank above the coal stage; or to pump
the sewage that previously went to the sewage works. 6438
had arrived at Laira in May 1962 from Radyr and was used on
the auto-trains to Tavistock, but it was withdrawn the following
month (November), a month before the closure of the line to
Tavistock and Launceston in December 1962. 6438 was
recorded as still at Laira 6 months later on 26th May 1963,
and finally departed for the scrapyard in January 1964 with
4570, 5544 and 5568. The locos were cut up at Cashmore's
4702 is seen on the 1931 line between the roundhouse and Railbus W79978 is seen in the Long Shed in June 1964
the south side of the coaling stage, having just received between jobs. It had been working the Kemble to Tetbury and
several tons of large coal on 7th October 1961. It had been Kemble to Cirencester Town branch lines from 1959 to the
transferred from Old Oak Common to Southall the previous last day of passenger trains on 4th April 1964. It was on its
way to St. Blazey with sister railbus W79977 to work between
the brand-new Boscarne Junction Exchange Platform
(opened 15th June 1964) and Bodmin North station which it
did until the exchange platform closed on 18th April 1966;
after which Bodmin General to Wadebridge trains went up to
Bodmin North and back again twice a day. This reversal
continued until complete closure on 30th January 1967.
W79978 was one of a class of 5 AC Railbuses. They had 4
wheels, were 36 feet (11 metres) long, had 46 seats and a
150 bhp diesel engine. W79978 is one of 3 of the class to
survive and is now at the Colne Valley Railway in Essex
_________PICK-UP GOODS Great Stations
34096 Trevone of Exmouth Junction stands beside the The Sunday Times Magazine recently carried a photo-spread
pumping station on Friday 28th August 1964. On the right can on our stations (a trailer for Simon Jenkins’s 100 Best
be seen the brick retaining wall and embankment that Railway Stations if you don’t know what to do with £25). The
supported the coaling stage siding. The loco had moved to usual suspects – York, Brighton & Bristol T.M. - were shown,
Exmouth Junction in December 1957 from Ramsgate upon but Goathland, Glenfinnan & Wolferton also got in. And so did
the electrification of the Kent Coast lines. Through the two off my personal beaten track – Tynemouth & Battersea
summer of 1964 there were two regular steam workings each Park. Sadly, another off my personal beaten track (and
way from Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton. These unlikely to be in the book) was Nottingham Victoria closed
workings ceased 10 days later and the loco was condemned. from 4th September 1967 and an early major city centre
casualty. I suppose the message is – do photograph stations
Here, the photographer is looking east across the turntable pit and not just the trains.
to the main entrance for locos (left) and exit (right). It is
surmised that the reason for smashing the roof to the ground Junctions in place names
was to save BR having to pay rates on the building any longer
than necessary. The long shed was still roofed on this date in When I was on holiday last year I saw a sign to Chard
October 1966 and there was a D800 Warship parked outside. Junction – not the station as it’s been closed 50 years, but the
community. Likewise, Halwill Junction – despite the absence
of railways now – is a distinct community, confirmed by its
village sign. Verney Junction, Bucks, latterly on the Varsity
line, is another small community proclaiming its unusual
status on the village sign. “Junction” is synonymous with
railways – are there any other communities with Junction in
their name? I would like to know if Langwith Junction is
another one, although I have my doubts.
Oh dear, oh dear…
The dreadful lack of railway knowledge by Yarmouth Mercury
staff was cruelly exposed on 1st September. The local BBC
website draws on a number of sources, and the Yarmouth
Mercury trailed a forthcoming charter from Norwich to London
Victoria hauled by the iconic Flying Scotsman. Strange then
that the first photograph showed 6201 Princess Elizabeth!
The next photograph showed Scotsman at King’s Cross, but
for some reason – in 2017 – it was stated to be embargoed
until 3rd December 2001. And of course the Scotsman was
not in its present condition. I will spare the reporter’s blushes
by not revealing names. But how does this happen? Does the
reporter write the text and leave the newspaper to “do its
worst” with wrongly-selected stock images?
Reminder to Members
NRS Show 10th March 2018
Could any member who has indicated to Peter Willis that they
wished to exhibit in the Show next year but have not yet
confirmed please do so by 15th October at the very latest.
Peter can be contacted on xx or by email.
Brian Cornwell (Show Manager).
Some of the track has been lifted in this view of the coaling Anthony Morris
stage in October 1966. The pumping station to the left had
already disappeared by this stage which would suggest that it We were saddened to learn that Anthony (Tony) Morris of
was used for pumping water up to the tank above the coaling Watton passed away suddenly on 1st August aged 84. Before
stage. retiring in 1994 he was Headmaster of St Peter & St Paul
Primary Academy in Carbrooke for 27 years. After his
retirement he divided his time between the local Methodist
Church, where he was a Lay Reader, and his railway
interests. He was also an established baritone singer and
member of the Wymondham Choral Society. The Society was
represented at his memorial service.
Our condolences go to his widow, Sylvia, and their family.
Broccoli & stilton soup topped with fresh cream & croutons (V)
Homemade ham hock terrine with piccalilli
Smoked salmon, prawn & cream cheese parcels on a beetroot salad
Home breaded chicken tossed in our homemade BBQ sauce
Traditional prawn cocktail
Tomato & goats cheese bruschetta (V)
Roast Norfolk Turkey with wrapped sausage, stuffing, Yorkshire, roast parsnips & roast potatoes
Slices of 6hr braised leg of lamb in rosemary & red wine with spring onion & cabbage mash
Sea bass fillets with a lemon butter & shrimp sauce on crushed new potatoes
Chicken breast topped with BBQ pulled pork & cheese, fries & coleslaw
Homemade brie, mushroom spinach, walnut & cranberry parcel, crushed new potatoes
Homemade vegetable suet pudding with buttery mash
Christmas pudding served with pouring brandy cream and Parravanis cinnamon ice cream
Homemade blackcurrant cheesecake & ice cream
Homemade raspberry pavlova
Mixed berry ice cream sundae
Homemade Chocolate yule log with cream
Baileys chocolate mousse
A two course meal costs £20.95 per person. A three course meal costs £25.95. Coffee and gratuity included.
Booking by 5th November absolutely essential.
You can do this by email at or by phone - messaging service available. Please include your name(s), and contact details.
Members and wives/partners only please. Your choice of courses and full payment (cheques to Norfolk Railway Society,
please) will also be required by 5th November – please use the contact details above to state your choice.
The NRS Committee looks forward to welcoming you all to this annual festive event.
Afloat in Friesland – Brian Kirton The Steam Depot, Rotterdam.
Velma and I experienced real Dutch hospitality as we made
preparations for our September holiday. We had never been
to Stoom Stichting Nederland, the railway depot in Rotterdam
that provides steam on the main line. It is open to the public
on Wednesdays and Saturdays but we would be there on a
Friday! An email request to be allowed to visit outside normal
hours brought a very kind response from Erik Ulijn, their PR
consultant and member of the IT committee.
We drove ashore at Hook of Holland with our good friends
Peter Willey and Chrys. We could not help noticing the
destruction of the former heavy rail route to Schiedam and
Rotterdam. Conversion to a Metro line is underway with new
tracks and catenary, additional platforms at a slightly higher
level, where international trains once departed. In NS days,
the service interval was every 30 minutes (or 15 minutes
onward from Maassluis) to Rotterdam. A higher frequency is
envisaged for the new Hoekse Lijn when it opens in
September 2018. Some trains will start from a new station at
_________FEATURE We continued by car to the northern province of Friesland and
the boatyard of Yacht Charter Sneek where we took over the
Hoek van Holland Strand, closer to the beach than its motor yacht Noa Delano. It was our third charter of this
predecessor. vessel and our fifth boating holiday in Friesland. We headed
past the famous Waterpoort in Sneek, over recently built
aqueducts and along waterways noticeably higher than the
surrounding polders, to the delightful medieval town of Sloten.
It has just 700 inhabitants.
Restoration work in progress at the Steam Depot in Crowds watching the “Steam Cathedral” in Lemmer.
Rotterdam. The next morning, we cruised to Lemmer and tied up near the
“Steam Cathedral”, the Wouda steam pumping station. It
We then drove to the main line steam depot that last year dates from 1920 and was opened by Queen Wilhelmina. It is
celebrated 40 years’ existence. Erik Ulijn was there to the world’s largest steam pumping station and a UNESCO
welcome us and provide a fascinating guided tour. It is a
‘foundation’ run entirely by volunteers. In 1995, they A preserved working boat formerly used to transport peat
relocated from the former goods depot in the centre of (above) and a former bridge keeper’s house to the left of
Rotterdam to a purpose-built shed alongside the line to a modern lift bridge on the Turfroute (below).
Gouda and Utrecht. Some 8 locomotives are based here
including a British built 0-6-0 tank engine. It was on duty
elsewhere during our visit but Erik enthused over this
Hudswell Clark loco that saw service with the Allied forces in
Europe after D-Day. The other locos are all from East
Germany and were built up to 1952. They are in different
stages of restoration, all to a very high standard, two are
certified for main line running. One is oil-fired and various
wheel arrangements include a 4-6-2. The coaching stock
comprises two rakes, a smart Deutsche Bahn set (110kph)
and another beautifully preserved Belgian set (80kph) with
upholstery restored by a local needlework school. Two Dutch
carriages serve as water carriers. A DB restaurant car is
undergoing restoration in order to replace the Mitropa
restaurant car when it becomes non-compliant. They operate
a programme of main line public excursions, sometimes to
preserved steam railways, and charter trains. Every venture
onto the main line requires a payment of EUR 3,000 plus a
nominal amount per kilometre. Part of the Depot is rented out
to EMD where a Crossrail AG locomotive was having a diesel
Inside the Wouda steam pumping station.
_________FEATURE A double decker train (known as a DDirm) crosses the
bridge at Akkrum bound for Leeuwarden. The lack of
listed site. Here we were to have incredibly good fortune. On catenary above the bridge is to facilitate the passage of
no more than about 10 occasions each year (and hardly ever vessels with a fixed mast. Noa Delano is moored at
in September), the Wouda steam pumping station is fired up Akkrum.
to supplement the electric pumping stations that lift water
from the Frisian lakes and waterways to the IJsselmeer. It Negotiating the railway bridge at Akkrum. The (single) red
was brought into use on the Sunday we were there! Local signal on the left means that the bridge is available to be
people came to witness the spectacle and the usual opened. (A double red means bridge keeper off duty, a
processing of visitors through various displays and films gave red + green means the bridge is about to open.) The
way to good-humoured crowd management and explanations orange light (below the 3,30 sign) means that if your
as the 4 giant steam engines came to life. In 1967, coal-firing vessel can pass beneath this headroom, you may proceed
gave way to new oil-fired boilers. The statistics are quite with caution. The bridge is operated remotely but your
amazing: In one minute, it pumps 4 million litres of water - boat can be seen on cctv.
enough to fill the massive engine hall. In two days, it pumps
sufficient water to drain one of the huge lakes in Friesland. More information on the places we visited can be found on
the following websites, (E) denotes English pages:
Back on board, we headed away from the sound of steam to www.stoomstichting.nl
cross lakes and along remote rivers and canals where www.yachtchartersneek.nl (E)
harriers flew over the marshes; churches and windmills www.woudagemaal.nl (E)
dominated the landscape, Dutch gables were evident in the www.turfroute.nl
villages, in fact it is remarkably like Norfolk! Another similarity
was that we were cruising the Turfroute (peat route). Peat-
diggers of centuries ago have long gone but they had left their
mark and the heritage is not forgotten. Unusually for the
Netherlands, there were several locks to be negotiated and
numerous lift and swing bridges as we passed through the
centre of attractive small towns such as Appelscha,
Oosterwolde, Donkerbroek and Gorredijk.
On the fifth day, the weather had deteriorated to a point
where gale-force winds and very heavy rain made navigation
really challenging. On the Dutch coast, force 10 was
recorded and we were battling gusts of wind force 9. It was a
day when sensible boaters would simply tie up and wait. With
a circular route planned and a boat to return to base, this was
not an option for us. However, by 1230 one of the friendly
lock keepers told us that navigation must cease because of
structural danger to lift bridges and the risk to boaters. We
had no alternative but to spend more time in Donkerbroek
than planned and we discussed the situation with our
boatyard. The water board responsible for maintaining the
critical water level (52cm below Amsterdam Ordnance
Datum) is known as Wetterskip Fryslan. I feel sure they knew
high rainfall was coming when they called upon the steam
pumping station 3 days earlier. The next morning, we set off
again and by cruising for 9 hours we got back on schedule
stopping for our final night in Akkrum. Here in 2008, the
approach tracks to the new railway swing bridge were raised
to give increased clearance for navigation. Like the 5 new
aqueducts, this work was part of the major Frisian Lakes
Back in Hook of Holland, whilst enjoying a good meal on the
Stena Britannica, we reflected on how much of Friesland we
have still to explore by water!
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Brian for such an eye-opening
account. All images: Brian Kirton.
a selective look ahead at local railway events
NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY 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.
Norfolk Transport Group - please contact Mike Fordham or John Laycock.
Services on our Local Railways
Barton House Railway, Hartwell Road, Wroxham, NR12 8TL. For information: www.bartonhouserailway.org.uk – Tel: 01603-
Bressingham Steam & Gardens, Low Rd., Bressingham, IP22 2AA. For information: www.thebressinghamgardens.com or
The Bure Valley Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.bvrw.co.uk - or telephone 01263-
733858. Daily running until 29th October.
The Mid-Norfolk Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.mnr.org.uk - or telephone 01362-
851723. Regular running until 29th October.
The North Norfolk Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.nnrailway.co.uk - or telephone
01263-820800. Daily running until 29th October.
The Norwich & District Society of Model Engineers - For details please visit their website www.ndsme.org. Now operational
(weather permitting) every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday until 8th October 1300 - 1700.
The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway - For information: www. wellswalsinghamrailway.co.uk or tel: 01328 711630 (up to
1700 please). Daily running until 29th October.
The Whitwell & Reepham Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.whitwellstation.com - or
The R.C.T.S. (Ipswich Branch) and the Ipswich & District Historical Transport Society run comprehensive meetings programmes.
Please contact me if you’d like to see their programme.
OCTOBER Thu NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - Local Independent Coach Operators - David Cooke - 1930.
12th Sun BARTON HOUSE RAILWAY - Running Day 1430 - 1730.
15th Sun MID- NORFOLK RAILWAY - Classic Vehicles Day.
15th Weds STEAM DREAMS - Cathedrals Express 60103 Flying Scotsman Ely to Norwich Evening Tour.
18th Thu NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “1996 - A Momentary Lapse in Motion” - David Pearce -
WELLS AND WALSINGHAM LIGHT RAILWAY - “Hallowe’en Spooky I-Spy”.
20th - 29th Fri - Sun STEAM DREAMS - Cathedrals Express 60103 Flying Scotsman Norwich to London.
21st Sat BURE VALLEY RAILWAY - “Spooky Express”.
21st - 29th Sat - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY - Hallowe’en Week.
21st - 29th Sat - Sun NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - A Transport Miscellany (Part 2) - Brian Kirton - 1930.
26th Thu MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY - Autumn Diesel Enthusiasts’ Gala.
27th - 29th Fri - Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY - “Hallowe’en Party”.
NOVEMBER NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “East - West Rail” - Patrick O’Sullivan - 1930.
2nd Thu WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY - Steam Sunday.
5th Sun NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - “Australian Railways, a snapshot of Sydney and New South
9th Thu Wales” - Peter Davies - 1930.
NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “The Greater Anglia Franchise” - Chris Mitchell, & “A View
16th Thu of Community Rail Partnerships” - David Pearce - 1930.
NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - Ken Mills’s Black and White Selection - 1930.
23rd Thu NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - Team Quiz Night - Your genial hosts: Edward Mann and Andy
30th Thu Wright - 1930.
DECEMBER Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY - Steam Sunday.
3rd Sun EATON PARK MINIATURE RAILWAY - Santa specials. Book online at www.ndsme.org
3rd and 10th Thu NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “The Elizabeth Line - Trains and Operation” - Les Bird
7th (subject to confirmation) - 1930.
NENTA TRAINTOURS – “Christmas in the North Country”. From Norwich dep 0605 approx then via
9th Sat Ipswich & Ely to York/Castle Howard (special coach)/Durham (City Christmas Festival)/Beamish
(special coach)/Newcastle. Norwich return 2350 approx. Fares from £69.75. First Class & Premier
Dining available. Details: www.nentatraintours.co.uk or tel: 01692-406152.
Printed by Pride Press Ltd. Tel: 01603 665045.