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NRS Newsletter 58-6 first published December 2013

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Published by Norfolk Railway Society, 2018-12-06 04:33:05

NRS NL 58-6 Nov-Dec 2013

NRS Newsletter 58-6 first published December 2013

Volume 58 No. 6 Nov/Dec 2013


news from railways in and around Norfolk

National Network

GEML Update

Network Rail have decided to name the new double track
chord at Ipswich "Europa Junction" and it is scheduled for
completion in March 2014. By early November the three new
bridge structures, including one over the river passing beneath
the GEML, were in situ. The junction pointwork with the GEML
and probably the unseen East Suffolk line await installation.
The pictures (right and below, both Peter Adds) show work in
progress on 13th November.

Foundation works are well advanced (mid November 2013) for
two new footbridge structures to replace footpath crossings at
Marks Tey (London side) and at Witham (country side of
station). It is understood that Network Rail are proposing to
construct a subway beneath the railway embankment on the
London side of Ingatestone to remove another footpath crossing - at a reported cost of some £2m.

Romford - the new two storey building and associated depot
pictured and referred to in previous Newsletters is now in use
enabling the removal of the extensive two storey temporary
offices and stores by mid-November. The site will now be
redeveloped for one of the 12 Regional Operating Centres which
will control signalling nationally. Romford will control East Anglia
from the River Thames northwards to Lincolnshire, excluding the
ECML, and bordering the York control area.
Peter Adds

Tangmere in trouble!

Steam-hauled excursions are great when everything goes well;
we must sympathise with the organisers who are left with little
room for manoeuvre if something goes seriously wrong.

In This Issue 1 In the morning of 23rd November, “BB” 4-6-2 34067 Tangmere
2 (with 47580 County of Essex on the back for ECS moves) worked
Track Report 3 1Z92 0725 Weymouth – Waterloo. Arrival was punctual, but
National Network 4 some reckoned that the loco didn’t sound right in some places.
Heritage, Narrow-Gauge & Miniature 11 There was a strange clanking sound towards the front of the loco,
Away from the Tracks also heard on the return leg – 1Z94 1748 Waterloo – Weymouth.
12 After passing Fleet on time at 1844, on the approach to
Pick-up Goods Winchfield station for a water stop, disaster struck! The right-
NRS News 13 hand connecting-rod became detached from the crosshead and
Features fell on to the down fast line, hitting the 3rd rail at the same time.
Another odd holiday review - Edward Mann 15 The rod went into the ballast and the 3rd rail on the down slow line
was also damaged. The loco stopped as its drive was disabled by
Summer Season Relief Stationmaster (Part 1) the missing rod. SWT stopping services were affected all
– Rod Lock evening. NR inspected both train and track and soon reopened
the down fast line. Around 2100 NR decided to tie up what was
Working Timetable left on the loco’s damaged side and have 47580 push the train to
Basingstoke where it would be terminated. The excursion finally
reached Basingstoke well over 3 hours late and 1W85 2135
Waterloo – Weymouth made a special stop at Basingstoke so
that excursionists could get home. (Thanks to Mike Fordham).


_________TRACK REPORT The Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum

Heritage, Narrow-gauge A visit was made on a damp 15th August. It’s just off the A66,
and Miniature a few miles east of Keswick.

If you’re interested in vintage excavators, e.g. Ruston
Bucyrus and similar equipment, then this is the place for you.

Bagnall 0-4-0ST (Works no. 2135/1926) Sir Tom on 15th
August last . Sir Tom was Sir Tom Callender of British
Insulated Callender Cables Ltd.

Norfolk Railway Society Sir Tom awaits departure whilst various Ruston Bucyrus
(Founded 1955) products can be seen in the background.

President: Arnold Hoskins, Esq. Although they held no great interest for me, the museum also
Vice-President: Ken Mills, Esq. has a small railway, and the rather basic train was hauled by
“Sir Tom”, a Bagnall product W/No. 2135 of 1926. There is
Committee and Officers 2012-2013 Telephone also the opportunity to venture down the mine, but there were
no places for speculative visitors like me. A coach party had
Chairman Gordon Bruce arrived a little earlier, and aficionados will be interested to
know that the coach (OTA 640G) was new in 1969 as
Vice Chairman Peter Cooke Southern National 2380. It’s a Bristol RELH6G, fitted with an
ECW C45F coach body, in case you were wondering. It was
Past Chairman Peter Adds still clocking up the miles as, 3 days later, it was
photographed at Dunfermline. The Euclid was said to have
Secretary Ian Woodruff been static since 1982! (EM)

Treasurer John Laycock This is the Euclid truck, reputed to have been in the same
place since 1982!
Fixtures Arranged by sub-committee

Membership Sec. Mike Handscomb

Newsletter Editor Edward Mann

Publicity Mike Fordham

Committee Members:

Graham Kenworthy

Chris Mitchell

Peter Willis


Website Editor Andrew Wright

Archivists Peter Allison &

Raymond Meek

Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter

Editor Edward Mann

Distribution Graham Smith

Please contact Graham if the next edition does not arrive by
the end of the month of publication

Opinions expressed in any articles are the author's and
should not be taken to represent those of the Society.

Next issue published 6th February 2014
Copy date: 30th January 2014



Y14 (J15) Overhaul Update Away from the Tracks

The progress to restore the Y14 is well underway at Ian What a whopper!
Riley’s works. To date 7564’s frames have been lifted clear of
her wheels and the wheelsets have been reprofiled to P9
specification. The horn guides have been removed and had
stay holes welded up ready for redrilling and reaming. The
front buffer beam has been removed and cylinder pistons
removed for machining. The tender frames have been
stripped and prepared in undercoat, ready for the first
application of Great Eastern Railway blue.

The boiler is still to be stripped out and assessed for repairs Looks like any other totem, doesn't it? Apart from announcing
required to restore it to its operating condition. It has had the BRITISH RAILWAYS in place of the usual station name.
smokebox removed and is ready to be moved into the Works.
But what really sets it apart it is its size. Totems are normally
Achieving this level of work has been down to the great a modest 3ft long. This maroon one was advertised in
efforts achieved in raising the funds to pay for the work. To's recent auction catalogue as "the world's
date, over £40,000 has been donated to the Y14:2014 largest totem", and measures no less than 8ft from side to
Appeal, but another £60,000 is needed to finish the work. side. It's believed to have come from outside Euston Station,
although the auctioneer noted that two similar totems were
Mission Impossible – Mineral Wagon B558090 once outside the front of Manchester Central.

This wagon has been recovered from the Harbour Branch at It was described as in "unrestored condition with quite good
King’s Lynn; its role had been to provide extra stopping colour and shine having just the usual chipping and wear
power, in addition to the buffer stops, for the loaded grain associated with being on display for a long period".
wagons from the Dalgety Grain Store. The reason it probably Undeterred, someone had a large enough wall – and wallet –
was abandoned was that it would have been too expensive to to pay a price commensurate with its size: £6,200. And that
have C&W examination and the associated paperwork was before adding the buyer's £620 premium.
Moving closer to home, the same auction also saw a
The above information about the wagon was supplied by Narborough & Pentney totem sell for £2,450, but Haddiscoe
Keith Stannard, who was a Freight Guard based at King’s
Lynn between 1979 and 1983, via the M&GN Circle.

When delivered to Weybourne Works, it was a rusting wreck. failed to sell, eventually finding a buyer (who paid less than
In 16 months it has been restored, with dummy load of granite the £800 reserve) after the auction; maybe its chipped edges
chippings. It had no floor left, with the bottom of the sides no put off bidders. Someone forked out a respectable £1,500 for
longer in place. The work undertaken has included total a LNER-era cast-iron seatback name LOWESTOFT
dismantling, with underframe stripped bare, much of the end CENTRAL, while a pre-nationalisation poster NORWICH: It's
frame replaced, grit blasted, painted and reassembled. Quicker By Rail by noted artist Frank Mason, an attractive
Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Geoff Gowing of the M&GNJRS
for copying me in on these press releases.

Ever wondered about the definition of a

It’s an important definition; railways are regulated by the scene with wherries on the Wensum and the castle in the
Office of Rail Regulation. Others, e.g. the Wells Harbour background, realised £320. (Mike Handscomb)
Railway, which fall outside this definition are fairground
operations under the control of the Health & Safety Executive. Editor’s Note: The poster of Norwich has not been shown as
So here’s the definition of a railway: this was mentioned in NRS/NL 58/3 p.8, to which readers are
“A system of transport employing parallel rails which (a)
provide support for vehicles running on flanged wheels, and Presentation to Commander Roy Francis
(b) form a track of a gauge at least 350mm or a track of a
gauge less than 350mm where the track is crossed on the On 29th June last, three days before his 92nd birthday,
same level by a carriageway, but does not include a Commander Roy Francis was awarded the Arctic Star Medal
tramway”. by the UK Government for his bravery aboard H.M.S.
Edinburgh when it was torpedoed in the Barents Sea carrying
I saw this definition in the WWLR Support Group Newsletter, Russian gold.
and I thought members may be interested to read it – Ed.

Where is it?

Houghton Hall, between Fakenham & King’s Lynn, has been The ceremony was carried out by Lady Leicester, High Sheriff
home to the wonderful collection of paintings loaned by the of Norfolk.
Russians. Although the exhibition has now closed, no doubt
several of you have paid a visit. But one question remains. Earlier in June, a 5” gauge live steam model Garratt, largely
Was one of the nameplates from B17/6 4-6-0 61612 the work of Arthur Tarrant but completed by Bruce Hope, was
presented to the Marquess of Cholmondeley when the loco steamed for the first time and on 27th July was named Cdr
was withdrawn in 1959? It wasn’t on display. Roy Francis at its inauguration ceremony at Harlington model
engineering club.


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A miscellany of news and members’ contributions

Recently at the URC Hall Disposal, Milton Keynes, the Galas at the MNR & NNR, the
Mid-Suffolk Light Railway and, most interestingly, the new
lines in the Felixstowe Docks area.

Members’ Summer Round-Up (19th September Robert Scarfe rounded off the evening with film of the August
2013) visit to the Hemsby Miniature Railway.

The first meeting of the autumn session was the traditional With thanks to all who contributed, and to Andy Wright for
show of members’ images, taken during the spring and projection services.
summer. It was pleasing that Peter Cooke reported the
evening for us, and it is to be hoped that new scribes will A Steam Safari – Southern African Steam in
follow his lead. the 1970s

As was, perhaps, fitting, Chairman Gordon Bruce opened (Tim Morton – 3rd October 2013)
proceedings and commented on the North Norfolk Railway’s
run of bad luck including the Sheringham signalbox fire and A good turnout of members eschewed Norwich’s auction of
the non-appearance of 60163 Tornado at the Autumn Gala on ‘Go-Go Gorillas’ in order to enjoy an entertaining and
account of an NR engineering blockade which effectively nostalgic view of steam in action in the southern part of
trapped it! However, we did see 76084, recently back in Africa, taken during a number of visits to the region during the
service, and 70013 Oliver Cromwell, among others. The Mid- 1970s. Our speaker was first alerted to the promise of
Norfolk Railway was not overlooked and we saw 46233 working steam through the Continental Railway Society in
Duchess of Sutherland, 61306 Mayflower and, possibly best 1972, and a couple of years later actually worked in Malawi, a
of all, M7 30053 topping’n’tailing with Pannier 9466. Two country handy for railway visits to neighbouring states such
visits were paid to the Hemsby Miniature Railway – part of the as Mozambique and Rhodesia, returning in 1979 for an
May visit was lost to wet weather - but the August visit was a extensive tour of South Africa.
great success, and numerous members were espied enjoying
themselves. We crossed to the Isle of Wight to see the “Tube” We began our tour in Mozambique, and specifically the area
trains and preserved steam on the Isle of Wight Steam around Maputo (at the time still known by its colonial name of
Railway. Lourenço Marques – independence came in 1975). The city
station building’s impressive colonial façade hid a rather run-
A number of members were on Spratts’ short tour of the down railway scene, with services in the hands of a rag-bag
north-east, and several preserved lines were visited, including assortment of mostly Canadian and American locos, including
the Wensleydale Railway where J72 69023 Joem was, most Baldwin 2-8-2s and Pacifics. Rhodesia, on the other hand,
unusually, seen in action. Also visited were Beamish, the whose visit began at the mighty Victoria Falls, offered an
North Tyneside Railway, the Tanfield Railway, with its centre assortment of ‘15A’ class Garratt locos and ‘20A’ 4-8-2s on
of operations at Andrews House, and nearby Causey Arch, the freight and sleeper workings to/from Bulawayo, including
the oldest surviving single-arch railway bridge in the world. some with mechanical stokers. Indeed, one ‘15A’ Garratt was
The NRM was also visited and the 6 A4s recorded before employed on station pilot duties at Bulawayo. Five different
they dispersed. classes of Garratt were noted on Bulawayo shed.

Malcom Banyer had photographed the Tyne & Wear Metro South Africa in 1979 was still host to 1700 steam locos,
and Grand Central Trains at Sunderland. Beamish seemed to divided into 17 different classes. Beginning in the Pretoria
feature prominently during the evening, and we were area at Hercules, some North British-built class ‘24’ 2-8-4s
reminded of the working replicas of locomotives from the were noted, while at Capital Park shed were seen an number
dawn of the steam age. We also saw something of the of ‘15CA’ 4-8-2s dating from the 1920s (South Africa’s Black
Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Fives?), reboilered ‘15AR’ 4-8-2s, and some North British 4-8-
2s at one of the many collieries in the area. Another such
David Pearce weighed-in with a short monochrome and colliery gave us the only tank loco seen that evening – a
colour presentation entitled “Top’n’Tale”. He concentrated on North British 4-8-2T, not exactly an ‘Austerity’! Services to
pursuing “The Wansbeck” railtour of 30th March 2013 topped Johannesburg and Bloemfontein were treated to Class ‘23’
and tailed by K4 61994 “The Great Marquess” & K1 62005 4-8-2s – the last steam class to be built for South African
round mainly secondary lines in the north-east with industry Railways - and examples of SAR’s most numerous class, the
featuring prominently. Starting in the Blyth area the train ‘15F’ 4-8-2s.
worked its way southwards towards Stockton and eventually
to the limit of working near Carlin How (Boulby Potash Mine). Moving across to Bloemfontein, more ‘15Fs’ kept company
He also strayed into the Warrington area, which seemed very with SAR’s legendary Class ‘25’ 4-8-4s, which made their
busy, and we naturally saw something of the Settle & Carlisle names working the long-distance freights across the desert-
line. like Karroo between Touws River and Kimberley, and
Kimberley and De Aar. Three varieties of ‘25s’ existed – the
Mike Fordham, Robert Scarfe and Andy Wright joined forces ‘25C’ condensing locos with their massive auxiliary tenders,
to recall the Society’s visit to the Bluebell Railway in May; as ‘25NC’ non-condensing versions, and a further batch of
well as the “train” and locoshed views we saw Imberhorne ‘25NCs’ which had previously been condensing locos but
Cutting with its sides covered in black polythene until it converted to non-condensing (in fact, only three of the class
consolidates. Robert had managed to visit the signalbox at remained as ‘25Cs’). Construction of these locos was divided
Sheffield Park to vary the theme. between Henschel and North British. The sight and sound of
these massive engines continued to draw enthusiasts right
Operating alone, Mike Fordham had ranged far and wide, into the 1980s, particularly on the 145-mile long Kimberley –
including the Epping & Ongar Railway, Calvert Waste De Aar section, where the distant exhaust of an approaching
freight could be glimpsed from the nearby road when several


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miles away. When Tim visited, De Aar shed was home to well as regular visits with the Stevenage Railway Society, he
‘25s’ and ‘15As’, while Cape Town gave us ‘S2’ 0-8-0s on was not averse to “chancing his arm” at most sheds up and
local workings plus enormous ‘GEA’ Garratts on freights. down the country, and he still has an Eastern & North Eastern
Region Railrover ticket from the early 1960s which cost £9.50
Down in the south of the country lies George, and the shed and which gave him some 2,700 miles of travel, making good
there was home to South Africa’s legendary ‘GMA’ class 4-8- use of the overnight services.
2+2-8-4 Garratts, which were seen on services between
Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in the company of ‘24’ 2-8-4s. His first job was as an Editorial Assistant with Ian Allan Ltd,
This mountainous route was traversed at an average speed and he was advised to invest in a Kodak Sterling II camera,
of 17mph (although nowhere in South Africa could you costing £7 and which used 620 film (8 exposures). This
expect speeds much in excess of 45mph)! Away from the served him very well and his first photo was published in the
main line could be seen some local steam running, along with Winter 1962/63 Combined Volume (44599 on p.81 – Ed.). We
timely reminders of apartheid-era segregation of passenger saw locos on Agecroft, Birkenhead, Bushbury, Coalville,
accommodation. At Oudtshoorn, a ‘19D’ was seen shunting, Darlington, Grangemouth and Hull Dairycoates sheds, to
while at Port Elizabeth suburban services were in the hands name but a few. He also visited the one-time Scottish “dump”
of ‘16R’ 2-8-2s to Uitenhage. at Bo’ness (N15 & V2 photographed) and the better-known
one at Barry, already filling-up in 1961/62. Shed features –
More ‘25NCs’ were seen at Bethlehem, while we ended with coaling plants, water-cranes, the New England water gantry,
some scenic shots of the Bethlehem – Bloemfontein line plus and an overflowing tender tank at Workington – received
a brief trip into Lesotho, where Maseru is the nation’s only attention. Some unusual 3-way pointwork at Skipton was also
railway station. recorded. At Saltley we saw a 9F being turned manually,
and its driver later wrote to David asking him to supply a print!
This account covers only the tip of the iceberg of Tim’s
adventures, and an appreciative audience thanked Tim for an Unique locos he photographed included the prototype S.R.
excellent – and very different – evening. Thanks also to Chris U1, 31890, 44767, 60813 (with small chimney and tiny smoke
King for providing Tim with accommodation, and to Graham deflectors) & Giesl ejector-fitted 92250. We also saw 4F 0-6-0
Kenworthy and Andy Wright for operating the projectors. 44444 at Aston. He was not slow to try the artistic shot e.g. of
(Gordon Bruce) reflections or shafts of sunlight at Holbeck.

60s Steam on Shed As steam went into storage, we saw an “unrebuilt” Patriot
(17th October 2013) stored at Rugby, and Royal Scots stored at Devons Road
(presumably Willesden had no room).
David Percival was originally scheduled to visit us on 21st
March, but indisposition prevented his attendance. Fully After a spell ensuring that the biannual abc information and
recovered, the well-known author and photographer gave the that in the monthly magazines tallied with the official B.R.
advices, David left Ian Allan Ltd in 1965 to work on the staff
large audience an magazine at W.H. Smith & Son Ltd. He regarded the most
excellent difficult shed to get round without a permit as Edge Hill
presentation, which (Liverpool). Indeed, one of his contemporaries regarded Bank
could have been Hall (also Liverpool) as his “most difficult”. The last steam
sub-titled “And a shed he visited, just before the end of steam, was Rose
Cinder Path Leads Grove (Burnley) where he judiciously re-arranged a shovel to
to the Shed”, a improve the artistic effect of his picture!
phrase well-known
to spotters of the Much-deserved applause followed the conclusion of David’s
50s and 60s from presentation, and thanks to Peter Adds for arranging his visit.
The British (EM)
Locomotive Shed
Directory and "Rail Archive - The Bodleian Library, Oxford"
indicated that they (7th November 2013)
were closing in on
their quarry. Ian Dinmore, a career railwayman who went on to become
Community Railways Officer at Norfolk County Council,
After he was presented an evening of railway paperwork and photographs.

introduced by His 'paperwork bug' began in the loft at Lampeter station,
where he came across a cache of Manchester & Milford
Peter Adds, he Railway papers. This started him collecting railway ephemera,
a hobby which soon developed into the quest for a piece of
explained that he printed material from every UK and Irish railway company
which ever opened. Ian has set up a website where examples
was a long-term of his collection can be shared by other interested historians -
resident of
Realising that the collection was becoming unmanageably
Knebworth and large, Ian started to look for a public repository which could
keep it intact, care for it properly and make it available to
that his nearest researchers. After some false leads he was directed to the
Bodleian Library at Oxford University. His paperwork is now
My copy of the Shed Directory (1962 shed was Hitchin.
edition) has seen better days! (EM) Nevertheless, he
visited it just once

– in 1958 – when

he espied an unfamiliar shape which turned out to be an O2

2-8-0, 63958, very rare so far south on the ECML. His first trip

was with his school’s society – a so-called “educational visit”

– to the delights of Stratford (over 215 locos), Devons Road &

Plaistow! The only photo he took was of an N2 & an N7, not

long out of Works, his first camera being a Brownie Reflex. As


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moving there bit by bit, and has become a part of the John With the line in an extremely run-down condition, the bold
Johnson Collection of transport literature. decision was taken to close it completely and undertake
various rebuilding projects. For now, abandoning the section
Ian has also been a keen photographer of railway subjects. between Epping and North Weald (and opting to run a
Many of his pictures show derelict stations and signal boxes in heritage bus shuttle between these points), the latter station
the 1975 - 1985 period. These, like the paperwork, can be – along with Ongar – was the subject of considerable
viewed on, and he showed us a restoration. Ongar was to see all of its track removed and
selection. the ground lowered in order to accommodate ex-BR stock,
while the station buildings were sympathetically restored to
The audience's expertise was put to the test when, having GER stone-and-cream colours; North Weald lost its unsightly
attached six photographs round the walls, Ian invited us to concrete footbridge and waiting shelter, gaining instead a
identify where they'd been taken. Your reviewer (like many, I replacement footbridge from South Woodford. North Weald
guess) recognised none. Winner was the well-travelled Dave was selected to be the main base for operations, the nearby
Pearce who managed to score five, and his knowledge was North Weald airfield being a further draw for future customers
rewarded with the prize of a calendar. (Mike Handscomb) – indeed, an Open Day was held in 2011 in conjunction with
the North Weald Airfield Bus Rally, with customers being
The Epping Ongar Railway afforded short rides behind - and in the cabs of - Class 37
(Rodger Green – 21st November 2013) D6732 and 03119 with a Pullman coach. Virtually all trace of
its former London Transport identity has gone – even the
A good turnout of members arrived at the URC to hear gates at what was LT’s only level crossing have been
Rodger Green give an account of the story of one of the UK’s replaced – the station being restored to LNER appearances.
fledgling heritage railways, the Epping Ongar Railway. And all
members present were absolutely amazed at just how much At Ongar, the railway goods yard was lost to development
has been achieved in such a short time, the line having along with its signalbox. However, a replacement `box was
commenced public operations as recently as May 2012. found at Spelbrook, and Rodger’s main project over the last
two years has been the total rebuilding and restoration from
Rodger began by giving a brief résumé of the history of the derelict condition. That the work was achieved in such a
line. Original plans to reach Epping from the East End of short time to such a high standard was in a great deal due to
London had come to nothing, and it was not until the Eastern the kind of fortune that many heritage railways dream of – a
Counties Railway built a line from Stratford to Loughton in gentleman walking along the platform, gazing at the derelict
1856 that rails extended to the capital’s north-eastern structure, and asking “I’m a carpenter, do you need any help
suburbs. The Epping Railway was granted approval to extend with that?”! The frame inside the new `box is actually the one
to Ongar in 1858, and the route was opened by the Great that was in the original Ongar structure. The completed
Eastern on 24th April 1865, with Epping as a crossing point on results must be seen to be believed.
a single track line. A subsequent proposal to extend to
Dunmow fell through. The line was finally opened to passengers on 25th May 2012
– and while most fledgling heritage railways tend to
But to most people, Epping to Ongar is remembered as the commence public operations with a DMU, a few diesels and
farthest outreach of the London Underground network. After an industrial saddle tank or two, for the EOR it was very
the whole route from Stratford passed to London Transport in different. Just two months prior to opening, the owner of two
1935, the line was electrified as far as Epping in 1949 (the GWR locos – ‘Hall’ 4953 Pitchford Hall and ‘Large Prairie’
work having been delayed by WW2). Epping to Ongar 4141 - announced that his locos would be moving to the line,
remained steam-worked, with a fleet of elderly GER F5s, and these provided the motive power on the opening day
C12s and J15s working shuttles with equally ancient coaches. (along with a hired-in Pannier tank). They also had a couple
The branch – it has always been referred to as such despite of industrials, one of which has now passed to Whitwell &
having an end-on connection at Epping – was finally Reepham Station. On the diesel front, the line now boasts
electrified in 1957, although freight trains continued to ply the examples of Classes 47, 37, 33, 31, 25 and 03 plus a few
line for a further nine years. industrials, while rolling stock comprises the usual BR Mk1s,
along with a ‘Thumper’ DEMU and a former 4-CIG electric
Always the Central Line’s Cinderella line with few passengers, unit used as hauled stock.
the intermediate halts at North Weald and Blake Hall were
notorious for their light patronage, the latter being the least- Being the nearest heritage railway to London – and of course
used station on the entire LT network with only six passengers being a former portion of the Central Line – the railway’s
per day. Various closure plans were submitted from 1976, but biggest event since opening was its participation in the
Ongar did not finally lose its trains until 30th September 1994 LT150 celebrations in 2013, when it was visited by
(Blake Hall had closed 13 years earlier). Metropolitan Railway 0-4-4T No 1, a Small Prairie
masquerading as ‘L150’, ‘N2’ 0-6-2T 1744, Met Coach no
Initial preservation attempts faced considerable obstacles 353, two former Chesham line ‘Dreadnought’ coaches plus a
from London Transport, which wanted to dispose of its Mk1 suburban hired from the North Norfolk Railway. Indeed,
redundant assets as soon as possible, and had not a the EOR have formed good relations with the NNR in as
preservation order been hastily applied, Ongar station would much as their two resident GWR locos were loaned to the
have been quickly reduced to rubble. An uneasy partnership NNR to help out with the latter’s ill-fated Spring 2013 Gala,
between Pilot Developments and the Ongar Railway while the NNR has donated three Mk1 suburbans to the EOR
Preservation Society saw a Sundays-only DMU service which remain long-term restoration projects.
running between Epping and Ongar between 2004 and 2007,
but when Pilot pulled out of the partnership and put the line up As I said, a remarkable amount has been achieved in a
for sale, benefactor Roger Wright – who occupied Blake Hall comparatively short time, but the EOR are not resting on their
station building – purchased it and entrusted it to the Epping laurels. Major projects still in the pipeline include – erection
Ongar Railway Volunteer Society. of a new loco shed at Ongar, the total rebuild of a Gresley
Buffet Car, construction of a new station at Epping and return


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of services there, possible occasional use of Blake Hall Slow train to Scotland
(where a private platform has been built), the aforementioned (John Hutchinson – wi’ downcas’ heid)
Mk1 suburbans, and – if what I read on Wikipedia is to be
believed – the possible future use of a new-build ‘F4’ on In November 2012 I shared, not for the first time, the
passenger services. Meanwhile, the Railway have a full pleasurable experience of one of my regular journeys to and
programme of regular and special events, including Steam from the Scottish Highlands to visit my daughter in Forres,
and Diesel Galas, Santa Specials, ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘Teddy two stations along the Aberdeen line from Inverness. A
Bears Picnic’ events, real ale galas and bus rallies. reminder, then, that it is a journey involving four trains each
way that my wife Mary and I have made on numerous
Rodger fielded a selection of questions from the audience at occasions during the past ten years or so, mainly without
the end of his talk, which naturally included the thorny subject incident other than the odd nail-biting moment when a missed
of the derelict ex-Finnish Railways 5-foot gauge loco dumped connection seemed a possibility. Very nearly 12 months later,
at Ongar. This is a throwback to the earlier preservation on Thursday 3rd October to be precise, we left home in good
attempt in the late 90s/early 2000s, when five such machines spirits to embark on our latest trip north of the border. As
were acquired. The others have all found new homes, but usual, the planning of the journeys had taken place over the
after being advertised for sale for many months with no preceding months: advance tickets and seat reservations
serious interest being expressed, the final example looks like (first class on the outward journey) booked online, careful
being scrapped. attention to the compiling of a 'Plan B' in case of a delay en
route, and printing out of timetables for each leg of the
The Epping Ongar Railway is a line which began operations journey so as to check timekeeping - I imagine that I am not
comparatively recently and has crashed straight into the alone in pursuing that interest! For the record, our well-worn
‘Championship’ league table, with keen ambitions of making outward path involves the following services:
the ‘Premier League’. If you’ve not yet paid a visit (as I as yet
have not done) then this must be at the top of members’ New 0757 Norwich to Peterborough (East Midlands);
Year Resolutions for 2014! (Gordon Bruce) 0945 Peterborough to Edinburgh (East Coast);
1336 Edinburgh to Inverness (ScotRail);
NENTA Train Tours 1715 Inverness to Forres (ScotRail), arriving 1742.

Nenta have kindly sent me their 2014 brochure. They open What could possibly go wrong?
with a trip to Ironbridge or Llangollen or the Welshpool &
Llanfair or Chester or Shrewsbury on Saturday 26th April, and Well . . . arriving by car at Thorpe Station in good time at
later manage to get to Edinburgh (26th July) and Plymouth 0740, a quick glance at the top of the Departures board as we
(23rd August). Some early starts/late finishes are brought entered the station revealed '0757 Liverpool Lime Street
about by their going to Ipswich and then Ely. Their short CANCELLED'. In an instant, one's whole day's travel plans
breaks will take you to Skye and the Western Highlands (6 had gone out of the window. Doomed – momentary major
days from 29th April), Germany (8 days from 4th June), depression! East Midlands Class 158s from Norwich rarely
Shetlands (5 days from 25th June), Inverness & the Highlands fail . . . do they? Walking onto the main concourse we got a
(5 days from 14th July), the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (5 days brief view of the 0757 set moving away from the far end of
from 12th August) & Ireland (7 days from 8th September). Platform 1, shortly to reappear on the buffer stops on Platform
4, in the shape of unit 158806. As the driver returned to the
The wrong Tornado! concourse I politely addressed him with the comment, 'I
presume that's the non-running 0757 set' (or words to that
News reports on 20th October stated that a tornado had effect), to which he replied, 'Yep, it's broke'! Now, our 'Plan B'
struck houses on Hayling Island. Those with long memories covered all eventualities – except the cancellation of the
will recall that the branch from Havant to Hayling Island 0757. Two visits to the Greater Anglia Customer Service
(closed from 2nd November 1963) was subject to severe counter produced print-outs and scribbled notes appertaining
restrictions over Langston Bridge and nothing larger than to later services and connections on the East Coast and
A1X Terriers were permitted to haul trains across it. ScotRail networks. It quickly became apparent that the
Presumably a somewhat stronger bridge was erected to outlook was not at all healthy. The best hope, assuming that
permit Darlington’s finest to make a less than trouble-free we could get to Edinburgh in time, was to go from the capital
journey! (With thanks to Gordon Bruce.) to Aberdeen (instead of Inverness) and onward to Forres with
a 1900 arrival, but that depended upon two East Coast trains
BBC messes up railway content as usual… being punctual and a very tight connection at Waverley.

Hardly news I know, but give the BBC a chance to mess up With more than an hour to kill before the next Liverpool
railway content and the chance will be accepted with both departure, which we anticipated would be rather crowded, the
hands (see NRS/NL 58/2 p.9). BBC4 on 27th September ran decision was made to travel on the 0840 Greater Anglia
a programme about the birth of British rock’n’roll. In recalling service to Cambridge (170206); at least we could use the first
the late Bill Haley’s 1957 UK tour they said that his ship class facility as far as Ely. This meant just a seven-minute
docked at Liverpool and his train (obviously) went to Euston. wait for the following East Midlands train to Peterborough, the
Clang! His ship docked at Southampton and his train of 0857 from Norwich. We had heard earlier that the unit on that
course went into Waterloo. And then, in the context of the service (158812) would be coupled to the errant 0757 unit to
BBC’s 6.5 Special, they interspersed some film from the BTC be towed to Nottingham. Sure enough, when the set arrived
film Snow, which dates from just into the Beatles era i.e. at Ely it comprised four coaches, with all four in public use
1963! [6.5 Special finished at the end of 1958 – Ed.] and decidedly not at all crowded. The 'broken' unit had,
indeed, been towed from Norwich but, with the reversal of the
More Platforms 0… service at Ely, of course, now '806' was the leading unit for
the remainder of the journey – and appeared to perform quite
John Abson has confirmed there’s one at King’s Cross and, at normally. I would like to have learnt what the problem was
the other end of the country, Haymarket (Edinburgh) also has but, of course, we shall never know.


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Anyway, the next stage of our revised plans was to catch the was held in the platform for a while before being released
1115 East Coast Trains service from Peterborough to behind a local Northern Rail service bound for Morpeth.
Newcastle and then change onto a following EC train to
complete the journey to Edinburgh. Bidding our part-broken Eventually, departure from Waverley was at 1716, now 44
East Midlands set farewell at Peterborough at 1028 all minutes late, with a crawl to Haymarket adding another
seemed well, with the Departures board showing the 1115 couple of minutes. Again, because of being in the thick of the
Newcastle train as 'on time'. However, some 20 minutes later evening peak time, progress was hampered due to a
it had changed to an 1124 arrival, and we eventually departed preceding ScotRail Dunblane-bound service. Once this was
at 1125 with 91108 leading and DVT 82114 on the rear. From passed, some sharp running to Stirling and Perth saw some
on-board announcements we learnt that the delay was due to of the deficiency retrieved and departure from the latter was a
signal problems at Stevenage – not very helpful in our mere 39 minutes late. From Perth to Inverness the 'Highland
situation. Things worsened as after just a few minutes our Chieftain' normally stops at Pitlochry, Kingussie and Aviemore
train slowed to a dawdle, with more apologies offered as we only. However, the final indignity to crown a totally frustrating
were informed that this was due to safety checks: lots of men day was to be held at Dalwhinnie for about 10 minutes to
in orange jackets in the Tallington area. Consequently, by await a passing Edinburgh-bound train off the single-track line
Newark we were now 16 late. On checking our tickets and ahead of us. In the meantime, thanks to modern technology,
being aware of the problem we were facing, our friendly we had arranged for our daughter to travel to meet us at
conductor suggested that we change at York instead of Aviemore by car, best part of an hour by road from Forres on
Newcastle, as it was possible that the following Edinburgh- a dark, damp evening. So, finally, we were able to alight at
bound train, i.e. our next train, would pass us at Durham, Aviemore at about 2020 – now some 50 minutes late on this
meaning that we would then miss the connection at particular section of our travels.
Newcastle. (As it happened, the pass was not made.)
To sum up, we would normally have arrived at our daughter's
So, off we got at York at 1247, still 16 minutes adrift, to await house at 1745; on this occasion, having left home at 0730, it
the 1252 to Edinburgh, flagged up as 'due 1258'; this was was getting on for four hours later at 2130 when we slumped
pretty accurate, as we were on our way again at 1300 indoors – all thanks to a malfunctioning East Midlands Class
(91127/82213), still with faint hopes of achieving a 1521 158 at Norwich! We didn't keep our travel tickets, but I did
arrival at Waverley for a quick dash for the 1528 ScotRail wonder afterwards if I could have claimed compensation from
service to Aberdeen. Although we were now running 8 East Midlands but, of course, other factors combined to
minutes late, there is usually several minutes recovery time aggravate the situation on the East Coast main line. Would I
allowed between Berwick and Edinburgh. Hopes rose. A brief have been successful? Perhaps somebody would like to
stop at Darlington, followed by speedy progress to Durham share with me whether or not they would have tried in similar
and beyond, were positive signs. And then . . . we ground to a circumstances. As an aside, when we first began our regular
halt just beyond Chester-le-Street station. After a frustrating travels to the Highlands about 12 years ago, my memory tells
few immobile minutes came the news that because of a track me that the services on the East Coast line from London to
problem, once an up train had passed we would be diverted Edinburgh were very reliable, particularly the time-keeping. In
to the southbound line to get around it. The 'track problem' more recent times, that reliability has deteriorated
ultimately turned out to be a broken down freight train. Thus, substantially in my view, with regular and varied delays, some
we were now well and truly stymied, any hope of reaching very serious, which are mainly not the operators' fault but are
Edinburgh in time for the Aberdeen connection totally out of caused by infrastructure problems - I know because I monitor
the question. Even our complimentary first class sandwiches, the East Coast website regularly … alright, I know it's sad! By
cake and cider was no compensation and by the time contrast, I should add that the return journey home five days
Newcastle was reached at 1412 we were 21 minutes down. later was almost perfect, a slight hold-up outside York being
the only blemish. Anyway, wish us better luck next time.
Arrival at Edinburgh was achieved without further incident at
1538, 17 minutes late and with the Aberdeen-bound train Needless to say, there are no photographs to accompany the
having departed 10 minutes earlier. The next train to preceding tale of woe; I wasn't exactly in picture-taking mode
Inverness (a reminder that this was our original objective) under the prevailing circumstances. However, during the few
was not scheduled to depart for almost an hour, at 1632. This days spent in this ever-pleasant region of Scotland we did
was East Coast's 'Highland Chieftain', departing London at take a short one-stop trip from Inverness to Beauly, on the
1200, due to arrive Inverness at 2006, with a connecting Far North line, so accompanying this article is a photo of our
departure to Forres at – wait for it – 2131, arriving Forres at
2157! But hang on. If our Edinburgh-bound train was delayed
by a broken down freight train at Chester-le-Street, then the
'Highland Chieftain' would surely suffer the same fate. And
yes, predictably, up came the revised time on the Departures
screen: 1632 Inverness, due 1658. Come the allotted hour,
off we trot to platform 11 and wait . . . and wait. By now the
screen was showing arrival time as 1705 and, finally, the HST
(43307/43317) weaved its way onto the platform at 1710. We
were now into serious rush-hour time, of course, and spare
seats were at a premium, especially in the first class section.
Struggling the length of two carriages we managed to find two
together and found ourselves sitting opposite a West Coast
Railways driver (bound for Perth to perform a second-driver
duty on a Class 47 the following day on a Compass Tours
charter to Kyle of Lochalsh); needless to say, a very
interesting conversation ensued for the next hour or so! He
regaled us with the information that he had boarded the HST
at Newcastle, where the train had arrived 25 minutes late but


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Wick-bound train departing from the single-carriage-length The document goes on to express regret that passenger
platform at Beauly. Before departure at Inverness and traffic was transferred to Thorpe Station from Victoria
approaching the station, an announcement informs because space was inadequate. Rather a simplistic view! It
passengers that one door only will be open for alighting, in then turns its attention to the railway approach to City Station,
the centre of the train. Dating from the early 1860s, the “which is by way of the once beautiful Wensum Valley, the
last mile or so of which, within the city, has been thereby
prevented from becoming the open space and pleasure
garden it might easily have been”. Seventy years later, will
the Friends of Norwich City Station realise a small part of this
aspiration? It continues by suggesting removing part of the
M&GN and diverting traffic to Thorpe Yard, though it finally
settles for tidying-up the City Station area and erecting good
new buildings on a site adjusted to the lines of the proposed
inner ring-road. The good new buildings remain
conspicuously absent and the inner ring-road did not come
until the early 1970s!

The Price of Coal

attractive original station (pictured in 1961) closed to The Welsh National Mining Memorial was unveiled in
passengers in 1960 and freight in 1965. The current station Senghenydd, now a suburb of Caerphilly, on 14th October last
was built in 2002, the short platform being on the right-hand to remember all of those killed in the Principality’s mining
side of the old picture; the tall buildings on the left of the tragedies, but let us remember why this town was so
original station are still extant and I believe that there may be significant.
plans afoot to extend the new platform due to increasing
passenger use. The years immediately preceding World War 1 were boom
times for our privately-owned coal mines. Industry, the
Editor’s Note: From the start of the Scottish Region’s 1960 railways and – especially – the Royal Navy had a voracious
Summer Timetable, no fewer than 24 minor stations were appetite for coal, and there was also a very healthy export
closed between Inverness and Thurso/Wick though some, trade. Our railways made everything possible - the coal
like Beauly, have been reinstated. barons made fortunes, but those at the bottom – the miners –
were worked very hard, and had to accept danger and
sudden death as part of the job. Mining was the only job they
knew, or could get, and life was cheap.

From Nearly 70 Years Ago In railway terms, Senghenydd was at the end of a short
branch from Caerphilly whose passenger service ceased from
John Woods has kindly sent me an extract from a document – 15th June 1964, its freight service from 2nd July 1962, but
believed to be the City of Norwich Plan of 1945 – and the whose coal traffic was dealt a major blow in 1928 when the
following paragraphs may be of interest: Universal Colliery closed, a victim of the Depression. Before
that, however, the need for more coal meant deeper mines,
“We are informed that a proposal for building a link-line and this combination sowed the seeds for Britain’s worst
between the Yarmouth and Cromer routes east of mining disaster - at the Universal Colliery on 14th October
Whitlingham Station and west of the County Mental Hospital 1913 – when 439 miners lost their lives, plus a rescuer killed
[at least that was an improvement on Lunatic Asylum – Ed.] is by a roof-fall.
being considered. We see no objection to this proposal, as
described by the Regional representatives of the railway, The cause of the tragedy was probably an explosion – or
provided extensive sidings are not introduced in the vicinity of series of explosions – triggered by a build-up of methane
anywhere between the proposed link-line and a point which could have been ignited by electric sparking from,
approximately south of the Harvey Lane and Thorpe Road maybe, electric bell signalling gear. The first explosion would
junction. have disturbed the ever-present coal dust which then ignited,
and the shock wave ahead of it would have raised more coal
The Official Guide [the edition of which is not apparent from dust so that the explosion effectively fuelled itself. Any miners
the extract – Ed.] says: ‘The L. & N.E.R. runs about fourteen who survived the explosion would have been overcome by
express trains each weekday in both directions between the noxious gases, notably carbon monoxide, left behind after
Norwich and London’; but on looking into the matter one finds the combustion. The miners’ wives, in their terraced houses,
that this somewhat ambiguous sentence means that there might have been alerted by the rattling of crockery before
were six up trains and eight down trains in summer, while, of rushing outside to see black smoke billowing from a wrecked
course, there are different ways of interpreting the word shaft.
express – an adjective which could hardly be applied to them
all. In addition, a few years before the war, two really fast Amazingly, the colliery was working again by the end of
trains were put on which made the journey in about two November and resumed full production in 1916 helped, no
hours. doubt, by wartime exigencies. (EM)

Investigation of the possibilities of travel to the Midlands does Corrections Corner
not provide so rosy a picture, and while it may have been
possible before the war (vide Guide Book) to get a through Oh dear. My spelling of Welsh towns was exposed in the
carriage from City Station to Birmingham, the journey was photo-caption in NRS/NL 58/5 p.13. The station should be
certainly not a fast one. It is understood that City Station may Maesycwmmer! I hope the bus enthusiasts (and bus drivers)
not be used for passenger traffic much longer”. enjoyed the diversion via Aberbargoed Hill.


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The Luton Busway – Steve Cane made good
use of it!

I visited Luton on 5th October to watch Luton Town play
Halifax Town.

The new Luton to Dunstable guided busway has a stop right
outside the ground so instead of the usual 20 min. walk I
decided to use the bus. It took less than 5 minutes, travelling
at a speed approaching 50mph.

Arriva bus, Dunstable to Luton Airport, near Luton Town
football ground.

busway the locals were opposed to the scheme, probably
because the cost was a huge £91 million. The A505, which
buses would normally use between the two towns, gets very
congested and journey times can take up to an hour. The
busway takes less than 15 minutes, travelling at a top speed
of 50mph, and stops conveniently at Luton Station and the

Grant Palmer bus to Dunstable; Luton Bus Station in Next to the busway a pedestrian/cycle path runs for much of
background. the way, and I used this to walk back to town after the match,
which Luton won 4:3.
The busway is built on the trackbed of the old GN/LNWR
Luton to Leighton Buzzard Line, and runs guided between Buses seem to run regularly and the ones I saw were
Luton station and Dunstable town centre (approximately 5 reasonably full, although it was a match day.
The last time I travelled on this route was more than 50 years
At the Luton end the bus runs conventionally to Luton Airport ago on (probably) the ”Dunstable Dasher”, probably hauled
Parkway station and on to Luton International Airport. At the by an N7 0-6-2T on my way to Leighton Buzzard for a day’s
Dunstable end it runs conventionally to the town of trainspotting.
Toddington and two other suburbs of Dunstable.
Editor’s Note: With thanks to Steve for the report and
Three bus companies serve the busway - Centrebus, Arriva photographs. Luton Airport Parkway is just south of Luton
and an independent (Grant Palmer). As with the Cambridge station on the Midland Main Line. The line from Leighton
Buzzard to Hatfield closed to passengers in two stages – that
from Leighton Buzzard to Dunstable from 2nd July 1962, and
that from Dunstable to Hatfield from 26th April 1965.

A Couple of Postcards

Presumably this postcard of Georgian
Bath was taken from an original poster,
the artist being the late Gordon Nicolls.
The typeface suggests the original dates
from c.1960 – is anyone able to supply
further details of the postcard’s
provenance, please?

The Shambles, York, is a very well-known
part of the City. The street used to
contain butchers’ shops and houses,
many with a slaughterhouse at the back
of the premises. This postcard seems to
be taken from an original poster by Alan
Carr Linford, born in Doncaster in 1926. I
would suggest that the fashions are from
the 1950s, though the typeface seems to
be early 1960s shortly before the
introduction of the British Rail “corporate
image”. Once again, your help would be
appreciated if you’re able to fill any gaps.


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Obscure Stations ___________NRS NEWS

I am intrigued to learn that some stations are or were without It’s that time of year again…
road access. We all know Berney Arms, but some closed
stations, without road access, served quite large Your 2014 subscription to the Society becomes due on
communities. We begin, however, with a very remote location January 1st . The good news is that the rates remain
– Angling Club Cottage Halt – on the line between Galashiels unchanged from 2013: £18.50 for adults, £29.50 for two
& Peebles, closed from 5th February 1962 though the halt adults at the same address and £9.50 for under-18s.
seems already to have closed. It was solely for members of
the Edinburgh Angling Club, but of particular interest were the Enclosed with this issue you’ll find a green renewal form. I’d
means for getting on and off the trains. Getting off was be grateful if you’d complete it and return it to me with your
straightforward enough – the guard was advised at either of cheque, either by post or at a meeting.
the stations preceding the Halt. However, to board previous
notice had to be given – it is not clear how this was achieved Mike Handscomb, Membership Secretary
– telephones were owned by the privileged few, and maybe
the smaller stations on the branch did not have them anyway. More New Members

It’s no good looking for Plashetts these days unless you have We are pleased to welcome Robert Murray of Norwich.
a submersible, or are an experienced diver! It is submerged
beneath Kielder Water! It owed its existence to an isolated And, increasing our representation from the south-west of the
Northumberland coalfield which the Border Counties Railway county, we are pleased to welcome:
(worth investigating if you like lost causes) thought would
provide a lucrative traffic. The station was built close to the David Beeken, Watton, Norfolk, and
mine along with staff houses, a public house and a church
hall. A drift mine was established a couple of miles away and Brian Sayer, Watton, Norfolk.
quite a large community built up nearby. The mine closed
during the General Strike of 1926. The station – on the line Sad News
from Reedsmouth Junc to Riccarton Junc – lost its passenger
service from 15th October 1956. Riccarton Junc was a Our member Raymond Norris, of Oulton Broad, passed
notable example of this type, and more may be said in a away early on 15th October. He had been seriously ill since
future issue. (EM) the summer, and for the last 2 weeks he had been in a
New Locos for DRS
His brother, Derek, has sent some biographical notes which
The Carlisle-based operator has placed orders for 16 Class may well be of interest. Raymond was born and raised in
68 diesels (3,750 hp) and for 10 Class 88 electro-diesels (25 South London and was interested in railways from a very
kv & 1,250 hp). These will be the first Vossloh locos to early age. From home-made “trains” he progressed through
operate in the UK, and the purpose of the diesel would be to “0” gauge to “00” gauge and a layout so extensive that it
operate in non-electrified yards, for example, or to get through took up a whole room and boasted about 60 locomotives.
if there was a problem with the overhead. They will be similar For the real thing, Derek and Raymond saw The Golden
in appearance to the Class 67s. Arrow in all its glory as it thundered through Brixton. His
collection of Railway Magazines spanned 50 years.
Another mystery map for you to think about
Most of Raymond’s working life was spent in various
For a change, this one is in an urban area. I won’t say that departments of the Civil Service and, following a family
clues abound, but there’s at least one. Just name the station move to Walthamstow in 1965, he became a regular
arrowed on the map and send your answers to Edward Mann commuter to and from Liverpool St. His outside interests
please. broadened to include rambling, singing, astronomy and

Raymond joined the Society in spring 2009. The Society
was represented at his funeral in Lowestoft.

Mike Handscomb reports that we are, however, fortunate
that Raymond’s collection of railway books and magazines
has been offered to the Society. Mike will start bringing
boxes of these to meetings so don’t miss out! Anything that
Society members don’t buy will be sold on ebay with all
proceeds going to Society funds.

Unfortunately, we must also report the passing of our one –
time Chairman, and the noted writer and photographer,
Gerald Siviour, at home on 28th October. His funeral took
place at Earlham Crematorium on 6th November and the
Society was well-represented.

A tribute to Gerald will be published in the next issue.


The Old Swimmin’ Hole, Rosedale, and another
odd holiday review…

I spent a week in the genteel town of Grange-over-Sands in Ulverston station (where else?) looking towards Lancaster
mid-August. To give you your railway bearings it is on the line on 16th August.
from Lancaster to Barrow-in-Furness, mainly operated by
First Trans-Pennine Express, plus some Northern ones for
good measure. The best way of reaching the station seems to
be to walk along the Promenade (this may give it delusions of
grandeur as there is no beach, just salt-marsh). You can’t
compare it to Dawlish but the trains are close and the patient
photographer will probably find a decent spot. There used to
be a Lido at the end of the Prom; this was replaced by a
modern, flat-roofed swimming-pool – the roof was defective;
the “new” pool is also closed and the architect and builder are
playing their version of “Pass the Parcel”. The cynics amongst
you may have guessed it would run into problems after it won
an RIBA design award! Members with a good memory for
photographs may remember the classic O.Winston Link shot
of the Hawksmill Creek Swimmin’ Hole, incidentally!

The only other line serving Barrow, these days, is the things were close to normal an hour or so later. The 1420
Cumbrian Coast line via Whitehaven, Workington and Carlisle – Barrow was in the hands of 156479, and the first
Maryport to Carlisle. Gone are the units with “barred” door part of the route calls for little comment, save that the old
windows (the Maryport and Carlisle section had some very Maryport & Carlisle engine shed, not far from Carlisle, is still
tight clearances), and whilst the journey requires a certain extant though unlikely to see further use. Much of the route
amount of fortitude (no trolley service – explanation later) it is spawned all sorts of passenger and freight lines to mining
to be recommended. towns, collieries and ore mines, and if you care to consult a
Pre-Grouping Atlas (or similar) the network would surprise
Tuesday 13th August saw your scribe catch the 0958 from you. Nothing remains today.
Grange (0923 ex-Barrow) which would be going through to
Manchester Airport (Unit 185106). Lancaster is a busy The line hugs, or runs close to, the Solway Firth after
station, with services on the WCML, to the Cumbrian Coast, Maryport – sometimes it is single and sometimes it is double
to Leeds and to Morecambe. Carnforth is something of a – and at Sellafield the train filled to bursting-point as workers
from the nuclear power station made their way home. A few
DRS locos were in the yard. The line continues approximately
southwards as far as Millom, when it turns north-eastwards to
skirt the Duddon Estuary. At Foxfield (erstwhile junction for
Coniston) the line turns south-eastwards and then roughly
south to reach Barrow. An easy connection was made into
the 1721 as far as Grange, although the train would continue
to Lancaster. I used a “Cumbria Round Robin”, which cost
£18.50 with Railcard.

If you’re in the area, Barrow Dock Museum is well worth a
visit, as is Millom Heritage Centre which is in the station.

185106 at Grange-over-Sands with the 0923 Barrow-in- And what do you do in the Lake District when it rains all day?
Furness – Manchester Airport on 13th August. Well, you could visit the Lakeland Motor Museum at Newby
Bridge, and follow-up with a couple of branch lines. Park at
shadow of its former self; the WCML platforms have gone, Grange station, catch the 1245 to Lancaster (158438), then
and if these were to be reinstated their use would probably be the 1320 (1304 ex-Preston) to Windermere, unit 185120,
confined to Windermere services. The old MPD and coaling which was pretty full! Rain was unrelenting, but thankfully a
tower are still there, but I could not help thinking that a lot of Booth’s supermarket offered shelter and sustenance! The
coaching stock and surely some diesel locos might as well go 1459 return went to Oxenholme Lake District where a WCML
for scrap. At Lancaster I caught the 1055 (0830 ex-Euston) as connection got me back to Lancaster for the 1545 to
far as Carlisle, and it was interesting that the platforms were Morecambe with 150201. The uncovered platform
“zoned” for first-class, standard etc. The train was, suggested you stayed on the train until it left at 1619. Back at
surprisingly, halted near Tebay for no immediate reason, but Lancaster, “Resources” were unaccountably stretched. The
later announced as due to a points failure, and eventual 1500 Manchester Airport – Barrow had been cancelled, so
Carlisle arrival was about 45 min. down. I visualised trains everyone piled aboard the 1700 Lancaster – Millom, for which
queueing up behind, but this must have been a slack time as single-unit 153351 had thoughtfully been provided. Of course,
not everybody got a seat! If, as was quite likely, the 1700 was
full to bursting then the next train was at 1732.

Well, that’s enough of the West Coast. The A684 presents an
interesting drive from Kendal to Northallerton if you can spare
the time. You’ll be close to the Settle & Carlisle line and you
go through Hawes – the Dales Countryside Museum is in the



old station. There’s what I think was intended to be a G5 0-4- It was financially advantageous as, in 1956, at the age of 24 I
4T in the yard, but it didn’t pass basic scrutiny! jumped to the Class 4 Stationmasters’ salary level. In addition
I received a 10% Aggregation Allowance to cover the time
As I spent a few days at Goathland (or Aidensfield if you travelled to and from my home station, Dereham, and daily
follow Heartbeat) a NYMR trip was essential & on 20th August expenses if away from Dereham. I only once relieved at
I caught the 0945 to Whitby hauled by 61002 Impala (actually Dereham, when I was asked to do a late turn in Dereham
61264). The fine weather meant a full train, and what booking office. A colleague of mine, Mick Goddard, later to
surprised me was the loco-change at Grosmont, where 75029 occupy Stationmasters’ positions at Mildenhall, Shippea Hill,
The Green Knight took over. Whitby Town retains an N.E.R. Whittlesford and Area Manager, Sudbury, was a relief
tiled map, but it should be noted that relatively few trains go to stationmaster – home station Norwich Thorpe. As such he
Whitby. It also surprised me just how far it was from spent a long spell in Norwich Thorpe stationmaster’s office,
Grosmont to Whitby, a route “shared” with Esk Valley so no expenses.
services from Middlesbrough. On the 1100 return, 75029
gave way to D5061 at Grosmont, and all went well as far as My first appointment was Yaxham, on Easter Monday 1956, a
Levisham where there was a delay of about half-an-hour gradual introduction to relief work, SM’s and clerks. Annual
waiting for the 1200 from Pickering – the cause of the delay to leave was rostered each year so, on relief, you had a good
Impala’s return working was not known. Incidentally, does idea of where you might be sent, although vacancies and
anyone know if the Forestry Commission road is still usable sickness also entered the equation. Yaxham was a Class 3
past Levisham crossing? I drove over it in 1992 so I cannot position – the basic grade was Class 4 – a reflection of the
be an expert! Impala hauled the 1500 Pickering - Grosmont, station’s past glories rather than 1956 responsibilities.
from where D5061 brought me back to Goathland on the Staffing consisted of 2 signalmen and a Lad Porter, Lew
1630. Hubbard, who was a promising boxer. The station was
reasonably well located in the village, passengers travelling
Whitby’s railway history is difficult to follow. There used to be mainly the short distance to Dereham or making slightly
lines from Pickering (now the NYMR), Scarborough, along the longer journeys to Norwich.
coast from Middlesbrough and the present Esk Valley line.
There was another station at Whitby (West Cliff) which served 4MT 2-6-0 43161 approaches Norwich Thorpe with the 1631
the coast line to Middlesbrough (closed 1958) but Town was Dereham - Norwich milk tanks on Sunday 1st May 1960.
the important one. Access from Pickering and the Esk Valley (The late Roger Harrison - Richard Adderson Collection)
was (and is) easy enough but the line from Scarborough
(closed from 8th March 1965) was an operational headache. With the introduction of DMUs between Wells & Norwich and
Trains crossed the Esk or Larpool Viaduct (still standing), Dereham and King’s Lynn in September 1955, cheap day
would reach Prospect Hill Junc, and then the d.m.u. would returns became available between all stations on these lines.
“reverse” down to Bog Hall Junc and into Whitby Town. A significant incident occurred on Tuesday 8th May 1956,
Nearby is the ghost village of Ravenscar. It was planned as a when a bridge carrying the double track over a farm roadway
rival to nearby Scarborough, but its situation wasn’t so good, between Yaxham and Dereham partly collapsed following the
and although some development took place around the turn passage of the Yarmouth Vauxhall to Spalding parcels train.
of the 19th/20th centuries it petered out. Another curious fact is Two District Civil Engineers’ staff, who were repairing the
that its station was originally named Peak. Before the days of bridge, were injured. A replacement bus service was
mass communication it was not unknown for passengers to introduced until the line was re-opened the following
detrain and ask to be taken to one of the Peak District’s afternoon. A BR cartage vehicle from Dereham, driven by
beauty spots! Motor Driver Jimmy Bunn, accompanied all buses and
conveyed heavy luggage, prams and cycles (including my
The village of Hutton-le-Hole may be familiar to some as the own) – I was covering SM’s annual leave at Flordon, also in
site of the Ryedale Folk Museum. Continue through the charge of Swainsthorpe, and cycled from Wymondham to
village, and you’re on the wilds of Rosedale Moor. Hard to Flordon.
imagine now, but until the 1920s the Moor (probably more to
the west) was a valuable source of iron ore, though subject to
extreme market fluctuations which led to periods of “boom &
bust”. There was a connection to the main network at
Battersby (still open today) and ore was brought down partly
by locomotive and partly by means of the Ingleby Inclined
Plane on which the gradient varied between about 10% and
20%. Locomotives worked above the Inclined Plane, so their
middle wheels had to be removed before they were winched
to their point of work. Once up there, they might stay for 3
years. The keen explorer may still be able to find the remains
of the mine buildings etc, and there’s plenty to be read on the
internet if you’re interested, or Ken Hoole’s Railways in
Cleveland if you keep an eye on the secondhand bookshops.

Summer Season Relief Stationmaster – Home
Station: Dereham (1956-1959) – Part 1
(Rod Lock)

For none of these four summers was I interviewed for this The next station eastwards, Thuxton, had an unusual staffing
advertised position, possibly explained by my First Class arrangement in that the SM, Len Squires, and a Porter shared
pass, as a booking clerk, in Train Signalling. station duties on early and late shifts. This involved closing
the level-crossing gates for trains – bell signals being
“repeated” at the crossing, and pulling off the distant signal(s).



The gates were normally closed against rail traffic between make a platform immediately available! On the same day a
trains, although road traffic was in the minority. The 18-lever K3 2-6-0 was derailed at Trowse and single line working had
signalbox, located at the Yaxham end of the Up (to to be introduced.
Wymondham) platform was abolished on 23rd December
1932 and replaced by a 3-lever ground frame which operated Moving on to the Wells branch proper, North Elmham,
the goods yard connection. The ground frame was released another Class 3 position, was an extremely busy wayside
by a key held in Hardingham signalbox, conveyed by the station. The single line from Dereham North signalbox was
guard of any train calling at Thuxton. A Mr Abbott sent worked by Electric Token, but onwards to County School it
consignments of small pet animals daily – mice, guinea pigs, changed to (metal) Train Staff and (paper) Ticket, the system
gerbils and hamsters – but passengers were few and far in use on the remainder of the branch. North Elmham
between, the station being some distance from the village. signalbox had a 20-lever frame. The SM was responsible for
two level-crossings, at Hoe and Worthing, in the section
Hardingham was also in charge of Kimberley Park and was a between Dereham North & North Elmham. Both were
Class 3 position. Ideally, it should have been the other way manned by resident crossing-keepers and the gates were
round because there was more activity at the latter. normally locked against road traffic. There was no station
Hardingham was manned by two Porter-Signalmen, the 21- house, so the resident SM lived in the village.
lever box not being open continuously. Kimberley Park
signalbox had an 18-lever frame, and also controlled a fairly The two principal users of the station were United Dairies and
busy level-crossing on the Norwich to Watton road. One of R.J. Seaman & Sons Ltd who also had a business at
the signalmen, Wilfred Coleman, achieved national Swaffham. In steam days loaded milk tanks, for United
recognition, being the subject of an article headed “The Flying Dairies’ depot at Ilford, were usually attached to the 1507
Signalman” in a daily newspaper. The signalbox was located ordinary passenger train to Norwich. The maximum
at the opposite end of the down platform to the level-crossing, permissible number of tanks which could be attached was
and on receipt of “Train Entering Section” from Wymondham five. The 1507 called at Trowse, where they were detached.
South or Hardingham Wilfred would cycle along the platform The tanks were placed in the siding adjacent to the single line
at great speed – I have a vision of him hurtling past the office, and the train reversed on to them. Six minutes was allowed
close the gates to road traffic , then another sprint back to the for normal station business and for this shunt. Some tanks
signalbox to bar the gates and clear his signals. This process conveyed 2,000 gallons, later builds 3,000 gallons. Shunting
was repeated after a train had departed! was carried out by a horse, whose name I never got to know.
Consequently, and unusually for a rural wayside station, the
During the summer months, strawberries were forwarded on staffing complement included a Passenger Shunter. The
the Yarmouth – Spalding parcels train. Kimberley Park was Dairy Siding was on the down side, at the north end of the
visited daily to cash up, inspect and sign the Train Register station. Access was controlled by a ground frame released
and generally ensure all was well. On Fridays, wages were from the signalbox. The horse shunted the loaded trains from
paid to the station staff and the local permanent way gang. the Dairy Siding to the up siding mentioned above.

Hethersett saw the fewest passengers of the stations Shortly before the introduction of DMUs on the Wells branch
mentioned in this article, the daily takings (in 1959) averaging in September 1955, a special train was introduced, conveying
just over £1, which were sent to Wymondham for banking. empty tanks, departing Norwich at 1410, returning from North
This paucity of passengers was not surprising as the railway Elmham with loaded tanks; my recollection is that it was
was separated from the village by the busy A11. The usually hauled by an N7, although photos have appeared of
signalbox was open continuously in 1959 and still controlled other types working this service. The service ran every day,
the adjacent level crossing, later replaced by a bridge. The including Sundays, when the tanks left Norwich at 1415 (1960
SM at that time was Basil Hyatt, previously a signalman at the timings).
station. One issue which remained open was an earlier failure
of the Class 40-hauled 2220 Class A passenger from Seaman’s traffic consisted of coal and fertiliser inwards and
Liverpool St to Norwich, which Basil claimed could have been grain (in sacks, but later in Bulk Grain vans). The latter traffic
more speedily dealt with, so I left him to write his report on his involved considerable use of BR sacks by the firm. There was
return. In the early 1950s a passenger train started from separate accountancy for sacks, and mightily complicated it
Hethersett – at 0814 in the Winter 1953 Timetable – calling at was with all users transferring sacks between each other.
all stations to Dereham. It was formed by the 0715 e.c.s. from This involved much debiting and crediting between stations.
Norwich, although I remember the e.c.s. being sometimes Most SM’s, myself included, were not terribly good at Sack
stabled in the Up siding which had a pronounced gradient Accounting but, at North Elmham, a District Relief Clerk, who
towards the Up main connection. The Air Ministry siding saw lived in the village, was a wizard, who sorted out the station’s
no traffic. It was a WW2 installation; Norman Crump, in his sack accounts on Sundays.
book – “LNER, By Rail to Victory” – records that after it was
opened in July 1943 it received 368 trains of aviation fuel but, Moving northwards to County School, this station came under
like Thetford and Saffron Walden, it was also served by pipe- the control of Mr Dunnett, the SM at Ryburgh. There never
line from March 1944. was a village named County School, the school being in the
parish of Bintree. The school, originally the Norfolk County
I spent a fortnight in Norwich Thorpe Stationmaster’s Office, School, was built, surrounded by 59 acres of land, ¼ of a mile
mainly dealing with time-sheets. The SM was Maurice Lawn, from the station, and opened in 1874 by the then Prince of
previously the boss at Brandon, Yarmouth South Town and Wales, later King Edward VII. It closed in 1895 but was re-
Ipswich. On one of the Saturdays – it was the height of the opened in 1901 as Watts’ Naval Training School for orphans
holiday season – there was a phone call from the Passenger and destitute boys under the charge of Dr Barnardo. The
Yard signalman to say that he had a passenger train standing school closed permanently in 1953.
at his home signal, for which there was not a platform
available and for which he had not received a Special Trains Signalling at the station was unusual in that Staff and Ticket
Notice (STN)! There was a frantic search to see who had working applied in three directions, to North Elmham,
signed for the STN in the signalbox, but the outcome did not Fakenham (East) and Foulsham. The signalbox was at the



north end of the station, beyond the Down platform, and the trains crossed at County School, the boxes controlling the
level crossing carrying the road which led to the school at the Train Staffs and (paper) Tickets were located in the booking
opposite end of the platform. To minimise “dwell” times, when office. These were exchanged with the train crews by the
Leading Porters.

With the School not being built until 1874, the station
opened later than the Dereham to Fakenham section, not
opening until 1882 at the same time as the branch to
Wroxham. The latter was known to local railwaymen as
“Round the World” because, for most of the line’s existence,
a Dereham to Norwich service operated. The distance was
38½ miles compared with the direct route via Wymondham
of 22 miles! The trackless bay platform provides present-day
evidence that services once terminated at County School,
though the line’s promoters’ original intention was to
terminate services at North Elmham. Possibly the School’s
manager’s offer of a house at the level crossing as a station
residence, the approach road (with the School retaining a
right to use it), and land for coal-stacking, influenced the

In the mid-1950s, J17 65573 passes County School heading for In this and future Parts of this Feature, please note that SM
Dereham (the late W.J. Naunton courtesy of Richard Adderson). is an abbreviation for Stationmaster.
[To be Continued.]

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

Editor’s Note: Last year I made a conscious decision to exclude all “Mince Pie” and “Santa Specials” from our Working Timetable.
I have done so again; this information is readily available elsewhere e.g. from the railway company websites, from the railway
company leaflets or by telephoning the railway company concerned.

Services on our Local Railways

The Bure Valley Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - - or telephone 01263-

The Mid-Norfolk Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - - or telephone 01362-

The North Norfolk Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - - or telephone 01263-

The Whitwell & Reepham Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - - or
telephone 01603-871694.

DECEMBER RAILWAY TOURING COMPANY - The York Yuletide Express. Departing Norwich at 0800 hauled
12th Thurs by A4 class 'Pacific' No. 60009 Union of South Africa to York and return to Ely; the remainder of
the journey to Norwich being diesel hauled. See for more details.

12th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – Christmas Team Quiz Evening with Malcolm Cooper.
Questions will cover rail, road, sea and air, so there’s a chance for all interests to be involved. It’s
customary for refreshments to be supplied by those attending (just a little from everyone is the
idea), and a good attendance will be appreciated as Malcolm's hard work shouldn’t go to waste.



DECEMBER continued

19th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – Members’ Evening: Pictures, Films, Readings, Short Talks
28th - 29th etc. Maximum of 10 min. per member please. If you’ll be bringing slides, please speak to
Edward Mann or Graham Kenworthy at a preceding meeting to ensure that a projector is
available. Seasonal refreshments will be provided and the usual collection will be taken for
St. Martin’s Housing Trust.

Sat - Sun MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY - Christmas Diesel Weekend.


2nd Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - Chairman’s Address (Gordon Bruce).

5th Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY - “Steam Sunday”.

9th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - “Early 1970s Transport” - Peter Cooke.

16th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “The Railways of Patagonia” - Ken Mills.

23rd Thurs 19:30 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) - “A Taste of Spain” - Ken Mills.

30th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - “Aston Martin Cars and the Motor Trade” - Michael Savage
FEBRUARY and Brian Webb.

6th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Somerset’s Railways & A Look at Bath Green Park
Station” – Edward Mann & Mike Handscomb.

13th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “More Buses, Trains, Boats & Planes” – John Hutchinson.

20th Thurs 19:30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “South Eastern & North Eastern Matters” – Chris King.

27th Thurs 19:30 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) – “East Anglian Railways in the 1980s”
MARCH – Richard Adderson.

1st Sat NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – ANNUAL SHOW 1300 – 1700. More details in the next
issue. Please reserve this date.

These two photographs were omitted from my South Wales feature in NRS/NL 58-5 but here’s 175004 (left) at Abergavenny
with a Cardiff bound service on 24th June and 150213 at Fishguard Harbour on 25th June (EM).

Printed by Express Impressions. Tel. 01603 301127

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