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NRS NL 62-1 first published February 2017

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Published by Norfolk Railway Society, 2018-12-13 12:13:41

NRS NL 62-1 Jan-Feb 2017

NRS NL 62-1 first published February 2017

Norfolk Railway Society

Founded 1955
Volume 62 No. 1 Jan/Feb 2017


news from railways in and around Norfolk

National Network



Christmas - New Year engineering At the end of the RH&DR Gala Day on 12th May 1996 the 60 or 61 carriage
blockade at Shenfield: cavalcade heads back to Romney on Dungeness reversing loop (Richard
To enable Network Rail to undertake Adderson). Also see article on page 10.
extensive engineering work at Shenfield
related to Crossrail works (new
pointwork, signalling and a new bay
platform no. 6), and the rewiring of the
obsolete overhead wiring dating from the
1949 electrification (which has a
tendency to sag on hot summer days),
the GEML was closed between 24th
December and 2nd January (both dates
inclusive). Norwich services terminated at
Witham whilst 321s provided a second
rail service to/from Ingatestone running
from Ipswich or Clacton. Passengers
were then offered a bus/coach link either
to Newbury Park for the Central Line or,
when it was not possible to travel from
Norwich via Cambridge (New Year
weekend), to Stansted Airport for rail
services to Liverpool Street.

The Eastern Daily Press, reporting the blockade on 20th Brentwood and Shenfield with TfL services formed of Class
December, stated that the overhead wires “first carried 650v 315 EMUs terminating in the Down platform and then forming
DC electric power and over the years this became 1100v AC, services towards Liverpool St leaving via a recently installed
11,000v AC and now 25,000v AC”. Your scribe (and your trailing crossover. A bus service will be in operation between
Editor) can only recall 1500v DC, 6.25kV and 25kV AC! Brentwood and Shenfield until late May 2017. The Southend
dive-under line has been out of use in an engineering
The blockade south of Ingatestone is continuing on Sundays possession since Oct/Nov 2016. The OLE is missing above
(plus Saturdays from the beginning of February) until the end the Electric lines in the station area and towards Brentwood.
of March or possibly later. The former double line junctions at the London end of
Shenfield station have been removed and it will be interesting
In mid-January the Shenfield station area still resembled a to see what new connections may be provided before the
building site with the Electric (slow) lines out of use between remodelling scheme is completed.

In This Issue 1 Crossrail (“the Elizabethan Line”):
4 The first new Class 345 EMU, 345002, was delivered to Ilford
Track Report 4 Depot by 67013 on 9th December. Shortened 7 car formations
National Network 5 are due to enter service between Liverpool St and Shenfield
Heritage, Narrow-Gauge & Miniature 11 during 2017 and will be lengthened to the full 9 car formation
Away From the Tracks when platform extensions are completed.
Pick-up Goods 13 Abellio to sell a 40% share of its stake in Greater Anglia
NRS News 15 franchise:
Features On 17th January Abellio announced that, subject to DfT
Cambrian Coast Express by Michael Roach approval, it intended to sell 40% of its newly acquired Greater
The Robin Hood Line by Chris Mitchell Anglia franchise to the Japanese company Mitsui. Mitsui is
Working Timetable said to be a general trading company with close ties to the
Sagami Railway, Japan’s 15th largest rail company. During



the bidding process Abellio was initially partnered
by Stagecoach who withdrew before the bids
were formally submitted. This disposal follows
National Express’s announcement on 11th
January that it proposed to sell the entirety of its
c2c franchise to the Italian state owned company

These developments expose an apparent
shortcoming in the Dft’s scrutiny of companies
bidding for a new franchise. If approved, these
disposals will represent an assignment / sale of
relatively new franchises to parties who have not
been subject to the full scrutiny process.

Oulton Broad North:

A new signal OB30 was commissioned at Oulton

Broad North on 27th November, 43m further from

the level crossing than its predecessor. This new

electrically operated semaphore signal and

associated work (the platform was extended by

50m at the Lowestoft end) now permits Lowestoft

to Norwich services calling at Oulton Broad North

station to be cautioned at the two preceding

home signals and upon arrival at the station the New signal OB30 at Oulton Broad (Peter Adds).

signaller then operates the level crossing barriers

down across the A1117 - one of the two roads

which cross the River Waveney/Lake Lothing which bisect experienced when the A1117 road has been closed for the

Lowestoft - before clearing OB30 and the Up Starter beyond. passage of a train in the past. It is claimed that the passage

of Up trains will see the LC barriers “down time” reduced from

These works followed a public campaign supported by the 4 minutes to 2 minutes for each train.

local M.P. aimed at reducing the severe traffic congestion

The new signal's life expectancy is expected to be short given

Norfolk Railway Society that the Wherry lines (modular) resignalling scheme is
(Founded 1955) programmed in about two years’ time.

President: Ken Mills, Esq. Fancy “spending a penny”?
The recent Mk3 carriage refurbishment scheme saw one wc
Committee and Officers 2016-2017 Telephone per vehicle taken out of use to house electrical equipment
associated with wifi and the provision of electrical sockets for
Chairman Ray Halliday passenger use. It is believed that the new Stadler trains to be
formed of 10 carriages (all passenger carrying) are to have
Vice Chairman Brian Kirton only 5 toilets provided giving an average potential user of say
150 passengers per wc per 90+ minute journey from Norwich.
Past Chairman & Brian Cornwell No doubt there is a guarantee that none of these wcs will ever
Outdoor Visits be out of use! The comment that it is a case of “putting more
bums on seats” – a wc does take up the space of several
Secretary & Andrew Wright ordinary seats – may be lost on a future passenger “caught
Webmaster short”!

Treasurer John Laycock GE INCIDENTS
The following details represent the most serious of known
Membership Sec Mike Handscomb delays in recent weeks.

Newsletter Editor & Edward Mann 26th November: Overhead line problems at Shenfield with the
Indoor Programme 0700 London – Norwich saw it pass Shenfield 74L and
terminate at Ipswich 83L. The 0730 and 0800 London –
Publicity Chris Mitchell Norwich services were cancelled with 0830, 0900 and 1000
services arriving Norwich about 35L.
Indoor Programme Graham Kenworthy

Show Day Organiser Peter Willis


Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter

Editor: Edward Mann

Layout & Picture Editor: Andrew Wright The 0600 Norwich – London was 2L at Chelmsford but 75L
passing Shenfield. The 0630 ex-Norwich was terminated at
Distribution: Graham Smith Colchester and the 0700 service reached London 47L.

Please contact Graham if the next edition does not arrive by 27th November: Overrunning engineering works at Oulton
the end of the month of publication. Broad North station saw train services cancelled until the
1058 Norwich – Lowestoft. See Oulton Broad North item
Opinions expressed in any articles are those of the author above.
and should not be taken to represent those of the Society.
Next issue published 6th April 2017 30th November: A signalling problem between Diss and
Copy date: 30th March 2017. Trowse Junc meant that the 1330 London – Norwich departed



11L; it was held at Ipswich from 1503-1516 departing 32L; Ipswich to Stratford, omitting Manningtree, Colchester and
Diss dep was 34L and Norwich arrival 40L. The 1400 London Chelmsford stops, arriving London 62L. The 1530 ex-Norwich
– Norwich departed Ipswich 14L and arrived Norwich 28L, departed 18L, passed Stowmarket 43L, departed Ipswich 51L
with reaction on return services. and arrived London 77L. The 1500 London – Norwich was
held at Ipswich for 33 mins arriving 39L.
1st December: A fatality between Diss and Stowmarket
resulted in the 0555 Norwich – London being terminated at The 1440 North Walsham – Harwich gas condensate train
Colchester. The 0622 Norwich – London was terminated at passed Whitlingham Junc 6E but, after being held on the
Diss with the 0645, 0703 (started from Ipswich), 0740 and Wensum Curve, departed 50L, passed Trowse Junc 90L,
0830 Norwich – London services being cancelled. There was Stowmarket 99L, East Suffolk Junc 117L and was 125L at
an additional 0720 Norwich – Diss and return to maintain a Wrabness.
service between those stations. The 0930 ex-Norwich started
from Stowmarket. The 0625 and 0700 London - Norwich Evening departures from London typically departed 15 - 36L
services were terminated at Ipswich. The first Up train was losing more time en route. The 1830 and 1900 departures
the 0800 ex-Norwich and the first Down train the 0905 ex- were 28L and 5L departing and 45L and 40L respectively on
Ipswich. arrival at Norwich.

2nd December: Another fatality occurred between Colchester 4th January: A combination of high tides and a strong
and Manningtree. The train involved was the 1632 London - onshore wind caused minor flooding along inland rivers. The
Ipswich which was terminated at Manningtree 109L. The railway line at Haddiscoe was flooded for a time with the 1648
1700, 1702 and 1730 London – Norwich services were all and 1750 Norwich – Lowestoft departures being cancelled
terminated at Colchester with the next through service,1750 (the 1902 ex- Norwich ran departing 13L). The 1648, 1748
ex-London, being held 39 mins at Colchester departing 56L and 1848 departures from Lowestoft were also cancelled.
and arriving Norwich 63L. In the Up direction the 1730 ex-
Norwich was terminated at Ipswich; the 1800 ex-Norwich was 5th January: Due to problems at Crown Point the 0705
held at Ipswich for 56 mins departing 61L, being 84L at Norwich – London started 26L and omitted stops at Diss and
Colchester and 98L at Liverpool St. The 1900 Norwich – Stowmarket but still terminated at Colchester (then forming
London (the 1830 service was cancelled) was only 5 minutes 0930 London return service starting from Colchester). The
behind the 1800 ex-Norwich leaving Ipswich and reached 0740 service called additionally at Stowmarket.
London 47L.
A broken rail closed platform 2 (Up Main platform) at Ipswich
13th December: The 0100 Ipswich – Bristol Freightliner during the early morning period.
service departed 3E but encountered brake troubles
approaching Manningtree. Newspaper reports stated that due The 1030 London – Norwich was held for 15 mins at Diss
to wheel flats the train had to be moved at 3mph to departing 20L and noted at slow speed passing Dunston
Colchester passing Manningtree 270L and arriving Colchester examining the line. Arrival was 32L at Norwich. Similarly the
Goods Loop at 0805 388L The detached wagon, complete 1130 and 1200 ex-Norwich lost 8 and 15 mins respectively
with container, was still to be seen at Colchester on 16th before Diss. The 1230 departed 20L and called at Ipswich
January. only omitting stops at Diss, Manningtree and Colchester,
reaching London 14L.
The first through Norwich – London service was the 0830
which approached Ipswich 9L, departed Ipswich 20L and 7th January: A fire alarm activation at Norwich station
arrived London 37L. Previous departures were either occurred between 1530 and 1555 resulting in approx 20 min.
cancelled or terminated at Ipswich such as the 0740 ex- delays to all services, with the 1545 Norwich – Sheringham
Norwich. being terminated at Cromer.

14th December: The 0903 Bristol – Felixstowe Freightliner 9th January: The Trafford Park – Felixstowe Freightliner
dep 81L but recovered time to pass Stratford 40L but then failed at Shenfield and the Thunderbird loco based there gave
encountered traction problems, passing Ilford 115L and assistance, departing at 2049. In reaction the 2000 London –
arriving Ipswich 124L. Norwich passed Gidea Park 42L and arrived Norwich 53L.

15th December: After the passage of the 1100 Norwich – 12th January: The 1300 London – Norwich was involved in a
London a signalling/track circuit problem developed in the fatality at Hatfield Peverel. The following 1330 service arrived
vicinity of Trowse Swingbridge. The first train affected was the Norwich 95L in reaction.
1112 arrival from Nottingham delayed by 61 mins; the 1127
arrival from London departed Diss 17L and arrived Norwich 13th January (Tidal Surge): The Environment Agency issued
60L with the 1130 arrival from Cambridge on time leaving severe flood warnings along the North Sea coast fearing a
Wymondham but into Norwich 49L. tidal storm surge produced by gale force northerly winds and
high tides. Evacuations were put in place at some locations
Train services were disrupted until the signalling fault was including 5000 residents at Jaywick.
rectified at about 1600. The 1140 and 1240 Norwich –
Cambridge and 1230, 1330 and 1430 Norwich to London The winds brought down a tree on the line between Reedham
were cancelled with the return 1430, 1530, 1630 and 1730 and Oulton Broad mid-afternoon suspending train services for
services being cancelled too. The 1300 and 1400 Norwich – about 90 minutes.
London services both departed 28L. The 1340 Norwich to
Cambridge departed 45L and terminated at Ely. Trains serving Lowestoft were suspended at about 2000 on
the advice of the police as high tide approached. Trains were
Just as the signalling problem at Trowse was rectified there either terminated at Reedham or diverted to Great Yarmouth.
was a bridge strike at Needham Market at about 1600. The Early morning services the following day were delayed due to
1500 Norwich – London which had departed 30L was held at flooding of the line at Haddiscoe.
Stowmarket for 36 mins departing 66L and then ran non-stop



Thankfully the tidal surge did not quite reach the maximum meaning as, on 18th January, a Chinese freight train arrived in
sea level envisaged so the extensive flooding feared did not Barking carrying textiles and consumer goods. This train left
materialise. China on New Year’s Day and a comparable sea journey
would have taken twice as long. The rail journey does,
16th January: A track problem at Romford disrupted services however, require the containers to be unloaded and reloaded
during the afternoon. The 1430 Norwich to London was several times due to the changes of gauge.
terminated at Colchester and then formed the 1700 ex-
London departing Colchester 1744. As the 1700 normally only Also in the news is the pressure mounting on the Government
calls at Ipswich and Diss the additional train had but a handful to keep the costs associated with HS2 under control.
of passengers from Colchester. Anything between £60 billion and £80 billion is being touted.
You cannot help but wonder what a quarter of that money
17th January: Problems with the ahb level crossings at would do for the N.H.S.!
Swainsthorpe and Newton Flotman delayed most trains for 10
– 15 mins during the morning. Thanks to Chris Mitchell for drawing my attention to these
18th January: A points failure at Ipswich disrupted services
during the morning. The worst affected service was the 0730 Away from the Tracks
ex-London which incurred a delay of 40 mins on the approach
to Ipswich. (Peter Adds) Clutching at Straws!

The Silk Road and Placing Your Bets on the The variety of goods conveyed by rail was almost infinite.
Cost of HS2 Sometimes, however, the reason for the consignment is
totally baffling. Mike Handscomb, who watches ebay for items
The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that ran of railway interest from his native Dorset, has come across a
between China and the Mediterranean Sea. Of course, it 1965-dated wagon label relating to a consignment of straw
takes its name from the trade in Chinese silk that goes back from Weymouth to H.M. Prison, Shrewsbury. This raises all
to around 200 years B.C. But it has taken on a modern sorts of questions, for example: was it a regular traffic, what
was its intended use and, above all, what qualities did Dorset
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Miniature straw possess that could not be found in local, Shropshire,
straw? We would love to know.
Santa Specials at Eaton Park (Mike

On the first two Sundays in December the NDSME
ran their first ever Santa Specials. It was
organised in eight weeks by NRS member Brian
Baker, helped by NRS members Philip Moore,
David Beeken, Brian Sayer and me. Chris King
and Dave White also helped on the day.

Over 800 visitors attended and left with presents
or enjoyed mulled wine, tea or coffee and minced
pies. We were lucky with the weather - it was dry
but cold on both days which helped to give
spectacular steam effects.

New members are always welcome to join us or
just visit us at Eaton Park 1000 - 1500 on any
Tuesday. You can also speak to Philip Moore or
me at any NRS or NTG meeting.. You do not need
to be an engineer! Thanks to Mike Fordham for the
Well done to all for making the inaugural Santa
Specials such a success – Ed.


_________PICK-UP GOODS

A miscellany of news and members’ contributions

Recently at the URC Hall as recently as 1928), Dawdon and Seaham, but by 1992 all
Committee Pot Pourri (December 1st) three had closed, a process accelerated by the British miners'
strike and cheap coal imports. Again using recent
photographs, then-and-now maps and archive aerial shots,
Andy showed the physical effect of the changes which had hit
the local economy hard - and obliterated its railway network.

Chairman Ray Halliday began the evening by announcing that NRS member and past chairman Peter Adds is a trustee of the
The North Norfolk Railway had been voted ‘Best Large Royal Scot Trust, and earlier in the year he invited Andy to visit
Attraction' in Norfolk and Suffolk in the EDP Hoseasons the Trust’s base at Crewe. Inside the brightly-lit and well-
Tourism Awards. This was a much-deserved tribute to the equipped workshop, Andy had photographed a clutch of
NNR’s outgoing General Manager Trevor Eady. Ray also prestigious machines: 70000 Britannia, 60532 Blue Peter,
thanked Brian Cornwell for producing a number of loco-themed 60019 Bittern and 5029 Nunney Castle.
‘baubles’ to decorate the URC Hall’s Christmas tree.
Returning closer to home, his days out in East Anglia had
The evening’s entertainment was in two parts. First, Brian ran taken him to Manningtree and Harwich, and to Cambridge and
a DVD entitled The End of Steam: The Story of Dr Beeching’s Ipswich; a most unusual sight emerging from Stoke Hill Tunnel
Railway Cuts, issued by local production house Timereel. was a Class 68 hauling a last-minute Norwich - Colchester and
return replacement service. Andy had also joined the band of
Subdivided into chapters, the DVD began with The Beeching diehard traction-bashers on a ‘short set’ return trip to Lowestoft.
Cuts, which illustrated how the UK’s route mileage was just too
large to be maintained, and included excerpts from interviews A change of viewpoint came when he was invited to take a trip
with ‘the great and good Doctor’ (to quote Gerard Fiennes). In in a light plane. This was a fine opportunity to ‘do a Mike Page’
End of Steam, the grimy and back-breaking conditions on the by capturing unusual perspectives of Norfolk railways and
footplate were given as a prime reason for scrapping abandoned trackbeds.
thousands of steam locos.
To round off the presentation Andy showed pictures from a trip
Dash for Diesel examined the BTC’s Modernisation Scheme - to Folkestone, using a Javelin set for the leg from Stratford
well under way, of course, by the time Dr Beeching became BR International. His destination was the disused Folkestone
Chairman - and contained some super colour footage of pilot Harbour station - hence ‘the Boat Train’ of his title. The much
scheme diesels (37s under construction at EE, Brush Type 4s photographed branch and station had been used by the odd
at Loughborough) and the ill-fated Blue Pullmans. railtour until 2009 and then officially closed in May 2014.
Electrification included the success story of the WCML where Though desolate and decaying, the platforms and track are, it
traffic doubled between 1966 and 1976. In Freight Revolution appears, still accessible to the determined photographer.
pick-up freights and old-fashioned shunting methods (including
Charlie, the Newmarket shunting horse) were contrasted with Ray Halliday thanked both presenters for a most entertaining
liner trains and modern marshalling yards – many of the latter evening.
destined to enjoy only a short life. Semaphores gave way to
centralised control and colour lights in Track and Signalling, Members’ Evening (15th December)
and the first tentative steps of the preservation movement were
recounted in The Heritage Industry. A very short summary of a members’ evening could be: “You
never know what’s coming!”
Finally, Retrospect concluded that the Modernisation Scheme,
despite being lambasted in some quarters, was ‘good in parts’ John Hutchinson started the ball rolling with a poetry reading,
- in particular, the electrification programme. written by Denis Muir, about a late 1950s summer day at
Carlisle Citadel, in which the atmosphere of the time was
From Plawsworth to the Boat Train was the title Andy Wright faithfully re-created.
gave to his presentation after the break: it was, he explained,
a photographic miscellany from his journeys during 2016. Robert Scarfe followed with action footage concentrating on
local steam Galas. Notable was 0-6-0PT 6430 plus auto-
So where on earth is/was Plawsworth? In County Durham, it coach shuttling to Hoe and back, and Metropolitan 0-4-4T no.
turned out, on the ECML between Durham and Chester-le- 1 on the Mid-Norfolk Railway. Over at the Nene Valley
Street, although Plawsworth station lost its passenger services Railway, 60163 Tornado and D9000 Royal Scots Grey
back in 1952. On holiday there, Andy had become intrigued by completed the action.
the area’s railway past, and with the aid of old maps and
photographs he showed us the contrast between Plawsworth Peter Cooke contributed a selection of readings from a book
in its heyday and today’s scene with Virgin East Coast and on railway humour before Mike Fordham took us back to July
Cross-Country expresses streaking through. 2003 when the last mail trains ran between Norwich and
Dover. The earlier train left around 1900 but no sorting took
He’d also taken the opportunity to visit other railway locations place on board whereas on the 2200 departure sorting took
in the area: Chester-le-Street; Newcastle (where he illustrated place en route. Ceremonial last postings (on payment of the
the set of cross-Tyne bridges and their various traffics); and the late fee) were filmed and several members, including the late
Tanfield Railway. Not only does this boast, in the the Causey David Wright and the late Roger Harrison, were seen. Those
Arch, the oldest surviving single-arch railway bridge in the “in the know” had found these trains an easy means of
world, but the railway’s Marley Hill engine shed, built in 1854, clearing their Class 67s.
is thought to be the oldest engine shed in the world still used
for its original purpose. As the break approached, your scribe read from the book
Leaves on the Line – a collection of railway-related letters to
Also on Andy’s County Durham itinerary was Seaham, a the Daily Telegraph. Finally, Andy Wright weighed-in with an
coastal town which he recalled from his student days. It had excellent set of images of Nottingham’s trams which
once been the site of three collieries – Vane Tempest (opened culminated in a seasonal poster announcing that mince pies


_________PICK-UP GOODS

and other goodies were ready. forced to abandon the meeting after an early refreshment

break had been taken. We never got to see the remarkable

Suitably refreshed, it was time for Ray Halliday to open the German-built 0-12-2 combined rack and adhesion
second part with a DVD from a friend showing steam in the locomotives used on the 9 mile stretch from León to Volcan
north-west in 2016. Several Settle & Carlisle locations were on a gradient of 1 in 17 (about 6%) which must have made a

featured, together with Milnthorpe on the WCML and, finally, remarkable sight.

Copy Pit summit near Todmorden (where the Todmorden If anyone has the Railway Magazine for July 1959 please
triangle has recently been reinstated allowing through refer to pp 459-466 and the article “International Rail Routes
services between Manchester and Burnley to resume). Of the

locomotives seen, 4472 Flying Scotsman seemed to be over the Andes”.

running particularly well. We offer our apologies to Ken for the evening’s disaster – it
Mike Handscomb’s disposal of the Society’s archives had was nothing less – and the loss of some of his precious

unearthed a photograph of delegates attending a motive slides. (EM)

power conference at Hadley Wood in 1952. Helpfully, all of Chairman’s Address – “Berney Arms Past &
the delegates were identified on the reverse, and there was Present and Incidents & Special Days on the
no doubt who was in charge – it was the redoubtable L.P. North Norfolk Railway” (Ray Halliday – 19th
Parker, Motive Power Superintendent at Liverpool St, a
much-feared gentleman as soon becomes apparent from the January)
writings of Dick Hardy. Mike then dipped into his own
collection with a set of enamel indicator shutters which once Vice-Chairman Brian Kirton introduced Ray’s presentation,
occupied the huge indicator box next to Platform 12 at which did not require explanation.
Waterloo, and he continued with some amusing post-

Beeching Report publicity aimed at putting the railways in a Berney Arms is some 3½ miles from Reedham and some 4½
better light with the help of the late Tony Hancock. miles from Yarmouth. It is an isolated spot, and there have

Richard Adderson showed images of Norfolk’s railways in never been more than a dozen properties around the station.
November, all taken within half-an-hour of home. Naturally we It is some 2 miles from the nearest road, meaning that it is
saw Class 68s on the “short sets”, but 6201 Princess accessible only by boat, on foot, by cycle or by rail. The
Elizabeth had been to Norwich recently and Richard had station opened in 1844 and is in the middle of land owned by
taken some excellent night shots. the Berney family – Thomas Berney agreed to the railway
crossing his land/marshes so long as a station was provided.
John Hutchinson returned, showing part of a DVD on the A3s, Having provided the station, the railway tried to outsmart him
which included 60045 Lemberg as standing “up” pilot at by withdrawing the stopping trains but the legal challenge
Darlington before the modern technology was packed away resulted in the stop being reinstated.

and Graham Smith ended proceedings with slides of a The station (perhaps halt would be better) would have been
Society visit to the just re-opened Severn Valley Railway in used by marshmen and agricultural workers as well as the
1970 and of very early days on the North Norfolk Railway. few families living in the surrounding cottages, whose children

Thanks to Andy Wright for operating the digital projector and would have used the trains to get to and from school. The
other kit. station building served partly as a Post Office, waiting room
and ticket office – the rest was residential. It was demolished

The collection for St Martin’s Housing Trust totalled £150 around 1970. The tiny signalbox has also gone – first to the
(£120 last year), so many thanks to everybody who donated. nearby pub but now it’s at Mangapps Farm Museum.
Once again, we are indebted to Graham & Joy Kenworthy for
their hard work in bringing the festive fare to us, and to Brian The windmill is well-known, and is now an RSPB base. Last
Cornwell and John Hutchinson for their help on the night. year the area featured in a short Country File piece, largely
about drainage. The mill is open to visitors occasionally, and
“A Shed Called Volcano” (Ken Mills – 5th we were grateful that former Berney Arms resident Sheila
January) Hutchinson and her husband Paul had been able to come to
our meeting to add to Ray’s presentation. Her book Berney

Argentina is some 11 times the size of the U.K., and Ken’s Arms Past & Present generated a lot of interest and sales
exploration of that country’s railways – especially the remoter were brisk. It was surprising to learn that the mill had once
ones – always holds interest for your scribe. Ken’s metre- been used to produce cement clinker and that a sawmill was
gauge journey (from circa 1970) began at the Retiro terminal nearby. Neither activity survived the 19th century.
of the General Belgrano Railway in Buenos Aires, and he
headed north to Tucumán (800 miles) and thence to Jujuy The number of passengers using Berney Arms was 1,510 at
(1,009 miles) where the altitude is over 4,000’. At one time the last count – a surprisingly large number considering that
there were cross-border services to Bolivia and Chile, but Shippea Hill could muster a mere 22 over a year! Most of the
these seem to have been closed or are out or use. users would be walkers, possibly taking in the Weavers’ Way,
but the timetable is not exactly “user-friendly”. Coming from
Of the steam locomotives seen, which mainly came from Norwich there are 2 “by request” stops and 1 from Yarmouth,
European builders, a distinct family likeness was apparent. although Sundays see an augmented service. By
Many were wood-burners (it is the Chaco region) but there comparison, the 1979/80 timetable had some stopping trains,
were a few oil-burners. Signalling equipment looked very not just “by request”.

British. After the break we visited Ray’ second home – the North

As we approached the break, Fate intervened as the projector Norfolk Railway, where he has been a Traveliing Ticket
began to “chew” some of Ken’s card-mounted slides. Mike Inspector for about 5 years. He also acts as a guide. He
Fordham did his best to retrieve these from the Society’s 30 recalled some amusing incidents – last year a member of a
year-old projector, but it was a thankless task, and I was coach party was sure he was Howard from The Last of the
Summer Wine! On another occasion, a Gala Day, he was


_________PICK-UP GOODS

riding in an e.c.s. to Holt when he looked out and his hat blew
away! The “bush telegraph” went into overdrive and it took a
long time for the “hat jokes” to be played out. Finally, a couple
with a large dog asked, tongue-in-cheek, the cost of a
Rover(!) ticket for the dog! Ray said £1 – the money was paid
and they replied: “Here’s the dog – we’re off to Blickling”!

We then saw a DVD – “Yesterday Today on the North Norfolk
Railway” made in 2007. Prominent were the evacuees and
their train, the WW2 Day and the Classic Car Day. The film
had a continuity actress and, no doubt, opinions of her ranged
from the amusing to the insufferable! Very apparent was the
way the re-enactors entered into the spirit of the WW2 Day.
Finally, it included a few minutes of the Marriott
granddaughters talking about their grandfather.

There was generous applause for Ray at the end, and thanks
also to Andy Wright for projecting and taking the trouble to
visit Ray in advance to ensure the presentation ran smoothly.

“20 Slides from the Past”

This was the title of a Norfolk Transport Group evening on 8th
December. People delved amongst their old slide-boxes, and
the result was a remarkably diverse set of transparencies,
and everyone present enjoyed the trip back into the 1960s
and more recently. The evening was sufficiently popular to be
on the NTG’s programme for 2017, so if you missed the
meeting it’ll be back next year.

If you can find a mains-powered Photax Solar slide viewer on
the internet or on e-bay it’s very good for looking at your

Wheathampstead Revisited (Steve Cane)

In the mid-sixties, while still at school in Luton, I took part in the
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme (DOE). Two friends and I
decided to have a couple of nights’ camping to prepare us for the
map reading and camping section of the DOE. At nearby
Wheathampstead there was a large common known as
“Nomansland” and this became our destination for our camping

The easiest way to get there was by train from Luton Bute Street.
Wheathampstead was one of the station stops en route to Hatfield on the
ECML. Our train from Luton was a single car DMU and from memory we three
were the only passengers on board – no wonder then that the line was closed
in 1965 following the Beeching Report of 1963. We managed to survive two
nights’ camping without much food and no washing facilities and returned on
an equally empty train two days later.

Come forward fifty years or so to 2016 and my wife and I are visiting some
friends in Luton and taking in a football match as well! As members of the
National Trust we paid a visit to Shaw’s Corner at the small village of Ayot
St.Lawrence. This was the primary residence of George Bernard Shaw and his
wife and is a fascinating place to visit if you ever get the chance.

After leaving the house we drove to nearby Wheathampstead for some
refreshments and, on leaving the café, I was surprised to see a modern
direction sign to “The Station Platforms”. It turned out that a team of local
enthusiasts have restored the remains of the old station and made it into a
tourist attraction! No buildings remain, but part of the original platform has
been restored and a small section of track has been laid with an equally well-
restored goods wagon resting next to the platform.

Shaw used the station on many occasions and would cycle the short distance
from his home at Ayot, leave his bike at the local pub for safe keeping (at
sixpence [2½p] a week!), and catch the train for London. He was known to be
late on many occasions so the train would be held for him by the
stationmaster. Shaw has been given pride of place on the station with a carved


_________PICK-UP GOODS

statue of him sitting in the platform shelter waiting for the train experience of air travel, so looking straight down from such a
to arrive (but of course it never will!). height was an unusually dramatic event.

I was pleased to have found this attraction which brought But if the journey in daytime was always fascinating, crossing
back many memories of my youth. Crumlin Viaduct at night was really magical. In the final years
of the war, and for a few years thereafter, there were no
Editor’s Note: Wheathampstead was on a cross-country route streetlights to be seen and the headlights of road vehicles
from Leighton Buzzard (WCML) to Hatfield via Dunstable & were strictly limited, so trying to locate one’s position and
Luton. Leighton Buzzard to Dunstable closed to passengers interpret what few glimmers of light could be seen was quite a
from 2nd July 1962 whilst Dunstable – Hatfield closed to spooky experience.
passengers from 26th April 1965, reflecting the pre-Grouping
split of ownership (L&NWR/GNR). Thanks to Steve for the Although I was no longer living in Wales when the structure
images and illuminating a little-known line. reached the end of its long life, I was sorry to see it go but I
have no doubt that maintaining it in a safe condition with or
Some Childhood Memories of Crumlin (Robin without the railway it was built to serve would have been
Thomas) prohibitively expensive. Perhaps the continued presence of
Hengoed Viaduct, which has now been accorded protection
The land formation of the South Wales coalfield is dominated as a Grade 2 listed structure, confirms my grandfather’s
by deep valleys running broadly from north to south. Closely appraisal after all.
packed, with little opportunity for good road or railway
communication in other directions, the predominant industrial We shall never know…
developments of the eighteenth century followed these valley
routes from the coal and iron ore deposits of the hills down to Back in 1958 the late Sheb Woolley had a # 1 pop smash
the Bristol Channel ports at Newport, Cardiff, Barry and with “Purple People Eater” (those unfamiliar with the song
Swansea. The challenge of crossing the valleys was can soon find it on youtube). Had modern technology been
formidable, but one such link was the line from Pontypool, on around in 1958 and had Sheb Woolley known about the Parry
the eastern edge of the coalfield, to Neath, in the west. People Movers that operate between Stourbridge Junc and
Several viaducts were necessary and by far the most Stourbridge Town would he have had the same “monster”
impressive of them was the iron lattice structure at Crumlin success singing about these little vehicles? Sadly, or perhaps
traversing the Ebbw valley. thankfully, we shall never know! What we do have, however,
are some images of the Class 139s, courtesy of Richard
My childhood home was in Hengoed, five miles west of Adderson.
Crumlin, but several relatives lived in and close to Pontypool
so we were frequent travellers on the line above the village of
Crumlin. From my bedroom window I was able to see the
Rhymney Railway from Cardiff, the Brecon and Merthyr line
from Newport and, nearest of all, the line from Neath to
Pontypool. This line was by far the most interesting,
especially in the years following the Second World War, as it
carried such a varied assortment of traffic. Even the
passenger trains not infrequently had a thoroughly non-
standard and even eccentric make-up but the most exciting of
them was the service timed at about lunchtime, usually with a
tender engine and five or six corridor coaches! Occasionally,
a named engine would be used, perhaps a Manor or Grange

All of these trains were heading to or from the Crumlin viaduct 139002 at Stourbridge Junc. (above) and Stourbridge
with its seemingly precarious position two hundred feet above Town (below) on 16th July 2013.
the valley floor. It is interesting that, as a child I found the
traverse of the viaduct always exciting but, because this was
a journey I had made since infancy, I was completely
unaware of its very special character as the highest viaduct in
the land. In fact, my maternal grandfather, who had been a
stonemason before retirement, was more enthused by the
stone viaduct at Hengoed with its skew arch over the Brecon
and Merthyr line – a feature whose craftsmanship he much

The view from Crumlin Viaduct was spectacular and aided by
the low lattice railings and a speed limit of 8mph. My memory
is that this restriction was meticulously observed. Perhaps the
drivers innately sensed the need to respect such a brittle
Meccano-like structure which had been reduced from the
original double track to a single one. Pleasingly, there was
plenty of time (a good two minutes in fact) to look down on
either side of the deck’s 500 yard length. During daylight,
smoke from the domestic and commercial buildings far below
withered out well before reaching the viaduct deck, as did the
steam from engines climbing the gradient of the Ebbw valley
deep below. I suppose these memories of the late 1940’s
reflect the fact that at that time very few people had any


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Making the Connections – see NRS/NL 61/6 p.9 Station Usage Figures

The answers were: Rod Lock has kindly allowed me to draw on his Secretary’s
1. The Cumbrian Coast Line. The junction was Dalston; the Report to the East Suffolk Travellers’ Association committee
meeting held on 30th November.
Irish golfer was Padraig Harrington and Dolly Parton head- East Anglia is a prosperous region, reportedly the largest net
lined at Glastonbury. Dalston, Harrington & Parton are all contributor to GDP in the country. Rail usage can be said to
stations on the line. buoyant, partly due to the “pull” of London which is accessible
2. 2E was Northampton, 65A was Eastfield and 8M was in commuting terms with early morning trains from King’s
Southport. Thus, 16G Westhouses completed the cardinal Lynn (0457), Norwich (0455) and Lowestoft (0525). In 1953
points. Either depot code or name was acceptable. West- the first trains were 0736 (Lynn), 0745 (Norwich) and 0636
bury also fitted. (Lowestoft).
3. The G.W.R. would have wanted to maximise revenue by In 2012/13, the East of England to London was the second-
keeping the lady on its own, less convenient, routes. Thus, highest inter-regional flow in the country.
she should have been directed to Yatton, where it was nec- It is, therefore, enlightening to compare station usage in East
essary to change for Clevedon. W.C. & P. stood for Wes- Anglia with a neighbouring but much less prosperous area –
ton, Clevedon & Portishead, which offered a direct route Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire (L&EY). Yorkshire is
from Weston to Clevedon. England’s largest county, Lincolnshire its 3rd largest and
4. Market. Norfolk its 4th largest.
5. 35001 Channel Packet was the odd one out. The rest were L&EY has no station comparable to Cambridge, Chelmsford,
shipping lines. A packet-boat carried mails etc. Channel Ipswich or Norwich. Out of 64 stations, only 3 had more than
Packet was also – and more likely the reason the name 1 million passengers in 2015 – Hull 2.199 million, Lincoln
was bestowed on the loco - the name of the Southern’s 1.650 million and Grantham 1.260 million; at all 3 usage was
maritime arm. down on 2010/2011.
6. Dreadnought. Comparing the seaside resort of Cleethorpes – its station
7. Derby; Friargate railway bridge. Bennerley Viaduct and nearest to the beach of any East Coast station (but previously
Nottingham Victoria. beaten by Hunstanton) - with Lowestoft, it was used by
8. Will Hay was the star of Oh Mr Porter. Andy’s image was 270,000 compared with Lowestoft’s 460,000. One would
taken at Alton, and the Basingstoke & Alton Light Railway expect Skegness, with its proximity to the East Midlands, and
was the film’s outside location. Hay would be sold at Hay- being served on summer Saturdays by HSTs from
market, convenient for the engine shed or Murrayfield. Hay Nottingham, to rival Lowestoft but 351,000 used it in 2015,
is used for fodder and, lo and behold, there was a Fodderty again down on 2010/2011.
Junction (for Strathpeffer) off the Kyle line. Lincoln’s population is 100,000 but suffers from poor train
9. Religious establishments. Look up Table 207 for Dover Pri- services – the most frequent being the service to Newark
ory and Minster. 5089 was Westminster Abbey, 91114 is Castle and Nottingham. It has only 2 trains per day to London
Durham Cathedral and Church precedes Stretton. Editorial – one to St Pancras and one to King’s Cross, both having to
tip: it was easier to start at the end and work back to the travel westwards for several miles before heading south. A
beginning. better option appears to be to Peterborough via the GN/GE
10.They were camping coach locations. The expression “en- “Joint” line, recently improved at a cost of £270 million, at the
suite” didn’t exist then! Congratulations to Richard Adder- same time serving several significant traffic generators. (Are
son on winning the prize. Sleaford & Spalding and maybe Boston & Skegness
significant? - Ed.)
And if you demand more, try these: Using Brampton (Suffolk) as a comparator (8,968 users in
1. RU is an abbreviation for Rugby Union. What did RU mean 2014/15) 20 L&EY stations were below this figure, with 15
less than 2,000. The least-used station was Kirton Lindsey
in railway terms? (162), one of three sizeable settlements served only on
2. Ardleigh station, between Colchester and Manningtree, Saturdays by only 3 trains each way and, into B.R. days, part
of a main route between Manchester/Sheffield and Grimsby.
closed in 1967. If you boarded a train there in the 1950s The least-used station in East Anglia, and indeed the country,
how far was it possible to travel without changing? Was it to was Shippea Hill (22) – a wild and desolate location where
Liverpool St, Norwich, Peterborough, Crewe or Glasgow? the now-disused signalbox was shored-up with large timbers
3. Near which station were rubber mats laid on a railway next to prevent it from sinking into the adjacent fen land. The
to a bypass to allow road traffic to travel a short distance station’s first name – Mildenhall Road – more aptly described
along the line? its location. Into the 1950s most Liverpool St to Norwich (via
4. In a photographic album, a 1962 photograph of Watton sta- Ely) expresses called there to cater for U.S.A.A.F. personnel
tion shows that the running-in board said “Watton (Nor- based at R.A.F. Mildenhall, but that traffic has disappeared.
folk)”. What Watton(s) might it have been confused with?
5. The Ivatt N1 0-6-2 tanks had all been withdrawn by mid- News (?) from Norwich Conservatives
1959. An N1, withdrawn in 1954, spent until mid-1962 do-
ing what and where? An ungrammatical “flier” was delivered on behalf of Norwich
6. Who gave his name to a frock coat, a watch-chain and, fi- Conservatives recently. Our airport seems to rejoice under a
nally, a D11 4-4-0? new name – “Norwich Internation (sic) Airport”.
7. Which feature film was shot (in part) on a famous South And then I read “Conservatives Deliver Norwich In Ninety”.
Wales viaduct awaiting demolition? You’d think that this was a fait accompli and that the 0740
8. The L.N.E.R. 0-6-0 tender engines were all lettered J would have had 14 minutes sliced from its schedule at a
something or other e.g J15, but not all of the numerical suf- stroke now that the new timetable is in force. Not so – all it
fixes were used. Give an unused number (it will be below means is that the 4 services (2 up & 2 down) scheduled to
50 but not no. 45 for reasons to be explained later). run to a 90-minute schedule are in the new franchise and
9. Why was a Class 99 never seen at Crewe Works? then there’s the little matter of the new trains which need to
10.The same name connects a breed of dog with a D29 4-4-0 be built…
– what, please?

Please email your answers to the Editor (even if there’s no


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The Day We Went to Romney (Arthur Barrett) round the loop there – although Peter says he only counted
60 coaches!
At a recent meeting Arthur reminded me that the RH&DR
celebrates its 90th Anniversary this year, and he has drawn A quick drink out of RH&DR collapsible cups (yes, they are
upon an article he wrote for our Newsletter some 20 years collapsible – free demonstrations can be arranged) was
ago, recalling the Railway’s Gala of 12th May 1996. His son enjoyed before we headed back to Hempnall and Norwich.
Stuart learnt to drive on the Wells & Walsingham Light
Railway under the guidance of the late Commander Roy Yes – I (we) would recommend a visit to Romney at any time,
Francis and subsequently joined the RH&DR in 1990 and but an RH&DR Gala Day is a super day out – do experience it
worked there until 2002, driving mainly Typhoon & Dr Syn. sometime!

His original article was in NRS/NL 42/4 p.5 and is reproduced * Peter Allison, one of the Society’s Archivists for many years,
almost in full because of the approaching Anniversary. Here passed away in 2014 having enjoyed many visits to the
we go: RH&DR over the years.

Your archivist (my brother-in-law) Peter Allison* and I left Locos and crew at New Romney shed, prior to leaving on the
Norfolk at around 0700 on a sunny May Sunday morning. quadruple header.
We had a good speedy drive down the A140, A12, M25 and
M20, arriving at Romney well before 1000. Actually, Peter
and I had spent the first 20 minutes sorting out where we
should start the day – was it to be Hythe or Romney? Both
having advantages and disadvantages, but in the end we
chose the latter. Here we could get an early look at the
various trade stalls, and return any possible bargains to the
car! Actually it was a bit of a relief to spot Stuart (and Doctor
Syn) straightaway, because the previous day he had
abseiled down Dungeness lighthouse!

It wasn’t until the first train, the 1030 from Hythe, arrived at The quadruple header approaches Dungeness.
Romney that things seemed to get really busy. We watched
the departure of the double-headed 1105 to Hythe, collected The “going away” shot showing all the coaches. Thanks to
our lunch from the car, made sure we had our Romney Richard Adderson for these images.
“collapsible drinking cups” (a most useful souvenir available
from the Romney shop) and boarded the 1135 diesel-hauled
departure to Hythe.

There we had a chat with Andrew Goyn, Chairman of the
Romney Association (and stationmaster for the day) and then
boarded in good time the first non-stop “express” of the day,
the 1310 Hythe to New Romney via Dungeness, hauled by
No. 1 Green Goddess. The train was packed, and amongst
the passengers were, I believe, three gentlemen very well
known to all of you – Gordon Bruce, Richard Adderson and
Chris King. This train arrived back at Romney at 1408, and
since the same set of stock was being used for the next non-
stopper – the 1430 Romney to Hythe via Dungeness - we
remained in our seats. This “express” was double-headed by
Hurricane and Doctor Syn, and during the journey we spotted,
at various locations, in fields and at road junctions, the
aforementioned “gentlemen” from the NRS. I do hope we’ll be
seeing some of their photos/slides sometime at a future
meeting – perhaps I can be spoilt by a Romney or narrow-
gauge evening!

We arrived back at Hythe at 1535, and then took the 1600
service back to Romney, once again hauled by Hurricane
and Doctor Syn. A visit to the “Heywood Buffet” for coffee
(and chips) was the next item on the agenda, and there I
met up with several friends who I usually bump into either at
Romney or the Bure Valley.

Peter and I had earlier decided that we would watch the
1800 departure of the triple-headed 45+ coaches running
non-stop Romney to Hythe via Dungeness, and then head
back to Norfolk. However, news soon got around that the
train was in fact to run as a quadruple-header (Samson,
Typhoon, Hurricane and Doctor Syn) with no less than 61
coaches in tow! It was a fascinating sight watching the
Romney staff manoeuvre the engines and coaches. We
drove to Dungeness, and, as you can probably imagine, it
was quite an experience watching this enormous train travel


___________NRS NEWS

NRS Annual General Meeting

The Society’s AGM will be held on Thursday 20th April 2017 at
URC Hall starting at 1930. The Agenda and Minutes of last
year’s meeting accompany this Newsletter, and Accounts will
be distributed at the meeting.

If you are interested in helping to run the Society please speak
to a member of the present committee. (AW)

We don’t want to lose you!

Have you renewed your Norfolk Railway Society membership
for 2017?

If you haven’t, you’ll find the blue renewal form attached to the
last issue (Nov/Dec 2016). Please complete it and return it to
me with your cheque as soon as possible; if you don’t, I very
much regret that this is the last NRS Newsletter you’ll receive.

Please renew today - we have a healthy membership close to
100, and we’d love to keep it that way!

Mike Handscomb
Membership Secretary

Society’s Publicity Officer

Chris Mitchell has performed some sterling work, but was
disappointed at the treatment he and, by extension, the Society
received last year at a couple of model railway exhibitions.
Briefly, we had been provisionally offered space for stands
publicising the Society only for these offers to be withdrawn
just before the events. This meant that the Society had
publicity at only 3 events, and it has led Chris to wonder if he
should stand down if somebody with better or a different range
of contacts would be willing to take over.

Chris has prepared a “job description”, which we have on file,
but if anyone is interested in taking over please speak to Chris.


“Cambrian Coast Express” (Mike Roach)

The Cambrian Coast Express was introduced by the Great 75021 arrives at Dovey Junction with the Pwllheli portion of the
Western Railway in 1927 and at first ran on Fridays and up Cambrian Coast Express on Friday 3rd September 1965 past
Saturdays only, and in summer only, between Paddington the modern Western Region signal box . The locomotive will cut
and Aberystwyth, with a portion for Pwllheli. It would be off and leave its 4 coaches in the platform to be picked up by the
another 30 years before the CCE became daily Monday to Manor which has brought 3 coaches up from Aberystwyth. The
Saturday all year round. In 1957 the CCE was re-equipped 7-coach CCE will then head east for Machynlleth, Shrewsbury
with new BR standard Mk 1 coaches painted in chocolate- and eventually Paddington behind 7828 Odney Manor. 75021
and-cream. From 1957 to 1964 the CCE was at the peak of will then follow on, light engine, when the single line was clear,
its reign with Aberystwyth shed turning out an immaculately to Machynlleth for servicing at the shed.
clean “Manor” class locomotive to haul the train as far as
Wolverhampton where the loco would be changed for a 11
“Castle” class loco, or occasionally a “King” for the journey
on to Paddington. However in early 1965 the writing was on
the wall. Although the Manors continued to haul the train
some days they were no longer clean and their reign would
finish in Autumn 1965. From 1965 to 1967 the train would be
hauled by the Standard Class 4 tender locos in the 75xxx
series. Even this did not last long as in March 1967 the last
Cambrian Coast Express ran, steam-hauled to the end. So
the train only ran for 40 years and yet is justly famous and
well-loved by railway enthusiasts. Several factors came
together to make the CCE's demise almost inevitable. First,
dieselisation: loco-hauled trains were giving way to DMUs on
rural lines. Secondly, the lines north of Aberystwyth had been
transferred to the London Midland Region in 1963. Thirdly,
the end of through trains between Paddington and


Birkenhead/Cambrian Coast; and, lastly, many people were
starting to fly overseas for their holidays.

I was present on the day that the Cambrian Coast Express 75021 stands at Newtown on the last down CCE. Note how one
ran for the last time - Saturday 4th March 1967. Because I of the oil lamps is beautifully clean while the other is filthy. The
lived a long way away the cost of going to Aberystwyth and wreath is now being carried on the coupling hook.
travelling on the last CCEs in both directions could not be
justified. So I opted to travel on the down CCE and return on Saturdays when there were several extra steam-hauled
the North Mail from Aberystwyth. Since the demise of the holiday trains to and from the coast.
Manors in Autumn 1965 the BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0s in
the 75xxx series had monopolised the remaining steam
workings on the Cambrian. These were 2 passenger trains
over the main line and a further 2 over the coast line plus all
freight trains. Diesel multiple units had worked the stopping
passenger trains over the 2 lines since Monday 18th January
1965. Diesel locos were scheduled to take over all loco-
hauled workings west of Shrewsbury several times between
January 1965 and March 1967 but each time the planned
takeover was postponed. This was great for enthusiasts as
they were able to avail themselves of steam over Talerddig
for two more summers in 1965 and 1966, particularly on

75021 stands at Shrewsbury station awaiting the arrival of the With the advent of diesel haulage from Paddington the
last down Cambrian Coast Express from Paddington, complete changing of locomotives on the Cambrian Coast Express
with wreath and headboard. Later the reporting number "917" was switched from Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury. The last
was added. The date is Saturday 4th March 1967. The vehicle up CCE from Aberystwyth arrived at Shrewsbury on 4th
behind the tender is a Great Western Fruit D, used for carrying March 1967 behind a smart-looking 75033, a regular on the
perishable foods. British Railways also built some Fruit Ds to the train in the last few weeks. The last down CCE was hauled
Great Western design. The Fruit D was not a common vehicle to by a less-clean 75021 from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth. The
see on a Cambrian passenger train. loco sported a wreath and a specially painted headboard
saying "Last Cambrian Coast Express 1967." Both locos
were shedded at Shrewsbury but had previously been at
Croess Newydd, Machynlleth or Chester MPDs. 75021 gave
a reasonable perfomance on its last trip to the coast. The
down CCE carried hundreds of enthusiasts and looked and
felt more like a railtour than a normal public passenger train,
with photographic stops at Welshpool, Newtown and
Machynlleth. When the train arrived at Aberystwyth I think it
retired to the shed, but only for water and turning on the
triangle. The shed had closed on 10th April 1965 so no coal
was available. The Standard Class 4 4-6-0s did not need the
smokebox cleaning out as the class had all the latest
gizmos. The first of the 75xxxs had arrived at Shrewsbury in
August 1951, only 8 months after the last Manors were
completed at Swindon Works. The 75xxxs may not have
been popular at Shrewsbury as they were transferred away
after 2 years, only to return ten years later.

75021 stands at Aberystwyth in the gathering darkness with the If the sun had been shining on Saturday 4th March 1967, and
last steam-hauled North Mail on Saturday 4th March 1967 I don't think it was, it would have set about 1800,
so it was already starting to get dark when we left
12 Aberystwyth Station on the North Mail; and by the time the
train reached Dovey Junction, 16 miles, it was pitch black. It
did not matter as the footplate crew aboard 75021 used the
whistle freely all the way to Shrewsbury. Those who had
come out to the stations or the lineside to witness the last
scheduled steam train pass could not have missed it as it
made its way noisily up the line. There is something magical
about being at the drop-down coach window in the dark as
the fireman opens the firehole door to put coal on the fire
and the light of the fire illuminates the cab of the locomotive
and the adjacent trackside. After Machynlleth the gradients
are all up for 14 miles, culminating in several miles of 1 in
52/56. This was hard graft for the fireman who would be
firing more and more until firing became semi-continuous
until just before the summit was reached in the deep cutting
at Talerddig. By comparison, the rest of the 47 miles to
Shrewsbury were relatively easy with only short up


The Robin Hood Line (Chris Mitchell)

In writing this article and having reached “retirement” it is alignment and tunnel at Kirkby, north of Newstead, deviating
often the case one reflects on one’s life and the events of a from its north portal to the former Great Central route and
career, in my case spanning over 40 years in civil then utilising part of a connecting curve of the former Great
engineering. It was a chance conversation with the Editor Northern Railway to regain the Midland line to Worksop.
following a recent Society meeting that he had visited the Reference the schematic railway map around Kirkby-in-
East Midlands and taken the opportunity to travel the railway Ashfield shows the intrinsic routeing of what effectively was
from Nottingham to Worksop - The Robin Hood Line – and utilisation of existing former railway alignments to achieve the
my instant recall of early involvement in the railway’s recent required connection.
history - that led to Edward inviting me to write this article for
the Newsletter. This section contained a very complex and congested
routeing of railways, namely the Midland, Great Central and
So, with pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard, I offer Great Northern, whose objective was to access the lucrative
perhaps a little of a different perspective from what has been business of the Nottinghamshire coalfield and the interested
published in the railway technical press on the line’s revival. reader should refer to a Railway Atlas/Gazetteer for a better
understanding of the challenges presented.
My career in Civil Engineering started in 1972,
having graduated from the University of
Nottingham and joining the Road Construction Unit
(RCU) engaged in the completion of the motorway
system in the East Midlands. I recall the career
path at that time was chosen - having considered a
position in the British Railways Engineers’ Division
at Nottingham - as the RCU offered the
appropriate experience in preparation for
becoming a member of the Institution of Civil
Engineers. Although the RCU was very much
associated with highway design of motorway and
trunk roads my projects in the East Midlands were
associated with railways!

These included the A52 Lady Bay Bridge over the
River Trent at Nottingham - converting a redundant
railway bridge to road traffic - the Nottingham
Outer Ring Road bridge spanning the Lincoln line
at Colwick, and the A1 Crow Park Bridge spanning
the ECML north of Newark.

It was towards the end of my tenure with

Nottinghamshire County Council in 1983, at which Ordnance Survey Ten Mile Planning Map Sheet 2 (1944-60 series)

time the RCU had been integrated, that projects Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.

were being scoped. I joined a team of multi-

disciplines of Planners, Traffic Engineers and Economic My contribution at this stage was to prepare the engineering

Development Engineers to scope future transport design to prove its feasibility and submit cost estimates for a

requirements in Nottingham and in its County. The objective Report which went forward to the East Midlands Government

was to regenerate the local economy which had dramatically Office for their comments and inclusion in the Regional

declined with the contraction of the traditional industries of Transport Plan. The completion of this assignment coincided

coal mining and textiles. Transport links and mobility were with my move to Norfolk to take up a position to improve its

seen as the key to attracting new industries and trunk roads, namely the A10, A11 and A47.

redeployment for the local population. My role was to provide

engineering solutions to the projects being proposed at the To take up the future development of the Robin Hood Line I

early feasibility stage. Two projects I was engaged on were contacted former colleagues in Nottinghamshire who provided

the Nottingham Tram System and the reinstatement of a the following as a summary of subsequent events (some of

Nottingham to Worksop railway line serving Mansfield. which had been provided to the Railway Press).

So to the latter my script will concentrate. At the time The project lay dormant until the late 1980s due to priorities
Mansfield was the largest town in England that did not have a before it in the Regional Transport Plan and also to the
railway passenger service. The passenger services in the national economic funding constraints of the time. In 1988 a
town closed during the Beeching era, the last line closing Consortium led by Nottinghamshire County Council, with
from 12th October 1964. At the time of the feasibility study Derbyshire County Council, Districts in the area and
only two remnants of the railway existed, namely the former Nottingham City Council, lobbied the Government to resurrect
Midland route from Radford Junction in the Nottingham the project. The pressing reason was that coal mining in the
northern suburbs to Newstead serving the remaining collieries area had been decimated and unemployment was at very
and the former Midland line from the Erewash Valley at Pye high levels and the revival of the line was seen as essential to
Bridge to Worksop via Kirkby and Mansfield, again for coal improve mobility and attract new industries. The project
traffic. The latter was subject to a diversion line constructed in quickly gained recognition in qualifying for regeneration
1972 from a location at Kirkby Summit to Sutton-in-Ashfield to funding from the European Commission and the shortfall was
eliminate a busy level crossing and to access a parallel found by commitments from the Local Authorities’ budgets
Midland line through Mansfield. This left a missing railway of and British Rail. The project progressed with the intention of
some four miles which ultimately used the former Midland British Rail taking responsibility for upgrading the residual in



situ lengths of the line to passenger standards. route at a new Kirkby Lane Ends Junction and then continue
Nottinghamshire CC took the responsibility of constructing the by way of the former MR line through Mansfield and on to
4 mile intermediate missing link and the District Councils were Worksop.
responsible for the new stations and car parking within their
administrative boundaries.

In late 1988 explorative excavations began at the filled-in
Kirkby Tunnel which found it to be structurally sound and in
very good condition. This gave impetus to the project and
Nottinghamshire County Council set aside £6 million for the
scheme to undertake the reinstatement and new connection
works. With the project now gathering pace, allocated
Government and European Grants totalled £19 million, and
British Rail £½ million for the track and signalling on the
missing link.

By 1990 it was being reported that the first seven miles of
the line between Nottingham and Hucknall could be
reopened within 18 months; however the 4 mile section
between Newstead and Kirkby Summit would take up to five
years because of the lack of BR resources to install
trackwork and signalling infrastructure although the new
alignment had been prepared.
The sites for the stations in the Mansfield area were also
chosen which involved negotiation with BR Property Board
for land at Mansfield Woodhouse and British Coal for the
use of land on the former Sherwood Colliery Pit Tip as a car
park. Ashfield District Council approved plans for the
reopening of the passenger station at Hucknall on the
original site, with the new Sutton-in-Ashfield station site
being north of the level crossing instead of the original site to
the south as car parking for park’n’ride was available. The
station at Kirkby-in-Ashfield would have to be constructed on
a totally new site following the closure of part of the original
Midland route in 1972 as described earlier.

Earlier in 1990 the BR Rail Bill to authorise the rebuilding of With reinstated tracks through Kirkby tunnel, new track was
the line was given its Third Reading in the House of laid on the connecting curve plus signalling. A class 58
Commons. By late 1991 resources were finally in place to (58030) travelled the route at 1800 on 24th September 1995 -
embark on the final infrastructure needed. Phase 1 between the through route was thus established. The end of 1995 saw
Nottingham and Newstead was formally opened to the extra funds for the re-sited Kirkby station which took the
passenger traffic on the 17th May 1993. Concurrent with the Government’s contribution towards the Robin Hood Line from
completion of this phase the Government gave approval for £6.5 million to £9.6 million. This also enabled the construction
the second scheme in the original feasibility study of my of the final stations northwards to Worksop as part of Phase 3
tenure, namely The Greater Nottingham Rapid Transit (Tram of the project. These included Sutton Parkway, Mansfield
System). This was to impact on the section of line as it would Woodhouse, Shirebrook, Langwith-Whaley, Cresswell with
share the alignment from Wilkinson Street near Bestwood Whitwell and Thorns.
Park to Hucknall. However the authorities were all relieved
when passenger loadings exceeded expectations and soon Although Mansfield Town station was still in existence,
trains had to be strengthened to two units at peak times. phased refurbishment was carried out as leaseholders of its
various buildings vacated. Its prominence above the town
Phase 2 works started early in 1994 beyond Newstead when was re-established with the stonework cleaned and
spoil from the filled-in cuttings to the portals started the new appropriate repairs made to the high viaduct approaches.
connecting curve alignment. On exiting the north end of the
tunnel, the former MR route travelled on a south-east to On 24th May 1998 the Robin Hood Line opened in its entirety.
north-west alignment; it then curved off north to head through In 2003 Phase 1 celebrated 10 years of operation during
Kirkby-in-Ashfield and towards Mansfield, The former Great which time it had carried over 7 million passengers with
Central main line paralleled the MR in this area but in a around 3500 users a day, the fastest growing passenger
cutting, and ran through the 997 yard Annesley Tunnel which service in the East Midlands.
was cut at a lower level than the MR tunnel, the MR route
crossing the GCR route almost above the northern portal of Government approval for the Nottingham Express Transit
the GCR tunnel. As the GCR line continued north-west, a (NET) system was announced in 1998 and its commissioning
junction was made with the GNR route towards Shirebrook, was in 2002. This was to have implications for the Robin
which again curved off northwards. Hood Line between Bulwell and Hucknall as the NET required
the track bed of the former down line. Passenger traffic
The new changes involved filling-in the GCR cutting between
the site of its northern tunnel mouth and the site of Kirkby 14
South Junction, where the GCR to Sheffield split with the
GCR route to Mansfield. This allowed the new railway to
follow the former GCR route but now at the much higher level
of the former MR and economically gain the former GNR


consequently faltered at these stations with
the introduction of the trams but the Robin
Hood Line offered a much quicker journey to
Nottingham Midland, close to the City Centre.
This attracted back customers and growth is
being experienced on both the heavy and light
rail systems.

Regeneration of industry and new housing
estates along the whole route has sustained
increased passenger use, proving the worth of
both projects.

On 11th December 2015, I met former

colleagues at Nottingham station where we

joined the mid-morning Worksop train.

Alighting at Newstead and then at Kirkby we

were permitted to walk the newly reinstated

and connecting railway south and north of

Kirkby tunnel portals respectively. For safety

reasons our Network Rail representative did

not permit us access the tunnel as it is a “live

railway”! The opportunity to observe the Hucknall Station with a Class 156 (left) and a NET Incentro tram (right) (Chris

railway at close quarters was very rewarding if Mitchell).

only to reflect on the challenges engineering-

wise and the protracted timetable of events.

However the end result was there to see. On returning to see this form of transport gain its rightful place to serve

Nottingham a ride on the total tram system saw the day Society. At least Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are seeing

complete (almost) finishing well into the dark evening. the benefits of this.

Retiring to the Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham’s famous

hostelry within the Castle Rock caves, much reminiscing took Acknowledgements: my thanks go to Ralph Naronha and

place with the conversations of incidents becoming more and David Crompton for their contributions.

more vivid if on the border of amusement, perhaps fuelled by

the quality of Burton ales! One thing my company agreed Editor’s Note: Thanks to Chris for raiding his memory bank

upon was whatever uncertainty befalls future railway projects and providing an insight into what re-instating a railway really

in this country persistence is the best form of resistance to means.

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

Ashmanhaugh Light Railway, East View Farm, Stone Lane, Ashmanhaugh, NR12 8YW. For information: The first running day is Sunday 7th May 2017.

Barton House Railway, Hartwell Road, Wroxham, NR12 8TL. For information: – Tel: 01603-

Bressingham Steam & Gardens, Low Rd., Bressingham, IP22 2AA. For information: or
telephone 01379-686900. Their main season re-commences on 29th March 2017.

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 Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, Brockford Station, Wetheringsett, IP14 5PW - For details of individual events please visit their
website - - or telephone 01449-766899.



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

The Norwich & District Society of Model Engineers - For details please visit their website

The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway - For information: www. or tel: 01328 711630 (up to
1700 please).

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

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.

FEBRUARY Thu NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “An evening with Graham Smith” – 1930.
9th Sat NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY ANNUAL SHOW 1200 – 1700. Please see “flier” on page 11
11th for full details.
BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – “Teddy Bear Expresses”.
11th - 19th Sat - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Half-Term Running.
11th - 19th Sat - Sun WELLS & WALSINGHAM LIGHT RAILWAY – February Half-Term Running – “Nursery Rhyme I-
11th - 19th Sat - Sun Spy”.
NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “North Woolwich to Palace Gates” – Presentation by Jim
16th Thu Connor – 1915. Please note the earlier starting time to allow our speaker to catch the 2200
train back to Colchester.
23rd Thu NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “An evening with Richard Adderson” – 1930.
25th Sat MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY – Running Day (for Dereham Model Railway Show).
25th - 26th Sat - Sun BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Weekend Running Days. The B.V.R. will also be running services on
all of the March weekends (on Sun 26th March it is the Mother’s Day V.I.P. Package).
2nd NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Vintage Album 1888 – 1895” – the Early Photographs of Dr
Sat - Sun T.F. Budden. Presentation by John Minnis – 1930.
4th - 5th NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Weekend Running Days. The N.N.R. will also be running services
Sat - Sun on all of the remaining March weekends.
4th - 5th Sat - Sun WELLS & WALSINGHAM LIGHT RAILWAY – Weekend Running Days.
4th - 5th Thu WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – 8th Anniversary & Beer Festival & Steam.
9th NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “A Transport Miscellany” – Presentation by Brian Kirton –
Sat - Sun 1930.
11th - 12th WELLS & WALSINGHAM LIGHT RAILWAY – Weekend Running Days.

16th Thu NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “The Life & Times of George Bradshaw” – Presentation by
Dr David Turner – 1930.
18th Sat WELLS & WALSINGHAM LIGHT RAILWAY – Daily Running begins.
23rd Thu NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “Cars & Buses” – Presentation by Peter Cooke – 1930.
29th Wed BRESSINGHAM STEAM MUSEUM & GARDENS – Main Season commences.
30th Thu NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - Members’ Transport Evening – 1930.
1st Sat BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – Daily Running begins.
1st Sat NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Daily Running begins.
2nd Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – Steam Sunday.
6th Thu NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Crossrail 1 & 2 and High Speed 2 & 3” – Presentation by
Chris Mitchell – 1930.

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