Volume 57 No. 6 Nov/Dec 2012
news from railways in and around Norfolk (and occasionally further afield)
National Network Sheringham East signalbox sits adjacent to the crossing on 24
November 2012 > Mike Fordham
Sheringham Signalbox on the Move
Forty years on Sheringham East signalbox has returned to
its original location adjacent to the rebuilt Sheringham
crossing. It was in July 1972 that the signal box was saved
from demolition by North Norfolk Railway volunteers and
moved to the site on platform 2 where we have all been used
to seeing it.
Initially Sheringham station was controlled by one signalbox
located on platform 2. With increases in traffic the station
layout was remodelled and resignalled in 1906. Sheringham
West controlled the entrance to the single line track to
Weybourne and beyond. Sheringham East – built at the
same time – performed the same function for the single line
track to Cromer.
Moving the signalbox is a necessary part of an ambitious
plan to reconstruct the station buildings on platform 2. The
original buildings were demolished when British Rail left the
station and the car park was built. (AW)
With a little help… Turkish Delight ?
Greater Anglia is borrowing an East Midlands class 158 unit A General Electric Turkish-built Class 70 (70099) has arrived
which stables at Norwich overnight. This then works the GA for evaluation by GB Railfreight. Meanwhile, damaged loco
0536 to Lowestoft, which gets back into Norwich at 0719 in 70012, which suffered bent frames when it was “dropped”
time to work the 0757 to Liverpool Lime St. When the whilst being unloaded at Newport Docks some 2 years ago,
timetable change is effective in December, there will also be has been repaired but is to remain in the USA for testing
a 158 borrowed to work the 1933 SX Yarmouth service; this purposes.
will be the unit that arrives from Liverpool Lime St at 1910 –
fine if the Liverpool train is punctual! Greater Anglia Class 90 Reliability Boost
Through a series of exams and modifications reliability of
IN THIS ISSUE Greater Anglia's Class 90 units has reached 73,609 miles
per casualty. When combined with the rakes of Mark 3
Track Report coaches they are now the most reliable ex-British Rail inter-
city stock in current use.
National Network 1
Following the summer’s Olympic Games, the G exam
Heritage, Narrow Gauge & Miniature 3 programme has resumed. On 29th October GA 90008 The
East Anglian was taken by DRS 47841 to Crewe
Away from the Tracks 4 International Electric Maintenance Depot for its G exam.
Other locomotives completing G exams have seen each unit
Pick-up Goods 5 stripped, the roof removed and the power unit taken out for
Proposed Irish Railways Visit 7
GA needs 11 out of 15 Class 90s in traffic daily and plans
NRS News 12 availability of the class to include one at Crewe, with another
undergoing an E exam at Crown Point. These take place
Features every 54 days and take the '90' out of traffic for five days.
The Elizabethan Chris Mitchell 12
The Cambridge Busway Gordon Bruce 14
Working Timetable 16
RHTT again !
At the beginning of October Stowmarket became the base
for the Class 57s on Railhead Treatment Train duties which
are operated by DRS who, also, operate Class 20s from
York. In other parts of the country DBS and GB Railfreight
use mainly Class 66s for their respective RHTT duties.
Breckland Line Signalling Goes Live
The Norwich to Ely line was due to be closed over the
weekend of 1st - 2nd December for the commissioning of the
second phase of resignalling with buses running throughout.
The Greater Anglia website also shows that the last train on
Friday 30th November is replaced by a bus - so the plan
maybe is for Wymondham box to close that evening.
Network Rail says the new modular signalling will ‘go live’ on To prove that the RHTT season is in full swing, 57003 leads the
Monday 3rd December and will control the section east of train through Reedham with 57008 at the rear on 19th November
Harling Road to Trowse Junction. The section west of last. > Richard Adderson
Harling Road was commissioned on 20th August but has
seen trains delayed by up to 45 minutes. These faults were Facelift for ‘Super Sprinters’
blamed by NR on “data transmission issues”. Drivers were
regularly filing signal irregularity forms, with one train A £3 million upgrade of Greater Anglia’s fleet of nine, two-car
requiring four to be submitted on the journey to Ely. (AW) Class 156 ‘Super Sprinter’ DMUs has begun. Each of the
sets will receive a complete interior overhaul, including new
Norfolk Railway Society carpets, seat covers and a deep clean. A new passenger
(Founded 1955) information system will deliver automatic announcements.
Externally the units will be painted in GA red and white livery.
President: Arnold Hoskins, Esq.
Vice-President: Ken Mills, Esq. Work is also being carried out to make the Class 156 fleet
compliant with future changes to mobility regulations. This
Committee and Officers 2012-2013 Telephone includes a revised seating layout to provide priority seating,
two wheelchair spaces with call for aid buttons and a new
Chairman Peter Adds 01508 492070 universal toilet.
Vice Chairman Gordon Bruce 01603 861389 Work is being undertaken by Railcare Wolverton under
contract to Porterbrook Leasing and started in early October.
Past Chairman Peter Davies 01603 929283 The first unit should have returned to service by the end of
Secretary Ian Woodruff 01603 700856
Half Hourly Trains - A Boost for the Economy?
Treasurer John Laycock 01603 720125
Network Rail will be instructed to make infrastructure
Fixtures Arranged by sub-committee improvements on the Ely - King’s Lynn line to enable a half
hourly London service during the next Greater Anglia
Membership Sec. Mike Handscomb 01953 605068 franchise. So says the Transport Minister, Simon Burns. The
work, including including improvements at Ely North
Newsletter Editor Edward Mann 01603 456372 Junction, is included in Network Rail’s Initial Industry Plan for
Control Period 5 which starts in April 2014.
Publicity Mike Fordham 01508 493437
Graham Kenworthy 01603 714479
Chris Mitchell 01603 451692
Peter Willis 01508 492562
Website Editor Andrew Wright 01508 492010
Archivists Peter Allison & 01508 499723
Raymond Meek 01263 860662
============================================= Following a meeting with local MPs on 30th October, the
Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter Minister said he would put the 30 minute requirement in the
franchise when it is drawn up.
Editor Edward Mann
A consultant's report suggests the Norfolk economy would
16 Chestnut Hill, Eaton, Norwich, NR4 6NL benefit by £220 million over 60 years if the King’s Lynn
service were improved.
Tel: 01603 - 456372 (not between 5 - 5.30 pm Thursdays)
email: [email protected]
Distribution Graham Smith It remains to be seen when the next Greater Anglia franchise
starts following the debacle on the West Coast main line.
7 Caistor Lane, Poringland, Norwich, NR14 7QT (AW)
Tel: 01508 - 492096 Email: ivattcottag[email protected] Crossing Removed
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 The branch to the Ipswich Lower Yard has been permanently
should not be taken to represent those of the Society. severed from the Great Eastern main line. The rails and
Next issue published mid-February 2013 gates across Ranelagh Road, Ipswich have been removed
Copy date: Thursday 7th February 2013 and a new road surface has been laid. (AW)
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and From the Isle of Man to Southwold
The Eastern Daily Press dated 23rd October contained a
Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway short piece reporting that the Southwold Railway Trust and
the Isle of Man Railway and Tramway Preservation Society
Briefly following-up on Andy Wright’s piece about the have agreed that the Society’s 1879 Manx Northern Railway
GandWR (NRS/NL 57/5 p.3), Malcolm Banyer reports that Coach no. 3 (a brake composite in modern parlance) and the
the line was reopened for its full length on Tuesday 30th dismantled remains of locomotive Tynwald should have a
October following completion of repairs to the Chicken Curve new home at Southwold.
landslip. Cost of repairs was around £1M and it has been Editor’s Note: the Manx Northern Railway was the line that
suggested that the contractors who built the line in the early left the Douglas – Peel line at St John’s and ran north-
20th century did not do a particularly good job as the area eastwards round the coast to Ramsey.
has been troublesome for many years.
Urry in a Hurry for Money
Dereham to Norwich
The Norwich Evening News dated 2nd November reported
Nostalgia was the order of the day on Saturday 20th October that the Whitwell and Reepham Railway’s steam locomotive
with the operation of a return through service between Annie is due to be retired in January for £16,000 - £25,000
Norwich and Dereham for the first time since the line closed worth of boiler repairs and that, until its return, a replacement
to passenger services in 1969, although charters did run on steam loco will need to be hired so as to allow them to
the line after this time. Two return services operated on continue their steam operations on the first Sunday of each
Sunday. month. It would be good to think that the paper’s readers will
The Mid Norfolk Railway's 'Multiple Matters' weekend - a donate generously.
tribute to DMUs - featured the Norwich to Dereham services Their website is www.whitwellstation.com
in association with East Midlands Trains, which provided a
Class 158 Unit. An intensive timetable over the two days GWR Signal Box Nameboards
also saw Class 101 Sets 695 and L836 and Class 421 CIG,
hauled by Class 73 210 Selhurst, in action. (AW) In the last issue (writes Mike Handscomb) our editor reported
on a visit to Great Malvern. In the town's local history
East Midlands Trains Class 158 no 847 departs museum he spotted the GWR cast-iron signal box boards
Wymondham Abbey on Sunday 21st October bound for and mused that their length makes restoration or proper
Norwich. This was the 12.20pm from Dereham. display difficult.
> Andy Wright
Difficult, yes, but not impossible as long as you treat them
Reunion at Bressingham with respect. It's important to remember that if you lift them
'flat' rather than 'upright' they're going to fracture. But they're
At the end of September Hunslet 0-4-0ST Edward Sholto a wonderful reminder of the days when a mighty length of
visited Norfolk for a ‘family reunion’ with Bressingham’s cast-iron, rather than some flimsy and ephemeral piece of
Hunslet 0-4-0ST George Sholto. It is believed to be the first PVC or alloy, was the only way to label a piece of railway
time in almost 60 years that the ex-Penrhyn pair have infrastructure.
steamed together. The visit was aimed at boosting the
project to restore Bressingham’s Hunslet 0-4-0ST Gwynedd I have two, from boxes on the line between Dorchester and
to steam. (With thanks to Mike Handscomb) Weymouth. Bincombe Tunnel box occupied an embankment
recess at the northern entrance of the half-mile-long tunnel
which faced crews during their 1 in 50 climb from Upwey
(and often required the services of a banking engine).
Dorchester Junction box sat where the lines to Dorchester
West (then Bristol and Paddington) and Dorchester South
(then Bournemouth or Waterloo) diverged. On my daily
journeys to and from school I passed these boxes hundreds
of times. I was not the most observant schoolboy, however,
and I never noticed that Dorchester Junction box, which
overlooked two lines, had the unusual feature of a name
board on each side. This oddity only came to my notice
when, some years after buying mine, I was taken aback at
seeing another offered for sale!
Every bizarre corner of human knowledge has its expert, and
GWR box boards are no exception. A researcher at
Kidderminster Railway Museum discovered a dated register
of the boards cast at Swindon. It appears that cast iron
boards came into use in January 1891 and by the mid 1890s
most signal boxes had been fitted with one. Bincombe
Tunnel was cast in 1896 and Dorchester Junction the
following year. It's astonishing to think that these 9ft-or-so
lengths of brittle iron have lasted well over 100 years,
surviving summer sun, winter frost, and wartime scrap drives
– and after their working life, removal, sale at auction and
They say that moving house is one of life's most stressful and buildings on platform 2 at Sheringham and rebuilding the
events. If the move includes GWR box boards the stress education facility at Holt.
notches up several more degrees. When we moved in 2010,
my pair, together with a third (Grimstone and Frampton The NNR’s argument is that their existing railway has to be
Signal Box, which I decided to sell) needed taking down from run as a business and made to pay. It relies heavily on
the barn wall where they were bolted. Help was essential, so volunteers and donations to keep the infrastructure in a fit
my friendly builder Derek managed the operation and re- state and to make improvements.
erected the two, with a bit of unskilled assistance from me
("Careful! Do you know how old they are?") on the back wall For its part the NOR makes clear on its website that it is a
of our new house. Now another set of neighbours have the separate organisation and reports that there has now been
privilege of admiring these massive products of the Swindon real progress towards securing the land necessary to take
foundry. the railway from the NNR’s station at High Kelling into and
through Holt. Some of the land in question is owned by the
County Council and some is in private ownership. The NOR
have been negotiating with all parties and have signed an
agreement that will enable it to buy the privately owned land
as soon as they have the necessary funds. In time they hope
to see trains running from Norwich through to Holt again and
eventually through Melton Constable and Fakenham to join
the Mid Norfolk Railway, thus completing the orbital railway.
Away from the Tracks
It will be apparent from the photograph that the paint finish No Railways Here Now !
doesn't match, and some might say they could do with a
good lick of paint. BR painted many black and white in their The drive from the Borders town of Moffat, along the A701,
later years but some, like Bincombe Tunnel, remained in and eventually into Penicuik, is a fairly good alternative route
their GWR brown and cream. However I've left them as they to Edinburgh. Shortly after leaving Moffat, on the right-hand
are, as I have a firm principle when it comes to restoring side, you pass The Devil’s Beef Tub, a huge natural
railwayana: you could always restore them, but a future depression formed by four hills and once used by the Border
owner may prefer them in their original state – and you can't Reivers to hide the cattle they had rustled on their raids into
'unrestore' them. Northern England. Go further on and you come to the
remains of the ex-Caledonian line from Symington to
Editor’s Note: Grimstone and Frampton station was on the Peebles which ran roughly west to east and which closed to
GWR line between Dorchester and Maiden Newton and it passengers from 5th June 1950. But before you reach this,
closed from 3rd October 1966. On 16th May 1914 an and in the vicinity of Tweedsmuir, you will still be able to see
unfortunate watercress-seller named Carter was struck and a few remains of a north – south line that failed to get into the
killed by an express from Weymouth as it passed through in late Colonel Cobb’s Atlas (except as a thin broken line over
the late afternoon. A much more cavalier or matter-of-fact part of the route and really belonging to the O.S. mapping) or
attitude seemed to apply to rail fatalities almost 100 years the rather more affordable Ian Allan productions. It was built
ago, as can be judged by the fact that the train resumed its to facilitate the construction of the Talla Reservoir in the early
journey after an 11 minute (sic) delay! years of the 20th century, and I was reminded of my visit by
the publication of an article in the December 2012 issue of
Orbital Confusion? Backtrack – sadly I lacked the prescience to take any
The North Norfolk Railway is concerned that support for its It was constructed to quite a high standard, and despite
restoration projects may be hit because some people requests to the Caledonian to do so after construction work
confuse them with Norfolk Orbital Railway. In fact they are had finished the line was never taken into public service.
separate organisations with the latter being run by the Instead, the materials were recovered for scrap in 1910 –
Orbital’s registered charity the Melton Constable Trust. 1912.
NNR’s managing director, Hugh Harkett, says that while they If you turn right in Tweedsmuir, a minor road leads to (and
fully support the Orbital Railway’s plans and would connect alongside) the Talla Reservoir, and then to the larger Megget
the new track to their own at High Kelling when it is built, Reservoir, before joining the A708 Moffat – Selkirk.
they were not actually involved in the project. It seems a (EM)
number of people have planned to donate money to NOR
believing it was a NNR project. MEP on the Line
The Melton Constable Trust want to extend the line from Geoffrey Van Order and local council leaders are reported to
North Norfolk Railway’s station at High Kelling into and have trespassed onto the busy Ipswich - Peterborough line
through Holt. However this could take considerable time to which carries an intensive freight and passenger service.
come to fruition and Mr Harkett believes donations could be They have apologised for their actions, taken in order to
put to better use in one of the NNR’s own projects. These have their photograph taken to promote their case for re-
include restoration of three Suburban coaches to make up a opening Soham Station. Perhaps the Newsletter should have
set of four, remodelling track work at Sheringham to cope a section called ‘Get Away From the Tracks!’ (AW)
with increased services, the restoration of a platform canopy
A miscellany of news and members’ contributions
Recently at the URC Hall Pre-War Digital Images (1st November)
“Steam in the Freezer” (18th October) It had been almost ten years since Keith Halton last visited
us; again he didn’t disappoint with his collection of
Dr Michael Rhodes is an eminent gastro-intestinal surgeon photographs from the Keith Risdon-Prentice collection which
but, on the strength of this presentation, his first love was the he has painstakingly digitized and collated. He has so far
dwindling fleet of Chinese steam locomotives. His scanned over 800 photos mostly from the early 1930s
presentation to us was based on an exhibition of his work through to the 1950s. Keith Risdon-Prentice had family
held at the NRM in 2008, and he’d been over to China 25 connections to the fertiliser industry in Stowmarket and was
times between 1992 and 2007. The majority of his visits were able to travel quite extensively, using both Leica and Contax
to N.E. China, where the winter cold is unremitting, but he
and his companions appeared possessed of iron
constitutions and digestive systems to match (they drank
beer as the water was dangerous) ! Perhaps he was a late
convert to digital photography in 2003 which freed him from
worrying about film stocks.
The principal freight locomotives were the brutish QJ
2.10.2s, which seemed to follow U.S. practice but which
were often hand-fired because the mechanical stoker
wouldn’t accept the coal on offer. They were probably at
least double the size of a 9F ! They seemed to handle most
of the traffic, and their condition varied from the good to the
deplorable, but 2,000 tonnes could easily be taken by one.
China once boasted an extensive narrow-gauge system, From Keith Halton’s presentation on 1st November here’s
much extended in the 1950s, but only a few of these lines Raven A2 Pacific no. 2400 “City of Newcastle” on the down
remained in 2008, and the forestry lines have all gone. Norseman at Potters Bar on 4th August 1934 (above) whilst
However, in central China, near Shibanxi (10), a colliery line (below) sister no. 2403 “City of Durham” rests at York on 5th
survives which is partly electrified. This has been turned into May 1935 (Risdon-Prentice collection kindly supplied by Keith
a tourist line and the country’s shortage of coal has seen Halton).
nearby mines reopen. Another logging line in the far north-
east of China was at Zhanhe (15), which had a light railbus
which needed to be turned manually.
Although many of Michael’s photographs were taken in open
country, the industrial locations – the deep and opencast
collieries, steelworks, power stations – all with their own
railways or main line connections – were duly recorded, and
the dreadful-looking Stalinist housing for workers could be
seen close by. Depots and yards received their share of
attention, but it’s fair to say that much of the infrastructure
seemed decidedly primitive by our standards, heavily labour-
intensive and with no Health and Safety.
Jitong (1) – the last steam main line – is amazing; it has cameras.
tunnels, viaducts, ledges and semaphore signals that could Our first treat was a black and white photo taken of a B12 on
have come from the GER. It is comparatively new and the Norwich turntable in 1933, remastered (“photoshopped”) into
first Western crew went over there in 1997. Michael paid 13 colour. From there we were treated to scenes at Potters Bar
visits before the diesels took over, and his persistence in of G.N. Atlantics, Pacifics and even a D2 4.4.0. We also saw
getting the “right” shot was finally rewarded at the seventh a Gresley A1 on a down Newcastle train hauling the Tourist
attempt. He wanted a snow shot at Erdi viaduct, a dry and stock complete with their uncomfortable bucket seats. Then
windy spot, and 2 QJs crossing the viaduct with a lengthy we travelled north to York in 1935 and saw a J78 Crane tank,
freight train made for a wonderful picture. A4s, J21s, Q7s, A3s and an original B12/1. Slightly further
south we saw ex-GCR B2 (later B19) 5423 “Sir Sam Fay” at
A gifted raconteur, he spoke highly of the local food and the Doncaster along with B3 6165 “Valour”, both Robinson
impromptu meals served up for him and his group. But he designs.
admitted they needed great local guides. These “Mr Fixits”
are presumably, sadly, now out of a job – more victims of Then we did a little “shed bashing”, 1933-34 style, taking in
dieselisation ! the roundhouse at Selby, Sheffield Neepsend, York,
A book of photographs – with complementary DVD – was
available from Michael and both are highly recommended.
The few numbers in this report are just some of the locations
visited by Michael and his companions. Note the
concentration of numbering in the north-east. (EM)
Gateshead and Dundee, saw a V2 at Aberdeen, and finally Editor’s Note: Ian Woodruff has not penned a meeting report
back to Edinburgh before travelling south to New England, before. Why is there so much reluctance when it’s so easily
March and its sidings, followed by some wonderful memories done ?
of the Wisbech & Upwell tramway.
1960s Steam in Ulster and Making Your
Finally, we arrived in Norwich in 1939 where we saw D1s,
E4s, B17s, J15s, and a J39 on a Cromer excursion as well Garden Grow (15th November)
as a B17 arriving on a down Liverpool St – Cromer service
plus B12s, K2s and various 2.4.2Ts. Our own Edward Mann opened his presentation by
explaining how political changes in Ireland in the 20th
The next destination was Belstead near Ipswich, where we century had had a profound effect on Irish railways. When
were treated to B12/1 8518 on an up “11.15 excursion”, then Ireland was partitioned with the creation of the Irish Free
on to Ipswich shed where we found another original B12/1, State and Northern Ireland in 1921 many of the railways,
8551, and then we witnessed the naming of B17 2845 “The most notably the Great Northern Railway (GNR) that crossed
the new border at many places, struggled as trade and traffic
Suffolk Regiment” at Ipswich on 22nd June 1935. collapsed. After the Second World War, the Northern Irish
state took over railways on its side of the border and formed
In Part 2 we travelled even further south to Colchester and the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) while, in the south, the
saw a variety of locomotives hauling really ancient stock on railways of the Republic, as it would soon become, came
what were presumably excursion trains. Then it was further under the control of Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE).
south to Bethnal Green station in 1944, where we were able While the Republic embarked upon a dieselisation
to look down the famous bank to our right and the entrance programme in the 1950s Northern Ireland, which had a lot
to Bishopsgate Goods Station off to our left. We also saw less interest in maintaining its railway network, only kept
some passenger and mixed goods trains and some more steam for freight and express trains while introducing DMUs
very mixed stock before nipping into Stratford Works where for branch lines and commuter services. Some of CIE’s
we found a nicely reshaped J15, the driver having skilfully steam locos were even sold to the UTA when they became
removed the front buffer beam and successfully reshaped surplus to requirements. Steam in Ireland finished in 1971
the frames ! with the employment of UTA’s Jeeps, the Derby built WT
class 2-6-4 Fowler style tank engines, moving spoil and
Being around London we were then treated to various construction materials for a motorway building programme.
Metropolitan locos, including the Beyer Peacock 4.4.0Ts Edward then showed excerpts from the video Swansong of
(Classes A & B), the Hawthorn Leslie E class 0.4.4Ts, H Steam in Ulster - a film shot during the early 60s of steam
class 4.4.4Ts (LNER H2) and K class 2.6.4T no. 115 (later on the UTA. We saw steam action on the Dublin-Belfast
LNER class L2). Also visited was the Port of London main line double headed behind 0-6-0 locos 101 and a class
Authority Railway at Custom House where no. 69 (Hudswell J15 as well as a heavy goods train, hauled by an ex-GNR
Clarke) was on shed and thence to Beckton Gas Works 4-4-0 U class. We also saw UG class 4.4.0 no. 47, the last
where we saw no. 9, an 0.4.0T with cut down chimney and loco built at Dundalk Works. Later we saw ex-GNR S class
cab to enable it to pass through the restricted clearances. 4-4-0s one ex- CIE, still in its GNR blue livery, and one in
UTA black on the Belfast-Bangor line. The action then
Then it was on to Southern rails with views taken at Victoria, moved to Great Victoria Street Station, the original GNR
Queen’s Road, Rye, Polegate, St Mary Cray, Petts Wood, Belfast main line terminus for the route south to Dublin,
Tonbridge, Vauxhall, Clapham Junc and, finally, my home where we saw T class 4-4-2 tank engines, which were built
town of Tunbridge Wells. At these places we saw Lord by Beyer Peacock and Nasmyth Wilson, shunting, and an S
Nelson, Schools, King Arthur, River and J class (ex-LB&SCR class, hauling a passenger train out of the station. At
4.6.2Ts) locomotives, as well as the inevitable 2.6.0s. Of Adelaide Shed 1½ miles from Great Victoria Street Station
particular note was “Terrier” tank “Martello” in the Hayling we viewed Slieve Gullion No. 171, an S class being coaled
Island branch platform at Havant. and WT class tank engines. Some of the last 4-4-0 steam
locos ever built were built by Beyer Peacock for Northern
From Southern rails we quickly travelled north again to Ireland’s railways in the late 40s and we saw members of
Melton Constable to find M & G N “A” class 4.4.0 no. 24, this handsome VS class, which was the mainstay of the
then to South Lynn where we found a “C” class 4.4.0 and Belfast-Dublin service. A GAA special from Belfast to Dublin
GNR J3 0.6.0 no. 90 before visiting Yarmouth Beach to see was shown with shots taken at Lurgan and Lisburn stations.
some “A” class 4.4.2Ts (LNER C17). A heavy goods train was seen on the line between
Portadown and Belfast being hauled by a SG2 class 4-4-0.
Being near the coast we crossed the North Sea to Holland The action then moved from the Irish standard gauge (5’3”)
where we found a strong British influence, with locomotives to the 3’ narrow gauge of the Tralee and Dingle Light
built by Sharp Stewart, Beyer Peacock and Neilson Reid, Railway. The TDLR, built very cheaply for only £2700 per
whilst a Dutch-built streamliner with a one-piece lift-off body mile in 1891, was closed to passenger traffic in 1939.
was particularly ugly. However, up until 1953 monthly cattle trains were run from
Dingle hauled by two ancient Hunslet 2-6-0 tank engines.
Our fantastic evening was then rounded off with a quick trip These engines, with their cowcatchers, were seen struggling
to France in 1934/35 where we saw Nord Pacific 3.1253 at up the 1 in 30 inclines with a heavy cattle train. On the
Calais shed, then a de Glehn compound 4.4.2 with bogie standard gauge the unique layout at Limerick Junction which
tender, 0.10.0Ts, a Prussian P8 4.6.0 and a Prussian T16 caused Dublin-Cork trains to reverse was shown with
0.8.0T (possibly war reparations). classes J15 and D4 at the single mainline platform. For
some years the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise express continued
This was, without doubt, a wonderful evening seeing pre-war through to Cork and some shots of this train, hauled by the
photographs brought up to very high standards by Keith. We superb CIE 800 class 4-6-0 locos with GNR stock, including
have promised him that we won’t leave it anywhere near so a Pullman car, one of only three in Ireland, was seen at Cork
long before we invite him back (and maybe the attendance Station. We also saw a shot of one of the Woolwich Moguls
will be greater – Ed). (Ian Woodruff)
(constructed by the British Government at Woolwich Arsenal) “Russell” again !
which had been bought as a kit of parts after the First World
War and assembled in Ireland. We then moved back to the The penultimate paragraph of my “Deepest Wales” article in
branch lines with No. 193 - a class J15 0-6-0 loco - hauling NRS/NL 57/5 p.9 referred to “Russell’s” sojourn at the ball-
ancient 6 wheeled coaches on the Kenmare branch line clay mines near Swanage worked by Messrs Fayle Bros.
which was closed in 1959. Barry Stevens lived nearby and here’s a photo of “Russell”
After the break Edward showed a film of Bord na Mona, the alongside the Swanage branch in 1948. The loco was there
Irish Peat Railways. Bord na Mona operates the largest from 1948 – 1953, and many thanks to Barry for unearthing
industrial narrow gauge railway system in Europe. This 3’ the photo.
gauge system, employing 2300 people, extends for
approximately 1000 miles and supplies peat for power Irish Railways Trip 8th -16th MAY 2013 (Peter
generation, briquette production and horticulture. We were Davies)
informed that peat was created approximately 9000 years
ago and now provides approximately 14% of Ireland’s energy The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) has
for electricity generation. Peat was seen being gathered into announced that they will be holding their annual May Steam
ridges and then harvested into long stockpiles from which it Tour with a destination in the West of Ireland. Details of the
is loaded into open bogie wagons by mechanical diggers. A exact arrangements will be announced nearer the end of the
typical train of 15 wagons, each containing 10t of peat, was year. Those who have never been on a RPSI tour before are
observed on the Mountdillon system hauling peat to the in for a pleasant surprise. Everyone is incredibly friendly, the
Lanesborough Power Station where the tippler unloaded the atmosphere is really relaxed and fun is had by all !
peat. The detailed working of the tippler was shown with
each bogie wagon being tipped 360° while still being coupled Much of Irish railway practice will be familiar to visitors from
to the rest of its train. The under track mechanism that the UK as much is similar to UK practice. This is not
moved each wagon into the tippler and the pivoting couplings surprising as in the past many of the Irish railway engineers
was also shown. At the Bellacorick & Bangor Eris bogs in started their careers in Ireland and later became well known
County Mayo trains were shown moving slowly along the for their work on the mainland. The wider gauge is of course
uneven track. An old coach from the West Clare railway was the most obvious difference between Ireland and the UK and
seen being used as crew transport to the bogs. Much of the in recent years Irish Rail in the Republic has developed
track is temporary and is moved from bog to bog as the need different signalling standards from the North. But the
arises. Prefabricated track panels were seen on flat wagons. variations on a theme are interesting to spot and Ireland’s
The railway systems at the bogs, there are approximately railway heritage is very rich with its variety of railway
100 of them, are self-contained and have their own companies and its myriad of narrow (mainly 3’) and standard
workshops. Some locomotives are now constructed at these gauge (5’3”) lines.
workshops. We were shown workshops at Bellacorick and
Boora in County Offaly, where an inspection saloon powered A 9 day tour is planned covering a very wide variety of Irish
by a Morris Minor engine moved along the track. Bord na railway practice covering main and secondary lines both
Mona employs a variety of motive power with old Ruston sides of the border together with industrial and narrow gauge
Hornsby locos only used on works trains, these units now lines and preserved railways both narrow and standard
being powered by Ford engines. The mainstay of the fleet is gauge. Some of these lines are being opened especially for
Hunslet Wagonmasters, the early units being 0-4-0s with the party. The tour will also be a diverse experience of
connecting rods and jack shafts while latterly the drives are Ireland itself from the lush beauty of Northern Ireland to the
all hydraulic. Simplex locos powered by air cooled Lister rugged grandeur of Donegal, the historical city of Derry, the
engines were used in the 1980s for works trains and a Deutz wide open vistas of the boglands and the wild scenery of the
loco was seen hauling a fuel tanker. Gleismac locomotives West. There will be an emphasis on the needs of the
were built at Dundalk in the old GNR works. A curious photographer with run pasts scheduled where possible.
Massey Ferguson tractor conversion was seen. The
‘Clonmacnoise and West Offaly’ railway is a venture to show The itinerary will provide:
tourists around the Blackwater bog where peat is transported �� 3 days steam tour of Ireland (Dublin to the West of
over the impressive bridge across the Shannon to Ireland and return over two days followed by a one day
Shannonbridge Power Station (unfortunately this tourist train trip from Dublin to Belfast) haulage by locos Nos 461
no longer seems to run – Ed.). Nearby part of the old Grand and 186, organised by the RPSI, including run pasts.
Canal, built in 1804, which linked Dublin with the West has See www.steamtrainsireland.com
been used as a track bed for the peat railway and the
remains of an old canal lock were still to be seen. A modern
level crossing gate and swing bridges were also shown.
Gordon Bruce thanked Edward for a most interesting talk
and film show pointing out how good it was to see so many
straight boilers in the steam locomotives of Ireland observing
that if Stanier had not moved to the LMS from the GWR we
may have seen many more straight boilered locos on British
tracks. He also pointed out that although to our eyes, and
especially to the permanent way engineers in the Society,
the Bord na Mona railways track looked incredibly uneven it
should be remembered that we were looking at a track that
was often not permanent but temporary and probably
perfectly adequate for its industrial use. (Peter Davies)
Editor’s Note: Peter has not penned a meeting report before.
I look forward to the reports from others still to come forward.
�� Visit to the RPSI HQ at Whitehead, Co. Antrim with tours December, by phone or preferably by e mail, if you're
of the running shed and workshops. interested in coming, and whether you are bringing a
�� Visit to the totally unique Bord na Mona peat railways, friend or spouse with you. I will then ask for a deposit, say
the largest industrial narrow gauge system in Europe with £100, and will get detailed costings and make the bookings.
200 locomotives and nearly 1000 miles of track. See the Also if you know of anyone you think might be interested
industrial harvesting of turf (peat) for power generation, please pass this message on to them.
briquette production and horticultural uses and which Editor’s Note: Peter deserves plenty of support for the
employs some unique technology. For environmental preliminary work that he has put in (including visiting the
reasons this system is under long term threat. Emerald Isle). Contact him by email at [email protected]
�� Visit the Downpatrick Railway, Ireland's only 5'3" gauge or telephone 01603 – 929283 or mobile 07825041189.
preserved railway and its recently opened museum. Steam
trip behind recently overhauled O & K No.1 and run pasts. Orenstein & Koppel No.3 0-4-0 of 1935 (top).
See www.downrail.co.uk Great Southern Railway K2 2-6-0 No.461 Beyer Peacock
�� View modern Irish Rail operating practice on the of 1922 (middle).
mainline to Ireland’s second city Cork and Cobh with diesel The Titanic Centre Belfast (bottom).
locomotive hauled mark 4 coaching stock. Irish Rail has
received some recent huge investment in infrastructure and it
is interesting to see how a historical railway has been
�� Visit to the unique Irish Railways level crossing control
centre at Mallow.
�� Visit to the recently opened and extremely impressive
£77m Belfast Titanic museum as well as the Cultra Folk and
Transport Museum. See wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanic_Belfast
�� View modern Northern Ireland (Translink) operating
practice. Travel by new CAV DMU from Belfast over the ex-
BNCR line with their beautiful brick and half-timbered
stations with large awnings over recently relayed track to
Derry and a visit to the Foyle Railway Museum.
�� Visit Fintown Railway once part of the narrow gauge
County Donegal Joint Railway and travel in a 1940 railcar,
including run pasts. This railway is located alongside Lake
Finn amongst the most spectacular scenery. See
�� Travel on the oldest railway lines in Ireland, including the
spectacular Dublin to Greystones coast line originally
engineered by Brunel and the old DSER line out from
Harcourt Street Station and both now part of the Dublin Tram
(LUAS) and Rapid Transit (DART) systems.
�� Presentations from rail experts, both in Dublin and
Belfast, on Irish rail history and
current developments both North and South of the border.
�� Visit to the Irish Railway Record Archive at Dublin’s
�� Alternative visits to Derry, Dublin and Cork cities for
those less interested in the minutiae of railways ! See below.
This is a non-commercial trip, there is no mark up on the
tickets, accommodation or coach hire and the accounts will
be totally transparent. My next task after I have a very clear
idea of how many people will be coming is to work out the
exact costs and to detail out the precise timings of each day.
I have however obtained some extremely good prices for
coaches, hotels and meals so am confident the price can be
kept within a total of £800 for the 9 days. It is planned to limit
the number of people to 25 so that we can use small
coaches making it easier to get around.
For those less interested in the details of Railway
Preservation I can assure you the actual train travel will be
interesting and scenic and that there will be opportunities to
take time off to visit the cities of Dublin, Cork, Derry and
Belfast. All are very interesting and different and there are
shopping opportunities for tweed, linen etc.
This will be your last opportunity to commit yourselves
to this tour, if we don’t get sufficient numbers it just
won’t happen ! I would be grateful if you could let me
know as soon as possible, at the latest by Thursday 20th
_________PICK-UP GOODS housed, of course, in an old warehouse. Do go there if you’re
nearby – you won’t be disappointed. It’s all about the
GWR Steam Railmotor development of London’s Docks from Roman times and
admission is free.
The GWR steam railmotor no. 93 has been restored to
running order by the Great Western Railway Society at For the return, I said: “Go to Stratford and change for
Didcot. It can be seen on YouTube on the Liskeard – Looe Stratford International”. I had led my hosts to the right
branch on Sunday 11th November by putting the link below platform but was then overruled and we walked between the
into a web browser. Thanks to John Hutchinson for the stations instead ! Don’t, don’t, don’t – especially if it’s raining
information. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q3yUNViQ2k ! It’s further than you think – the train is much better ! That
aside, the homeward leg from Stratford International to
NENTA Short Breaks Ebbsfleet was easy enough and the 6-car Javelin (395015)
was comfortably full. (EM)
I thought it was worth mentioning that Nenta have a varied
programme of short breaks (both home & abroad) from May An Impressive Steam Gala
to September 2013. They open with a 5 day tour, which
starts on Friday 10th May 2013, and after rail to Edinburgh The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway’s Autumn Gala was
there’s an onward coach to the Oban base. There’s a couple held from 12th – 14th October last. Mike Fordham – our
of day trips to the Islands of Mull, Iona & Tiree followed by a ever-roving reporter – visited the Gala on a gloriously sunny
rail trip to Fort William. Cost is £735 with a £90 single Saturday 13th October and was full of praise for the way they
supplement. ran it.
Their next tour starts on Monday 10th June 2013 is for 6 Visiting engines were Aspinall L & Y 0.6.0 no. 1300 (BR
days, and after rail to Inverness it continues via Skye, 52322) & Ivatt 4MT 43106, with the home fleet contributing
Stornoway, Isles of Harris &Lewis before returning to Barton Wright L & Y 0.6.0 no. 957 (BR 52044), MR 4F
Inverness. Cost is £795 with a £90 single supplement. 43924, Ivatt 2MT 41241, BR 4MT 80002, L&NWR “Coal
Anyone interested should please ring Nenta on 01692 – Tank” no. 7799 (BR 58926) and Hudswell Clarke 0.6.0T
406152 or visit their website – www.nentatraintours.co.uk 1704 Nunlow built in 1938 and ex-Earle’s Cement Works,
Mark 2s Delivered to the Mid Norfolk Railway 41241 and 957 are both in the last months of their boiler
Eight air-conditioned Mark 2 coaches arrived at the MNR in
late September on a temporary basis. While there they will
be assessed and allocated to a new pool (MNXX). They are
to remain main line certified. Their new owner, Eastern Rail
Services, indicated they are happy to work with coaching
stock providers but if no main line work is found they could
be used on the MNR. (AW)
Riding the Javelins (albeit briefly)
An enjoyable, if wet, Saturday 24th November was spent
visiting Westfield Shopping Centre after arriving at Stratford
Ivatt 2.6.0 43106 and Ivatt 2MT 2.6.2T 41241 passing
Ingrow yard with the freight. > Mike Fordham
A pair of Class 395 Javelins if you were wondering what L & Y 0.6.0 957 arrives at Oxenhope with the L & Y Trust
they were! carriages while Midland 4F 43924 waits to make the
return working to Keighley with 957 on the rear of the
International on the Javelin service from North Kent which I train which will then be 9 coaches long. > Mike Fordham
had joined at Ebbsfleet. For those unfamiliar with Ebbsfleet
the station is near Dartford, fairly close to Ebbsfleet’s football
ground but not much else apart from a few car dealerships.
Anyway, the 6-car Javelin was pretty full, on time, and clearly
a popular service. It crossed beneath the Thames to reach
Stratford International in less than 15 minutes [it would be
interesting to know the distance covered to enable the speed
to be calculated]. After the visit to Westfield – it’s possible to
see the iconic Olympic stadium and pool though a number of
structures have already been removed – it was a front seat
on the Docklands Light Railway for part of the journey to
Canning Town, thence Poplar and finally West India Docks.
It was only a short walk to the Museum of Docklands
Trimley station and a few notes about the
Mike Fordham took the accompanying photographs during a
visit to the branch on a murky 22nd October last, and I have
prepared this summary concerning one of our most “at risk”
It will be apparent from Mike’s first photograph (above) that GBRf Class 66 66724 ‘Drax Power Station’ at Derby Road
the station has suffered badly since becoming unstaffed in
1967. Attempts to add the building to the Government’s list of stations once existed at Felixstowe Beach (closed from 11th
buildings of special architectural or historic interest have September 1967) and Felixstowe Pier (closed from 2nd July
failed, but Network Rail – who were to demolish the station 1951).
and convert the site into a car park – have granted a stay of
execution. This has led to the formation of a Friends group Members may, in addition, recall the singular presentation
who seem ready (under the auspices of the Trimley Station from Brian Hall & Ian Heeley on “The History of the Port of
Community Trust) to restore the building so that it can be put Felixstowe” on 1st March last (NRS/NL 57/2 p.5).
to some sort of community use. If the Friends are successful (EM)
there is the prospect of their being granted a long lease of
the station by Greater Anglia. However, serious money is
required to achieve this, and it is to be hoped that the
outcome is a successful one.
GBRf Class 66 66709 ‘Sorrento’ at Felixstowe Beach
Freightliner Class 70 70017 with a freight train at Trimley Norfolk Railway Society Annual Show
Saturday 26th January 2013
Trimley station was opened on 1st May 1891 and appears to 1.00pm - 5.00pm
have been designed by the then G.E.R. Architect, W.N.
Ashbee, who also designed Felixstowe Town station, now at
Grade II listed. United Reformed Church Halls
For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with the area, the Ipswich Road, Eaton Rise
Felixstowe branch diverges from the East Suffolk line at Norwich NR4 6QR
Westerfield, on the outskirts of Ipswich, and then runs south-
eastwards through Derby Road, Orwell (closed from 15th Members’ and visiting Model Layouts
June 1959), and Trimley to Felixstowe Town. Further Archive Exhibition
10 Railway Art and Photographic Displays
Raffle proceeds towards The Mid Norfolk Railway
Loco Shed Appeal
Admission £3.00 (children 25p)
Family Ticket £5.00
For more details phone 01508 493437
The Not Yet Christmas Train Show at
Poringland Village Hall -
3rd November 2012 – Graham Smith
The appropriate Saturday dawned damp and steamy (what
should we expect in November?) and we duly set up early to
await the masses, and were not disappointed. Members
Malcolm Cooper, Peter Willis, Brian Cornwell, Dave White,
Mike Fordham and Graham Smith on layouts or stands were
ably assisted by others including Peter Adds, Peter Knights,
Philip Moore and Andy Wright, many of whom had brought
their significant others to do sterling work in the kitchen!
Further Societies such as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Society, Tramway & Light Railway Society, Flying Pigs and
the North Norfolk Railway were represented by stands,
layouts and/or video and static shows. Layouts and displays
ranged from Hornby-Dublo 3-rail to G Gauge with Christmas
Lights, via five separate and entirely different narrow gauge
layouts in various scales - India in 16mm NG, London
Underground and Lego Euro-imagination to Malcolm’s
Other Society members visited during the day, and 125
people were recorded on the door.
We are most grateful to you all, and our Rector has asked
me to pass on his thanks for the £528 raised from entrance,
tombola and food, with renewed thanks to the Ladies for all
their hard work. We hope you all enjoyed the day and look
forward to Mike Fordham’s star turn at Ipswich Road in
Andy Wright captured the spirit of the Show with this
selection of photographs.
Aylsham Model Railway Society Show Day
A picture is supposed to be worth 1,000 words. With that in
mind, roving photographer Mike Fordham took these pictures
of some of our members at the Show, and clearly some of
them are resting between duties!
Corrections Corner Newsletter you'll find a yellow form which should be
completed and returned to me with your payment as soon as
In the last Newsletter (NRS/NL 57/5 p. 10) the identity of the possible.
Unsung Hero was Mike Handscomb. Although most local
members will have known or guessed Mike’s identity it’s only Yes, times are hard and every expense has to be justified. If
fair to clarify matters. you're having doubts about whether to renew, just think of
what your NRS subscription gives you: 16 or so first-class
It's that time again meetings; six excellent Newsletters; and the chance to visit
railway sites, both local and further afield.
All good things come to an end, they say. For us NRS
members, the good thing was 2012's subscription 'holiday'. I look forward to receiving your form and payment!
Thanks to the generosity of our late member Roger Harrison Mike Handscomb
we've had a free year. In case you've forgotten, we were
privileged to enjoy a clutch of superb meetings – remember
David Soggee's nostalgic views of East Anglian branch lines,
for example, and Michael Rhodes's stunning images of sub-
zero Chinese steam? – for the princely sum of.........zero.
But it's time to return to reality: subscriptions for 2013 are
due on January 1st. Enclosed with this edition of the NRS
The Elizabethan – 25th July 2012 Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952 and ran from 1953
By Chris Mitchell until September 1962 - the first year of dieselisation proper
with the introduction of the then new 100mph “Deltic”
The East Coast Main Line has always been synonymous locomotives in 1961/1962 – though the steam-hauled “non-
with historically named trains from pre-Grouping days stop” had finished in September 1961.
through the Art-Deco splendour of the LNER’s Coronation
introduced in 1937 to the present, when the electric “Flying To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s
Scotsman” rushes from King’s Cross to Edinburgh in four accession, and to demonstrate the part that railways have
hours. played during her reign, it was planned to run a modern
version of “The Elizabethan” as close as possible to the
The real glamour of the East Coast named trains belonged to original schedule on what is a modern railway with intensive
the steam age and the last incarnation of the very top steam service trains. The down train from London was hauled by a
express was“The Elizabethan”. With Gresley’s A4 Pacifics Deltic - D9009 “Alycidon” - a former Finsbury Park
running non-stop between King’s Cross and Edinburgh “The locomotive, now restored close to its original green livery,
Elizabethan” was a worthy successor to the “Coronation”. It mainline registered, and with a maximum speed of 100mph.
marked a new age being introduced to commemorate the
The up train from Edinburgh was hauled by A1 Pacific 60163 A three-hour stay in Edinburgh allowed a walk of the “Royal
“Tornado”, a new build Peppercorn Pacific of a class which Mile”, and an inspection of the Castle grounds displaying
substituted from time to time for the A4s, though never non- various Olympic Games montages heralding the Games’
stop from King’s Cross to Edinburgh as the class lacked the imminent staging in London. Arrival at the National Gallery of
A4’s corridor tenders. (The second crew would take over Scotland at The Mound allowed the busy railway activity in
north of York by leaving their compartment and reaching the Princes Street Gardens to be photographed towards both
footplate through the special tenders – Ed.) Haymarket and Waverley stations. A wide variety of Sprinter
DMUs and new EMUs on the recently restored service to
The account which follows is a personal account of the Glasgow via Livingston demonstrated the need to remodel
ambitious 800 mile run experienced by two Society members Waverley station to accommodate the very frequent services.
- Peter Willis and Chris Mitchell - who joined the Special at A patient wait above the portal tunnels of The Mound paid off
Peterborough. with photographs of the northbound “Aberdonian” leaving
Waverley for its spirited journey to the Granite City and the
The day started at 5am, on a cloudless summer morning on simultaneous arrival of a West Coast Main Line Pendolino
the 25th July, a rare fine weather event during 2012! Our from Birmingham. Before a meal, a rapid walk along Princes
scheduled embarkation at Peterborough was greeted with Street revealed progress being made on the long-delayed
well informed fellow travellers advising us of the events Edinburgh tram system and closure at the Leith Walk
unfolding in the North London suburbs following a prompt junction where track laying was in evidence.
departure from the Cross. It appears the Deltic -
immaculately prepared with new engine units - had D9009 Alycidon at Edinburgh Waverley after arriving with
accumulated oil in the cooling fan system which erupted into the down Elizabethan on 25th July last. > Chris Mitchell
flames, a not uncommon event with re-engined Deltics in
service ,which was quickly dealt with by travelling technicians Suitably refuelled and with supplies replenished for the
following the train being put into a loop. The technical issues anticipated fast steam-hauled return journey, arrival at
were subsequently well explained in various railway Waverley found our train reported somewhere in the western
publications. Our errant steed, having fully recovered, approaches waiting for a platform. Its seven hundred
appeared through a mist of exhaust plume over the Nene passengers were informed the scheduled departure would
Bridge on the approach to Peterborough with its thirteen be kept - minutes after the 1600 London service train - but
coach train. embarkation time would be limited and no access to the
engine for photography would be welcomed ! Being located
Having taken our seats in Coach B situated toward the rear in coach B, the temptation to challenge the Railway security
of the train for the outward journey we were quickly updated staff and record “Tornado” in its Scottish surroundings
on events so far and armed with the “train pack” the progress proved too great and the opportunity was afforded by the
and speed was measured by the conventional milepost engine safety valves lifting distracting the officials’ attention
logging and timing by two stop-watches. A spirited run up at the appropriate time!
Stoke Bank must have impressed the Traffic Controllers as
we were only diverted to the slow line at Essendine prior to Departure was in fact punctual and we quickly knew our
Stoke Tunnel to allow two fast trains to pass. To give an position at the front of the train as the coach filled with smoke
indication of progress being made the brakes went on in as we entered Calton tunnel. The Edinburgh eastern suburbs
regaining the down fast at the 60mph pointwork prior to were passed in quick succession as “Tornado” gathered
Stoke Tunnel ! Grantham, Newark, Retford and Doncaster speed and soon the Firth of Forth with Bass Rock was left
were passed with photographers poised to record the behind as the train sped through Dunbar. The Border was
historical event as the train sped through their respective reached at Berwick and steam on the Royal Border Bridge
stations. The brakes went on on the approach to Holgate must have delighted the many photographers positioned
Road Bridge heralding a stop at York to pick up further
travellers. After allowing a further service train to pass, the
restart was such that a consistent 100mph was achieved
from Skelton Junction to Darlington. A healthy debate
ensued in our carriage between the conventional speed
recording fraternity and those with GPS devices as the latter
were logging higher speeds than the engine’s official
maximum! The debate was settled by a Deltic Preservation
Society member saying such is technology that the OTM will
be recording all train speeds and locations like the aircraft
“Black Box”, both on the train and in the Power Box control.
On the approach to Durham, a scheduled stop, it was clear
speeds were too high leaving bewildered customers on the
platform. Such is the operation of a modern railway that a
scheduled service train closely following collected the
passengers and arrived in Newcastle on the adjacent
platform where a speedy transfer allowed our train to follow
the electric to Berwick and north of the Border. A scheduled
stop at Dunbar was avoided following a spirited run through
the Borders and arrival at Waverley station was just 12
minutes behind the historical schedule. A rush to the front of
the train allowed some hurried photographs of the engine
and the NRM “Elizabethan” headboard supplied for this
occasion before its rapid departure towards Haymarket for
along the banks of the River Tweed. Speed through the A twenty-three hour day much enjoyed !
Borders was consistently around 70mph and arrival at
Alnmouth was right on schedule where we were put into the Historical notes from your Editor: The line from King’s Cross
up loop south of the station to receive our first loco water to Edinburgh was not generously supplied with watertroughs
replenishment. A prompt start following a London bound which enabled locomotives to replenish their tanks without
service train meant right time arrival at Newcastle Central stopping, and those that existed were not placed similar
and onward to Tyne Yard where a water tanker was waiting distances apart. Thus, on leaving King’s Cross, the first
close to the former rail parcels reception sidings. There was opportunity to refill was at Langley just south of Stevenage.
an opportunity for many passengers to travel the length of a Werrington, just north of Peterborough, was next, fairly
once strategic marshalling yard, now weed-strewn with the closely followed by Muskham slightly north of Newark. It
former control tower amid the general dereliction. It was here wasn’t too far to Scrooby, just south of Doncaster, but it was
the schedule went awry as our stay was delayed by 15 a fair distance to Wiske Moor, a little to the north of
minutes and regaining the main line a further 15 minutes was Northallerton. The final set of troughs was at Lucker, midway
lost through signal checks in County Durham. In making up between Alnmouth and Berwick, meaning there was still a
time,“Tornado” put up a good smokescreen much to the fair distance before Edinburgh was reached though an
delight or concern of patient photographers in the rapidly unscheduled station stop for water was always possible. The
diminishing light! Americans called watertroughs track pans!!!
Consistent running at speeds in the 70s on the race track
south of Northallerton resulted in a brief stop at York and When “The Elizabethan” was introduced on 29th June 1953
the King’s Cross – Edinburgh journey took 6¾ hours – and
this was a 22 minute improvement over “The Capitals
Limited” schedule of summer 1952!
The Cambridge Busway – A Pragmatic
Opinion (Part 1)
By Gordon Bruce
60163 “Tornado” just before departure from Edinburgh There can be few people in this part of the country who have
Waverley with the up “Elizabethan” on the same day. not heard of the Cambridge Guided Busway. The highly
> Chris Mitchell controversial transport solution for the city, which was not
only universally panned by both critics and residents, was
gaining the main line in front of service trains as the schedule years late in construction, exceeded its budget many
indicated but “Control” must have given the Special the times (which Cambridgeshire council tax payers will be
benefit to make up further time to Doncaster. A stop at paying for for many years to come), and still has court cases
Doncaster station was made to allow Peterborough pending over disputes between the council and sundry
passengers to change to a service train as no path was construction companies. It finally opened on 7th August
available for “The Elizabethan” at its intended stop. A quick 2011, but the negative press continues unabated to this
conference on alternative travel arrangements followed as an day. But is all this hostility really justified? – were
extra water stop at Huntingdon allowed the Society duo to Cambridgeshire County Council simply attempting to tackle a
experience a fast steam run down Stoke Bank and the known problem, namely commuter traffic clogging up the
opportunity to sample the fast line through Peterborough to city’s streets and making use of redundant railway
Huntingdon. We were not to be disappointed as the footplate infrastructure - or was it more of a vain attempt to get into the
crew were up to making the summer evening a memorable political good books by jumping on the ‘green bandwagon’?
occasion down the bank and the travelling clientele must And – more to the point – is this Busway really a sign of the
have enjoyed the speeds obtained (Chris is keeping these future of commuter travel, or is it just a stark warning for the
confidential)! The GPS was working overtime for this rest of the country?
There was really only one way to try and form an opinion,
and that was to make a visit and take a ride, which is what I
did on Saturday 5th May 2012, in the company of Chris
Burton, Cambridge Railway Circle Secretary. It is therefore
Arrival at Huntingdon was as anticipated at midnight and the
return journey to Peterborough was uneventful. This was
perhaps the only disappointment of the day. The event was
reflected on during the drive back to Norwich and was
mutually considered a great success not only for the Deltic of
50 years vintage but also for the relatively new steam loco
whose demands for water on a modern railway system was a
test in itself, requiring the deployment of specialist staff and
fair to say that both of us are railway enthusiasts, and by residential estate, before picking up the route of the Busway
definition ‘pro-rail’, whereas I also have a (lesser) interest in to St Ives Parkway. From there the service continues into
buses. My experience was followed up by some Internet the town’s bus station and thence on to Huntingdon on
research, particularly two pieces of film placed on YouTube, conventional roads. Services are provided by Alexander
which attempt to depict the route in ‘before and after’ states – Dennis Enviro400/Scania N230UD double deckers, similar to
albeit the makers of these films are clearly not in favour of those used by KonectExpress in Norwich, but again modified
the Busway. to run on biofuel. Similar buses have been employed
(successfully) by Lothian Buses in Edinburgh, although they
Gerald Siviour recently wrote an account in the Newsletter can have trouble climbing hills! Such problems do not arise
ollowing the opening of the Busway; this article goes into on the pan-flat environs of Cambridge (apart from the 'bump'
greater depth. But, first of all, here’s a summary of its
operations. There are three routes which use the Busway, called Castle Hill!). To emphasise their green credentials,
the main two operated by Stagecoach (the principal bus the Stagecoach vehicles are all painted in a green-and-blue
operator in Cambridge). Route A runs from Trumpington livery instead of Stagecoach’s usual multi-colour scheme.
Park & Ride on the south side of the city, then uses a section
of the former Cambridge – Sandy railway trackbed (with a Route C is operated by Go Whippet Coaches, largely
detour into and around Addenbrooke’s Hospital) as far as the following the course of Route A from the station, but
former LNWR Junction and then alongside the current main extending beyond St Ives. This service is much less
line and beneath Hills Road, thence on a normal bus lane to frequent.
the railway station. From there on it runs conventionally
through the city centre – despite the promotional blurb there And so to impressions of the journey. Both buses on which
are precious few signs of any bus lanes in the centre we travelled were not exactly full, but then Saturday
of Cambridge – and out to Cambridge Science Park. Here lunchtime and early afternoon is hardly peak travelling time.
the route turns left onto the course of the Cambridge – St Riding through Cambridge is no different whatever from
Ives railway line, the main section of the busway, and runs riding on any other bus through a busy city – as I said earlier,
through ‘stations’ at Histon, Oakington, Longstanton, bus lanes are pretty thin on the ground. However, once on
Swavesey and Fen Drayton Lakes to St Ives Parkway, a the busway itself the vehicles do shift. The journey is fast,
large area on the edge of the town near the site of quiet and smooth, and St Ives is reached surprisingly
the old railway station. Services on Route A are provided by quickly. The rather windswept Park & Ride site at St Ives
Volvo B7RLE/Wrightbus Eclipse single deckers, modified to Parkway does lend the uninitiated a feeling of being dumped
run on biofuel. Due to the limited clearance of two old in the middle of nowhere, despite the town centre being just
railway bridges near Trumpington, double deckers are a five minute walk away. ‘Car traps’ (gravel-filled gaps in the
prohibited from this route. concrete track) are positioned at the ends of each section of
guided trackway, in an attempt to at least try and keep
Gordon took these photographs during his visit to the Busway motorists out. Most of the length of the busway is paralleled
on 5th May last. by a wide foot & cycleway – although on the day of my visit
much of this in the Swavesey area was under water after the
Route B commences in the centre of Cambridge at Drummer recent heavy rain and flooding. The railway thankfully was
Street, and runs along Histon Road to the Orchard Park built on a low embankment here, and this has been retained.
To be continued.
The 1,000th "Railway Observer"
The RCTS "Railway Observer" magazine reached its 1,000th edition with the June issue. Well done to all. There was a 16 page
supplement of members' reminiscences, and if you think railtours today never run to time, their End of Steam Railtour of Sunday
4th August 1968 must have set the all-time lateness record by leaving Euston at 0835, and getting participants back to the
capital at 0215 on the Monday morning, a mere 510 minutes late ! BR had little alternative (presumably) but to plead guilty and
everyone received reimbursement amouting to about 25% of the tour cost. What caught my eye, though, was that the relevant
Passenger Manager said how very disturbed he and his colleagues were at the increasingly rough deal that the Sunday
passenger was receiving on the Region. [And that was 44 years ago !]
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.
13th Thur NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - Christmas Team Quiz Evening with Malcolm Cooper
13th Thur RAILWAY TOURING COMPANY “YORK YULETIDE EXPRESS” Norwich to York hauled by A4 Pacific
60007 Sir Nigel Gresley
15th Sat STEAM DREAMS - “CATHEDRALS EXPRESS” - Ashford to Norwich return hauled by A1 60163 ‘Tornado’
20th Thur NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - Members’ Evening. Pictures, videos, short talks etc. We’ll try and
19.30 accommodate whatever you want to share with the meeting.
JANUARY 2013 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - Chairman’s Address - “Britannia, Royalty and Railways” - Peter
3rd Thur NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - "Bus Matters" - David Cooke
17th NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “Round the Country at Government Expense” - Brian Cornwell
19.30 GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) - Arthur Barrett Entertains
Thur NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY ANNUAL SHOW
7th Thur NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “Beauty & the Beast” - Ian Woodruff
NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - John Hutchinson’s Selection
21st 19.30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “Caught on Canvas” - Wrenford Thatcher
Thur GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) - Norfolk and Suffolk Rail Scene 2012 - Richard
7th Thur NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY “A South-Eastern Miscellany” - Chris King & “The Lone Star State
14th 19.30 Railways” - Chris Mitchell
21st NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - "Indian Transport" - Chris King and "Australian Miscellany" - David
28th Thur Tranter
19.30 NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY - “60s Steam on Shed” – David Percival
Thur GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY SOCIETY (Norwich Branch) - "Fares please" - Graham Kenworthy and
19.30 Mark Rhodes
Editor’s Note: The Mince Pie and Santa Specials are conspicuous by their absence. I have taken an “executive decision” not
to include any of these as I have assumed that anybody interested will look at the relevant railway website or contact the
Printed by Express Impressions. Tel. 01603 301127