Supplement to e-BLN 1264 BLN Pictorial 10 September 2016
Once again we have our member Nick Jones to thank, for allowing us to use a selection of his excellent photographs taken over a three day period, 25-27
July 2016. The subject this time is on the UK mainland - the 'Wherry Lines', a marketing name devised to cover the lines between Norwich, Great Yarmouth
and Lowestoft. The name refers to the wherry, a shallow draught sailing barge used for transporting goods around the rivers and broads of the area, and to
or from larger sea-going vessels.
The railway first arrived in Norfolk in the form of the Yarmouth & Norwich Railway (YNR), whose public passenger services started on 1 May 1844. This line
ran via Reedham; the line from there to Lowestoft was added in 1847 by what had become the Norfolk Railway, with the amalgamation of the YNR and the
Norwich & Brandon Railway in 1845. The last element in the Wherry Lines was the northern route from Yarmouth to Norwich via Acle, leaving the original
YNR line at Breydon Jn and rejoining it at Brundall Jn, which was added by the Great Eastern Railway (GER) in 1882.
Several of the locations seen here were visited by the Society in 2015 - a report of those visits was in BLN 1242.1809. As in previous issues of BLN Pictorial,
once the PDF has been downloaded to your device and opened in Adobe Reader, you can get to each picture by clicking on the page number to the left of
the captions, and return to the captions by clicking near the bottom left of the picture. On the last page is a map of the area served by the Wherry Lines;
you can get to the map from any picture by clicking in the bottom right hand corner, and back to the picture by clicking on the camera symbol on the map.
4. A very traditional scene at Brundall except for the very modern 68023 Achilles arriving with a train from Norwich. This photo and the next three were
taken on 25 July 2016.
5. Looking east from Brundall we see 37422 departing on a 'top and tailed' Yarmouth train with the leading class 37 turning on to the Acle line.
6. 'Old school' practice at Brundall as the crossing gates are closed to road traffic by traditional methods.
7. 37405 departing from Lowestoft past semaphore signals controlled by the 1885 GER Lowestoft signal box (right of picture). The life expectancy of the
manual signalling on the Wherry Lines has been a matter for some conjecture due to Network Rail's stated intention (see Rail Journal's report) of
using the area as a proof-of-concept pilot project for the 'Digital Railway'. However 'Rail' magazine has recently reported that this is not going to go
ahead and that resignalling will be with conventional fixed colour light signalling. It would seem that the manual signalling is very likely to survive into
8. The 1885 Lowestoft signal box, looking pretty good for its age, on 26 July 2016.
9. The distant signal on the approach to Lowestoft, seen on 27 July 2016. This signal is defective and although designed as a normally operating type, it is
in effect a 'fixed distant'.
10. 68019 Brutus leads a train from Norwich into a decidedly murky Lowestoft on 27 July 2016. This train formation is apparently a short term (3 months)
hire from Direct Rail Services as a substitute for damaged DMU 170204. The 7,600 bhp available, if both locos are working, makes for fairly vivid
performance with a load of little over 100 tons!
11. The two three-coach top-and-tailed sets currently in operation by Abellio Greater Anglia stand next to each other at Norwich on 25 July 2016. On the
right is the temporary set, with 68023 Achilles leading; on the left 37405 heads the resident 'short set'.
12. Oulton Broad North Junction; DMU 170203 is heading on to the East Suffolk Line line towards Saxmundham and Ipswich, which is single as far as
Halesworth although since December 2012 a new passing loop at Beccles has allowed an hourly service (previously it was only possible to run trains
every 90 minutes). The double line continuing ahead through Oulton Broad North station is the 1847 Norfolk Railway route to Reedham, which
remains double throughout. This photo was taken on 27 July 2016, as were the next five.
13. At the same location a few minutes earlier, 68019 Brutus is about to leave with a Norwich-Lowestoft train.
14. Just under half a mile from Oulton Broad North Jn is Oulton Broad Swing Bridge where 156420 is working an East Suffolk Line service towards Ipswich
on 27 July 2016. Unlike the other swing bridges in East Anglia this is only typically opened once or twice in 24 hours although staffed 24 hours. Once
double track, the disused Down line is retained on the bridge to balance the weight. Unusually the controls are on the bridge and if it breaks down in
the 'open' position the operator is stranded and may need to be rescued by boat. In contrast, the adjacent Oulton Broad Mutford lifting road bridge is
staffed to order, requiring boats to give 24 hours' notice of passage.
15. A boat requiring passage out of Oulton Broad gave Nick the opportunity for this shot of the Oulton Broad bridge in its open (for river traffic) position.
16. This unusual shot of the bridge partly open allows us to see the way the deck is constructed. Note that only the track on the right (former Up line) is in
use since this part of the East Suffolk line was singled.
17. The gentle art of getting your boat under a low bridge! 'Bridge bashes' are all too familiar to Network Rail staff (and passengers) but the crew here at
Oulton Broad seem determined to avoid any risk this time, despite not having requested that the bridge be opened.
18. Somerleyton Swing Bridge signal box, on the Lowestoft-Reedham line, seen from an approaching Lowestoft-Norwich train formed from the resident
'short set' and its two class 37s. Note the single red flag flown as an indicator to traffic on the River Waveney that the bridge can be opened on
request, subject to there being no rail traffic imminent. If the bridge cannot be opened for reasons such as non-availability of staff, or mechanical
problems, a double red flag is flown. The photograph, together with the next two, was taken on 26 July 2016.
19. The ubiquitous 37405 stands at Great Yarmouth (formerly Yarmouth Vauxhall, to distinguish it from the Great Eastern Railway's other terminus
at Yarmouth South Town, and the Midland & Great Northern's Yarmouth Beach) with a Norwich train. Note the ground frame in the foreground,
released from Yarmouth signal box, which enables locomotives from incoming trains to run round their trains. 37405 will not need this as there will
be another DRS class 37 at the other end of the train.
20. This handsome former GER signal box, dating from 1884, controls the Great Yarmouth station area; the nameboard shows the station's previous
name of Yarmouth Vauxhall, abbreviated to 'Vaux' for reasons not immediately obvious - perhaps for economy, or perhaps simply because the
required size of lettering wouldn't fit?
And finally ... Berney Arms station is well known for its
remote location with no road access, its sparse service,
and low usage (an estimated total of 1,396 entries and
exits in 2015 according to the Office of Rail and Road). The
picture on the right may therefore come as a surprise. The
occasion is Crookham Travel's Rail Ale Ramble 123 on 14
April 2007. Crookham Travel, run by our member Gerald
Daniels, is now fast approaching its 40th anniversary and
has over 170 'RARs' to its credit now as well as all sorts of
other ventures featuring rail and water transport in many
parts of the UK and the rest of Europe. This one, however,
may be unique in setting a record for the greatest number
of passengers on the Berney Arms platform!
(Wikimedia user Weydonian at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia