McNulty report may bring stop-gap
National Express's Greater Anglia operating franchise was originally due to expire in March 2011 but in September it was extended by seven months (NRS NL Sep/Oct 2010).
In a statement on rail industry reform issued in December, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said that he proposes 'a short contract, competed in open competition in 2011, to run and improve services in the Greater Anglia franchise....until a new new-style longer franchise is let in 2013'.
The proposals follows a report by Sir Roy McNulty on value-for-money on the UK rail network, which criticised poor use of trains, differing fare levels and uncertain industry leadership.
Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, has established that the interim franchise will not be subject to widespread public consultation.
Service upgrades launched at
NXEA's new timetable began on December 12, and among the
improvements to services are the doubling of daytime trains between
To mark these
improvements, formal 'launches' took place a few days after the services
started. On December 17 Suffolk County Council Transport Portfolio Holder Guy
McGregor joined NXEA’s Head of Corporate Affairs
Jonathan Denby and Rural Station Manager James
The first of a
brand-new class of electric multiple-unit paid a surprise visit to
unit's visit to
The same day Peter Adds noted unit no.379002 beside Ilford depot at about 10.00, still marshalled between barrier vehicles.
Council cuts rail funding
In a blow to local rail travel, Norfolk County Council has stopped its annual £40,000 grant to the Bittern and Wherry Lines Partnerships and withdrawn the post of Community Rail Officer. Despite this drastic measure, which comes as part of the current financial review, the Council says that it remains committed to the objectives of rail partnerships.
East Anglian rides again - twice!
National Express East
Anglia has named Class 90 loco no.90008 ‘The East Anglian’. The ceremony took
No. 90008, whose
nameplates are attached to the silver-grey part of the bodyside unlike other named NX-liveried engines, formed the
10.00 train to
The new faster 07.40 Norwich – Liverpool Street (journey time :1 hour 44 mins.) and the 17.00 return are now also officially called The East Anglian, reviving the traditional name for the key business train between Norfolk, Suffolk and the capital.
Big freeze puts paid to Cathedrals Express
The extreme weather
which affected much of the
Ex-LMS Black 5 no.
45305 had been scheduled to haul the train as a replacement for out-of-service
no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell. However the
WiFi goes live
National Express East
Anglia introduced full wi-fi facilities on its
Last year NXEA secured
a contribution of £346,000 from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA)
A major rebuilding
scheme has begun at Colchester North station. NXEA and Network Rail are
reinstating the main south entrance, which will include a ticket office,
relocated customer service office and a WH Smith outlet. Extra shelters will be
provided for passengers boarding
The £2.2m cost of the rebuilding will be met in part by funding from the National Stations Improvement Programme, Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council.
Celebrating 'March 125'
The 125th anniversary of the platforms opening at March station took place on Saturday December 11. The first station at March opened in January 1847, but it was replaced in 1885 by the present station, sited west of the original.
At 08.40 A4 Class 4-6-2 No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley called at the station with the Christmas White Rose excursion from Cambridge to York, after which there were a number of activities for enthusiasts and local residents, arranged by Friends of March Railway Station and Fenland District Council’s Street Pride group. They included performances from March Brass 2000 and March Model Railway Club, and exhibitions and memorabilia displaying changes during the station’s history. Miniature train rides along the platforms were provided by the Fenland Light Railway.
Track death at Cantley
Police and paramedics were called to the railway near Cantley
station on the evening of December 2 after a man was struck by a
Crossing plans raise hackles at Downham Market
Network Rail's plans to do away with the pedestrian crossing at Downham Market station, and force passengers to use the nearby road crossing, have come in for criticism. The Fen Line Users' Association says it is against the change because it merely moves the risk to pedestrians from the railway to the road.
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Miniature
Arrivals and departures at Bressingham
There have been loco changes on Bressingham's 2ft-gauge Nursery Railway too. New-build 0-4-0STT Bevan, named after Bevan Braithwaite, former chairman of Bressingham Steam Preservation Trust who died in 2008, has been retired for rebuilding, and, following the sale of 0-6-0WT Bronllwyd to the Statfold Barn Railway, the SBR's Hunslet 0-4-0ST Statfold and Baguley Drewry diesel no.3782 were hired for the rest of the season. A new boiler for Hunslet 0-4-0ST Bill Harvey/George Sholto is awaited, and once it arrives the loco will be reassembled ready for the 2011 season.
On the 15"-gauge
line, the dismantled
Sheringham crossing starts to earn its keep
Reopened a year ago, Sheringham level crossing saw a disappointing lack of activity during the remainder of 2010. However the NNR has announced that so far three railtours have been planned for this year.
The first, on March
26, will be a Railway Touring Company Broadsman
Visiting locomotives for the NNR's March steam gala have been announced as GWR 4-4-0 City of Truro in its new livery, J72 0-6-0T no. 69023, and LMS Jinty 3F 0-6-0T no.47406. They will join three locos from the NNR-based fleet.
B12 boiler passes test, moves to Bury
An important milestone
in the restoration of the M&GNJRS's B12
Shortly afterwards the boiler was moved by road to the Bury works of Riley & Son (E) Ltd. Already at Bury were the B12's tender, which had arrived from Weybourne the week before, and the loco's bottom end.
The B12 last steamed in summer 2007. The M&GNJRS says that its return to traffic still looks some way off, but the successful steam test of the boiler means that 'the overhaul has certainly entered the home straight'.
New passenger record for the
Figures released in January show that a total of 143,991 travelled on North Norfolk Railway trains in 2010, a rise of over 13% on the 2009 total and the railway’s highest-ever passenger total. General manager Trevor Eady attributes the record figures to three key factors: the reopening of Sheringham level crossing, doubling the number of trains run in May and June, and introducing new events like the visit of Ivor the Engine.”
Work progresses on
The Stratford Class 47 Group owns three Class 47 diesel locos, two of which are Norfolk-based and undergoing repair.
At the North Norfolk Railway's Weybourne works, work continues to prepare no.47367 for the 2011 operating season. A swap of the no.1 end bogie has been accomplished with the assistance of hydraulic lifting gear, and the bodyside repaint requires just one final top coat once all other work has been completed. Attention has also been given to the roof section, replacing rotted sections prior to a planned repaint into blue.
Meanwhile the power unit of no.47596 Aldeburgh Festival is undergoing a lengthy rebuild at the Mid-Norfolk Railway's Dereham yard. In October the main crankshaft bearings were removed for inspection, a very difficult task on a Sulzer power unit as it involves the removal of twelve 35kg balance weights as well as bearing wedges and locking plates. A replacement roof has been sourced and painted.
The Group's third loco
is Network Rail-registered no 47580
Hudswell-Clarke 0-6-0ST Wissington has returned to the North Norfolk Railway. Now at Weybourne, it needs further work on axleboxes and the cab floor. Once that is done reassembly will begin using the new gantry crane and the synchronised jacks.
Built in 1936, Wissington spent its working life
at the British Sugar Corporation factory in west
HST to visit Mid-Norfolk
Another 'first' for the Mid-Norfolk Railway is planned for Saturday May 14, when an East Midlands Trains HST set arrives as a charter service, run in aid of the 'Railway Children' charity. The HST's appearance will be part of a special weekend with a 'Drags and Rescues' theme.
Built in 1950 by
Charles Roberts & Co of
The EATM has concluded a loan agreement with Beamish and hopes that no.513 will join the museum’s fleet of four operating tramcars during the early part of this year's season.
Away from the Tracks
Southwold documents go 'home'
The archives of the Southwold Railway Trust, which is planning a heritage site close to the old Wenhaston station (NRS NL 55/6), have received a welcome addition. A local firm of solicitors discovered in its attic a tin box full of documents relating to the closure of the railway, and have donated them to the Trust.
The documents were amassed by the official receivers for the SR. They cover such things as rent for coal yard space and ex-railway cottages in Halesworth, as well as records of payments received and due. There is also an inventory of items which the Army removed during WWII for the war effort.
A good year at Cromer box
The Cromer Railway Signalling Society, which restores and maintains the Grade II-listed ex-M&GN signal box at Cromer, has made good progress in 2010. In his report to the Society's AGM in November, the Society's Chairman, John Hodgkinson summarised the achievements during the year.
The Community Payback Unit had dug a trench from the road to the signal box, enabling a water supply to be installed. The permanent way hut would soon be back into use as a display area for photographs and artefacts. Inside the box itself the frame's levers had now been painted in their correct colours.
The renovation has been greatly helped by a grant from the Railway Heritage Trust.
Saviour of Wymondham station retires
David Turner, proprietor of the Brief Encounter restaurant at Wymondham station, has retired from the business. In a ceremony on February 2 guests paid tribute to his hard work in bringing dilapidated buildings back to life and providing a tourist attraction for the town.
When Mr Turner leased the station buildings from British Rail in the 1980s, they had stood unoccupied for around twenty years and were ripe for demolition. He converted the main (down side) building into a piano showroom and 'Brief Encounter' restaurant, the latter decorated with memorabilia from the eponymous David Lean film as well as an assortment of enamel signs and other railwayana. For a while a Hornby O-gauge layout occupied the up side waiting room.
Over the years the station has won several awards, and in January the restaurant appeared in one of Michael Portillo's Great Railway Journeys on BBC2.
After interior refurbishment, the premises will reopen as the Station Bistro on March 1.
Final nail in Hunstanton branch's coffin?
Any lingering hopes that the Hunstanton branch could re-open in some form have been dealt a blow by West Norfolk Council. It has written to Hunstanton Town Council explaining that it will not protect the remainder of the branch's route from development. In a number of locations building has taken place on or close to the trackbed, and this, according to the Council, 'clearly limits any potential redevelopment....for rail use'. It may, instead, become a leisure route for cyclists and walkers. Norfolk County Council has also said that there is little likelihood of a rail proposal coming forward.
The line to Hunstanton from
The lamp, which came complete with correct style “BR(E)” vessel and LNER burner, was sold for £340 plus 10% buyer's premium.