Gresley and Champion bring pre-Christmas double delight
First to arrive was D1015 Western Champion, the only
‘Western’ registered for main line use. Pathfinder
This is thought to be the first time one of the class
has hauled a train to
Just an hour after the ‘Western’, a familiar chime heralded the arrival of A4 4-6-2 no. 60007Sir Nigel Gresley with Steam Dreams’ Cathedrals Express, carrying passengers bound for a carol concert in Norwich cathedral.
Barriers go in at
In the battle to prevent fare evasion, automatic ticket
barriers are springing up at many large stations. Now a set is being installed
Designed to make only minimal impact on the appearance of the Grade 2 listed building, the barriers form part of a low glass wall sealing off the platforms from the shops and general circulation area. On January 24 work had begun on installing the glass panels.
A similar set of ticket barriers is to be installed
Will Cotswold’s Class 47s cope?
Cotswold Rail is reported to have signed a contract with
NXEA under which it will make a ‘Thunderbird’ loco available at
Given the state of CR’s Class 47 fleet, some question the reliability of these arrangements, due to last until 2012.
“6100 Royal Scot will be steaming at Bressingham during the summer....” – so we were promised in last year’s Bressingham leaflet. Unfortunately it didn’t work out quite like that – and now the newly-restored ex-LMS 4-6-0’s main-line debut on February 22, when it was due to head a Steam Dreams Cathedrals Express trip from London to Cambridge and Norwich, has also been postponed.
Nuclear trains return to Leiston
After a gap of more than a year nuclear flask trains are once more collecting spent fuel from Sizewell power station. On the morning of January 27, DRS nos. 37605 and 37259 ran to Leiston where they collected flask wagon no. 550058 and left in the afternoon, running as 6M69.
DRS 37 to the rescue
On Monday February 2, one of the days when snow fell,
The IP08 07:30 Liverpool Street to Norwich, with DVT
no. 82107 leading and no.90003 providing the power, was 35 minute late by the
time it reached Ipswich. After Diss a brake pipe
fractured which required a fitter making the hazardous journey by taxi from
Sunday travel to suffer long-term blight
There will be interruptions to Sunday train travel between
Work has begun on a £150m project to upgrade and
replace equipment and infrastructure along the Great Eastern Main Line:
re-signalling, track renewal and the replacement of overhead line equipment on
stretches of line between
Level crossing fatalities
Three people were killed on local level crossings in January, two of them on the Breckland line.
Trains were delayed or cancelled for several hours on
January 14 after DMU no. 170273 working the 16.38
On January 22 a 21-year-old man died after he was hit
by the 17.56
Six days later, on Palgrave
level crossing 1m. south of Diss,
23-year-old Ben Beckford of
Sort out your swing bridges,
Disagreements about rail versus river traffic at four swing bridges (Trowse, Reedham, Somerleyton and Oulton Broad) have long been a source of dispute (NRS Newsletter June 2002, Feb 2004 etc.). Now an exasperated Broads Authority says it may seek injunctions against Network Rail so that boat users are not inconvenienced by continuing problems. The two sides are to meet in February to try to resolve matters.
Restaurant cars are just fading away
In December NXEA announced that it would end the restaurant
car service on
Under the new system first-class ticket holders have food and drink delivered at their seat, while standard-class passengers need to go to the café bar. Trials of the ‘breakfast offer’ and ‘evening offer’ have begun. Subject to consultation with Trades Unions, early March should see the new arrangements brought in fully.
Ticket office closure proposal rescinded
The future of the part-time station ticket offices at Wymondham,
DfT's new rules could make
The DfT is considering introducing new legislation which would allow ‘minor modifications’ to railway stations to go ahead without full public public consultation. This might make it easier for Lowestoft station to be moved 400m west as part of regeneration company 1st East’s planned redevelopment of Lowestoft town centre.
The East Suffolk Travellers’ Association (ESTA),
representing passengers who use the
Signal faults cause delays
Wednesday December 10 saw major disruption to the
The problems continued into the following morning with NXEA reporting delays of up to 20 minutes, again due to signalling faults. A normal service was restored by 10.30.
RHTT locos leave
With the leaf-fall season at an end, mid-December again
witnessed the impressive sight of DRS locos leaving their Stowmarket
base in convoy for duties elsewhere. No. 57007 hauled nos.57012, 57009 and
57011 on December 15, running as 0Z57
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Miniature
Two Galas just a month apart – that’s what the Mid-Norfolk Railway has lined up for the Spring.
In conjunction with the Stratford Class 47 Group, the MNR
will hold a Class 47 day on Saturday February 28. Five return trips between Dereham and Wymondham will
feature over 100 miles of ex-Stratford loco haulage. While the MNR’s Model Rail Day is taking place at
Then a Spring Gala will take place on Friday March 27 – Sunday March 29, with an intensive timetable on all three days. Subject to availability, the following locos should appear:
•Home fleet: nos. 20069, 31235, 31438, 50019, 56040 (launched into traffic on March 27), 73210
•Visiting Locos (by courtesy of DB Schenker): nos. 37425 (brought out of store), 60059Swinden Dalesman in Loadhaul livery,a Class 66, a Class 67.
Thuxton loop takes shape
After months of planning and fundraising, the Mid-Norfolk Railway’s permanent way team began constructing its new passing loop at Thuxton in mid-January. Once the old track is lifted out, the MNR intends to lay the southern end of the loop this winter and the remainder next year. The new track is being laid on durable hardwood timbers,instead of the normal softwoods.
The loop, to which the NRS is making a donation this year, will allow the MNR to run an hourly service with greater flexibility, instead of every two hours as at present.
B17 Group buys GER tender frames
The group seeking to build two replica
The purchase means that the group now has the basis for both tenders required for its two engines.
No trains across
Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate has approved plans to
reconnect the North Norfolk Railway with the Bittern Line by laying a
long-awaited ‘occasional use’ level crossing across Sheringham’s
A shortage of cash, coupled with difficulty in scheduling a ten-day road closure in order to move power cables outside the holiday season, means that work – which includes slewing the NNR headshunt and altering part of Ottendorf Green – won’t start until the autumn. The opening has therefore been put back to 2010. About £50,000 has already been pledged to the project, but the remainder still has to be raised.
101/4” gauge Garratt to be built at Bury
The sister engine to the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway’s Norfolk Hero will be built not at Norwich as first planned (NRS Newsletter May/Jun 2008) but by engineering students and staff at the West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds. Castings and two rolling engine chassis have been manufactured and delivered to the College, and the boiler is on order from Mervyn Mayes’ Yaxham workshop.
Army and infrastructure trains – all in a day’s work on the MNR!
The MoD test train on September 26 (NRS Newsletter Nov/Dec 2008) has borne fruit. After a gap of several years, the Mid-Norfolk Railway has once again helped transport army vehicles from Robertson Barracks.
Early on January 8 DB Schenker (formerly EWS) loco no. 66157 took a train of empty flat, well and stores wagons to Dereham, with the MNR’s visiting Class 47 no. 47580 providing power from Wymondham. The train was loaded with Scimitars and other army support vehicles and returned behind no.66157 as the 6Z25 Dereham to Didcot. The army vehicles were en route to the Castlemartin training camp in Pembrokeshire.
It was a productive day for the MNR: shortly after
the Army train had left, DRS no.37087 arrived to collect a stoneblower
from Dereham and convey it to
Extra attractions at the NNR’s That’s Yer Lot Gala
The last issue contained details of the five visiting and three home-based locos which are due to appear at the North Norfolk Railway’s That’s Yer Lot Gala on Feb 27 to March 1 and March 7-8 – the biggest event the NNR has ever mounted.
The railway has now published details of extra
attractions. An intensive timetable over both weekends will see four passenger
trains in use. One will be the Gresley 'Quad-Art’
set, whose numbers and ‘LNER’ lettering will have been freshly applied.
Operations will be helped by the fact that Holt signal box will have opened a
few weeks earlier. The newly-launched '
On both Sundays there will be tours by road of the
M&GN in a restored 1959
NNR general manager Geoff Gowing said: "It's unlikely that a steam gala will be held on a similar scale for the foreseeable future, so we urge enthusiasts to come and see this unique spectacle".
More stock for Dereham
As forecast in NRS Newsletter Nov/Dec 2008, another batch of rolling stock arrived at the Mid-Norfolk Railway’s Dereham yard during the Christmas – New Year break.
On the morning of December 27 an extraordinary mixed
bag formed the 6Z53 Norwich Crown Point – Dereham
behind Advenza Class 47 no. 47375. The vehicles were
RES-liveried PCV no.94320, Anglia Railways TSO no.5781, BG no.95228 freshly
painted into BR blood-and-custard, NatEx Mk3s nos.
10229 and 10403 and a BP-branded 4-wheel tank wagon. The two Mk3s, included in
the train for brake force, were taken back to
Reepham to join ‘M&GN 50’ jamboree
The North Norfolk Railway will not be alone in commemorating
the 50th anniversary of the M&GN’s closure. On
February 28 Mike Urry’s rapidly expanding Whitwell
& Reepham station will ceremonially re-open to
the public and stage a Beer Festival. In steam will be Peckett
0-6-0ST no. 2000 of 1942, which once worked at British Sugar in
BVR turns Spitfire’s wheels
Having shuttled over 70,000 miles between Aylsham and Wroxham, the Bure Valley Railway’s 2-6-2 ZB class no.7 Spitfire has had its driving wheels re-profiled at Aylsham workshops. The BVR has had a wheel lathe since 1999, but these are the largest wheels to have been turned there.
Reboilered B12 to return in 2009?
Following a decision by its M&GN Joint Railway Society
owners, the boiler of ex-LNER B12 no. 61572 (NRS Newsletter Sep/Oct
2007) was delivered to Chatham Steam in October. The
The final cost of the overhaul is still expected to
be in the region of £200,000. Donations and enquiries should be addressed to
M&GNJRS, c/o The Station, Sheringham,
Away from the Tracks
Road footbridge offered to local railways
A 40-year-old footbridge which currently spans the former
A11 in Thetford is to be dismantled later this year
and Norfolk County Council thinks it could be suitable for railway use. With a
17.12m span and described as in fair condition, the bridge has been offered to
Orbital company hopes to buy trackbed
A section of the old GER Wymondham
to Wells line south-east of Fakenham is to be
auctioned by Auction House (formerly Tops) on February 17. With a guide price
of £3,000 – £5,000, it consists of a 440-metre length of trackbed,
with ballast but no track. Included are two bridges: one (GER no. 1714) over
the River Wensum and the other (1715) crossing the
path of the M&GN. Overgrown and mainly wooded, the land is said to enjoy
attractive views from the river bridge.
Norfolk County Council has safeguarded it as railway
land in their plan. By agreement with the Mid-Norfolk Railway, the Norfolk
Orbital Railway intends to bid but fears competition from people keen to own a
piece of the GER.
Was it built for Cley’s station master?
On the market at £685,000 through
Between 1846 and the end of the nineteenth century
there were a number of proposals to link Cley and the
neighbouring settlement of Blakeney to established
railways, but none ever came to fruition. The vendor of Station Master’s House
makes the surprising claim that it was built in preparation for the railway’s