Natex wins 28-week reprieve
National Express is being allowed to operate the
Lord Adonis, Transport Secretary of the previous Labour government, last year denied National Express an extension of the franchise until 2014 after it walked away from the prestigious East Coast rail service.
The rehabilitation of Natex in the DfT's eyes has taken industry observers by surprise. One suggestion is that handing the NXEA and c2c franchises to a new operator just before the Olympic Games in 2012 could be seen as foolhardy.
Easterling ruined by Black 5 bearing calamity
aboard The Easterling on September 18 only
got as far as
The trip from London, promoted by the Railway Touring
Company, was headed by LMS Black Five no. 44932, substituting for
out-of-traffic no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell. After
Shortly after arrival at
While some participants vented their annoyance at the
unfortunate Railway Touring Company representatives, WCRC no. 37706 was
summoned from Ilford depot to rescue the Easterlingstock.
Given the choice of returning to
Many injured in
Class 156 NXEA Class 156 2-car dmu no. 156 417 was involved in a serious accident on August 17 when it collided with with a 44-tonne sewage tanker at an unmanned level crossing at Little Cornard, south of Sudbury.
The 'Bittern Line' branded unit was working the 17.31
The articulated lorry had just deposited its load of
sewage at the Anglian Water treatment works and was
returning towards the
Trains on the Sudbury-Marks Tey
branch were replaced by buses for several days during the process to remove the
lorry and dmu with a crane. Now one unit short, NXEA
was unsuccessful in its attempts to obtain a spare from another TOC. As a
result it has restricted many
NXEA's new timetable which
starts in December will see more seats and more trains, both on the main
Among the improvements are:
seats on many peak trains between
and Norwich , and more trains calling at London . Stratford
fast morning peak 07.40
to Norwich service (1 hr 45 mins) and some faster off peak London – Norwich services (1 hr 48 mins). London
evening connections from
to Great Yarmouth. London
new hourly service between
Ipswichand Saxmundham (but Lowestoft/Peterborough to journeys will need a change of trains at London Ipswich).
– Norwich services will operate as three-carriage trains (currently two). Cambridge
Ipswich– trains upgraded to more modern two-carriage trains. Cambridge
extra services each way between
and Great Yarmouth. Norwich
Network Rail has announced that its proposed
The chord, originally dubbed Bacon Factory Curve,
will enable freight trains between Felixstowe and the
Over 300 people attended a public exhibition about the scheme at Ipswich Corn Exchange in June.
The Friends of Brandon Station have been campaigning for four years to bring the station building back into use. Having raised money to cover insurance, they chalked up a significant step with the promise of a short-term lease from Network Rail.
The Friends' aim, according to chairman Stephen Dean, is to refurbish two large rooms, including the booking office, in order to hold FoBS meetings and possibly an exhibition about the station. Smaller rooms could be converted into offices or small shops and the station master's house could become a home once more.
The Association of Community Rail Partnerships held its
annual Awards Ceremony in Westcliff-on-Sea on
September 24. To celebrate Essex's six community rail lines NXEA offered 'The
Essex CRP Day Rover', which cost just £5 and could be used for unlimited travel
on the date printed on the ticket across all NXEA services within Essex (except
on the West Anglia/ Stansted Express route). Thus, in
addition to the main lines between
Overnight wire and signal damage bring long delays
The night and morning of August 25/26 saw
OHL failure at Ingatestone
and signalling problems between Shenfield and
More parking spaces at Diss
Network Rail and NXEA propose to redesign and extend the
Thieves jailed for raiding FCC ticket machines
A Bedfordshire family of three has been sentenced to prison for stealing over £16,000 from railway ticket machines as well as causing £188,000 worth of damage.
The three were found guilty of 57 offences of theft, committed between July 2008 and March 2009 in 21 different locations across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, and Essex. Waterbeach was among the FCC stations affected. Tony Holland, FCC’s Crime Prevention Officer thanked British Transport Police for tracking the criminals down.
Bittern train damaged by vandalism
An estimated £15,000-worth of damage was caused to a Bittern Line dmu after it struck a pile of concrete blocks which had been deliberately placed on the track. The incident took place at Salhouse Station on August 18. Fortunately no-one was injured, but subsequent trains had a speed restriction imposed until NR staff had cleared the track.
Two days later a 20-year-old Romanian man pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates' Court to endangering the safety of people on a railway.
More problems at Somerleyton as lawyers grapple with swing-bridge conundrum
The swing opening times of the Somerleyton bridge (NRS Newsletter Jul/Aug) have been reduced. Three openings per day were causing too much wear on the main bearing, and to minimise the risk of it failing before it can be replaced, NR has cancelled the evening swing, when on average only one boat was using the bridge.
The move comes as the Broads Authority attempts to
put swing bridge maintenance on a legal footing. A draft agreement governing
the operation and maintenance of all of the swing bridges in the
Super Off-Peak sold daily for summer family trips
First Capital Connect extended the availability of its Super
Off-Peak ticket during the school holidays, allowing families to enjoy cheaper
The ticket, which could be booked on line or by
visiting a FCC station on the day of travel, allowed customers to make a return
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and Miniature
A dozen 37s launch Mid-Norfolk's hourly service
An estimated 2,000 visitors flocked from all over the
Mid-Norfolk Railway Class 37 Jubilee
37003 (MNR-based, numbered 37360)
D6729/37029, D6737/37037 (from
37219 (from Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway)
37275 (from Barrow Hill)
37423 and 37601 (Direct Rail Services)
37706 (West Coast Railways)
97301 (prev. 37100) (Network Rail)
Visiting locos began to arrive at around on September 22/23. Two convoys were hauled by
Class 47 no. 47580
MNR-based no. 37003, freshly painted in engineers' grey-and-yellow and numbered 37360 for its first public appearance in preservation, was joined by eleven more examples (see panel) in liveries from BR green right up to current DRS and West Coast schemes.
For the first time, the MNR was able to schedule hourly departures from each terminus, thanks to the newly-commissioned Thuxton passing loop, which had been inspected and approved on September 9 by HMRI representatives.
Two notable events took place on the Saturday. No. 37601 was named Class 37 'Fifty', and nine of the 37s took part in a cavalcade through Dereham station. Most guest locos left the MNR during or shortly after the Gala, but nos. 37029 and 37219 are likely to remain for a few months.
...and one stays in
After the MNR Gala, the
D6737 (later TOPS no. 37037) emerged from the English Electric works in May 1962, just two months after NNR-based classmate no.D6732/37032 which is undergoing long-term overhaul.
Wisbech coach's first public outing
The North Norfolk Railway held a members' day on October 2 when members of the M&GN Society and NNR shareholders could travel free.
A 'Society Special' was formed of Wisbech & Upwell tram coach Irene and M&GN brake van, both making their first public runs on the NNR, and hauled by Hunslet 0-6-0ST Ring Haw.
NNR in the black
At the North Norfolk Railway plc's AGM in July a net pre-tax profit of £187,310 was reported. This marks a significant improvement in the railway's financial position, enabling it to repay its private loans.
The NNR's new chairman is Steve Ashling, an operations manager with Network Rail as well as a long-standing NNR volunteer signalman. Steve's influence with NR led to the reinstatement of Sheringham level crossing earlier this year.
Former chairman David Morgan has become the company’s first president, maintaining his long association with the railway.
After a few false starts, construction of the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway's new
Boiler milestone for Wissington
The M&GNJRS which owns Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST no. 1700 Wissington reports that in August the loco's boiler was steamed for the first time in 38 years. Re-assembly is now under way before the loco moves to Weybourne for further work to the motion, including fitting many new components for the first time.
Wissington is the
subject of a newly-published photographic album covering the engine's working
career on the Wissington Light Railway and
subsequently at the British Sugar factory in west
The book costs £5.50 and is available through the Society's bookshop on Weybourne station or on line. Proceeds will go to the locomotive's maintenance fund.
ALR keeps track of its trains
After 18 months' development, the Ashmanhaugh Light Railway's ever-growing system now includes track circuits. Trains' whereabouts are indicated by LEDs on a track diagram in the signal box.
The ALR's Open Day on September 5 saw four trains running simultaneously for the first time, with the track circuiting enabling the signalman to keep them evenly spaced.
N2 returns to maintain seven-loco gala
LMS 'Jinty' 3F 0-6-0T no.47406 from the Great Central Railway was to have been an additional visitor to the North Norfolk Railway's Steam Gala on September 3 – 5. However the Jinty's injector problems put paid to the plan, and it was replaced by N2 0-6-2T no.1744 – its third visit in a year – meaning that the NNR could still operate a seven-engine event. The other visitors were Black 5 4-6-0 no.44767 George Stephenson, GWR Collett 0-6-2T no. 5619, SR N15 4-6-0 no. 777 Sir Lamiel and BR 9F 2-10-0 no. 92212, while the home fleet was represented by J15 0-6-0 no.65462 and Hunslet 0-6-0ST Ring Haw.
Pannier pushes further north
It's becoming a tradition for visiting pannier tank no. 9466 to end its spell of duty on the MNR with an exploratory trip along the railway's northern extension. Last year (NRS NL 54/5) it went as far as Hoe level crossing. On August 29 this year, its penultimate day on the MNR, it propelled a packed brake van almost as far as bridge no.1701, about a ¼-mile further north, running over rails that had not seen a train for more than 20 years.
Dereham welcomes a 3-CIG
'When's the third rail being laid from Wymondham to Dereham?' Such cracks are coming thick and fast with the news that an ex-Southern Region slam-door emu has joined the Mid-Norfolk Railway fleet.
3-CIG Unit 1497 Freshwater arrived at the MNR on the evening of September 28. Hauled by DRS no. 66705 Golden Jubilee, it formed the 5L05 Bournemouth EMUD - Dereham. The Class 66 brought it as far as the MNR's Wymondham loop, from where electro-diesel no.73210 Selhurst propelled it slowly to Dereham.
The unit has been purchased from South West Trains by the Freshwater Preservation Group. It is one of two class 421 units (originally 4-CIG) which were refurbished and converted to 3-car units for heritage-style use on the Brockenhurst – Lymington Pier branch until withdrawal in May this year. No.1497 will be used primarily with no.73210, but when wired for ETS will be capable of haulage by no.50019 Ramillies, thus acting as either standard hauled stock or a dmu substitute.
Freight set display leaves Wymondham
Since 2002 a short goods train has been on display alongside
Wymondham station, formed of an engine-less Vulcan
Foundry/Drewry diesel shunter
(VF D297 DC 2583 of 1956), a BR pipe wagon and a SECR goods brake van. On
August 27/8 they were removed by low-loader. The shunter
has gone to
Away from the Tracks
Blue plaque for
Great Yarmouth Local History & Archaeological Society
has unveiled a plaque on the Nelson Medical Practice in
When it opened in 1859