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Norwich – Liverpool capacity promised as Stagecoach is awarded East Midlands prize
new East Midlands franchise has been won by Stagecoach Midland Rail, a
subsidiary of Stagecoach Group plc. The franchise
combines current Midland Mainline routes with the eastern portion of Central
Trains, which includes Norwich – Liverpool services.
the announcement on June 22, the DfT said that
Stagecoach’s tenure will last from November 11 until April 1 2015. The company
will receive a subsidy to begin with, but pay a premium later on.
Stagecoach has made a number of commitments among which is a 35% increase in
capacity on Norwich-Liverpool weekday services.
parties in the bidding process were Arriva, First Group and National Express
Ely line blocked after freight derailment
line between Bury St Edmunds and Ely has been closed after an
EWS aggregate train derailed near Ely.
around 03.00 on June 22 the 6L58 21:19 Lafarge working from Mountsorrel to Chelmsford hauled by no. 60068 derailed on a
single-track bridge near Ely Dock Jct. Eleven of the train’s 37 wagons
overturned, damaging the bridge which crosses the River Ouse.
services between Liverpool Street and Peterborough via Ipswich are running only
as far as Bury St. Edmunds, with replacement buses operating between there and
Ely. Ipswich – Cambridge trains are not affected. Freight trains
are diverted either via Stratford and the GN main line or via Cambridge, where
the loco runs round. On the latter route, there is only one path an hour
in each direction.
a 1,000-tonne crane was required to remove the wagons from the marshy fenland
location, Network Rail had to build a temporary road and bring in around 20,000
tonnes of stone and plastic mesh to build a stable
the wagons had been recovered, the task of rebuilding the bridge was expected
to last several months. The bridge was built to take two tracks, but only
one was laid and this will be perpetuated with the new structure.
light for Thameslink project
Secretary Ruth Kelly has approved the £5.5bn Thameslink
will deliver a dramatic increase in capacity. The first phase of
improvements will be delivered by 2011, and by 2015 24 12-carriage trains will
run through London every hour to destinations including Cambridge, Peterborough
and King's Lynn.
plans formed part of the White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Railway announced
on July 24, which "guaranteed a railway that will expand to carry at least
180 million more passengers a year".
90 maintains the colour mix
no. 90036 left, one hired a replacement Class 90 from EWS, keeping some variety
in its main-line fleet. On June 11 RfD-liveried
no. 90027 Allerton T&RS Depot arrived at Crown
Point Depot, and made its first revenue-earning
trip on June 15, powering the 10.30 Norwich – Liverpool Street. It worked
regularly until it left on Sunday July 8, nos. 90036 and 90003 having returned
the previous day.
Namings celebrate East Anglian heroes
heroic figures have been commemorated in local rail naming events.
a ceremony held on July 2 at the Port of Felixstowe's
historic dock basin, hired-in shunter no. 08484 was
named after Captain Nathaniel Darell. 340 years
ago, on July 2 1667, Captain Darell led a garrison of
musketeers which successfully repelled a Dutch invasion. No. 08484
provides support to the Port of Felixstowe’s no.
01531 Colonel Tomline.
First Capital Connect marked the 250th anniversary of Captain George
Vancouver’s birth by putting his name to 4-car unit no. 3656514. Born in
King's Lynn in 1757, Captain Vancouver was the first to chart the North
American northwest coast with accuracy. The naming was carried out on
June 22 at King’s Lynn station by Elaine Holt, FCC's Managing Director, and the
Mayor of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Cllr Kathy Mellish.
No. 365514 then formed FCC's 11:56 service to King’s Cross.
trains for one
days of Class 90 and DVTs on the GEML could be numbered. one is reported to have issued a tender for the supply of
between 20 and 30 new 4-car electric multiple-units. The new vehicles are
required to project a quality image, have a top speed of 100 mph with high
acceleration and be capable of operating on both long and short distance
services. They would be brought into service in June 2009.
to the airshow
loco-hauled trains between Norwich and Lowestoft were
again laid on this year for the Lowestoft Seafront
Airshow. Doing the honours on July 26 and 27
were nos.47818 and 47828, while DVT no. 82112 became the first of its class to
travel between Reedham Junction and Lowestoft.
waiting at Littleport
new waiting shelter has been opened at Littleport
station, between Ely and Downham Market.
The shelter, on the London-bound platform, replaces one which was damaged by
fire in 2005. It was officially opened on July 4 by Joy Ducker, who lives
locally, travels regularly by First Capital
Connect and is a former railway worker.
end of July saw three rail-related deaths in our region in as many days.
July 24 unit no. 153311 forming the 16.43 Cambridge – Ipswich was involved in a
fatality at Cherry Hinton. After passengers had been detrained the
unit ran back empty to Crown Point depot via Cambridge.
following day a man died at Keswick level crossing outside Norwich after being
struck hit by the 1340 Norwich – Cambridge service. The unit involved was
on July 26 a fatality occurred the London side of
Ipswich at about 06.00. Several trains were cancelled and a replacement
bus service ran between Colchester and Ipswich.
improves around the region
a fifth successive period, one's train services during June chalked up a
punctuality figure over 90%. In the 4 weeks to 21 July, 91.3% of services
arrived at destination “on time”, i.e. within 10 minutes (InterCity) or 5
minutes (others) of the published time. This, claims one, is the most
consistent period of performance since the franchise began in 2004 and one of
the best periods in the past 15 years.
Norwich / Ipswich / Harwich / Clacton / Colchester /
Braintree / Chelmsford – London: 89.8%
Rural routes out of Norwich and Ipswich: 92.2%
Trains also registered an improvement. Between January and March, over
86% of CT services arrived on time – a huge 11.6% increase over the same period
proclaim Wherry and Bittern message
the unveiling of a dmu with a 'Chapelfield'
message (NRS Newsletter May/June) two more Class 156s have received promotional
Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership was formed in 1997. To mark a
decade of progress and soaring passenger numbers, 2-car unit no. 156417 was
unveiled at Norwich station on June 29. It carried a (slightly
uninspired?) bodyside message, and was fitted with
new seat covers, carpets and Bittern Line table designs.
Wherry Lines CRP’s turn came on July 25, when unit
no. 156407 was unveiled in a ceremony at Great Yarmouth station. The bodysides read ‘Ride the Wherry
Lines’, and the tables carry a route map. Peter Lawrence said that the Wherry Lines CRP, which he chairs, was delighted to play
its part in promoting and expanding rail services between Norwich, Great
Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
more dmu brandings are expected before September.
CT is keeping the customers happy
satisfaction with Central Trains is at its highest since 1999, according to the
spring 2007 National Passenger Survey figures which
were released on June 5. The national figures for customer satisfaction
over the previous six months fell, but CT continues to make a steady
improvement. The CT franchise ends this November. Its routes and
stations will be split between three new franchises.
Trains’ facilities and services were rated ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory’ by 83% of
passengers, the highest percentage ever. The equivalent figure for sister
company one was 72%.
18 saw yet another instance of the OHL problems which have plagued the
GEML. Unit no.360106 on the 11.18 Liverpool St – Harwich brought down the
line at Kelvedon, and as a result train services
between Liverpool Street and Norwich, Clacton and
Braintree were severely disrupted and bus shuttles were introduced between
Witham and Colchester. Engineers’ efforts had restored services by 19.00
Narrow-Gauge and Miniature
2ft-gauge stock for Bressingham
Gardens’ 2-ft gauge Nursery Line has received some new rolling stock, thanks to
Bevan Braithwaite, lifelong rail enthusiast and chairman of the trustees of Bressingham Steam Preservation Co Ltd. New arrivals
include an ex-NCB 1991 Hunslet battery-electric
locomotive and three bogie coaches from the Southport Pier Railway.
stock comes from the 40-acre Cambridgeshire site of
TWI. As TWI's Chief Executive, Mr Braithwaite
established a 'people mover' tramway to transport staff and visitors between
the main building and the restaurant. However he has left TWI and the tramway
Steam Dream comes true
the delight of M&GNJRS members and visitors alike, the North Norfolk
Railway realised its
long-awaited ‘Steam Dream’ on the weekend of June 30/July 1 when all three of
its GER-designed locomotives – B12 4-6-0 no. 61572, J15 0-6-0 no.65462 and N7
0-6-2 no. 69621 – worked together together in
preservation for the first time. Joining them on the Saturday was SR BoB 4-6-2 no. 34081 92 Squadron.
61572 was double-headed on all its workings as it was running on reduced boiler
pressure. It will be 'spare engine' until the NNR's Steam Gala (Aug 31 -
Sept 2) when it will be retired on the expiration of its boiler ticket.
From Halesworth to County
signal box which once stood at Halesworth has been
moved to County School, northern outpost of the Mid-Norfolk Railway.
After semaphore signalling was abolished on the East
Suffolk line, Halesworth box was preserved in the
grounds of a local school. It was offered to the MNR in 2004 and this
year the school needed it removed. It was delivered to County School on
July 31 and placed on a newly-built blockwork locking
at the top of Bramley tree
Downs, chairman of the Wisbech & March Bramley Line Group has stepped down after four years.
Mr Downs resigned at an emergency general meeting,
saying, "I feel it is time for me to take a back seat....maybe a change at
the top will move the project forward faster."
Ex-railwayman Brian Bayliss,
previously vice-chairman, takes his place. He promised members that he
would do all he could to ensure the scheme succeeded. “Like many people”, he
added, “I want to see trains running to and from Wisbech
again. I am looking not only for financial support but also for more members”.
District Council has promised to help towards reopening the line.
hits out at ‘road bridge bill’ story
reports that the Mid-Norfolk Railway will have to pay £50,000 - £65,000 towards
a road bridge strengthening programme have been criticised as 'inaccurate and unhelpful’. Three
bridges over the line, at Whinburgh, Hardingham and Wymondham, need to be reinforced to carry ever-increasing
lorry weights, but at the MNR’s AGM on June 23, chairman
Barry Woodgett said that the bill which the MNR needs
to foot is way below the figures quoted in the local press, and will not jeopardise the railway’s expansion plans.
bridge strengthening work began on July 30, and will involve some road
Scot to steam again later this year?
target completion date for Bressingham's ex-LMS 7P
4-6-0 no. 6100 Royal Scot has slipped once again. The boiler has been
rebuilt by Chatham Steam of Rochester, Kent and is
expected shortly to be reunited with the chassis at the Southall site of the London Mainline Steam Group.
After painting, main-line tests are likely to take place at the end of the
carriage sheds complete
North Norfolk Railway's Bridge Road carriage sheds at Holt were completed on
June 10. 'The two sheds, each with two sidings, will provide covered
storage for the NNR's historic rolling stock and protect them from damage
caused by sun and rain. The sheds can store 14 carriages, or 11 plus the
cost £419,000, with around three-quarters coming in the form of a grant from
the Heritage Lottery Fund.
on miniature lines
is needed on two of our smaller lines.
Bure Valley Railway wishes to recruit an extra member
of staff to assist with operating and maintaining the 15" gauge
line. The job will entail signalling and
travelling on trains as well as maintaining the track and rolling stock
Candidates, who should be medically fit, have railway experience and be over 23
years of age, are asked to write to the BVR's General Manager, Andrew Tunwell, before July 30, outlining their previous
the 101/4" Wells & Walsingham Light Railway there’s an acute shortage
of volunteer guards. People who could carry out
this important job, say just once a month, would be welcome. Obviously
all necessary training would be given first. Anyone able to help should
telephone Cdr. Roy Francis at Wells station (tel. 01328 711630) or Ray Smith
(tel. 01328 710242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org )
GWR 56XXs in one year!
there a GWR tank fanatic in the NNR’s scheduling department? The North
Norfolk Railway will have hosted three different members of the Collett 56xx 0-6-2T class this year, if all goes to plan.
April no. 6619, based on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway visited for a few
days. Then, while ex-SR BoB 4-6-2 no. 34081 92
Squadron was away at the Swanage Railway's 'End of
Southern Steam' Anniversary, Swanage-based no. 6695
worked the successful NNR Vintage Transport Weekend (July 7/8). The third
56xx to visit the NNR will be the Furness Railway Trust's no. 5643, due to
arrive in mid-August at about the same time as 9F 2-10-0 no.92203 Black Prince.
56xx class was designed to haul Welsh coal trains. Of the 200 built,
eight now survive.
from the tracks
alpacas at Whitwell
old Whitwell & Reepham station is once again on
April Broadland Council approved plans to convert the
the ex-M&GN station building, which stands
alongside the Marriott,’s Way footpath, into a
private house. Residential development well outside a settlement limit is
usually refused without unusually compelling reasons, but councillors
gave the go-ahead on learning that the 1882 building was the last remaining
example of its type. The owners had recently bought the station from
Norfolk Property Services. They intended to live there and graze alpacas
on the land.
after ‘a change of circumstance’ the owners put the station back on the
market. TOPS Auctions offered the station building and the nearby goods
shed (or 'former engine shed' according to the sale particulars) at a guide
price of £300,000 – £350,000, but it failed to attract a buyer.
show switches venue once more
brief forays to Norwich Sport Village and the Norfolk Showground, next year's
Norwich Model Railway Club exhibition, on Saturday March 29, will be at another
new venue: the Hewitt School, Cecil Road, Norwich.
interested in exhibiting should contact Paul Whiting the club secretary as soon
as possible. He can be reached on 01603 432270 or email@example.com