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NorfolkNog

The Lost Railways Of The Broads

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We went on a coach trip from Fort William to Oban and the road follows the coast most of the way. One of the bridges we crossed seemed a little unusual and as we exited it the road turned sharp right, but before we turned I got a glimpse of a gap cut between some rocky land which was wide enough for a single track railway.

On the return journey after crossing the bridge I could see for quite a few miles that a railway had followed the road, and in some parts actually run along the road, in other parts I noticed the remains of iron/steelwork where the railway had hung out over the sea. 

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That sounds like you crossed Connel Bridge, Originally a road rail bridge like Sutton. it was built for the now, long gone, Ballachulish branch line.

220px-Connel_Bridge_by_Memestorm[1].jpg

crossed it once myself when Our ferry from Oban broke down and we had to drive up to Mallaig to catch another one..

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3 hours ago, TheQ said:

That sounds like you crossed Connel Bridge, Originally a road rail bridge like Sutton. it was built for the now, long gone, Ballachulish branch line.

220px-Connel_Bridge_by_Memestorm[1].jpg

crossed it once myself when Our ferry from Oban broke down and we had to drive up to Mallaig to catch another one..

That's the one . . . thanks.

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I thought this may be a place to show this scrap of paper. It must be from a very old Broads guide but how old, I don’t know.

I have a vague memory of collecting a load of timber from a yard and having to be careful not to twist an ankle on the rails sunken into the yard's surface. It would have been in the early 90’s when I was driving articulated lorries for a living and I think it was GY.

Old broads guide2.jpg

Old broads guide1.jpg

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That's very interesting, many thanks for posting.

The first map shows the old M and GN railway which closed in the late 50's including Breydon Viaduct and the former Yarmouth Beach Station as well as Yarmouth South Town. I guess this would date it around the early fifties, maybe even earlier. The line from Yarmouth running up the coast and on to North Walsham via Potter Heigham and Stalham can just be seen at the far right of the map.

I believe Breydon viaduct closed around 1954. Yarmouth Beach Station closed in 1959 although South Town didn't close until 1970. Its possible that you may have been to either of these - the Beach station site remained for a good few years and was used as a coach park although its quite likely some of the old track could still be seen.

The railway bridge shown over the Bure was demolished in the 70's I believe - the existing girder bridge, now a footbridge was used for a tram system linking the docks.

These old maps really do give a sense of how extensive the rail network was back in the day!

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Howard,

I've just looked at the Berney Arm website and found there was a link line between the Beach station and the line near to Vauxhall station. It went alongside the White Swan which some oaf has now painted black!

From 1994 to 2012 I drove for the famous pocket-slapping supermarket now in the Vauxhall goods yard. As the road goes behind the station next to the river, I remember seeing a flat bottomed, double ended punt like boat with what looked like a home made cabin. I have a time-lapse type memory of this boat slowly disintegrating over the years until nothing was left. It looks a bit cleaner round there now according to Google streetview.

I don't remember ever going to any of the defunct stations. I never used the Beach station as a lorry park either but there are a couple of original canopy supports with the railway company's logo cast into them at the entrance.

Floyd.

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The railway lines are marked "BR" (British Railways) which would mean the map is after nationalisation in 1948. 

From 1923 to 1948, the Acle line would be marked LNER.

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23 minutes ago, floydraser said:

link line between the Beach station and the line near to Vauxhall station. It went alongside the White Swan which some oaf has now painted black!

I think that would be the old tram way line which went over the (now) footbridge. I think some of the track did remain for quite a while as I think the tram way ran on or beside the road so could quite likely be the ones you remember.

Black! shocking! Is it a take away or something similar now?

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1 minute ago, NorfolkNog said:

Black! shocking! Is it a take away or something similar now?

Looks like it according to Google. Painted over history!

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For those interested in where old railway lines went, or how the country has changed in other ways, I'd highly recommend the National Library of Scotland web site at https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=5&lat=56.0000&lon=-4.0000&layers=1&b=1

They have lots of old OS maps, which are "georeferenced" so you can overlay them on modern maps or, if on a device with GPS, show where you are on them.

I followed along on a recent bus journey across the South Wales Valleys and was surprised at how much of the time the map showed us running along a railway line. In some cases it was fairly obvious (road on an embankment with lots of underbridges), in other cases you'd never know.

In the centre of Cardiff there is a pedestrian underpass of a rather unusual design - this is because it used to be the now defunct Glamorganshire Canal.

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20 hours ago, NorfolkNog said:

I think that would be the old tram way line which went over the (now) footbridge. I think some of the track did remain for quite a while as I think the tram way ran on or beside the road so could quite likely be the ones you remember.

As Howard says the line from Vauxhall over the Bure to the docks were a tram way.

But I do seem to remember seeing a picture of a steam shunting engine emerging from between two buildings roughly opposite where the main entrance to the yacht station is. This would have been along the route of the old Yarmouth Union Railway which left the main line just outside Beach Station and ran past the Swan before joining the tramway just before Vauxhall bridge.

Perhaps the line over the Bure in the middle of the Yacht Station followed some of the same route?

I definitely remember in the late 50s/early 60s, a level crossing gate between two buildings roughly opposite the Yacht Station main entrance. I would imagine the line would have been out of use by then.

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1 hour ago, webntweb said:

I definitely remember in the late 50s/early 60s, a level crossing gate between two buildings roughly opposite the Yacht Station main entrance. I would imagine the line would have been out of use by then.

On the Berney Arms website there is a photo of the gate at the side of the White Swan, is that the one?

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5 hours ago, Coryton said:

For those interested in where old railway lines went, or how the country has changed in other ways, I'd highly recommend the National Library of Scotland web site at https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=5&lat=56.0000&lon=-4.0000&layers=1&b=1

Oh my word! I am going to play for hours on there! Thanks for posting this.

Just as it is, it shows the tramway down to the quay but no bridge over Breydon. Fascinating.:default_eusa_dance:

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58 minutes ago, floydraser said:

On the Berney Arms website there is a photo of the gate at the side of the White Swan, is that the one?

It may be but I seem to remember it further back, nearer the entrance to the Yacht Station. Could be my memory playing tricks.

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Just looked at Coryton's map link and it is shown as a tram way which does cross a road about where the Yacht Station entrance is. 

Now I'll probably have to spend lots of time looking for the photo of a steam shunter that I thought I could remember.

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The line definitely was still beside the swan in the 60's Second picture shows a Diesel shunter but the first one is of the double ended skirted shunters used between the Quay and Vauxhall

quay rail.jpg

swan rail.jpg

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12 minutes ago, FairTmiddlin said:

The line definitely was still beside the swan in the 60's Second picture shows a Diesel shunter but the first one is of the double ended skirted shunters used between the Quay and Vauxhall

quay rail.jpg

swan rail.jpg

Crikey, imagine the health and safety issues that would cause today!

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On 07/06/2019 at 21:29, floydraser said:

I thought this may be a place to show this scrap of paper. It must be from a very old Broads guide but how old, I don’t know.

I have a vague memory of collecting a load of timber from a yard and having to be careful not to twist an ankle on the rails sunken into the yard's surface. It would have been in the early 90’s when I was driving articulated lorries for a living and I think it was GY.

Old broads guide2.jpg

Old broads guide1.jpg

The Beccles line out of Southtown closed Late 58 early 59. As I remember Eastern Counties put on a bus service through  from  Yarmouth St Peters road bus station to Beccles, basically following the line to St Olaves then through Haddiscoe dam. I couldn't have been 7 yet when it started. The line at St Olaves went across the A143 just past the Herringfleet road to Somerleyton.

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The charts are from Hamilton's Navigations. My copy is the 34th edition from 2001 and doesn't have the 56 In the box top left or 'BR' on the rail line down from the swing bridge. Could the '56' be the date of publication?

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2 hours ago, stumpy said:

The charts are from Hamilton's Navigations. My copy is the 34th edition from 2001 and doesn't have the 56 In the box top left or 'BR' on the rail line down from the swing bridge. Could the '56' be the date of publication?

It's amazing what you see when you stare for long enough; I've just spotted reference to "map C or F" at the top of the first map so I think C/56 probably refers to a continuation map.

I found this scrap in my Father's stuff after he passed away in 1996 and I was always fascinated by it. I think there is something in the DNA because one of my Grandsons has the entire London Underground system memorised. Dad and his brothers had a holiday on the Broads sometime between 1945 and 1952 when he got hitched.

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