A small M&GNJ query

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by Calthrop, 11 Feb 2019.

  1. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    Something of a potential oddity, if a "small-time" one. After the end, w.e.f. March 2nd 1959, of the former Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway system as a connected passenger-carrying whole; a considerable amount of the system survived for freight only -- though most of that, for only another decade or less.

    One of these sections which kept freight services for a time, was the twenty-odd-mile one from South Lynn eastward to East Rudham. According to Wikipedia, East Rudham lost its freight service w.e.f. April 3rd 1967 -- and per Wiki, all stations between South Lynn and there had closed to freight previously to that date: so one infers, abandonment of the whole line as from 3 / 4 / 67. However, I remember with total certainty, travelling in summer 1967 -- July, I very much think -- with pre-arranged permission, in the brake van of the freight which ran several times a week between South Lynn and East Rudham. This would seem to indicate that Wiki is inaccurate re the closure date. Would be grateful to hear from anyone who is knowledgeable as regards when this section actually closed.
     
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  3. Tio Terry

    Tio Terry Member

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    The only trains I remember running after the official closure to freight were the scrap recovery trains.
     
  4. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    "Forgotten Railways: Vol 7 East Anglia" by R S Joby (David and Charles, 1985) says on page 51 "Passenger trains ceased on 28th February 1959 but goods trains continued from King's Lynn to East Rudham for a further nine years." which by my reckoning is 1968 and therefore a year after your 1967 trip! Regrettably the book does not mention why this section was left to freight traffic for so long. I note from maps there appears to be some form of works close to the station at East Rudham, and wonder if BR perhaps had to fulfil a contract with them?
     
  5. mailbyrail

    mailbyrail Member

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    Closure wasn't straightforward.
    The line from South Lynn to Melton Constable closed for passenger on 2.3.59
    The line East Rudham - Melton Constable closed for goods 2.3.59 Stations remained open for goods Starting from South Lynn the goods stations were
    Hardwick Road Siding
     
  6. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    My thanks, gentlemen. In the light of the quote from "Forgotten Railways...", I'm inclined to the theory that Wiki is a year "out" as regards the date. If final closure had indeed been w.e.f. 3 / 4 / 68, instead of '67; that would jibe well with the quoted "further nine years" -- in fact a fraction over nine, i.e. March 1959 to April 1968.

    I've understood that at East Rudham there was a big agriculture-related source of traffic, presumably the works per the maps (I seem to recall mention of a grain-drying establishment, but have nothing that I can cite re that), which was anyway, the main reason for retaining the line for freight as far as E.R. The brake-van trip I made, was delightful; but at nearly 52 years' distance, my specific memories of it are a bit fragmentary; including any details of what there actually was at the line's end. I am pretty sure that the train was of a quite respectable length -- at least a dozen wagons.

    I'm toying with the idea of contacting Wiki and offering them a potential correction re the date...
     
  7. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    @mailbyrail -- sorry ! -- we seem to be leapfrogging each other...
     
  8. mailbyrail

    mailbyrail Member

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    Sorry should read -
    Closure wasn't straightforward.
    The line from South Lynn to Melton Constable closed for passenger on 2.3.59
    The line East Rudham - Melton Constable closed for goods 2.3.59 Stations between remained open for goods
    Starting from South Lynn the goods stations were:
    Hardwick Road Siding (public) closed 19.4.65
    Gayton Road goods closed 18.4.66
    Grimston Road goods closed 19.4.65
    Hillington goods closed 19.4.65
    Massingham goods, parcels & Miscellaneous traffic closed 1.1.66
    East Rudham goods, parcels & miscellaneous traffic closed 3.4.67
    East Anglian Grain Company private siding at East Rudham closed 6.5.68
    Line closed completely 6.5.68
     
  9. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    @mailbyrail -- ah, thanks ! This would seem to clear it up: East Rudham station itself closed 3 / 4 / 67, in respect of anything "miscellaneous"; line remained open to E.R. purely for traffic to / from the grain outfit's private siding, until 6 / 5 / 68. I presume that on the occasion of my summer '67 journey, I knew about this subtlety, or was told about it by the train crew; but memory of any of that, is one of many swept away by the passage of half a century.
     
  10. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    Interestingly a 1952 6in:Mile map of the station at East Rudham doesn't show these works, so I wonder if they were set up in the late 1950s and BR had a ten-year contract with them?
     
  11. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    Interesting info -- "food for thought" along more than one line. In the late 1950s, passenger closure of the M&GN system, and total closure of much of it, was on BR's agenda with certainty -- that being so, their lumbering themselves with such a ten-year contract could seem a bit surprising. But, 20 / 20 hindsight and all that -- presumably BR didn't see themselves as omniscient about every detail of the future.
     
  12. trebor79

    trebor79 Member

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    How did a line like this operate as a (presumably infrequent) freight only operation?
    I'm guessing as a "long siding" with all signals removed and secondman/fireman/guard operating the crossing gates?
     
  13. mailbyrail

    mailbyrail Member

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    The 1956 handbook of stations lists two locations for East Anglian Grain Company, the other being in Alexandra Dock Kings Lynn.
    Both the 1955 and 1952 OS maps show a siding to the East of the station goods yard which is not shown on the 1907 map. This may well have been the grain siding. Unfortunately there don't seem to be any maps at a suitable scale between these dates.
    The two company locations were probably covered by one contract which might have required E Rudham to remain open until the end of the contract.
     
  14. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    Possibly as 'one engine in steam' with a single train staff? This was how the former line from Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead worked from 1968 until final closure in 1979 as electrification works started on the Midland Main Line. It served the Hemelite Block making company who leased the line as a siding from BR. (The train staff is now in the collection of the St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust.)
     
  15. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    Again -- after so much passage of time, there are many details of the run which I don't recall (and any notes which I may then have made, have unfortunately not survived): including, signals or none? and "long siding" / train staff procedure matters -- do believe that I recall the train crew working the crossing gates. Am still in touch with the friend with whom I made this trip; it would be worth asking him if he remembers any aspects of it, that I've forgotten.
     

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