From the ‘Short Stories’ series by Oldarticwear
Short Stories that will appear from time to time, Hope you like them.
The Origins of the Thurne Valley Railway
The Thurne Valley Railway grew out of the need of the local population of Thurne with the surrounding villages and neighbouring hamlets to open up this area of East Norfolk and the Broads to the growing population and to get more of the local produce to the larger market towns for the producers. It was decided that a railway would be one of the better means to serve this need, however the main railway companies around this time (late 19th century) had built their railways from London to Norwich and on to Cromer via Wroxham and also Great Yarmouth to Norwich via Acle and Brundall. The Small Hamlet of Thurne felt that they were missing out on these enterprises and so formed the Thurne Valley Railway Company.
This small railway company set up a proposal to run their 'Main Line' from Burgh St. Margaret (Fleggburgh) to the main line on the Norwich Cromer Railway Line via Horning. There would also be 'branch lines' from other villages and hamlets to pick up this 'mainline' on the way. This way they thought they would keep the costs to a more reasonable level and then they could add 'branch lines' as and when required.
The land and surrounding area of this part of Norfolk is generally soggy and boggy land and is very poor ground for a railway but it is very good farming land and the Broads have always been a good way to get around using flat bottomed boats. The railway company thought that it would be a good idea to run their railway by using a narrow gauge track and this would mean that they could use lighter equipment and materials and the lines could be easily removed and re-laid as the land shifted or sunk and rose with flooding and during the mild drought periods that this area sometimes suffered.
By using a narrow gauge railway restricted this railway to just running trains within the local area as the rolling stock could not be run on the Main Lines due to the difference in the gauge of track and the loading gauge.
Although, there were interchange sidings at Hoveton north of the river at Wroxham and this did create employment for porters and Stevedores to load and unload the goods between the different railway companies? trains, with passengers also using these sidings to make their way to the Main Line Station.
The small hamlet of East Dunnet joined in with the railway venture by adding its own branch line from the hamlet to the line about 1.5 miles to the west of Thurne.
This branch line ran a passenger service from the hamlet and goods were dealt with by the addition of the small goods yard facilities that were provided at the station. The local cider producer saw their chance and the farm had its own small line laid from East Dunnet right into the Farm Yard. The Trains from this Farm consisted of one or two wagons and were run into the Goods Yard at East Dunnet. These were then added to the end of a passenger working or attached to a stopping goods train that travelled the whole of this railway line picking up these, the other railway company wagons and vans then leaving one or two of the goods vehicles in the siding with goods for the locals or empty vehicles for the farm. This arrangement meant that the Rosie Cider Farm employed workers from East Dunnet and was able to produce cider that could be exported to many more places had it only been left to travel by road vehicles. This was one of the main reasons this railway line lasted far longer than its contemporaries of the same period.
The trains stopped running at the outbreak of hostilities of the Great War and again during the Second World War and then resumed running after both these great conflicts ended. But the world had changed forever and soon the lines all fell into disrepair due to lack of maintenance, the roads gave more freedom with motor cars and road transport moving at a much faster speeds than this railway, with the last 'Cider Special' running sometime during the middle 1950's.
We now come to the sad truth that the small railway has all vanished now along with the village of East Dunnet and the Rosie Cider Farm to be lost forever in the mists of time and also never to be remembered by anybody..............
The End.......who knows.
© Copyright Author 2017
The Haunted Tunnels of Deyton Heights
It is said by the Rail Road Engineers that if you are very quiet and your Switcher is idling on what is now the lay over spur on the blocked up route to the mid-town on the old Interurban Tram Road then you are sure to hear what sounds like people speaking. These noises seem to turn to shrieks and screaming, just as you are about to leave the spur to carry on your shift. Almost all the new engineers are told that the tunnels are haunted, but no-one has ever seen anything and the tales of the old Tram Road tunnels are passed down from Engineer to Engineer.
This story goes way back to when the tunnels were open and the trams ran from all over the system to get the passengers to their work places and their homes to the department stores and to the main line stations. Rumour has said that one tram engineer was in a hurry to get to the depot to finish his shift and to get home to his family for Christmas. As he approached the last stop before the tram reappeared in the daylight of Deyton Heights the four car Brill accelerated and careered around the last bend about twice the speed it should have. The result was that the last car left the track swept along the platform into the crowd that were waiting to board the tram, it was stopped from getting too far onto the platform because of the pillars that had been put in to hold up the roof as the new redevelopments were being built above the old town. Not long after this terrible accident that had caused so much death and destruction the old Mid-Town route was closed as fewer and fewer people wanted to use the tram roads that were decreasing as the city expanded and rebuilt itself into the sky with the huge enormous skyscrapers we see today.
And that's how it was with the rest of the old interurban tram system, as the new buildings went up the tram roads closed. The yard to the station is about the only last remnants of a once extensive tram system that criss-crossed the City under and over the streets the main reason this section is still used is because of its close proximity to the station and the Commissary Building along with the Machine Shop that uses the rail road to bring in its supplies and to ship its merchandise out......... Some say that in the future, the trams will make a return.............
Who Knows?.................................The End ?© Copyright Author 2017
Christmas Ghost Story
One late December's afternoon the frost was a good old fashioned hoar variety, everywhere seemed to have sharp looking needles of the frost, from the branches of trees and bushes to the window ledges and roofs and gutters of all the surrounding buildings. We hadn't had this build up of frost for a few years I thought, as I was measuring up the old station platform for the latest renovations that were to be undertaken in the very near future.
During my research of this station, I had read about a terrible accident at the ends of the platforms where the track converged when an up express that had just cleared the platform and careered into the goods train, that apparently started to leave the goods avoiding loop on to the main line and as the two trains merged together on the track, a down passenger train came round the bend and all three trains crashed and tangled together with such tremendous force the locos, wagons and now coaches shrilled and groaned with metal and wood creating a loud and horrific crunching, mangling crescendo of flames and explosion after explosion as the boilers collided, split under the force of the impact and the old gas cylinders, which were used for the gas lighting in the coaches, erupted and ignited by the hot coals, sent searing fire balls through the wreckage. There was very little that could be recognised from the three locos and the majority of the coaches from both trains. Voices and cries, screams and wailing filled the air as the explosions died away and the survivors picked themselves up and helped the less fortunate.
Reading of this accident and the resulting Board of Inquiry results that happened some seventy years ago brought shivers to me now I was at the very platform that the express train had just cleared and I could clearly see around the long curving bend where the accident occurred. I carried on taking my measurements and making notes, trying not to think of that terrible night.
Soon it was getting dark and the frozen air and frost formed an eerie spectacle out here on a station platform seemingly miles from anywhere. In the distance a long shrill of a steam whistle that sent an ice cold shiver down my spine could be heard. I may have been mistaken, I didn't know of any preserved railway line in this area and there had not been steam on this line since the end of the nineteen sixties. The darkness seemed to be getting worse now the mist was forming and it was getting so much colder now. I thought I would finish for the day and make my way down the platform towards the old station building.
Behind me, without warning, a misty sparkling rush of a gale of such tremendous force nearly knocked me over as what I felt was a train rushed past me, where the rails would have been but as I knew they had been lifted some thirty years ago. Just as soon as the rush of frost, air and noise past me the air was calm again. I was wondering what on earth had just happened when suddenly, in front of me in my face was the blackened and distorted face of a Driver dressed in his old boiler suit screaming at me, "I had a green signal, I was given a clear road, it wasn't my fault". Struck numb and shaking with fear, I had no time to answer when this apparition before me was gone in the swirling frozen mist, just as suddenly as it had appeared.
I came to my senses and moved off the platform,thinking back to what I had read about the accident, the driver of the goods train was initially blamed for the whole accident and all the deaths and injuries that night. But some years later it had been proved that the cold harsh winter's frost had caused the signal to fall, just enough for the driver of the goods to have seen a green light as the banner fell. I felt sad and melancholy knowing this and wished I could have let him know, hoping that this might have then cleared his tortured mind. As the wind picked up and swirled the frost along the platform one last time that early evening, I made my way back to my car to drive away and I heard a lone steam whistle sound in the distance.
© Copyright Author 2017
The story of MALDON MARKET HILL
A brief history of the Dengie Peninsula and South East Essex Light Railway
In 1897 the Great Eastern Railway abandoned its plan to extend the Southminster branch line any further. This also coincided with the abandoned plans for the railway line from Southend to Colchester via Foulness Island, Burnham – Bradwell, Mersea Island and then on to Colchester. The local small farmers and the very wealthy landowner Sir John Bishopstone, (Lord Mundon, being one of his titles) took umbrage at the axed plans and proceeded with an act of parliament for a light railway order. (Sir John being very influential in its progress) The revised and separate line would now run from near to the Southminster sidings, which were later to be used for the nuclear flask transfer to and from Bradwell nuclear power station.
The line traversed its way across land to Asheldham, where a triangular junction was formed with one line going towards Tillingham and then on towards Bradwell. The other line made its way to Maldon via Steeple, Mayland and Mundon passing close to Mundon Hall. The G.E.R. did not allow the line to join their line at Limebrook, south of Maldon, so a decision was made to run the line into Maldon via the Mundon road through what is now the recreation ground and terminating behind the High Street, above the quay.
The ground here proving very rough terrain for a railway meant the sidings for the quay had to leave the main line at the end of the Hythe at an area of land that is now Promenade Park, this meant that the land for the sidings, engine stabling plus other areas of railway facilities was quite some distance from the quay and the passenger station. It was decided to call this station Maldon Market Hill so as to differentiate it from the other two railway stations.
Traffic on this line was to become very intense, bringing in lots of revenue for the farmers and wealthy landowners who had put up the money for this line. The G.E.R. tried many times to buy this line, even joining with their line at Southminster and also at Limebrook, upgrading the line to standard gauge to gain running rights, and to allow heavier trains to access the Dengie peninsular although the Market Hill station could never allow anything bigger than a loco and couple of coaches or in later years maybe a two car D.M.U. this would not persuade the owners to sell.
In 1923 just before the G.E.R. became the L.N.E.R. the line was sold to the L.M.S. who also bought another Essex railway line. The L.N.E.R. did not give up the running rights of the G.E.R. for this line so both railway companies ran their stock on the line.
Nothing really changed much but when Nationalisation came about, it was thought that the different locos and rolling stock would be upgraded (some hope) so when you look at the working diorama of Maldon Market Hill think of what might have been if this work of fiction had been fact.