I’m beginning the day here in Norwich on the last one for judging this years ACoRP awards. I’ll be visiting two East Anglian stations before beginning the trek back North, although I’ve one or two other things to see first as the East Anglian railway scene is changing fast, what with resignalling schemes and brand new fleets of trains sweeping away the old and familiar. The weather forecast is looking mixed, so let’s see how the day goes…The weather isn’t playing ball with the forecast, instead, it’s another beautiful day, so things are looking up. Which is just as well as I had neither wifi or hot water working in my hotel this morning. I had to boil a kettle to have a wash!Right now I’m getting a few pictures at the station before catching a train to Lowestoft in order to get to Cantley at a sensible time. We won’t be seeing scenes like this for much longer.
In the sidings at Crown Point depot are rows of new Stadler units, just waiting to enter service.
My train’s well on it’s way to Lowestoft now and it’s been fascinating to see the changes to the railway, which is still a mix of old semaphore signalling with patches of new, like Reedham, where the old signalbox still stands, albeit boarded up. The former sidings are used as a dump for detritus like old signal posts, rails and sleepers which have been rendered redundant.I’be been interested to see that significant chunks of the new signalling cable are kept in raised metal troughs which presumably keep it safe from flooding, a sensible precaution in this neck of the woods.
I’m in Lowestoft but only for 10 mins. Long enough to grab a couple of shots in the sun, then catch the same train back to my destination: Cantley.
My visit done, I moved on from Cantley, but not without getting pictures of the hand-operated level crossing gates and signalbox that will be swept away in February 2020. Since my 2018 visit the station’s been fitted with a ticket machine, CCTV and information screens. Throughout the work the local friends group have kept the gardens looking pretty.
I also managed to bag this beastie at Cantley!
Now I’m at Haddiscoe, where things haven’t quite gone to plan as the clouds are closing in. I’d intended to use the nearby A143 overbridge which crosses the railway and river as a vantage point to get some trains in the landscape shots but when clouds and their shadows are scudding across the landscape at a rate of knots and the trains are only hourly, the odds against train and sun coinciding are high. And so it was for me, two trains and two cloudy interludes! The luck of the draw…I’m not going to try my luck again, instead I’m moving back up the line towards Norwich.
I ended up in Brundall, the junction for the lines to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. It’s another link to the past as it also has semaphore signals, a working signalbox and also a hand-operated level crossing. By fluke I bumped into an old friend. Rob Pritchard of Today’s Railways UK magazine was there changing trains. We’d both pitched up for the same reason – we needed pictures of the new Stadler trains in service. Unfortunately, today wasn’t the day as the one I’d shot at Cantley earlier had been taken out of service, so we had to make do with 60yr old Class 37s instead! Here’s the pair of us ready to get some shots.
As the weather’s deteriorated and the 755s aren’t out I’ve begun my journey North using Abellio’s 14:40 to Ely for connections onwards to Peterborough, then off up the East Coast Main line.
We’re currently dodging showers on the way from Brandon to Ely, which says something about how much the weather’s changed. The skies are big in the flat lands of the Fens, so you can see the rain approaching from miles away.
I spent long enough at Ely to change trains, as the rain arrived at the same time I did there was no point in hanging around. Now I’m trying to outrace the weather. The problem is the clouds are coming up from the South, so the sun’s fighting a losing battle. I’m hoping I might get respite at our next stop, Peterborough although looking at the horizon now we’ve passed March I may be fleeing further! Peterborough looks like it’s getting a right soaking!
Homeward bound! I ended up with a brief stop at P’boro and again at Doncaster before heading up to Leeds. The stormy weather dogged me all the way apart from a brief respite in Leeds. Now I’m heading for Halifax and a night sorting out stuff. I have the day at home to wind up what the ACoRP judging, paperwork and packing – then Dawn and I are off to Ireland -so expect blogging of a different nature for a week! Right now I’m signing off until tomorrow.