Bure Valley Railway

Bure Valley Railway

The Bure Valley Railway is a gauge heritage railway in Norfolk, within The Broads National Park. The railway runs from Wroxham to Aylsham (9 miles) and is Norfolk's longest railway of less than standard gauge. It uses both steam and diesel locomotives. There are intermediate halts at Brampton, Buxton Lammas and Coltishall. There are 17 bridges, including a 105 ft-long girder bridge over the River Bure at Buxton Lammas as well as Aylsham Bypass Tunnel under the A140 at Aylsham.

History

The railway is built on the trackbed of the East Norfolk Railway (ENR). The ENR started in 1877 when the East Norfolk Railway opened from Norwich to Cromer, with an extension from Wroxham to Aylsham in 1880. The ENR was taken over by the Great Eastern Railway in 1882, which was amalgamated into the London & North Eastern Railway in 1923. The railway was nationalised in 1948.

In 1952 the passenger service stopped, but the freight service continued. Buxton Lammas closed for goods in 1964, and Aylsham and Coltishall in 1974.

Freight trains continued to run over the line after this for two principal sources of traffic. The line west of Aylsham via Cawston and Reepham originally went further to a junction at County School Station; by this time it instead turned south via a new curve at Themelthorpe to join a fragment of the old Midland and Great Northern system to reach Lenwade and Norwich City station.

Coal traffic continued to be carried from Norwich Thorpe via Aylsham to Norwich City - a fantastic trip around Norfolk just to cross Norwich! There was also regular traffic from Lenwade in the form of concrete building components.

This traffic ended in 1981 and the line through Aylsham formally closed on 6 January 1982. A weed-killing train ran in 1983 and track-lifting trains ran the following year.

Re-opening

The Bure Valley Railway opened on July 10th 1990, and a long distance footpath (rail trail) opened alongside it in 1991. It is currently home to Norfolk's only operational railway tunnel, which carries the railway under the Aylsham Bypass. The only other tunnel, in Cromer, is disused.

Locomotives

No. Name Livery Locomotive type Wheel
arr.
In Traffic?
1 Wroxham Broad Light Blue Steam 2-6-4T Yes
6 Blickling Hall Midland Crimson Lake Steam 2-6-2 Yes
7 Spitfire Brunswick Green Steam 2-6-2 Yes
8 Thunder BR Lined Black Steam 2-6-2T Yes
9 Mark Timothy Madderlake Steam 2-6-4T Yes
3 2nd Air Division USAAF Golden Ochre Diesel Bo-Bo Yes
4 Awaiting Naming Orange Diesel 0-4-0 Yes
5 Toby Brown Diesel 0-4-0 Rarely

When the railway first opened, several locomotives were hired from the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, including: Southern Maid, Samson and Winston Churchill.

Operations

The track is laid to a gauge of . The railway is operated by a fleet of five steam and three diesel locomotives. Passenger rolling stock consists of 26 fully-enclosed bogie carriages and two four-wheel brake vans. Trains almost always include carriages capable of accommodating wheelchairs. Approximately half the carriages are equipped with electric heating, for winter services.

The Friends of the Bure Valley Railway

The Friends of the Bure Valley Railway (FoBVR) is the volunteer supporting group for the Bure Valley Railway. It owns locomotive number 4 and supports the railway financially and with regular working parties of volunteers. There is a hut at Aylsham which sells second hand magazines during the season to support the Friends.

External links

Other Places in Norfolk

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