Stenlake Publishing - The Lynn and Hunstanton Railway and the West Norfolk Branch

The Lynn and Hunstanton Railway and the West Norfolk Branch

Author : S. C. Jenkins
ISBN : 9780853617136
Cover : paperback
Price : £21.95

Norfolk, one of England’s largest counties, is also one of its most distinctive. The sea is never far away; not the blue Atlantic waters of western Britain, but the sombre, grey North Sea, which on a sunny casts its brilliant whitish-grey light over the land, throwing already bright colours into striking contrast. Until the First World War the Great Eastern Railway contributed further colour to this distinctive coastal area. The Great Eastern was part of the landscape, and its dark blue engines with their polished brasswork and vermilion lining seemed to enhance the green fields, blue skies and flint villages of Norfolk. The GER often relied on summer leisure traffic to make up for a lack of heavy industry. Not surprisingly the Great Eastern system included several classic seaside branch lines, one of which – the Hunstanton branch – forms the subject of this book. The line was designed specifically as a holiday line. When opened it terminated at a building site on the clifftops near the tiny village of Hunstanton. Within a few years the promoters of the railway had created a thriving holiday town ‘in the middle of nowhere’, and with increasing numbers of visitors arriving by train every year, the Hunstanton line soon became one of the most profitable branch lines in the country.

Encouraged by the success of their railway the line’s owners built an extension to Wells-next-the-Sea in the hope that further resort development would occur elsewhere on the Norfolk coast. This unfortunately did not take place and the West Norfolk branch was never entirely successful. The Hunstanton ‘main line’, however, had gone from strength to strength, carrying royalty to and from the Prince of Wales’s country estate at Sandringham, and considerable numbers of ‘commuters’ in addition to its seasonal holiday traffic.

Traffic continued to increase throughout the first half of the 20th century. Still a busy line – at least in the summer – the Hunstanton branch was not listed for closure in the Beeching Plan but it was nevertheless closed to all traffic just six years later. This unexpected closure passed almost unrecorded, and indeed very little had been published on this interesting line prior to the publication of the first edition of this title in 1987.

The narrative places the story of the line in an appropriate historical context while at the same time providing railway modellers and other enthusiasts with details of locomotives, rolling stock, lineside features and timetables. The Lynn & Hunstanton Railway should, therefore, be of interest to both local historians and railway specialists.

This new edition has, in general, followed the layout of the earlier version, with five historical chapters, a chapter on ‘Miscellaneous Details’, and a detailed route description. The original text has been expanded in many places, notably in Chapter Five, where many additional details relating to the stations and infrastructure of the railway have been included.

A5 format, 192 pages, 148 illustrations.

The Lynn and Hunstanton Railway and the West Norfolk Branch

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