Bure Valley Railway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bure Valley Railway
Bure Valley Railway DSC00533.jpg
Locomotive Spitfire at Aylsham, Norfolk railway station
Locale Wroxham
52°43′00″N 1°24′30″E / 52.7168°N 1.4084°E / 52.7168; 1.4084Coordinates: 52°43′00″N 1°24′30″E / 52.7168°N 1.4084°E / 52.7168; 1.4084
Terminus Aylsham
52°47′28″N 1°15′17″E / 52.7911°N 1.2548°E / 52.7911; 1.2548 (Aylsham South station)
Commercial operations
Name Bure Valley Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Operated by Bure Valley Railway
Stations 5
Length 9 mi (14.5 km)
Preserved gauge 15 in (381 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1880
Closed 1982
Preservation history
10 July 1990 opened
Bure Valley Railway
East Norfolk Railway to County School
Aylsham South
Aylsham Bypass Tunnel
Brampton
Buxton
Coltishall
Wroxham (BVR)
Bittern Line to Sheringham
B1354 to Coltishall
Hoveton and Wroxham National Rail
River Bure
Bittern Line to Norwich

The Bure Valley Railway is a 15 in (381 mm) minimum gauge heritage railway in Norfolk, within The Broads National Park. The railway runs from Wroxham to Aylsham (9 miles or 14.5 kilometres) 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 and Coltishall. There are 17 bridges, including a 105 ft (32 m) long girder bridge over the River Bure in Buxton with Lammas as well as Aylsham Bypass Tunnel under the A140 at Aylsham.

History[edit]

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 Lamas, as it was then known, 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.

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[edit]

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

Locomotives[edit]

Name Year built Livery Locomotive type Wheel
arr.
In Traffic? Image
1 Wroxham Broad 1964 (converted to a 2-6-4T in 1992) Light Blue Steam 2-6-4T Yes (On loan to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway) Bure valley railway workshops - geograph.org.uk - 797319.jpg
6 Blickling Hall 1994 Lined Midland Crimson Lake Steam 2-6-2 No (undergoing ten yearly overhaul) Platform, Aylsham Station - geograph.org.uk - 624233.jpg
7 Spitfire 1994 Lined Brunswick Green Steam 2-6-2 Yes Bure Valley Railway DSC00533.jpg
8 Thunder 1996 (converted to coal fired in 2008) Lined Black Steam 2-6-2T Yes (standby steam loco) Engine no 8 inside Aylsham Works - geograph.org.uk - 797321.jpg
9 Mark Timothy 1993 (rebuilt and converted to coal fired in 2003) Madderlake Steam 2-6-4T Yes 2-6-4 Tank ZB class locomotive 'Mark Timothy' - geograph.org.uk - 1244711.jpg
3 2nd Air Division USAAF 1988 Golden Ochre Diesel Bo-Bo Yes No3 "2nd Air Division USAAF" diesel locomotive - geograph.org.uk - 1272886.jpg
4 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: Black Prince, Samson and Winston Churchill.

Operations[edit]

The track is laid to a gauge of 15 in (381 mm). 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.

On Monday 30 May 2011 a train on the line suffered a derailment at Brampton, during which wheels from one of the coaches were reported to have come up through the floor of the vehicle.[1] The Rail Accident Investigation Branch were called in to conduct a preliminary examination into the incident,[2][3] and found it to have been caused by the failure due to metal fatigue of an axle journal that had been welded several years previously (when the railway was under different management). Following this accident all wheels of this design were identified by the railway and scrapped, being replaced by new wheelsets.[4]

The Friends of the Bure Valley Railway[edit]

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 donated bric a brac,second hand books and magazines during the season to raise money to support the railway. There is a small model railway layout in the hut. In 2013 a second hand bookshop will open at Wroxham, also run by the Friends of the Bure Valley Railway.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]