Brandon railway station

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Brandon National Rail
IBrandon railway station.JPG
Place Brandon
Local authority Breckland
Coordinates 52°27′14″N 0°37′27″E / 52.4539°N 0.6243°E / 52.4539; 0.6243Coordinates: 52°27′14″N 0°37′27″E / 52.4539°N 0.6243°E / 52.4539; 0.6243
Grid reference TL784872
Station code BND
Managed by Abellio Greater Anglia
Number of platforms 2
DfT category F2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2011/12 Increase 89,522
2012/13 Increase 0.101 million
2013/14 Increase 0.102 million
2014/15 Increase 0.103 million
2015/16 Increase 0.106 million
Original company Eastern Counties Railway
Pre-grouping Great Eastern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
30 July 1845 (1845-07-30) Opened as Brandon
1 July 1923 Renamed Brandon (Norfolk)
1 March 1925 Renamed Brandon
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Brandon from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal
View eastward, towards Norwich, in 1969

Brandon railway station is on the Breckland Line in the east of England, serving the village of Brandon, Suffolk, although the station is actually situated across the county boundary in Norfolk. The line runs between Cambridge in the west and Norwich in the east.

Brandon is situated between Lakenheath and Thetford stations, 86 miles 32 chains (139.0 km) down-line from London Liverpool Street via Ely. It is managed by Abellio Greater Anglia, which operates most of the services.


Early Years (1844-1862)[edit]

The Bill for the Norwich & Brandon Railway (N&BR) received Royal Assent on 10 May 1844. The line was to link with an Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) project of a line from Newport in Essex to Brandon in Norfolk. Once complete the line would enable trains to travel from Norwich to London. Work started on the line in 1844.[1]

One month before the N&BR opened a Bill authorising the amalgamation of the Yarmouth & Norwich Railway with the N&BR came into effect and so, the soon to open, Brandon station became a Norfolk Railway asset.[2]

The line opened on 30 July 1845 at the same time as the ECR Brandon to Newport (Essex) line which served Cambridge and Ely. However, the line only got to Trowse, in the suburbs of Norwich, as the contractors were having to build a swing bridge to cross the navigable River Wensum. This was finished in December and on 15 December services started running through to Norwich.[3]

Brandon station was, as it is now, situated east of Lakenheath station (in Suffolk) and west of Thetford station.

Generous provision was made for the maintenance of locomotives at Brandon with a six road engine house being provided although once the ECR took over the NR in 1848 the shed's role was diminished although it was reported in the Locomotive Magazine during 1901 that stabling was being undertaken there. A picture of 1911 shows goods stock stabled outside the shed buildings.[4]

The ECR and its rival the Eastern Union Railway (EUR) were both sizing up the NR to acquire and expand their railway empire. The ECR trumped the EUR by taking over the NR, including Brandon Station on 8 May 1848.[5]

In September 1853, a freight train came to a halt near Brandon, due to a defect on the locomotive. The driver of a second freight train ignored a red signal and consequently his train was in a rear-end collision with the first. Time interval working was in force at the time.[6]

Great Eastern Railway (1862-1922)[edit]

By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the Eastern Counties Railway, which wished to amalgamate formally but could not obtain government agreement for this until an Act of Parliament on 7 August 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway (GER) was formed by the amalgamation. Actually, Brandon became a GER station on 1 July 1862 when the GER took over the ECR and the EUR before the Bill received the Royal Assent.[7]

The system settled down for the next six decades, apart from the disruption of First World War. The difficult economic circumstances that existed after World War 1 led the Government to pass the Railways Act 1921 which led to the creation of the Big Four. The GER was absorbed into the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). Brandon became a LNER station on 1 January 1923.

London and North Eastern Railway (1923-1947)[edit]

Six months into LNER ownership they decided to rename Brandon as Brandon-Norfolk (1 July 1923). It is uncertain as to why as, according to Butt there were other Brandon stations, but none had the plain name "Brandon". Probably the LNER managers realised the renaming was unnecessary as two years later on 1 March 1925 Brandon lost the Norfolk suffix.

Just over 20 years Brandon regained its old name, in 1947, the Government of the day passed the Transport Act which nationalised the Big Four and created British Railways (BR). On 1 January 1948 Brandon became a BR station.

British Railways (1948-1994)[edit]

In 1978 Brandon station became an unstaffed station.

The Privatisation Era (1994-present day)[edit]

On 5 January 1997 train services serving Brandon were privatised with most services passing to Anglia Railways and services towards the West Midlands were taken over by Central Trains on 2 March 1997.

On 1 April 2004 Anglia trains handed over their franchise to National Express-East Anglia (NE-EA). NE-EA trains were branded as One.[8][9]

Three years later, on 11 Nov 2007 the Central Trains franchise was broken up and services to Norwich were taken over by East Midland Trains who still run that franchise today (Feb-2016).

Until spring 2009, an original telegraph pole route remained in situ from here to Wymondham; this was one of the last remaining in the country.

Four years (2008) after NE-EA took over train services the "One" brand was dropped and the National Express name predominated. One year later (2009) deep into the financial recession, NX walked away from the East Coast franchise and so the Government announced that the NX-EA franchise would not be extended for three years in 2011.

The Coalition Government did give short extensions to NX-EA until Feb 2012. By then the Government granted the franchise to Abellio-Greater Anglia (AGA). AGA took over on 5 Feb 2012 and was extended to October this year (2016).[10]


A regular hourly service calling at Brandon was introduced in 2007. This resulted in a significant increase in the number of passengers using the station.

As of December 2015 there is typically one train per hour to Cambridge and one to Norwich, operated by Abellio Greater Anglia.[11]

East Midlands Trains operates a single morning service to Norwich, Monday to Saturday only, on its route from Nottingham.

In popular culture[edit]

The station was used as a location in an episode of the BBC television series Dad's Army.[12]


  1. ^ Allen, Cecil J. (1975). Great Eastern Railway (3rd ed.). Shepparton, UK: Ian Allan Limited. p. 23. ISBN 0-7110-0659-8. 
  2. ^ Allen, Cecil J. (1975). Great Eastern Railway (3rd ed.). Shepparton, UK: Ian Allan Limited. p. 24. ISBN 0-7110-0659-8. 
  3. ^ Allen, Cecil J. (1975). Great Eastern Railway (3rd ed.). Shepparton, UK: Ian Allan Limited. p. 234. ISBN 0-7110-0659-8. 
  4. ^ Hawkins, Chris; Reeves, George (1987). Great Eastern Railway Engine Shed Part 2. Didcot UK: Wild Swan. p. 380. ISBN 0 906867 48 7. 
  5. ^ Allen, Cecil J. (1975). Great Eastern Railway (3rd ed.). Shepparton, UK: Ian Allan Limited. p. 30. ISBN 0-7110-0659-8. 
  6. ^ Vaughan, Adrian (2003) [2000]. Tracks to Disaster. Hersham: Ian Allan. p. 7. ISBN 0 7110 2985 7. 
  7. ^ Vaughan, Adrian (1997). Railwaymen, Politics and Money. London: John Murray. pp. 134, 135. ISBN 0 7195 5150 1. 
  8. ^ National Express Group Announced as Preferred Bidder for new Greater Anglia Franchise Strategic Rail Authority 22 December 2003
  9. ^ National Express wins rail franchise The Telegraph 22 December 2003
  10. ^ "Abellio has been awarded the Greater Anglia franchise" (Press release). Abellio. 20 October 2011. 
  11. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 17 (Network Rail)
  12. ^ Dad's Army locations Retrieved 10 February 2013

External links[edit]

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Abellio Greater Anglia
East Midlands Trains
Limited services