Hunstanton railway station

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Hunstanton
Hunstanton Railway Station.jpg
Hunstanton in the early 1900s; Sandringham Hotel in the background.
Location
PlaceHunstanton
AreaKing's Lynn and West Norfolk, Norfolk
Grid referenceTF671407
Operations
Pre-groupingLynn & Hunstanton Railway
Great Eastern Railway
Post-groupingLondon and North Eastern Railway
Eastern Region of British Railways
Platforms4
History
3 October 1862Opened
28 December 1964Closed to freight
6 June 1966Became unstaffed[1]
5 May 1969Closed to passengers[2]
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
A B C D–F G H–J K–L M–O P–R S T–V W–Z

Hunstanton railway station served the seaside town of Hunstanton in Norfolk, England. Opened in 1862, the station was the northern terminus of the Lynn and Hunstanton Railway. The line was brought to public notice by John Betjeman in the British Transport Film John Betjeman Goes By Train.[3] The station closed with the line in 1969.

History[edit]

Construction of the line to Hunstanton coincided with the rising popularity of north-west Norfolk as a destination for holidaymakers who were arriving in large numbers. Hunstanton was promoted as a seaside resort by Henry Styleman Le Strange (1815–1862), lord of the manor and principal landowner, who gifted land and money towards the line's construction.[4] The station had two long island platforms which could take excursion trains with up to a thousand people aboard, and its seafront location meant that passengers were discharged directly on to the promenade and pier. Long-stay holidaymakers came and left on Saturdays, whilst day-trippers generally came on Sundays in a constant stream of trains at ten-minute intervals. Many stayed at the Sandringham Hotel which was situated at the end of the platforms.[5]

The single-track line into Hunstanton ran almost straight into the station, with beach huts and bungalows on the seaward side and rolling hills on the other. Nearer the seafront the line crossed South Beach Road on the level, before entering the station whose twin island platforms, covered by Great Eastern flat-topped canopies, diverged in a roughly triangular arrangement. As well as its four main terminal roads, there were five goods sidings to the east of the platforms which served as carriage sidings at the height of the summer season. The sidings converged into a single headshunt which led southwards to Hunstanton Gas Works. A long siding on the eastern side of the station served cattle docks and an end-loading bay.[6]

Site of Hunstanton station, now a car park.

Having reached its peak in the mid-1950s, passenger numbers declined. Most through services from Liverpool Street station were withdrawn from 1959, leaving Hunstanton with a mainly DMU service to and from King's Lynn. By 1966, services to London had been reduced to one working on weekdays and two up and one down on summer Saturdays.[7] Although the line did not figure in the Beeching Report, the line became uneconomic and efforts were made by British Rail to reduce the losses made by the line with the implementation of the "basic railway" concept, whereby stations became unstaffed, signal boxes were closed and from 2 March 1967 the line was singled.[8] At Hunstanton, the removal of most of the sidings and stabling facilities meant that through-locomotive excursion trains could no longer be run. As fewer and fewer passengers were using the line, British Rail announced that the line was losing £40,000 per year and would close from Monday 5 May 1969. The last train ran at 9.05pm on Saturday 3 May from King's Lynn packed with around 250 passengers and a similar number waiting at Hunstanton to mark the occasion.[9]


Preceding station   Disused railways   Following station
Heacham
Line and station closed
  British Rail
Eastern Region

King's Lynn to Hunstanton branch
  Terminus

Present day[edit]

Former station coal shed, now an art gallery.

The station site is now a car and coach park.[10] The former coal shed, the only remaining trace of the railway, converted into an art gallery with help from West Norfolk Council opened in May 2008. The first exhibition celebrated the King's Lynn to Hunstanton railway line with a display of memorabilia and photographs.[11] The Sandringham Hotel, commandeered by the War Office during the Second World War, was purchased by Hunstanton Urban District Council in 1950 for use as offices; it was demolished in April 1967.[12]

The "Hunstanton Masterplan", a report commissioned by West Norfolk Council to examine the options for regenerating the town, was published in September 2008. Prepared by Building Design Partnership, it considered reopening the line from King's Lynn, but rejected the idea on the basis that some trackbed has been lost to residential development, the costs of construction would be substantial, and there was no guarantee that the line would be financially viable. The study recommended the improvement of bus services between the towns.[13]

In January 2018, it was proposed that a new station, "Hunstanton Parkway", be opened on the eastern edge of the town and the line to the resort reinstated.[14]

In January 2019, Campaign for Better Transport released a report in which the line to Hunstanton was listed as "Priority 2" for reopening. ("Priority 2" refers to those lines which require further development or a change in circumstances).[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clinker, C.R. (October 1978). Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830-1977. Bristol: Avon-AngliA Publications & Services. p. 164. ISBN 0-905466-19-5.
  2. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Sparkford, ISBN 1-85260-508-1, p. 125.
  3. ^ British Film Institute, John Betjeman Goes By Train (1962).
  4. ^ Joby, R.S. (1985). Forgotten Railways: Vol. 7 East Anglia. Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. p. 45. ISBN 0-946537-25-9.
  5. ^ Joby, R.S., op. cit. p. 47.
  6. ^ Jenkins, S.C. (1987). The Lynn & Hunstanton Railway and the West Norfolk Branch. Headington, Oxford: Oakwood Press. p. 96. ISBN 0-85361-330-3.
  7. ^ Jenkins, S.C., op. cit. p. 113.
  8. ^ Jenkins, S.C., op. cit. p. 115.
  9. ^ Jenkins, S.C., op. cit. p. 118.
  10. ^ Oppitz, Leslie (1999). Lost Railways of East Anglia (Lost Railways). Newbury, Berkshire: Countryside Books. p. 16. ISBN 1-85306-595-1.
  11. ^ Lynn News, "Rail memories are back on track", 2 May 2008.
  12. ^ Jenkins, S.C., op. cit. p. 117.
  13. ^ West Norfolk County Council, "Final Masterplan; Chapter 3: Detailed Proposals", page 28. Archived 7 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Rail Issue 843 p.11
  15. ^ "The Case For Expanding the Rail Network" (PDF). Campaign for Better Transport. Retrieved 22 April 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°56′17″N 0°29′10″E / 52.9381°N 0.4861°E / 52.9381; 0.4861