‘Mysterious’ Rural East Anglian railway outpost finally identified

A former Norwich driver has identified the remote ‘mystery’ location of a 50-year-old photograph published in last month’s Heritage Railway that showed two diesel locomotives at a rural outpost – and he has even identified the driver.

Stablemates | In a photograph taken by Heritage Railway’s Geoff Courtney, then a 15-year-old trainspotter, D5512 is the centre of attention at Stratford (30A) on March 17, 1959.

The photograph, from the Transport Treasury collection, accompanied a report of the recent purchase by Mangapps Railway Museum of two Network Rail Class 31diesels, one of which, No. 5523, is seen at the head of a freight train. Mangapps’ owner John Jolly thought the image may be in the area of County School station between Dereham and Fakenham in Norfolk, and his speculation was a mere10 miles out.

It is indeed in Norfolk, but former Norwich driver Chris Pearson, who lives in Dereham, has identified it as Lenwade, a former Midland and Great Northern Joint station on the Melton Constable to Norwich line that was opened by the Lynn & Fakenham Railway in 1882 and closed by BR to passengers in March 1959 and to freight in 1983.

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Although there are no buildings in the photograph to make identification easy, Chris says it is definitely Lenwade, and the load being carried by the Class 31 is beams from a local concrete products factory that was a central part of the village at the time due to sand and gravel extraction in the area.

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