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Welcome to Norfolks disused railways page on the second railway line in King's Lynn serving the River Ouse
The King's Lynn harbour railway line ran from the Harbour junction coming off the fen line into the South quay in King's Lynn.
The line opened in 1849 and fully opened to the South Quay as far as King's Staithe shortly after, the line then closed in 1968, and the tracks were ripped up shortly after the closure of the railway.
From what I have found, the only remains of any railway track I could see were at the south quay.
Reading online, a bridge at South Lynn that crossed the river nar remained for a while after the railway had closed and has since been demolished.
This bridge crossing the river nar was said to have some rails left behind from the old line.
From what I can see the bridge was still there in the very late 90s and was nicknamed the Casey jones bridge.
King's Lynn Harbour junction
Kings Lynn Harbor railway started at the Kings Lynn harbour junction, some one mile 47 chains away from King's Lynn station.
The Harbour junction was controlled by 36 frame Saxby signal box with lines off towards the M&gn South Lynn station and the Harbour railway.
Nothing remains of the Junction to this day, and the signal box was removed in the mid-80s; the line was taken up when the London to Cambridge line was electrified in the early 90s
I made a short film below showing the Harbour branch on past & present maps.
I found this picture with the help of the King's Lynn and area Model by J T Colquhoun's Facebook page.
This shows the Harbour junction at King's Lynn with a class 37 passing the junction signal box heading towards Watlington from King's Lynn.
The Class 37 looks to be carrying silica sand, so I am guessing it's a service from Middleton Towers quarry.
Middleton Towers freight trains use the old King's Lynn to Dereham line that remained open as far as Middleton Towers for freight use and is still used to this day when this page was published in 2022
A Kings Lynn bound passenger train arriving from Cambridge passing over the Harbour junction.
The M&gn shuttle line would have been to the signal box's rear, and the train seen below, and the harbour railway would have been the line bearing off to the front of the diesel locomotive.
When the shot was taken, the M&gn would have been long closed, and the line would have been used for freight traffic to the beet factory close to where the South Lynn station was sat.
In 2020 When tracing the bridges of south Lynn, I found this long-lost wonder from the Harbour branch, just outside the Nar valley construction site.
This old semaphore signal was left behind just after the old Harbour junction close to where the signal box once sat.
This picture was taken in 2020, and at the time of writing this page in 2023, the signal still remains, but sadly with all sorts of construction going on along the line, how long will this old part of the harbour railway remains is still being determined.
Hopefully, they will keep this old wonder as a memorial, but sadly I can't see if they will.
After the signal post, the railway beared round before heading straight towards the River Ouse and the South Quay, going past the manure works and crossing over an old wood and steel-made bridge.
The empty land that the railway once ran across is now being built over with commercial units close to where the old signal still sits.
A new footbridge close to the A148 Nar valley way has been built near where an old railway bridge once sat.
The railway then crossed through where the new housing estate now sits, roughly following the Sandpiper way road; the railway then crossed over a crossing at Wisbech road and ran around where Hardings road is currently situated.
After crossing Wisbech road, the railway departed on the short final trip to the South Quay.
Next, we come to the nar valley construction being built when photographed, viewing the empty field with the construction of commercial units in early 2023 in the distance.
Being constructed over where the track bed once sat.
Heading towards the South quay, the railway would have crossed over the river nar over this bridge.
Lewis Collard, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons
Thanks to lewis for sharing this photo via Wikimedia.
Click the link below for more information about this bridge and the Harbour junction from Lewis's fantastic page.
Once the bridge was demolished, this new bridge was built roughly where the old railway bridge once stood to take pedestrians and cyclists over the river Nar.
King's Lynn Muck Works
Opened in 1872. West Norfolk Fertilisers was one of the major industrial concerns in King's Lynn in the 20th century, employing many residents, many in very specialised roles. The plant included an acid factory, tar works, laboratories, warehouses, and office buildings. The company expanded in the 1940s and 1950s but declined in the late 1960s before closing in 1967.
This site had its own railway sidings, one from the Harbour railway.
Looking at historical maps, the works also had a line into South Lynn station sidings.
The building was demolished in 2002
And now, a new housing estate is on the site, and further construction is happening on the Nar valley project.
Historical maps showing the old railway sidings from the South Lynn works.
Historical map showing the South Lynn works railway line that entered South Lynn M&gn station.
I made a short past & present film showing the South Lynn works sidings connected up to South Lynn station & the Harbour branch.
Thanks to the National library of Scotland for the use of these maps.
South Lynn Muck works from above.
Thanks to Britain from above, Historic England
For the aerial views.
The railway siding can be seen clearly in the aerial photo seen below.
Thanks again to Britain from above, Historic England, for the photo.
King's Lynn works are seen below, with the River Nar also in this photo.
Once the works were closed and demolished, the land sat empty for a few years until the Nar valley project started, and this housing estate was built roughly over parts of the old works in South Lynn, with access to the estate just by where the level crossing would have been at Wisbech road.
Called Sandpiper Way.
I am standing on the newly built housing estate facing toward the Wisbech road crossing roughly where the old line would have run many years ago.
This was the Housing estate where the old works would have roughly sat before being demolished.
After the housing estate, I came across the old crossing on Wisbech road at South Lynn. However, when visiting in 2023, there was no trace whatsoever showing that there was once a railway crossing over here.
Seen here is the Railway Tavern on Wisbech road South Lynn before this public house was demolished in the late 1990s.
This new building replaced the old pub at Wisbech road.
Where the Railway Tavern once stood on Wisbech Road.
Taken in Feburary 2023
1888-1913 maps of the Wisbech road crossing.
Just after Wisbech road, Just into Harding's way, I found this old wall that I don't think is railway-related; I am more convinced it's for flood defences. ings
After crossing Wisbech road, the railway headed towards the South Quay, following roughly where Harding's way is now built.
Hardings way took in 2022
Roughly where the railway once ran pre-1968
Just to the side of Harding's way, I saw in the distance this concrete support that looked like, at one time in the past, this could have been a bridge support.
Looking at old maps, this concrete support shows that it was not directly railway related but maybe a road or footpath crossing leading to a siding.
This was taken in 2022 on my first visit to the Harbour branch.
I revisited the harbour branch in 2023 and decided to pay a closer visit to this old concrete part in South Lynn to see if I could see any other remains of evidence of what this could have been.
I could not see any onher evidence of what this could have been.
Please feel free to get in contact with any information
Here we see on a historical map.
At the end of the sidings, the dotted line is roughly where this concrete support sat.
On the public footpath, a bridge crosses a small channel from the Great River Ouse. Looking at old ordinance survey maps, this channel was not there in the 1888-1913 maps and was constructed later; the footbridge crossing was added and is non-railway related.
Short past & present video of where the railway crossed the River Ouse channel.
This film also shows the new channel and where the new Harding's way bridge now sits.
The new bridge at Harding's way,
this part was photographed in February 2023
This bridge is not railway related and was constructed well after the closure of the railway.
After the newly built bridge, a few old boats remain in the overgrowth rotting away.
Next, we head towards the First swing bridge.
Before we reach there, we travel across a Small harbour where the track bed is raised, running across the small Quay.
Thanks to Historic England for the photo below showing where the railway ran across the Quay and towards the Swing Bridge.
After the new bridge, I came across the railway's perimeter walls still in situ in 2023 when I revisited this part of the railway in February 2023.
These were the main reasons I reviewed this part, as when I first visited on 13,3,2022, I was still determining where the line ran into the South Quay.
Looking at the historic map seen below, we can see where the railway ran into the South Quay.
Please click on the maps for a bigger image.
The first map shows the dotted line being the perimeter walls for the raised railway track bed.
Google maps coverage of the railway perimeter wall close to the South Quay.
Please click the link below for Google maps.
Thanks to John Fielding for the permission via Twitter to use this aerial photo taken below from John's fantastic Flickr profile.
Please use the links below to see this fantastic profile and other amazing aerial images & give them a like.
I have permission to use this photo; please do not copy this without asking.
I photographed these in February 2023 on my second visit to this site.
The King's Lynn Harbour branch railway track bed walls.
At the end of the walled track bed here, we see where at one time, there would have been a Swing Bridge at this point taking the Railway over the River Ouse Channel and onto the South Quay at King's Lynn.
The swing bridges would have been hand-operated.
Apparently, these swing bridges were rebuilt in 1894.
Photographed in February 2023
As you can see, no trace of the Swing Bridge is left.
Some Dock remains found by the
The dry dock area leaves behind this old boat.
This boat's position can be seen via Google maps.
Photographed March 2022
Photographed in Febuary 2023
After crossing the swing bridge, the train would now enter the South Quay, the end of this short freight line that closed in 1968
The railway served the South Quay and various businesses along the River Ouse.
Past & present video of the South Quay King's Lynn
Once the steam trains arrived on the Quay, they could reverse down to these sidings along the riverside.
When I photographed the Quay in March 2022, I found these old railway remnants left behind from this long-lost railway.
I was standing close to where the second Swing bridge would have laid, looking towards where the sidings lay on where the track bed would have once been.
Looking to the right, we can see that all the buildings from the past have long gone.
I was standing in the same spot facing the South Quay, facing where the second swing bridge would have once been situated.
King's Lynn Quay facing towards the Sidings.
Just after the car is where the second Swing Bridge would have been sited.
King's Lynn Quay
Pictures of the South Quay at Kings Lynn in different years of its life.
The picture below shows some railway freight carriages to the left of the picture.
The year unknown and the photographer are unknown.
Used from King's Lynn Forums
King's Lynn Quay in 2022 and February 2023
End of the line
So here we are at the end of the harbour branch line from the harbour junction to the South Quay in King's Lynn.
I started tracing this short line in March 2022 and never got around to putting the pictures online until early 2023.
Once I started researching the line, I realised how much I had missed. Most prominent were the brick walls in the now derelict marshland area just before the railway reached the south quay.
Looking around where I thought the railway had entered the South quay, I was sadly way off, so I went off again in February and March 2023 for more pictures of this long lost line.
This long-lost railway is easy to trace, with no parts hidden in overgrowth or on private land.
The only part you now can't reach is the Harbour junction land, but this is coming off an electrified main railway line, so there is no access for obvious reasons.
The old signal at the time of writing in 2023 still stands, but for how long, I can't tell as construction is going on around this long-lost wonder I hope it still stands, but I can't see it will Sadly,
Hopefully, someone will rescue it.
As for the Quay, this is easily accessible, and some old buildings remain derelict but are still there; the boal quay remains but not for shipping use as the river tides are blocked off.
The customs house and other historical buildings are at the bottom of the quay.
These buildings have been used by filming production teams on various tv/film productions in the past due to their historical look.
I really enjoyed tracing and photographing this long-lost line. However, with a lot of regeneration work going on in the area, I can't say how long many of these parts will remain; not only the signal but even the railway wall remains close to the river; I can't see these being built over due to the flood risk and also how substantial the land here will be, but maybe it sadly will be redeveloped into another park or recreational area I can't say.
If anyone wants to visit some of these parts, please message or tweet me via the icon below.
Once again, thanks for reading my humble webpage. Any pictures you might have and would like to add, please send them through, and full credit will be left to the owner.
Thanks once again to John Fielding for the use of his aerial photos used on this webpage.
Please remember to click on this other fantastic page from the Harbour junction and the Bridges at South Lynn.