Welcome to Norfolks Disused Railway's past and present page on the King's Lynn Docks branch
The docks Branch opened in the late 1800s &
Later, the line ran from Kings Lynn Junction just past the station by the still-in-use signal box and branched off the main line heading towards the Docks under Dodman's bridge.
The docks line faced the same way as the Station, so trains from Ely way and Harbour junction could head straight off towards the docks, whereas trains from Kings Lynn Sidings would need to turn around to head down to the King's Lynn Docks.
Looking at the maps below from the National Library of Scotland, dated 1892-1914, shows there was no track to take trains direct onto the Docks branch
Here we see a side-by-side map of the old docks line at King's Lynn.
Many thanks to the National Library of Scotland for these maps
The line then passed the back of the Austin fields industrial estate going down the side of the North Lynn housing estate before reaching John Kennedy road and crossing over the road and into the docks area.
The dock line also served Dow chemicals, which is now closed and being demolished in 2021-2022.
The last train that used the Docks branch was in May 1993, with a few clearance stock moments after.
In 2020 the docks line is still in use as far as Dodmans bridge on the A148 Gaywood road as a turnaround point for the sand trains using the old Lynn Dereham line as far as Middleton Towers.
There has been talk that if the Hunstanton Line was to reopen, the docks line could be one of the possible routes that could be used to take the line out of the town centre.
There used to be two lines serving the River Ouse in Kings Lynn. The docks line that is covered on this page that covered Bentinck dock, Alexandra dock and also Dow chemicals.
Also, a second line that closed years before the Harbour junction that came off at South Lynn is also covered on my webpage.
I want to add a personal thanks to Paul Miller for the use of lots of Photographs used on this page.
King's Lynn docks maps
Thanks to Britain from above @historic England for the use of this next image
Kings Lynn station and sidings this photograph was taken in the 1950s
The King's Lynn docks branch is seen to the right of this photograph taken in 2020
This part of the line is still in use to this day as a turnaround point for sand trains that come from Middleton Towers as a freight service.
Please See the King's Lynn to Dereham line page for more information on the Lynn to Dereham line & Middleton Towers.
Class 08 shunters sat at King's Lynn Station sidings in 1991
These trains were most likely used as part of the dock's branch line.
Many thanks once again to Paul Miller for the use of these pictures.
Next, we see a class 37 train in the King's Lynn sidings.
This train would have likely been a Middleton towers train for silica sand using the docks line as a turnaround point.
The year of this photograph is unknown; many thanks, Martin Addison via Geograph, for these pictures.
We again see a class 37 freight train arriving at King's Lynn from Middleton Towers.
Short video of Middleton Towers silica sand train
turning around using the old dock's line
We are returning to where the King's Lynn junction sits close to King's Lynn station.
Just up the Fen line sits exton's road, where another signal box once stood.
This signal box controlled the sidings between King's Lynn junction and Exton's road. Even though this box was not on the docks line, this box would have controlled freight traffic approaching King's Lynn that could have heading towards the Docks branch.
Here we see the old Dodman's Foundry that started in 1854 and closed in 1975
This site is now demolished & used as housing.
Alfred Dodman established an iron foundry on Highgate Field in 1875. The firm undertook many types of engineering work but specialised in making boilers. The firm also produced a number of traction engines and at least two steam locomotives.
After the Second World War, the iron foundry focused on designing and manufacturing pressure vessels, heat exchangers and storage tanks, mainly for the petro-chemicals and North Sea industries. The buildings on the site were demolished in 1977 to make way for the residential development that stands to this day.
The road bridge that crossed over the docks branch is called Dodman's bridge after this foundry.
Dodmans foundry had its own small sidings connected up to the Docks branch.
Seen below on the historical map.
Dodmans foundry year unknown
Thanks to kl forums for these pictures
Dodman's bridge is viewed from the dock's branch when the line was still in use.
The line just before the small wooden bridge has been taken up just past this bridge.
Credit to Paul Miller for this picture
A rail tour special on the docks line close to closure.
You can also see the dock grain silo in the background.
After Dodman's bridge in King's Lynn on the A148, we see this old picture of the workers on the docks railway after the closure.
Once again, Thanks to Paul Miller for this picture.
Here in 2020, we see what remains of the docks branch taken from the A148 Gaywood road from Dodman's bridge looking down on the line facing King's Lynn Junction.
This part of the line is the turnaround point for the sand freight trains hauled by typically class 66 trains taking silica sand up to the North.
To the right of the picture, where we can see the flats, this is the land where Dodmans foundry once stood.
Here again, in 2020, we see the end of the line here is where the docks line stopped after closure. The line was closed from here to the docks, but even in 2020, the line bed remains overgrown but clear.
Various housing and industrial buildings have be but the bed remains clear.
Here we see the Docks railway in King's Lynn By the North Lynn housing estate.
The track bed has now been lifted here and can still be accessed as it's still in use as a footpath from North Lynn to the Austin fields industrial estate.
You can still see where the railway was as last time I visited, and there were wooden boards where the railway once ran.
A former part of the railway from the Kings Lynn Docks branch at left behind at Kettlewell Lane Kings Lynn.
As far as I understand, this small part that has been left behind was part of a siding off the docks branch.
Next i came to the remains of the level crossing at John Kennedy road just before the North lynn housing estate.
The level crossing at John Kennedy Road at Kings Lynn photographed in 2020
Trip back to the Docks branch line in 2021 after the level crossing had a clear-up of overgrowth.
Here we see the level crossing in 1989 with these pictures, thanks to Paul Miller.
King's Lynn Docks
Thanks to Historic England.
Credit to Archant archive
King's Lynn Alexandra Dock, date unknown. Picture: King's Lynn Borough Council archives (Image: Archant)
King's Lynn Docks in 2020
Bentinck dock railway remains in 2020 at Kings Lynn docks.
At first, I was unsure if these were remains of the railway or the tracks that the cranes moved over; looking at old pictures and speaking to others seems these are the Railway tracks and also the Rails for the Kings Lynn docks cranes
Alexandra dock's railway track was left behind at King's Lynn docks.
King's Lynn Docks Railway remains in 1996, not long after the closure
Once again, thanks to Paul Miller.
Many thanks to Richard Humphery for the use of this image via Geograph please follow the link for more of Richards's work
This was the old bridge that carried the railway across the Water
This bridge is still in use today for road use
In August 2022, I found these old track lines just by the entrance to dow chemicals whilst delivering to the site.
The first one would have been the entrance to the chemical site, and you can see where the line curved around to the left towards King's Lynn Docks.
Sorry for the lousy quality. This was taken into the sun, and I have tried my best to save what I could.
When these pictures were taken, most of the site was demolished and is now being De contaminated.
I can't say how long these railway remains will last, but this part of the site is still in use under a different company as storage, so these may last a bit longer before another piece of history is lost.
The picture seen below was taken in Late November 2022
Again this picture shows where the railway entered Dow Chemicals from King's Lynn Docks.
Here we see the railway track on the road's other side from the picture above.
These railways were feet away from the picture above and close to the entrance of Dow chemicals.
Whilst delivering to Dow Chemicals in the last days of the factory, I found this old Bridge remain left behind from the railway days.
In 2021 Dow chemicals is partly being demolished, and I wonder if this bridge remains or has been destroyed.
Sadly I can imagine it's now gone. If anyone knows any different, please send me a tweet.
Shocked being an HGV driver, I get access to places, and whilst delivering and whilst on the old dow chemicals site in King's Lynn, I found once again the old railway bridge still sat there whilst the rest of the site as seen down this web page is being demolished, and de contaminated.
The bridge was still there in late November 2022. How long still it will last? I can't say this old part of the old railway will hopefully stay a while longer, but sadly I can't see it.
Dow Chemicals spur line off from the docks branch seen here in an unknown year.
These pictures, once again used, are by Paul Miller.
The site of Dow chemicals at King's Lynn is mostly now being demolished and levelled off and decontaminated.
At the time of writing, no one is sure what the site will be used for.
Most likely a solar farm due to the land contamination from the past.
The job I do has allowed me on site a few times during the demolition and here are a few pictures I managed to obtain from the site.
These pictures were taken in may 2022