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Watlington
Magdalen Road
To March

The Bramley Line

Welcome to Norfolks disused railway's page of Magdalen Road-Watlington to Wisbech line.


The Bramley Line Between Watlington and Magdalen Road was opened in February 1848 and was closed in 1968 as far as Wisbech.


The line after Wisbech to march remained open until 2000 for freight. 

The Bramley Line called at

Watlington

Magdalen Gate

 

Middle Drove

 

Smeeth Road

 

Emneth

 

Walsoken

 

Wisbech East

Coldham

March

The line has had many attempts to reopen in-between March & Wisbech as the line bed lies clear, and the railway is still down in places.

Sadly this part between Watlington & Wisbech is blocked off in many positions; Wisbech Station has been demolished, and a housing estate has been built over the area.

Please also look at this page by Lewis Collard with his amazing pictures of the remains from this line.

Click me for Lewis Collard's page

Google My maps coverage from the Bramley line 

Watlington | Magdalen Road station

Watlington station opened in 1846 called Watlington for services to only Ely or King's Lynn.

The rest of the line to Cambridge and London was completed in stages shortly after.

In 1848 Watlington Junction opened with a line to Wisbech that closed in 1968.

In June 1875, the station was renamed Magdalen road.

Also, the station closed with the line's closure on the 9th of September 1968. 

Locals petitioned and finally got the station reopened on May the 5th, 1975. The station reopened, still called Magdalen Road.

 

On the 3rd of October 1989, the line changed its name back to Watlington but still, to this day, the signal box carries the

Network SouthEast sign of Magdalen Road.

The Pictures below were taken on various dates and sourced from different Facebook groups.

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Credit archant via Facebook

The Watlington station sign was taken in 2021 from the King's Lynn bound platform.

Watlington signal box in 2021 that still carries the network South East style name, Magdalen Road, what the station was initially called until 1989

 

Magdalen road signal box
magdalen road signal box

Here we see the old Watlington station platform used when the line ran to Wisbech and March.

The waiting rooms here have been renovated to a very high standard and can be rented out for holiday accommodation.

Called the Ladies'waiting room.

Booking can be found via airb&b

Or please look at the website.

 

www.norfolkrailwaystay.com

I was luckily also invited to the old Watlington station to do some photography for this renovated 

holiday accommodation.

Watlington station and the old waiting rooms before renovation.

Watlington Station
Watlington station

Watlington station waiting rooms after the fantastic renovation work.

The lamp store is also planned to be renovated.

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Just by the station, we see this old railway building from the bygone days.

Watlington station norfolk

The new platform at Watlington.

It was built when the station reopened.

This platform takes trains to London from King's Lynn.

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Magdalen road \ Watlington station

Watlington station is viewed from the road with the still-in-use signal box in the distance.

The new Platform is to the left, whilst the old Station house is to the right of this picture.

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We now leave Watlington station and head off towards the Next station Magdalen gate.

Leaving Magdalen road | Watlington there was a junction just after the station to the Ely side of the platform where the Wisbech | March line went off from the main line heading March bound.

The next two pictures are taken from the side of the station where roughly the old track bed would of been leaving Magdalen Road towards Wisbech

watlington wisbech track bed
watlington wisbech track bed

After leaving Watlington, we can see from these two aerial shots where the old railway once ran with the first bridge in the second photo.

Watlington wisbech railway
Bramley line aerial shot

Next, after we leave Magdalen Road heading towards Wisbech, we cross four bridges; two are still there, and two are just small remains of the former bridges.

Since writing this page, one of the bridges at stow road has been demolished.


Number one crosses the river Ouse relief channel and is still used as a public footpath.

Number two is just brick buttresses on the river ouse banks.


Number three is the brick buttresses at stow road.

The Buttresses have since been demolished here.

Number 4 is a still used bridge used by farmland. You can access this bridge by public footpath; trust me, it's a long walk. 



 

Bridge number one crosses the river Ouse relief channel.

This bridge is in fantastic condition and is used daily as a public walk.

Bramley Line
magdalen road wisbech railway bridge
magdalen road wisbech railway bridge
Bramley line
magdalen road wisbech railway bridge
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Bramley line
Watlington railway bridge

Just after the first bridge crossing that crosses the great River Ouse relief channel, the Railway came across its next Bridge yards away from the first bridge.

This one crosses the River Ouse.


This bridge has been demolished, and now all that remains to this day is the concrete buttresses on the river banks.

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Bramley line
Bramley line
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The third bridge  crossing Stow road 

MMR 2333

magdalen road wisbech railway bridge
magdalen road wisbech railway bridge
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Not long after taking these pictures the former remains from this bridge are completely demolished in I guess mid to late 2021

Watlington to March Railway

Magdalen Gate railway station

Near where the old brick buttresses were was once a short-lived station, Magdalen Gate railway station.

This station was only open from March 1848 to August 1866 

This station served the village of Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen.

Nothing remains of this station to this day.

Thanks to the National Library of Scotland for the map below.

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Next we come to Bridge number four.

That crosses the middle-level main drain. 


This bridge is accessible for photography via a public footpath but not accessible to walk over; trust me, it was a long walk.

Middle level foot drain railway bridge
Bramley line railway bridge
middle level main drain
Bramley Line

After crossing this bridge, the railway went through rich open fen land heading towards its next station.

Middle drove.

Middle Drove Station

Next along the line, we see Middle Drove station.

Like the rest of the line, Middle drove station closed in 1968 and when photographed was used as a private residence.

Middle drove had two platforms, but when photographed, only one remained.

In November 2022, demolition started on this old station.

Rip middle drove station.

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Leaving Middle drove station, the line once again passed through rich open fen land, crossing over the forty-foot drain and Rands drain before crossing over a level crossing and then approaching the Smeeth road level crossing and arriving at the next station.

Smeeth road.

Smeeth road
Railway Station.


 

Smeeth road station in the village of Marshland Saint James closed in 1968. 

 

Smeeth road had only one platform.

 

This old station building is also now used as a private residence.

Since the line closed, there has been construction where the line once ran here at Marshland Saint James.

smeeth road railway station
smeeth road railway station
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Enmeth station

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Emneth station, seen below in 2020, shows the station as a now private residence.

Emneth, like Smeeth road station, was in a very rural location.


Enmesh station had two platforms and opened in 1848 and closed in 1968

emneth station


Biggs road level crossing

Close to Walsoken there remains this old Level crossing cottage.

With no sign or the level crossing left all that remains is this cottage in great condition. 

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Walsoken station

Walsoken station was in between Emneth and Wisbech east and had a very short life, having only been open for three years, between 1848-1851

Making this the shortest-lived station along the route behind Magdalen Gate railway station. It lasted 18 years, from 1848 to 1866

The maps below show roughly where the old station would have once sat for its short three-year life.

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Wisbech East Station

Wisbech railway station opened in March 1848 as Wisbeach, and on the 4th of May 1877,  it was renamed Wisbech.

In September 1948, on the 27th, it was renamed Wisbech east as there was another station in the market town that also existed, and the other station was renamed Wisbech North at the same time.

Wisbech East had three platforms.

Wisbech North was part of the M&gn and closed in 1959 to passengers and in 1964 to freight.

On the 9th of September 1968, the station closed, and the line was also closed and used until 2000 for freight use between March and Wisbech.

The line between Magdalen road and Wisbech was soon pulled up.

Wisbech East station also had services to Saint Ives and the Wisbech and upwell tramway.

The station in this day had gone entirely, and the site now occupies a housing estate.

The line for freight use is also no longer in use but still lies in situ after the closure of freight from the industrial estate at Wisbech.

To March.

Wisbech East to March

Welcome to the Wisbech to march part of the Bramley line.

This 7.8-mile part of the line remained open after 1968 until it finally closed in 2000 to freight use from the outskirts of Wisbech to march.

Even though this part of the line has now closed, not only is the track bed from the outskirts of Wisbech still unblocked but also most of the track bed remains down and many campaigns are trying to reopen this line from Wisbech to March.

As seen above the site of the old station has long gone and a new station would need to be built.

 

And could with ease just on the edge of the market town of Wisbech with plenty of space to build and no need to cross the now busy A47 King's Lynn,Wisbech,Peterbrough bypass

This part of the webpage was mostly photographed in 2020

My Google Earth map coverage of where the line would run if it was to reopen.

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After services left Wisbech station heading towards march, the line turned quite a sharp left-hand turn to be a pretty much straight route across the Fens.

 heading Towards March.

Just after the curve on the line, there was a junction for a freight yard that remained long after the closure and became the start of the freight line that remained open after the closure of the passenger services in 1968

This freight line here has been lifted and is now part of the car park of the currently in-use pet food factory that sits on the site of the old freight yard.

Once on the straight line, the railway passed over two level crossings.

Weasenham lane and then New bridge lane crossings.

In its early days, the line crossed the Southbridge field where now the A47 stands.

Once the A47 was constructed, there was also a Level crossing installed here on the bypass, and shortly after, the line would have gone through another empty field.

 

Here at this point, if the line was to be reconstructed is where it was proposed to construct a new station,

Building a new station on this empty plot of land would save the railway crossing the busy A47

After the Proposed new station site, we come to the Redmoor lane level crossing.

Red moor lane level crossing Wisbech.

 

I happily chatted with the owner of the crossing cottage lovely bloke lovely to meet like-minded people.

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At the Wisbech side of the crossing there is a small bridge that crosses the Redmoor drain and as can be seen also in the sign in the picture below the bridge code is.

Wig2319

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After Redmoor crossing, the line ran through the fens passing over what I could see to be a farm crossing only, before arriving at Long Drove crossing, where the Bramley Line Railway trust is sited and called. 

Waldersea Depot

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Bramley Line
Bramley Line
Bramley Line
Bramley Line
Bramley Line

Coldham station

Coldham station was in Coldham in Cambridgeshire and was opened in 1847 until 1966 when the station was closed to passengers and then in 1968, the whole line closed to Passengers, and in the year 2000, the entire line closed after the freight line use stopped.

Nothing remains of the Coldham station building to this day apart from a small part of the toilet block hidden amongst the overgrowth.

The level crossing gates also remain, and maybe one day, if the line was to reopen might see these replaced and in use again.

Coldham was the only station in-between Wisbech and March.

Coldham station in roughly 1960 used from

Wisbech

Cambridgeshire Community Archive Network

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Coldham crossing in October 2020 

All that remained to this day was this manual crossing gate, and the station site would have been to the right-hand side of the crossing gates seen here pre-closure.

Coldham station

After the Coldham station site, I found this old farm crossing just off the B1101 road with easy parking, and here we can see how the track bed remains to this day.

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Bramley Line

After the manually gated farm crossing, the line heads towards March via White Moore junction.

 

Next, we come to this Level crossing Close to Friday Bridge and March on the B1101 this level crossing as you can see in the pictures still has all the tracks laid here and just after has a small drain crossing.

If the line was to reopen it's said this bridge will need replacing here.

Looking back towards Coldham & Wisbech from the level crossing.

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Bramley Line

B1101 Level crossing photographed from the B1101 with Wisbech to the left & March and the fen drain crossing bridge to the right of this photograph.

Looking at  this crossing with the lights still intact from when the line closed in 2000

 

If passing, you could think this line was still open.

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B1101 crossing is seen here with the Twenty-foot river drain bridge crossing.

Wisbech would have been to the Right and March would have been to the Left.

Bramley line

Twenty-foot river drain bridge seen here in 2020 with the track still in place.

If the line were to be reopened, this bridge would need to be replaced as when looking at the bridge, pieces are missing and need attention. 

Bramley line Bridge
Bramley bridge

Next along the line we come across the last level crossing on the 

B1101 Elm road.

 

 

Here once again we can see how the track along this line is still laid down along this long lost line.

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Whitemoor Junction

After crossing the level crossing at Elm road, the train would have approached Whitemoor junction, where an extensive goods yard also stood.

Also, at Whitemoor junction was where the March to Spalding line once ran on the Great Northern and Great Eastern Railway and was closed in 1982.

Thence Watlington Wisbech March line here at Whitemoor junction is still connected to the main line but is locked off to the right-hand side of the picture seen below.

This junction has been left in place in case this line is ever to reopen.

Whitemoor junction, the line to the right, is where the Wisbech Watlington-Magdalen road services would arrive in March.

The line to the left is the entrance to the Network rail recycling centre that opened in 2004 on the site of the vast old marshalling yard that was open from 1920 to the 1980s

A high-security Category A men's prison is now at the rear of the railway yard.

Hmp Whitemoor

Where the prison now stands is where the Spalding-March line once laid

Please click on the image for an expanded version.

Whitemoor junction

March marshalling yard 

Thanks to Ben Brooksbank for the picture below

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March Railway station

March railway station in Cambridgeshire is 85 miles 76 chains from London King's cross.

March was opened in 1847 and was a major junction in its time.

March once had seven platforms but now only has two in use.

 

Platforms are used for services to Peterborough-Ely-Norwich-Stansted  Airport-Liverpool Lime street and  Leicester, and Birmingham.

March station also has many freight trains passing through from the Marshalling yard. 

The two platforms at March that used to take services to Wisbech and Spalding remain even though closed off, and the footbridge remains.

These platforms were mothballed and left in case the line as far as Wisbech only will be reopened either by Network rail or as a heritage railway.

March Railway station with a steam service leaving from the now closed platforms where the March-Spalding lines once left 

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March railway station disused platforms taken in 2020 

These platforms have been kept for the possible reopening of the Bramley Line as far as Wisbech where a brand new station would be needed to save the railway crossing the busy A47 Bypass.

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March Railway station
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The pictures below are from the March station, a sign just by the level crossing by the Signal box at March and the Signal box itself.

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Also from March there was a service to Spalding and a few of the remains from the lost railway I managed to photograph and i have these pictures on one of my other webpages.

Lines out side of Norfolk.

 

Please Click me for the Spalding line photos

Thanks for looking please feel free to look at my other pages

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