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Norwich city to Melton Constable

M&gn

Welcome to Norfolk's disused Railway's coverage from the M&gn line from

Norwich City to Melton Constable.

The Lynn & Fakenham Railway Act 1880 authorised the construction of a railway line from Fakenham to Norwich city via Melton Constable.

Services started in the January of 1882

The line ran from 

Norwich City 

to

Hellesdon

Drayton

Attlebridge

Lenwade

Whitwell & Reepham

Guestwick 

Hindolvestone

Melton Constable

Passengers from Melton Constable could use the M&gn to travel to other places across Norfolk.

 

North Walsham.

Cromer.

Great Yarmouth.

Fakenham.

South Lynn, where the M&gn

Connected to many other M&gn lines from 

Sutton Bridge.

Wisbech.

Peterborough.

Most of this line is now part of the Marriotts way walk

from Norwich city as far as Themelthorpe on the M&gn

The Marriotts way walk after Themelthorpe

uses the old Great Eastern Railways track bed.

During both of the lines later days in 1960, both lines were joined up by the Themelthorpe curve that was used for freight services from Lenwade Concrete plant and bringing coal into Norwich saving a trip to Cromer to get to the other station at Norwich.

This also saves the trains miles of travelling going via Wroxham.

The Themelthorpe curve was Said to be the sharpest railway curve in British Railways history at the time.

The line was so sharp that trains were limited to 10mph travelling around here.

The Themelthorpe curve now serves as part of the footpath linking up both these long lost lines to make the Marriott's way walk.

The last passenger train left Norwich City in 1959

&

Freight in 1969 

The part between Lenwade and

The Themelthorpe curve remained open until the last train left lenwade industrial site in 1984

Marriotts way walk

 

 Marriot's way walk starts in the centre of Norwich at the Barn Road and Barker street inner-ring road roundabout.

You will see the railway monument and the old Railway gates at the start of the route.

I found it easier to park at Drayton, cycle to Norwich, and photograph the line on the return trip on the 29th of March 2021.

 

Drayton was also less distance to drive personally for me, but it depends on where you live.

 

There will be more accessible parking at Norwich as Drayton has very few parking spaces.

The Marriott's way walk is 26 miles long and opened in 1991

The Marriott's way walk covers two old disused railway lines that are now used as public footpaths.

Norwich to Melton Constable M&gn line & The Great Eastern extension from just outside County School station to Wroxham.

The path runs from Norwich city station to Aylsham.

The Norwich to Melton Constable line was built in. 1882 by the Lynn & Fakenham Railway company was then taken over by the M&Gnjr in 1893 and ran up to Melton Constable, giving a route to the midlands.

The Themelthorpe branch to Aylsham was completed in 1893 to provide a link to other lines at Wroxham and County school station and North Elmham.

 

County school & North Elmham are now owned by the Mid-Norfolk Railway, hoping to reopen this line as part of their heritage railway.

Both lines Never made any profit, and in 1959, both lines closed to passengers, but in 1960 the lines were joined by the sharpest curve in the British Railways network, the Themelthorpe curve.

For movements of Concrete products from Lenwade, This line closed to freight in the 1980s and the track was lifted.

Part of the old line was reopened and is now used as the Bure Valley Railway line.

Most Infomation was sourced from Wikipedia.

Click me for Marriot's way info.

Google maps coverage of the M&GN from Norwich to Melton Constable.

 

M&gn Norwich City
To
Melton Constable

Here we see GoogleMaps coverage from Norwich at the start of the Marriotts way walk at the former site of the Norwich City station, now partly remaining. From the inner ring road roundabout, you can't miss the start of the walk and look for the monument and the old railway gates, as seen in the pictures below.

Thanks to Google maps for all the maps used on this page.

Marriot's way part one, photographed 29th march 2021

Norwich city station

Norwich City station maps past and present.

Dated the early 1900s

Thanks to the national library of Scotland for the use of these maps.

Seen in the short video below.

Norwich City station was opened in 1882 and closed in 1959 to passengers 1969 to freight. Norwich City station had four platforms and was the southern terminus for the Midland Great Northern joint railway from Melton Constable, linking Norwich to the Midlands, Peterborough, Leicester and, more locally, Cromer and King's Lynn and Sheringham. 

Norwich City station had four platforms, and in 1942, the building was severely destroyed by bombing raids from the Second World War.

One USAF aircraft crashed into the site to save more loss of life by hitting in a more populated area. 

After this, temporary buildings were used in Norwich until the line closed shortly after 

In 2021 all that remained were one platform, and thanks to Friends of Norwich City Station, this and the base of the old train sheds can still be seen.

Norwich City station drawing acquired from Wikipedia

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Norwich City station in 1942 after the blitz | Credit to EDP Archant library.

Archant library

Melton Constable train at Norwich City station in 1958.

Credit EDP Archant library.

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Norwich City station in 1966 | Credit goes to the Archant library via the EDP 

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Norwich City station in 2021

Entrance to Marriotts way 

This railway monument can be seen from the ring road roundabout in Norwich.

Marriots way Monument

The Marriotts way entrance at Norwich

Just behind the gate is where part of Norwich City station still lays. 

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Here we see the old platform and what still remained in 2021 of the old M&gn station.

Thanks to all the volunteers once again for unearthing this long-lost wonder. 

Norwich city station
Norwich city station
Marriotts way

After Norwich City station we next see this old remain that is either a signal base or what I think is a base for an old water tower that was used on the railway please feel free to comment if you know.

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Next, just down the walk where the old line once lay, we arrive at the old Norwich City station engine shed remains. 

All that remains to this day are the recently unearthed brick floor remains from the base of where these sheds once stood at Marriotts way just past the old station platform remains these are In-between the station and the river Wensum.

The engine sheds were big enough to hold six steam engines with inspection pits.

 

 In 1942 the old station sheds were damaged beyond repair and replaced with smaller sheds with just two bays and no doors.

 

A far less elegant structure.

Here we see the engine shed remains recently unearthed by volunteers close to Norwich city station.

Norwich city engine sheds
Norwich city engine sheds
Norwich city engine sheds
Norwich city engine sheds remains

After the Norwich City engine sheds, we come to where the Wensum bridge once stood.

 

Here was where the first of three victorian A-frame bridges once stood.

 

This was the first one and was removed in the 1970s, and this new footpath/cycleway bridge spanned the river Wensum built and was built in 2002.

These A-frame bridges were built by the contractor Wilkinson & Jarvis.

William Marriott trained and held his first job with Wilkinson & Jarvis, who were also responsible for lots of the infrastructure on the M&gn.

Two bridges remain one in exceptionally restored condition at Hellesdon &

the other is just outside of Drayton

The Wensum dipper story

This was a story I found on the information board. Thanks to Marriott's way heritage trail and Norfolk county council for this information.

In November 1846, a steam train left Norwich, heading for Melton Constable in the heavy morning mist.

A mistake in the yard accidentally sent the train down a siding off the main line and towards a set of buffers.

At the last moment, the driver realised the mistake and applied the brakes. Sadly it was too late, and the train crashed and went down the bank towards the river Wensum.

The crew escaped unharmed and walked back to the goods yard.

The next day the crew were expected back to work.

Next, we see one of the old A-frame bridges on the old railway. Before the line was lifted, the year this picture was taken is unknown.

 

Credit: Archant Library

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Here we see the new river Wensum crossing in 2021

This bridge replaced an old A-frame bridge, and it is not railway related in any way

Marriotts way bridge
Marriotts way bridge

After the river Wensum bridge, the line kept curving to the right before reaching this road bridge, where the line then goes on a straight trajectory heading towards Hellesdon.

This is the A1024 mile crossroad bridge that carries the road overhead, and the railway runs underneath.

Thanks once again to Google maps for the map coverage

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Mile cross railway bridge is seen here in 2021 from the Marriotts way walk.

Sadly, like all railway bridges, this is covered in graffiti but is in good condition apart from the graffiti.

This bridge carries the A1024 Mile crossroad across the top of this bridge.

The railway used to run underneath this road bridge.

Milecross railway bridge
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Mile cross road bridge facing towards Norwich.

Mile cross raod railway bridge

Marriott's way walk has many old mile markers from old railway parts along its route.

Here we see the first one after leaving Norwich.

Marriotts way 1 mile marker
Marriotts way one mile marker
Marriotts way 1 mile marker

Leaving the first-mile marker behind we head off down the old track bed. 

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Next to come is Sweetbriar road bridge A140 on the Marriotts way walk.

Like the Mile cross road bridge, this carried the railway underneath the bridge, and the road went over the top of this bridge.

 

Thanks again to Google maps.

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Sweet Briar road,

crossing bridge along the Marriotts way walk.

Sweet Briar road railway bridge
Sweet Briar road railway bridge
Sweet Briar road railway bridge
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Next, along this lovely walk, we come to one of the highlights along the route, what would have been the second iron bridge along this M&gn line when the line was open.

 

The first one was sadly removed, as seen in the pictures above.

Along the Marriotts, way walk, this is the first original river crossing bridge you will encounter.

Bridge 249

It was fantastically restored with help from the national lottery heritage fund.

Thanks to Google maps below.

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M&gn Bridge 249

Bridge 249 Marriotts way

Here we see this marvellous restored bridge photographed from the banks of the river Wensum.

Marriotts way iron bridge
Bridge 249 Marriotts way

Marriotts way iron bridge crosses the

River Wensum.

Marriotts way River Wensum iron bridge
Marriotts way
Bridge 249 Marriotts way
Bridge 249 Marriotts way

After we crossed the iron bridge and before the Hellesdon road crossing, we came to the second-mile marker, as seen below.

Marriotts way mile marker two

After the second mile marker and just before we reach Hellesdon station, we have to cross over Hellesdon Road.

From what I can see, there used to be a railway bridge here but sadly has been demolished due to the change in the road layout.

There was no trace of any road bridge left when I visited this site in 2021

Thanks to Google maps.

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Thanks to the National Library of Scotland, we see in the maps dating from the early 1900s that there was once a bridge here many years ago.

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Hellesdon Road crossing is seen in 2021

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Hellesdon station

Hellesdon Maps from the early 1900s showed when the M&gn line was still in use.

This map was also used for the location of the

A-frame bridge.

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Next, we come to Hellesdon station on the Marriotts way walk.

Hellesdon station opened along with the rest of the line in 1882 

Closed to passengers in 1952

Closed completely in 1964

The station building was demolished in 1975

In October 2010, the platform wall was cleared by the amateur group Friends of Norwich City Station.

Hellesdon was the first stop after Norwich city station and 2 1/4 miles away from Norwich.

 

Hellesdon station only had one platform that had a slight curve along the platform before heading off towards Drayton.

Hellesdon station photographed in 2021

If any of the Friends of Norwich City station members are reading this, please accept my thanks for all you have done.

Hellesdon Station sign
Hellesdon station
Marriotts way
Hellesdon platform
Hellesdon
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Just after Hellesdon Station, I found this concrete plaque.

I need to find out what it represents.

By the looks of the inscription, it's related to the river Wensum.

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After Hellesdon station, we head off towards the next and final station of this part of the Marriotts way walk.

 

Drayton.

Before we reach Drayton, there are a few more railway remains to see, a couple more bridges and mile markers.

So off we go, and as seen in the picture below, after Hellesdon, we head off through this cutting before reaching the next river crossing bridge.

Marriotts way cutting

Next, we arrive at this small bridge that crosses the River Tud

The River Tud comes off from the River Wensum.

Thanks again to google maps.

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The River Tud Crossing bridge.

River Tud railway crossing
Marriotts way river tud
River tud railway crossing

Off we head again down Marriotts way towards Drayton. 

Close to the third mile marker.

Marriotts way

Mile marker number Three.

Marriotts way mile marker three
Marriotts way mile marker three

After the Third mile marker, the old railway line goes through the countryside and, in parts, down by the River Wensum.

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Just off to the side of Marriotts way and non-railway related, there is this small picnic sitting area under the trees, a lovely place to take a well-earned short rest.

Marriotts way picnic area

Off to Drayton once again here the old line opens up a bit into more open fields here for a short while up to the 4th-mile marker on Marriotts way.

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Marriotts way up towards the 4-mile marker point.

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Some old railway remains left behind from the railways 

long lost days.

Marriotts way remains
Marriotts way remains

Mile marker number 4

The last mile marker before we reach Drayton.

Marriotts way mile marker

Here we see some old railway fencing in-between mile marker number 4

And Drayton.

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Heading off to drayton we come across this next small railway bridge that crosses what looks like a farm track .

Sadly this bridge like most has been graffitied but with bad language.

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The view from the top of the railway crossing bridge.

Marriotts way bridge

View the railway bridge from the bottom of the bridge where this was most likely a farm track, and the railway crossed over the top.

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Top view from the disused railway bridge looking down towards the farm track

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After, we head off again to Drayton, just a short distance ahead.

But before we reach Drayton, we come to the final River Wensum bridge and the second iron A Frame bridge that still survives.

 

There used to be three during the line's pre-closure days.

 

This bridge is not in as good a condition as the first one previously, but structurally it looks fantastic.

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The final A frame bridge along the line before we reach Drayton.

Drayton station would have been just after this fantastic bridge.

Marriotts way iron bridge
A frame iron bridge
Marriotts way iron bridge
Marriotts way

View of the river wensum from the top of the bridge.

River wensum

I managed to get down to the bottom of the bridge with out slipping or falling and ill be honest it was not the easiest of places to get to so if you venture please take care.

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Marriotts way
Marriotts way

Just after the final A-frame bridge, we come to the end of this part of the walk.

 

Drayton station

Drayton station maps dated the early 1900s

Maps past & present short video.

Drayton station was the second station on the M&gn Norwich city to Melton Constable line.

Drayton opened on the 2nd of December 1882, as did Costessey and Drayton.

On the first of February, 1883, it was renamed, Drayton.

In 1903 the station was renamed again Renamed Drayton for Costessey.

On the second of march 1959, the last train left Drayton, never to return.

Drayton station had two platforms and a small goods yard.

In 2021 there was no trace of the old station as it had been long demolished, and the land had been replaced with industrial units and housing. Looking at Google maps, where the old station once sat, the houses and the industrial units follow where the railway and the goods yard once stood.

Below we see a memorial post for the old Drayton station sited just after where the station would have once sat.

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Just after the Marriotts way walk startswe see station road at Drayton.

Here there is no trace at all left of any railway station or any remains of the old platforms or goods yard in 2021

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More from along the Norwich city to Drayton railway line is to follow