Saluting authors recalling Norfolk and Suffolk’s railways

Saluting authors recalling Norfolk and Suffolk’s railways

Producing almost 20  wonderful books about Norfolk and Suffolk railways they were the best double act on the tracks. Derek James reports

When the names Richard Adderson and Graham Kenworthy appear on the cover of a book about our railways you know you are in a treat…because they know their subject inside out.

Every word and every photograph is researched with an expert eye for detail.

The latest one in the wonderful Country Railway Routes by Middleton Press is Wymondham to Wells: Featuring the Mid-Norfolk Railway… but there will not be any more by the two of them.

Graham died just before the book was published last year, but despite failing health had been fully involved in the production of this volume.


A card posted in December 1913 show the grand exterior of the station at Dereham. Those new-fangled motor cars were on the way. Picture: Richard Adderson collection

– Credit: Richard Adderson collection


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This was just as much a joint effort as the previous ones,” said his co-author Richard.

As with so many of his generation, Graham had always been interested in railways, and he joined the railway industry as an engineering student after leaving school in Coventry in 1960.

Graham moved to Norwich five years later and stayed, mainly employed in various civil engineering roles…gaining  a first-hand knowledge of the railways of East Anglia.
When he retired in 1996 Graham moved into the world of book production, and in 1998 he and Richard Adderson joined forces to produce Branch Lines around Cromer.

This proved to be the first of the 19 railway books which they compiled together, 18 of them in the Middleton Press series. For anyone who loves reading about the railways across Norfolk and Suffolk they are a fascinating look at our history.

A goods diesel crosses Norwich Road, Fakenham, in July 1968 while a staff member leans on the gate,


A goods diesel crosses Norwich Road, Fakenham, in July 1968 while a staff member leans on the gate, ready to close it behind the train. The Eastern Counties Farmers premises seen generated a lot of grain traffic up to the close in 1980. Photo: S Moore

– Credit: S Moore

So join us on a journey  from Wymondham to Wells on the historic line which stretched across some beautiful Norfolk countryside.

The historic line was laid on fairly level ground in beautiful countryside across the county.

The Act of Parliament which authorised the first section of the line as far as Dereham was passed in 1845 under the title of the Norwich & Brandon Railway.

Over the next few years the line was extended and stations built…giving people the freedom to move around.

Climbing aboard at Wymondham we head for the likes of Hardingham, Thuxton, Yaxham, Dereham, North Elmham, County School, Ryburgh before arriving in Fakenham, Walsingham and finally Wells.

As with all their books, this one contains glorious old photographs and detailed information about this railway.

There were various changes over the years and a timetable from 1943 during the Second World War shows five trains calling at all stations from Wymondham to Wells, together with one through train to Kings Lynn serving all stations to Dereham.

The photograph on the book cover of a train (a DMU) arriving at Walsingham from Wells on May 30 1964


The photograph on the book cover of a train (a DMU) arriving at Walsingham from Wells on May 30 1964 was taken by the late Graham Kenworthy. Picture: Courtesy of Wymondham to Wells

– Credit: Courtesy of Wymondham to Wells

By the summer of 1964, before the withdrawal of services north of Dereham, there were eight trains through from Norwich calling at all stations

Times were changing, country stations were closing throughout the 1960s as the Beeching Report led to the withdrawal of services, lines ripped up.

But, all was not lost. The Mid-Norfolk Railway (MNR) ran their first trains between Dereham and Yaxham in December 1995 and restored services southwards to a new station at Wymondham Abbey in May 1999.  They have done a wonderful job

This is the last great railway armchair journey with Graham Kenworthy. We have much to thank him for.

Wymondham to Wells: Featuring the Mid-Norfolk Railway by Richard Adderson and Graham Kenworthy is published by Middleton Press at £18.95. It is in the shops or you can click on  www.middletonpress.co.uk where you can also see the other great books (they call them albums) by them and hundreds more from across the country.

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