Relics of Great Yarmouth’s railway history discovered in a Norwich garden
11:05 30 December 2012
Relics of a time when Great Yarmouth had two railway stations have been unearthed in an overgrown Norwich garden.
Trains used to run from Yarmouth Southtown station, near the Two Bears Hotel, straight through to London Liverpool Street.
Direct trains were stopped in 1959, and the station was completely closed in 1970, but not before former workers managed to salvage some keepsakes.
And now some nostalgic blue platform signs have surfaced in a Norwich back garden - where a railway worker had stowed them.
The seven “running in” signs - taken from Yarmouth Southtown, Hopton and Corton stations - will go under the hammer next year, and are expected to be snapped up by keen collectors.
Neil Booth, owner of Railwayana Auctions which is conducting the sale, explained: “A gentleman who lived in Norwich approached us.
“He lived in an ordinary suburban street and had lived there since he was a child.”
The man’s father worked on the railway at Yarmouth Southtown when the railway station closed around 1970.
“When it closed, him being a local employee, he made contact with his area boss and asked whether he could have some of the signage,” added Mr Booth.
“Instead of them being scrapped he was told to take what he wanted.”
The man removed four Yarmouth Southtown signs, two Hopton and one Corton.
He took them home and attached them to the wicker fence between his bungalow and the one next door.
But they were forgotten for years as a hedge on the neighbour’s side of the fence grew over them. And it was only when workmen ripped out the hedge that the old signs were discovered again.
“They found the signs that had been there since the 1970s and the railway worker’s son didn’t want them to be thrown away,” said Mr Booth.
Railwayana Auctions collected them from Norwich a few weeks ago and have put one each up for auction.
Mr Booth said they are of “historic value to local collectors” and expected museums to show an interest.
A Hopton sign has already been sold to a private collector, and two Yarmouth Southtown signs have been reserved.
The remainder are expected to fetch around £200 each.
Yarmouth Southtown station was originally the end of the East Suffolk Railway.
It connected directly to London Liverpool Street via Ipswich and Beccles, but was reduced to a service to Lowestoft in 1959.
Stations on the line were Gorleston North, Gorleston-on-Sea, Gorleston Links Halt, Hopton, Corton, Lowestoft North and Lowestoft Central.
The auction of the running in signs will be held on January 12, 2013 at St Leonard’s Social Club in Stafford.
For details call Mr Booth on 01242 620020 or 07836 225711 or visit www.ukrailwayana.com
Meanwhile Yarmouth trainspotters enjoyed an unusual sight recently.
The diesel-drawn Northern Belle - a sort of Orient Express - took passengers on a luncheon-type excursion to Yarmouth from Peterborough. It came via Reedham and left via Acle.