Loco naming ceremony at Barton House Railway in Wroxham in honour of founder

PUBLISHED: 14:03 08 September 2013 | UPDATED: 14:03 08 September 2013

Barton House Railway Paul Bower loco naming - Peter Bower and Mary Cobb. Picture; RICHARD BATSON

Barton House Railway Paul Bower loco naming - Peter Bower and Mary Cobb. Picture; RICHARD BATSON


A tiny nameplate on a little locomotive has recalled the roots of a garden railway.

Barton House Railway at Wroxham, where scaled down trains run between the house and riverside, is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

At the weekend the man who started it, engineer Paul Bower, was remembered when an engine bearing his name was officially unveiled.

The task was done by his sister Mary Cobb, who will be 90 in January and lives in the Cotswolds.

She made the trip to the Broads to do the honours at a special open day for family and friends of the current railway owner and manager Peter Bower.

He said his father used to run a railway in his garden at Earlham House in Norwich. When he moved to Wroxham in the 1950s he vowed to create another.

The three and a half inch circular railway opened in 1963. The full size former Honing signal box was added in 1967 and the seven and a quarter inch riverside lines began in 1979. Friends of the railway raised funds to build the diesel-shunter style Paul Bower engine in 2005, but Peter Bower said the local had never officially been named - so the visit of aunt Mary to the 50th celebrations was the ideal opportunity to put that right.

Mrs Cobb remembered, as a child, riding on the garden railway when it was at Earlham, and said the current set up - with stations, signals, crossings, and special tickets - was “wonderful.”

Mr Bower senior was director at Norwich-based wire netting company Barnards. The railway he created now has four steam and six electric engines. It is open on the third Sunday of the month, and also runs evening, halloween and Christmas specials.

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