Jack drifts down towards Leadhills station © Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 Some years ago, I went on a railtour in Ireland, named "The Sligo Avoider". The intention was, unlike a previous attempt at this tour, to get to Cork and Cobh. Bomb scares in the Dublin area meant the earlier tour went to Sligo, the only route available pending the all clear. Sadly, a derailment at Limerick Junction meant the second attempt failed to get to Cork too. The trip described and illustrated on this page was intended to deliver its participants to Bressingham, or alternatively, the Bure Valley Railway. We never made it to either of these destinations... ...not the fault of the organisers of this potentially excellent tour. Blame the poor class 47, which, having hauled the trip successfully as far as the goods loops south of Ely station, expired on running around the train. The nearest available loco was 56 062, on a freight at Peterborough. It was duly summoned, and on arrival, coupled up to the dead 47 and our train. All should now be well... ...except that, a few miles out of Ely, we ground to a halt, the brakes having seized on the hapless 47. After a long pause, we made slow and cautious progress as far as Brandon, where we were able to dispose of the 47 in a siding. Progress was now, once again, rapid - but the lost time meant the Bressingham party would arrive at the famous gardens and railway centre at around closing time, and the Bure Valley party would, in effect, pass themselves on the way back. So the only remaining option was a couple of hours in Norwich. The day was hot and dry - so were we, by the time our train arrived in Norwich, so a fair proportion of our stay was necessarily occupied by refreshments. Nevertheless, there was time for an attempt to regain the day with a few photographs. Our failure to reach Bressingham was disappointing, but the day had nevertheless been enjoyable. Our return run, behind another 47, was exemplary. In fact, it may be exceptional, in not stopping once between Peterborough (via Grantham and Nottingham) and Stoke. The organisers did a magnificent job in keeping us informed and in good humour, we had cash refunds on the return journey for the Bressingham / Bure Valley trips, an interim goodwill gesture from EWS of drinks (soft ones....) all round, and eventually a cash refund for part of the fare. 56 062 on arrival, Norwich 67 009 at Norwich 86 250 leaves Norwich Central Trains 170 512, Norwich Norwich station entrance