© 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
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.