Branch Lines to Thetford
Great Eastern Cross Country Routes
Before the coming of the railway the East Anglian towns of Bury St Edmunds and Thetford enjoyed periods of prosperity for they were linked by waterways to the coastal port of Kings Lynn and thus had connections to much of the British Isles and the continent. Chronic neglect of the Norfolk harbour and the advent of various railway routes from the 1840s, which amalgamated to form the Great Eastern Railway in 1862, hardly helped the situation for the former trading partners could only be reached by roundabout and time consuming journeys. Local businessmen decided the only solution was to build a direct railway linking Bury with Thetford and on to Watton, where local burghers were equally keen to connect with the expanding railway empire, and from there to Swaffham and thus via the former Lynn & Dereham company line to reach their goal. The plan to run independently of the GER was fraught from the start, for three companies were formed to achieve their aim: the Bury St Edmunds & Thetford, incorporated in 1865 but not opened until 1876; the Thetford & Watton, the most successful of the triumvirate, incorporated in 1866 and actually opening to traffic as an independent concern in 1869; and the Watton & Swaffham, which obtained its Act in 1869 and opened in 1875. By running powers over the GER the T&WR operated through services from 1876, but all three were ailing concerns with the BSE&TR selling out to the GER in 1878. The T&WR and W&SR threw themselves at the mercy of the main line company, entering into a working agreement until being absorbed in 1898. Thus the GER without much effort nullified the threatened competition. The Bury to Thetford and Thetford to Swaffham lines thereafter operated as separate branches until closure in the 1950s and 1960s, but far from a mundane existence they served parts of Norfolk and Suffolk with quiet efficiency and played a huge part in the defence of the realm during two world wars. Their essential involvement in the first conflict, with the exercising of men and horses, and ultimately the development of mechanised warfare in the form of the tank, is largely unknown and forgotten, whilst the servicing of several military airfields, as well as one of the largest bomb dumps in the country and an important but necessary chemical warfare establishment, between 1939 and 1945 is legendary.
Hardback, 288 pages, black & white photographs, drawings, track diagrams/maps
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Please note that courier services are unable to deliver to PO Box addresses. If you usually use a PO Box address, you will need to supply an alternative address if you require shipping by courier.
Shipping to the European Union
From 1 July 2021, all EU countries will be imposing VAT on all imports. In the UK, books are zero-rated for VAT proposes so there is no VAT to deduct from the prices quoted on our website. All of our orders are usually sent "DDU" (Delivered Duty Unpaid) using a courier service and the shipping prices quoted are on a DDU basis. However, we are now able to offer limited "DDP" (Delivered Duty Paid) services to certain EU destinations. If you would like to purchase books on a DDP basis, please contact us before making your purchase and we will give you a DDP price.
Therefore all DDU shipments to EU destinations will be held by the relevant customs authority until the customer pays any VAT that is due. We understand that if no payment is received by the relevant customs authority after 30 days, the package will be either returned or destroyed. Rail-Books will not be liable for any loss resulting from the destruction or return of goods where VAT has not been paid.
We recommend that customers in the EU follow the tracking data supplied to them once we dispatch your parcel and once the parcel is showing as arriving in the destination country, make contact with either the postal or customs authorities to pay the appropriate amounts of tax/duty.
On rare occasions, parcels will be returned to us. Where this happens we will refund the customer the cost of their order less any expenses incurred by ourselves (e.g. the initial cost of sending the parcel or costs relating to damage incurred in transit). If a customer requests that a parcel be shipped again for a second time, we request the customer to place a repeat order together with shipping costs. Repeat orders to UK customers will not be eligible for free shipping.
Updated: 29 December 2022