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It was one of those ‘how did I get here?‘ moments. When I should probably have been asleep, I found myself looking at photos of particularly small or rarely used train stations. Naturally.

Berney Arms Station was a swift return to familiarity. It’s one of the least used in the country, which perhaps isn’t surprising given its location, out in the open somewhere between Yarmouth and Norwich, very much in the realm of wildlife. Its erection is all down to Thomas Berney, who owned the land when the track was being planned; he was quite happy for them to proceed, but insisted that a station be included.

I remember the days when my sisters would take me to Norwich for the day, we’d usually go by train until, at some point, we converted to the bus. I would always ask if it was going to go the Berney Arms way; it took a little longer than the usual route through Acle and Brundall, but was most definitely the more open and scenic journey. Coasting across the Broads with close-up views of Berney Arms High MillCantley Sugar Factory and Reedham was fun, and still has a certain romance about it. I highly recommend getting off at Cantley and visiting The Cock Tavern.

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I can’t remember a single passenger ever boarding or alighting at Berney Arms. My understanding is that it’s most popular on Sundays, as it’s veritably spoilt that day with the service of no less than four trains. Currently, with the pub a victim of arson and the High Mill seemingly closed more often than not, it’s perhaps not as attractive a trip as it once was, but the station will remain a curiosity, I’ve no doubt.

And, rather further from home, I got to sketching this little station shelter below: Campbell’s Platform in the Welsh country of Gwynedd, erected in 1965. Its main purpose back then was to serve Plas Dduallt, a fifteenth century manor house, connecting to the main Tan-y-Bwlch station. I took a few liberties with the reference in a bid to make it seasonably cosy, with varying degrees of success. Lots of fun, though – what a great little station!

These quiet, often secluded little stops are far more appealing to me than the crowded chaos of a large one, no matter how immaculate or warm they are. They’re like having your own little stop – as, indeed, these two were to begin with! Maybe I will look at some more of these; there was a nice feeling of being on the right track whilst making them.

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bridge0002Rather than being on the water, we’re traversing it by train this time, as I attempted to model a historic broadland swing bridge. This particularly idyllic example is heavily inspired by that of Reedham, and the near-identical twin at Somerleyton. I’m sure we all recognise it as the backdrop to Annabel Croft on the Norfolk episode of Interceptor.

Built at the turn of the twentieth century, succeeding older, single-track structures, the two were – and still are – instrumental in linking both Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft to the city of Norwich without disruption to wherry trade.

bridge0001There’s a single red flag flying above the signal box, which means swinging will happen on request…

bridge0004Note that the derelict drainage mill appears to have been demolished in all but one of the shots. In reality, I removed it because I thought it jarring, conflicting with the bridge, which really is the star of the show here. As a compromise, I did regenerate the mill and give it a shot of its own:

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I had this brainwave in the shower, naturally, and by the time I’d got myself in any condition to make, had convinced myself that this would be too much for both the computer and myself. How happy I am to have, in this instance at least, proven that persistent voice of doubt wrong – even if I was up until after 5AM tending to it. That may sound naughty; it is late even for me! But I rarely sleep anyway, so I think it better to be up and doing stuff. There’s much to be said for having the dawn chorus as soundtrack!

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