Sunday, 24 July 2016

Through Great Yarmouth Streets

Yarmouth Quay 29.1.1985

Yarmouth Quay Coal in, 1960s with D11104

Yarmouth Quay South Quay 1955 Copyright Jack Harrison

Yarmouth Quay Steam Tram on the Quay

(All pics sourced via the Internet)

Back in about 1968 we went on a family holiday to Great Yarmouth. This was seriously unusual territory for us, almost abroad! I was just starting to develop an interest in railways then and the caravan park being right next to Vauxhall station was a real bonus! Lots of unusual trains and locomotives, I even saw a steam worked breakdown crane there.

Towards Lowestoft there was the mysterious  South Town station which at first sight looked disused but actually wasn't. I really regret now that I didn't travel on this line to Lowestoft as it closed the following year, but at 12 years old I didn't have a great deal of freedom!

A real surprise was not only the street running lines in town but the fact I even got to see a locomotive running along one of them. This was a remnant of the dock lines, which once connected Vauxhall and the other Great Yarmouth station, Yarmouth Beach, to the docks in town.

This extensive system grew from the Yarmouth Union Railway which aimed to link Yarmouth's three termini, which were completely isolated from each other. The YUR was incorporated on August 26 1880 to link the termini. The line originally was short, just over a mile long, starting at a junction just outside of Yarmouth Beach station, across Caister Road, then due south through the town on a route that followed the backs of houses in Alderson Road. From here it became street running by the White Swan Inn and then made a junction with the GER tramway route from Vauxhall station just east of the Bure river bridge. From here the line continued to the principal quays alongside the river Yare.

The quay lines were worked by steam tram engines, these being shedded in the engine shed at Vauxhall when not being used. These worked for many decades along streets and quays, bringing coal and salt in and fish out. The steam locos gave way to diesels from the 1950s.

All of the lines were abandoned by the 1970s (so I only just caught them in action) and most were lifted by 1985, though some short stretches still remain along the south quays.

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