Bramley Line declines carriage offer and changes direction while future of Wisbech to March rail link is decided

Former NER carriage

Former NER carriage - Credit: Archant

Uncertainty has prompted the Bramley Line – the organisation fighting to reopen the March to Wisbech link – to only undertake “minimal track maintenance” until its future is decided.

Lifting of the NER carriage

Lifting of the NER carriage - Credit: Archant

Bramley Line chairman Councillor Simon King said: “The Wisbech - March railway line has been much in the news recently with the possibility of a commercial re-opening.

“The only certainty at the moment is Government funding for further feasibility studies.

“Until these reports are completed, and these things take time, only minimal track maintenance is sensible”

He said the group was pursuing other aspects of railway conservation “because heritage attracts visitors and the evidence for the economic benefits of railway heritage is overwhelming”.

The NER carriage heads home

The NER carriage heads home - Credit: Archant

Cllr King said: “Although the Bramley Line has had to change direction, we’ve always wanted to ensure the area enjoys the benefits of railway heritage. Bramley Line members have done some great work to progress this.”

He said a former railway carriage offered to the Bramley Line had instead been sent back to the North East from where it originally came.

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“The railway carriage was at Wiggenhall St. Germans,” he said. “Like lots of carriages it was used for many years as a home. It was offered to the Bramley Line but, on discovering it was a former North Eastern Railway vehicle dating from 1901/02, the Bramley Line organised its transfer to the Tanfield Railway, near Newcastle upon Tyne, for restoration.”

Cllr King said that during the last two years the Bramley Line has been involved with the preservation of historic railway vehicles. Last year saw the delivery, amongst others, of a former Great Eastern Railway carriage to the Waldersea depot and this is currently undergoing repair.

He said: “The vehicle, No.21, dates from about 1875 and is a sister vehicle to No. 16 that ran on the former, and much lamented, Wisbech and Upwell Tramway. That railway is known by many as the inspiration for the Reverend Awdry’s Thomas the Tank Engine books and Toby, the tram engine, in particular”.

Additional Great Eastern Railway carriages have recently been offered to the Bramley Line and are currently subject to negotiation and possible removal, said Cllr King.

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