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DUDLEY MALL'S RAILWAY DIRECTORY
• NORWICH to CAMBRIDGE •
Shippea Hill
LINE PLAN
  Norwich
  Wymondham
  Spooner Row
  Attleborough
  Eccles Road
  Harling Road
  Thetford
  Brandon
  Lakenheath
  Shippea Hill
  Ely
  Waterbeach
  Cambridge

A Station-by-Station Guide to the facilities provided.

Above: A Norwich-bound train leaves the eastern end of Shippea Hill station on 6th July 2006, crossing the Burnt Fen Turnpike (A1101) for a ruler-straight fen horizon. The bus shelters on both platforms that serve waiting passengers from this small community are at the two extreme edges of the photo.
 

Wheels: NC.  If you're on wheels, see our Easy Access page for explanation.

A full list of routes covered by Dudley Mall appears
at the bottom of this page.

Norwich plan NORWICH is a grand, traditional station from outside - and looks a lot fresher than some of its soot-darkened contemporaries in industrial cities. Better still, the main concourse has had a modern facelift that has created an extremely pleasant environment, with open seating areas, a cafe, food stalls, books and newspapers, cash dispensers and telephones arranged as a central island, and plenty of flowers in planters and hanging baskets. There is also a waiting room by the entrance to platform 1. All this is under a light overall roof, and there are canopies along the platforms as well. Because it's a terminus, all trains terminate or reverse direction here. The station is well signed to its east-of-city-centre location, with pay-and-display parking in front and 20 minute pick-up parking round the right side. Access is level at the Thorpe Road entrance, but Station Approach is an incline. Wheels: NC.

Norwich platform      Norwich also serves:
the Norwich to Great Yarmouth route
the Norwich to Lowestoft route
the Norwich to Sheringham route
and Ipswich to Norwich & Cambridge
   Norwich frontage

WYMONDHAM Wymondham station is another survival of a very early railway station - and noticeably proud of its history. Most of the main station building belongs to a commercial company now, but clearly welcomes rail travellers as potential customers. As a result, the station belies its years with flags, flowers, shelter and a snack bar and has a bright cheerful look overall. The Cambridge platform also has a long canopied shelter with seats and you can read an attractive board describing historical high points whilst awaiting your train. The link between the platforms is a stepped overbridge which also branches off to provide a public route across the line. What we didn't find, however, was any kind of wheeled crossing between the platforms. Pointwork at the footbridge end might have made this difficult, but a crossing at the Norwich end looks quite feasible, with plenty of visibility. The station forecourt has parking for both the new owners of the station building and for railway customers, and we had no trouble finding our way to it. Wheels: NC.
Wymondham looking to Norwich It's nice to find such a cheerful-looking station - welcoming to passengers and proud of its history. Wymondham plan

SPOONER ROW Spooner Row station is on an unnumbered road that lies half a mile east of the A11 trunk route's junction with the B1172.

The platforms are staggered left and right across the level crossing, and the helpful gatekeeper pointed out that the gates to the platform ends are controlled from his box to prevent children crossing the line when it isn't safe.

The station buildings are gone, with standard bus shelters seating about 6 people in their place. These are both close to the crossing, as the Norwich-facing photograph shows.

Free parking for about four vehicles is beyond the cabin on the other side of the road, so not visible here. We saw no access problems. Wheels: NC.
Spooner Row looking north
Spooner Row plan

ATTLEBOROUGH Like many stations along this line, Attleborough station lies at a level crossing, but this is one of the busier ones in terms of road traffic as Attleborough is a small town rather than a village. The station is on Station Road, which is the south-eastwards B1077 from the town centre to Old and New Buckenham. It's not far from the centre and we had no trouble finding it. There is street parking, but no station parking that we saw.
The original station building survives on the Norwich platform, in good order and complete with seats and a welcome canopy - but the building itself is no longer in railway use. The Cambridge-bound platform has a brick shelter with a full canopy outside it. The station is easy access from the level crossing end and colourful with flowers. Wheels: NC.

attleborough plan
  Attleborough photo

ECCLES ROAD Eccles Road station is at a level crossing on an un-numbered road a bare mile east of the A11, with two junctions to choose from. It serves a scattering of small communities including its own, Gallows Hill, and Snetterton, home of the well known motor racing circuit. The level crossing is unusual for this line in having (traditional) half gates - but they still block the road when closed. The original station buildings have gone, replaced on the Cambridge platform by a small Eccles Road plan
bus shelter with a perch bar for 6 people, close to the level crossing, and right by the 6-8 space car park. Meanwhile, Tight location = narrow shelter the Norwich platform sports the slimmest half-shelter we've seen. It can seat six, but your knees will get wet - but the platform looks too narrow to allow a better one. Both platforms have ramp access near the level crossing. Wheels: NC Eccles Road looking west

HARLING ROAD
Harling Road plan               Harling Road looking north
Harling Road station is at a level crossing on the B1111 called - at this point - Station Road. The Norwich platform has been reduced to a bus shelter close to the level crossing, and a short steep ramp (with a rail) provides wheeled access. The old station building still survives on the Cambridge platform, but is closed. Alongside it, and rather akin to a bike shed, is a corrugated aluminium shelter with standing space for a fair number of people. Access is at the crossing end of the platform, and there is a small car park there for 6 or so cars. We also noted parking for another 4-5 cars diagonally opposite, across the level crossing. Wheels: NC.


Thetford plan THETFORD Thetford has two traditional station buildings side by side - the black flint-faced one now closed, the brick one still active and selling tickets - and both platforms have long canopies, so there is plenty of shelter. There is station forecourt parking (1.50 day rate in 2006) with disabled spaces at the left end and taxis nearby. But this is not a wheel-friendly station. The platforms are linked only by a stepped overbridge, and while the Norwich platform is wheel-accessible from that side of the line, you'd want to have a pick-up arranged. In 2004 the railway lost a court case to a wheelchair user who had to summon a taxi from Norwich (local taxis could not match the specific need) to make a difficult half-mile trip to cross the line, and successfully argued that the trip in his wheelchair would have been life-threatening.
Thetford looking west Lifts to the existing footbridge might be problematic for a station not continuously staffed. And a ramped bridge might be feasible (but expensive), but would probably obstruct the signalman's view of the line (already poor because of the continuous curve through the station). The four-way footbridge and the road alignment point to a previous level crossing here, but various safety and other regulatory bodies have refused to countenance any kind of ground crossing now, despite its relative cheapness, disability legislation, and the existence of other crossings in the region. You can see why disabled users sometimes despair of the people "protecting" them. Wheels: NC.

BRANDON
Brandon looking towards Norwich
Brandon plan
Brandon perhaps has a historical reason for staggering its platforms, (e.g. to lay out its good yard opposite the station building) but it's less obvious now. The Cambridge platform comes up to the level crossing, with an access running alongside the platform and partway down before allowing you on by the two bus shelters. At the far end of this is a stepped overbridge to the original flint-faced station building, now closed and shorn of its canopy, but otherwise intact, and a Friends of Brandon Station organisation is hoping to get it refurbished and put back into use. Behind this building is a sizeable car park, with disabled parking close to the station building at the overbridge end. Both platforms are easy access, but assuming you parked in the main car park, it's a longish (level) trip from there to the Cambridge platform, hence the reduced rating. Wheels: NC.


LAKENHEATH station lies 2 miles north of its placename, at a level crossing on the B1112. Lakenheath lost its car park a while ago, leaving casual parking for a very few cars. But only one multi-stopping morning commuter train to Norwich and one evening train back calls there each weekday - probably to meet a requirement that it stays open. There is no equivalent service to Cambridge, and - not surprisingly - very few passengers. The Norwich side has a canopied shelter seating 4; the Cambridge side has a bus shelter. Wheels: NC.
Lakenheath looking towards Norwich   Lakenheath plan


Shippea Hill plan SHIPPEA HILL station is at a level crossing on the A1101 between Mildenhall and Littleport, and used to be called Burnt Fen, which may give you a directional hint if using poorly signed roads. The railway sold off the car park, leaving only casual parking, and it now has only bus shelters in a location that would be very exposed in bad weather. The ripple along the platform reminds you that nothing in the fen country stays flat, and even the roads will sometimes try to chuck you into the scenery, so take care. Shippea Hill's service is the same as Lakenheath's: one multi-stopping morning commuter train to Norwich and one evening train back each weekday, though its community is closer (and much smaller). For a picture, see the page header. Wheels: NC.

Ely plan ELY Ely station lies east of the city centre on the A142, at the point where it elbows sharply down towards the south east, becomes Bridge Road, and hops over the Great Ouse. Indeed there are (briefly) two roads in parallel here - the older road still forced to need a level crossing but useful for awkward loads, and a newer one that dives below the track to avoid delays at the gates. Like its fellow cathedral city, City of Wells, Ely was once a centre of importance, but failed to grow as other cities did, so the railway is about half a mile from the city centre, yet virtually on the city edge.

Ely station looking towards Norwich Many of Ely's inhabitants commute to Cambridge and the car park has 100+ pay and display spaces, 20 minute parking, and drop-off points. The station buildings have been modernised or renewed, but still offer good shelter and snack facilities, and the 3-track platforms are linked by a ramped underpass. Most of it has a clean fresh look, and so far as we noted it has no access problems apart from the car park having several levels. Wheels: NC. The level crossing lies just beyond the Norwich-bound train in platform 1.

Waterbeach plan WATERBEACH We have not yet visited Waterbeach for ourselves, but photographs and other information show the station located at the south-east corner of the village. It is staggered across a level crossing, with the Norwich platform north and west of it, and the Cambridge platform south and east. The platforms are unstaffed and bare of major buildings and canopies, but there are modern bus shelters and the platforms are easy access. Just to the east of the level crossing is a pay and display car park. Wheels: NC.

CAMBRIDGE Station not yet visited, and we were unable to trace enough information to create a temporary entry. Sorry! Wheels: Unknown .

Cambridge also serves the Ipswich to Cambridge route
and the Leicester to Cambridge route


Please note: the notes and sketches are intended only to give a general impression, and should not be relied upon for more than that. Dudley Mall accepts no liability for errors, but will correct any significant ones notified to us through dudleymall@dudleymall.co.uk or by post to Dudley Mall, 62 Gervase Drive, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4AT.

Routes and Resources Table: Front Information Page Birmingham All-Stations Map
  Central Region Routes Map Full Routes Scroll Map
Stations A-Z      
Birmingham New Street Station
Birmingham - Cheltenham & Bristol
Birmingham - Coventry & London Euston
Birmingham - Derby & Nottingham
Birmingham - Kidderminster & Worcester
Birmingham - Leamington Spa
Birmingham - Leicester
Birmingham - Lichfield
Birmingham - Redditch & Worcester
Birmingham - Rugeley
Birmingham - Stratford-upon-Avon
Bristol - Exeter
Cheltenham Spa - Cardiff
Chester - Hereford & Cardiff
Chester - Llandudno
Crewe - Shrewsbury
Crewe & Stoke - Wolverhampton & Birmingham
Derby & Nottingham - Bedford & London
Ipswich - Cambridge & Norwich
Leamington Spa - London
Leamington Spa - Oxford
Leicester - Cambridge
Lowestoft - Ipswich
Manchester - Crewe via M. Airport
Manchester - Crewe via Stockport
Norwich - Cambridge
Norwich - Great Yarmouth
Norwich - Lowestoft
Norwich - Sheringham
Nottingham - Grantham
Oxford - Bicester
Shrewsbury - Llandrindod
Stafford - Rugby via Trent Valley
Stoke-on-Trent - Derby      
Walsall - Shrewsbury
Worcester - Hereford
Worcester - Oxford
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