King’s Lynn Docks Branch – Part 4 (Miscellaneous)

Having completed a series of posts about the Dock Railways of King’s Lynn. I sat down this morning to a relatively relaxed breakfast with a copy of Back Track Magazine from March 2011 to find an article by Mike G. Fell OBE. [1]

The featured image at the top of this post shows the image at the head of the article in Back Track magazine. The resolution is much better in the magazine article. The caption for the main image reads as follows: ‘Alexandra Dock c 1877 after completion of the coal hoist and jetty which can be seen at the top left of the photograph but before construction of the Bentinck Dock. J. T. Cook’s coal depot is in the foreground. Note the dumb-buffered private owner wagons including those owned by Babbington Colliery, Nottingham, E. C. Bridges, the Darlington Coal &Coke Co., John G. Mitchell, Nunnery Colliery, Shweffield, and Colin McOlvin of King’s Lynn. Edward Curzon Bridges (1832-1900) was a King’s Lynn coal merchant.

The article in the Back Track magazine gives an excellent introduction to the Dock Railways of King’s Lynn. The same image from the article header is highlighted in a short discussion on the King’s Lynn Forums about the Fisher Fleet in King’s Lynn. [2]

That image also set me a challenge … to see what else I could find out about private owner wagons which were based in King’s Lynn and may have frequented the Docks.

This wagon is featured in a thread on RMWeb and is an O Gauge model. [3]

Massingham is close to King’s Lynn [4]

The easiest images to find on line are ones of models of local wagons! There are a variety of scales above. The last two come from transfers made by Robbie’s Rolling Stock. [5]

I discovered this image while browsing the net. It shows a wagon label for a load being moved from Thorne Colliery to King’s Lynn docks. This is a sample of what can be found online and it links directly to a site on smugmugn which has a lot of copyright images of bills of lading including a number associated with King’s Lynn. [6] [8]

While searching for information about P. O. Wagons I came across a thread on RMWeb started by ‘Mark P’ which prompts me to consider a detailed post about King’s Lynn Railway Station. Definitely something for the future. Just a couple of images from that thread follow. [7]

47003 crosses the Tennyson Avenue level crossing bringing a British Industrial Sand train in from Middleton Towers. [7]

This shows the view of the diesel refuelling depot as seen from the pedestrian footbridge on Tennyson Avenue. [7]

And finally, for this miscellany, is there any possibility of part of the Docks branch being reopened? This is an interesting question and seems to be tied in with the question of the viability not the reopening of the King’s Lynn to Hunstantion branch. The original route of the nline to Hunstanton followed the boundary of the playing fields of what were King Edward VII Grammar School and then Secondary Modern in Gaywood Park.

The Lynn News posed two possible alternatives in an article in 2018. [9] Their article refers to another article in Rail Magazine by Howard Johnston. Lynn News said: “It is far too early to suggest what route the ‘new’ railway would take. If it left the centre of King’s Lynn on the tracks of the old docks line (which is still technically open), it would run closer to the coast than before, with a joint station possibly serving Snettisham and Dersingham, then Heacham, and a new parkway-style station on the eastern side of Hunstanton. An alternative route is to leave the Middleton Towers freight line at a new junction a little way north of Hardwick estate, with an additional halt at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.” [9][10]

The newspaper aslo makes it clear that the line could always have been viable. Breeching did not suggest its closure. In fact he saw a future for the line, British Railways deliberately drove away business by cutting out through services, stopping day excursions, sacking staff, and turning stations into unwelcoming unstaffed halts that were prone to decay and vandalism. BR also massaged the figures bybrefusing to include within passenger numbers anyone whose journey originated from south of King’s Lynn. This cut the annual total passenger numbers from over 200,000 to just 40,000 – an 80 per cent fall – it beacme very easy to justify the closure of the line. [9][10]


  1. Mike G. Fell; ‘The King’s Lynn Docks & Railway Company’; in Michael Blakemore (ed.) Back Track Volume 25 No. 3, March 2011; p144-149.
  2., accessed on 5th November 2018.
  3., accessed on 5th November 2018.
  4., accessed on 5th November 2018.
  5., first accessed in 2010, this access date is 6th November 2018.
  6., accessed on 6th November 2018.
  7., accessed on 6th November 2018.
  8., accessed on 6th November 2018.
  9., accessed on 6th November 2018.
  10., accessed on 6th November 2018. This blog quotes the article in Issue No. 849 of Rail Magazine.

9 thoughts on “King’s Lynn Docks Branch – Part 4 (Miscellaneous)

  1. Andy G

    One of the biggest problems of re-opening the docks branch is the river bridge over the Gaywood River. This structure requires re-building to allow 20 ton axle loads to cross it so that the train engine can do the shunting in the docks (there being very few Jocko’s (class 08’s) left, and the modern Frieght Operators prefer to use the train loco to do the shunting. The last time the ABP asked the figure was around £5 millions to reopen the branch!

  2. Pingback: King’s Lynn Docks Branch – Part 4 (Miscellaneous) | Roger Farnworth –

  3. James Hilsdon

    I might perhaps mention that the J I Dennick model is not, as stated, an O gauge model. It’s a 4mm scale, OO gauge model. I know this because I built it and photographed it! Great site, by the way.

      1. James Hilsdon

        Having built the model, I learnt that Dennick Nos. 123 and 124 were built in 1898 by the Midland Wagon Co in Birmingham and given GER registration plates 2529-30. The pre-lettered kit used is based on a Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co design, so will not be exactly right. It is suspected that Mr Dennick might have started his wagon fleet numbers at 100! P Softley was registered to the MGN,

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