Audio: Memories along the Swaffham, Watton to Thetford Railway line

The Thetford to Watton railway line was opened on 18th October 1869 by the Thetford and Watton railway Company. In 1875 the line was extended to Swaffham, when another privately owned Company, namely the Watton & Swaffham Railway Co. opened this stretch at a cost of £72,000.  On 21 July 1879 the line was leased to the Great Eastern Railway for 999 years, commencing 1 March 1880. It was vested into the GER in 1897, becoming part of the London and North Eastern Railway on 1 January 1923. The line was closed to passengers on 15 June 1964.

William George Rutland started his forty five year career on the Norfolk railways as a cleaner and worked his way up to become a driver. He spent much of his time working on the railway travelling between Kings Lynn, Swaffham, Watton and Thetford.

Here are a selection of photographs kindly supplied by Herbert Rutland the son of William which capture some of the stations along the route.

In 2017, our Project officer Paul Young, interviewed Herbert Rutland the son of William George Rutland and you can listen here to some of the memories from the 1950’s and 1960’s along this now closed line.

Here is the audio:

If you have any memories, information or photographs of the railways in Norfolk that you would like to share, then please get in touch with :

Paul Young:

High Kelling progress

In advance of the land purchase at High Kelling near Holt, some members of the project team were on site this week with the contractor to upgrade and widen the existing gateway and put in new posts for the 12 foot and 4 foot gates.

The contractor fitted a hydraulic post rammer to the tractor which made light work of the gate post installation.

On Saturday 27th March 2021, the project team were back to do some tree stump removal along with scrub clearance work and soil levelling.

A view from our section of land looking over the section that we are buying thanks to your help.
Looking back towards to the gateway.

The land purchase process is now underway and we will keep you updated on the progress. The Melton Constable Trust would like to take this opportunity to personally thank everybody that has kindly contributed donations to enable us to be able to proceed with the next exciting stage of this project.