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Beach Railway Station


Nelson Road North. Erected on the 50th anniversary of the closure of the station 2011. 

Around 1875, it was felt that a railway leading northward from Great Yarmouth would be good for the town, as trains on the Norwich to North Walsham line would prejudice the future of the Port of Yarmouth.

Sir Edmund Lacon, the Great Yarmouth Member of Parliament, as well as being a leading brewer and banker, took up the cause. The railway contractors were Messrs. Wilkinson and Jarvis of Westminster, who were keen to develop railways in North and West Norfolk.

Sir Edmund Lacon’s reasons for building a railway northwards from Great Yarmouth meant that a good transport system would increase the value and rents from the properties on his principal estate at Ormesby. He hoped that holidaymakers to the coast and broads might increase, if there was a good transport system, and the fishing and agricultural trade would also benefit.

There was a horse-drawn coach from Stalham to Great Yarmouth three times a week, and numerous carriers’ carts left each village for Great Yarmouth several times a week. A railway service would increase the speed and capacity of local transport and hopefully provide a profit for its promoters.

Although the Great Eastern Railway and some local landowners objected to the scheme, the case for it had been made and work began in 1876. The famous flatness of the land made building the line easy and a link between Great Yarmouth and Ormesby, was opened on 7th August 1877, as the Great Yarmouth and Stalham Light Railway.

As the line was not connected to another railway line, the logistics of getting rolling stock to Beach Station was not easy. Two engines were ordered from Messrs. Fox, Walker and Company of Bristol. The first, which was called Ormesby was delivered to Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth on 9th May. Getting this to the Great Yarmouth and Stalham Light Railway terminus on Nelson Road North, near the North Mill, drew crowds of onlookers.

The engine was placed on a piece of temporary rail and dragged by four heavy horses the length of the section, a further length of rail was added and the used section was carried in front of the engine and so on. Thus, Ormesby was delivered to its destination. The operation went from Hall Quay up Regent Street, where there was great difficulty in negotiating the corner with King Street. Its journey through the Market Place and St. Nicholas Road were relatively easy. Nevertheless it took two days. On 10th July a second engine, called Stalham, was treated likewise. Two further engines were delivered in this fashion.

In 1893 the line was taken over by the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway. They built a large network of track over East Anglia. Use of the line gradually began to decline and by the 1950s competition from the roads diminished passenger numbers. Yarmouth Beach Station and its line closed in 1959. It was demolished in 1986 and a coach station was built on the site.