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As Britain does not need yet another heritage branch-line railway the Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway's rolling stock is more Rowland Emett (1906–1990) than Nigel Gresley (1876–1941).

The Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway runs from Eaton St Torpid via Lavender Halt to Whittlecreek, with a branch off to St Torpid's Bay. A spur of track, now functioning as carriage sidings, is on the route towards Brindlecliffe.

Before closure in the 1960s the track was standard gauge. However, in keeping with Emett's eccentricities, for the heritage railway the track was re-laid at three-foot gauge.

In the future the Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway may extend south from Eaton St Torpid to Dodd's Hill Staithes, Canidringham (pronounced locally 'Canidrum' or 'Conundrum') and Friars Ambling Halt (where a sand mining museum is planned). Sadly modern developments mean the line could not be reinstated as far south as Bishop's Snoring, nor Brindlecliffe to the north. An eastward extension from Whittlecreek to Effing, Hawston, Chipstead Market, Pentewiddle Cove and Etwell-juxta-Maris is not considered cost-effective.

If these neo-toponyms (see footnote) sound more Emett-esque than real then this map might help.

w&esthr location map

If it were real…

Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway exists only at 1/20 scale. If it really existed it would occupy the trackway of part of the Hunstanton and West Norfolk Junction Railway, with some minor additions.

The line from Heacham to Wells next the Sea opened in 1866. Passenger services ceased in 1952. The massive storm of 1953 badly damaged the line from Holkham to Wells and it was never reopened. Freight services on the remaining line continued until the end of 1964.

The line from Kings Lynn to Hunstanton closed in 1969.

In 1962, the centenary of the opening of the line, John Betjeman was filmed by the BBC travelling along the line from Kings Lynn to Hunstanton.

Snettisham goods shed

Not the Methodist chapel! Snettisham goods shed in 1962 (since demolished).

1960s caravans

Early 1960s caravans near Hunstanton seen through the train window.

John Betjeman

At the end of the line. John Betjeman and Hunstanton pier in 1962.
The pier was almost entirely destroyed by a severe storm in 1978.
Betjeman made it through till 1984.


The management would like to thank the assistance and encouragement of Phill, Judi, Colin, Nigel, Michelle and others.

Stanley C. Jenkins' book The Lynn and Hunstanton Railway and the West Norfolk Branch (published by Oakwood Press in 1987) has been invaluable. Other books and websites featuring this part of the railway system have also been helpful.

Last, but certainly not least, every credit to Rowland Emett for showing that railways need not be taken Very Seriously. And to Colin Binnie for droodling in a similar vein.


1: More pedantic types prefer the term 'fictonym'. Which, even more pedantically, makes these 'fictotoponyms', in distinction to 'fictopatronyms' and the nascent neonym with the semantic content of 'ficto-whatever-the-pompous-name-for-given-names-might-be'. De facto sub specie fictiotatis, these, of necessity, require careful distinction from 'fictonicknyms' (a newly-gestated neonym, in subsets of both metafictonyms and fictological fictonyms, although frequently confounding with 'fictobyenames'). The author of this footnote is a Reader in Comparative Ontology and Paleontologies at the University of Wessex.

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