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Norramby Branch Line
Norramby
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The Norramby Branch Line is a branch line that runs to Norramby. It used to be a part of the closed Sodor & Mainland Railway.

Bio

Owen, Evan and Edwin have been running the line since 1996. It travels from Norramby, or South Norramby, to Vicarstown. It's terminus is mainly Norramby after going from Crovan's Gate or Vicarstown. A joint BR/NWR service from Barrow serves the line (hourly, half hourly at peak times).

Originally, what is now the Norramby Branch of the North-West Railway was built as part of the Sodor & Mainland Railway, and was absorbed into the North-West Railway upon its formation in 1914. In addition to the W&S Railway's main harbour at Brendam, a small harbour at Norramby was also served by the railway.  Starting from 1923, a LB&SCR L class locomotive named Simon, ran this branchline.

The branch line was closed down in 1935, and Simon was reassigned to duties on the mainline. However, with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the line was reopened and the harbour came to use once more. Simon was once again assigned to work on the branch line. Shortly afterwards, the harbour at Norramby was bombed. The Luftwaffe effectively shut it down, with several men killed. Simon went missing during this air raid, and was presumably destroyed. The Norramby harbour was abandoned after this.

After the formation of British Rail, joint services were run along the Norramby Branchline in conjunction with BR, as Ballahoo was a dormitory town for Barrow-in-Furness and Crovans Gate. By 1950, traffic along the branch had dropped to about two or three passenger trains per day, along with a slow goods train once a day. As a result of this, the branch was closed during the Beeching Cuts of 1965. Shortly after this, the tunnel on the Ballahoo-Crovans' Gate section of the line was used by the Ministry of Defence as the pilot site for their 'Strategic Steam Reserve' project, as chronicled in 'Locomotives and Legends'.

Joint NWR and BR services along the line resumed in the mid-1980s, and continued until privatisation. In 1996, the North-West Railway purchased Owen, a class 56 diesel along with Evan & Edwin, twin class 142 railmotors, to look after services along the line.

Following the turn of the millenium, Norramby experienced a bit of a renaissance. An increase in tourism made it profitable for hotels to be established in the previously quiet seaside suburb of South Norramby. It soon became a tourism metropolis, with several restaurants and hotels being built, of which several were constructed and owned by land magnate Niles Banister. A marina was also built in the bay, just down from the abandoned old harbour. In 2002, the railway was extended from the then-current terminus of Norramby.

After the GFC hit, there was a bit of a downturn in the tourist traffic to South Norramby, and a few of the smaller businesses went under. However, Niles Banister did what he could to help the people of Ballahoo, Norramby and Vicarstown through the troubled times. In 2010, things began improving. In recent years, Niles Banister's development company bought the old harbour, with plans of developing it into residential and shopping complexes.

Trivia

  • WildNorWester has stated that he based his version of the Norramby Branch Line on the ATSF Surf Line between Los Angeles and San Diego, California, USA.

Gallery

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