WELCOME TO THE
DEREHAM STATION TRAIL

A trail with young people in mind but enjoyed by all...

Discover items of interest and test your knowledge!

Children should always be accompanied on this trail by a responsible adult

Let's find the start point...

Coming from the car park, it's just inside the main door of the station

Dereham Station

Coming from the platform, go into the station building
and go past the cafe, to where signs say 'Tickets'...

BookingHall

Please note: some of the quiz questions have more than one correct answer

 

You are now in the...

  Booking Hall  

Trail stage 1 of 13

BookingHall

This is where passengers can buy tickets for travel, or ask questions about the train service. Why do you think the ticket office window is so small?

(a) To stop thieves leaning in and stealing things
(b) To prevent draughts
(c) To make sure only one person could be served at a time.

Have a think. To see the answer and move along the trail...

(continued)

  Booking Hall  

 

The primary reason is security, answer (a)...

(a) To stop thieves leaning in and stealing things

It would also prevent an irate customer attacking the member of staff.

 Did you know... ? 

The first passenger trains ran between Dereham and Norwich in 1847. In those early days, high fares ruled out leisure travel for ordinary working people. The passengers in those first decades were either well-off, or travelling on business. But that gradually changed.

Fares slowly became more and more affordable and by the 1950s were within the reach of most families. An occasional trip by train from Dereham to the seaside at Yarmouth would have been a special treat!

Go onto the platform. Turn left and look on the wall for the...

  Post Box  

Trail stage 2 of 13

 
VR Postbox

The first post boxes in this country date from 1853 - and most were painted green. But from 1874, all post boxes were painted red.

Why do you think the colour of post boxes was changed from green to red?

(a) Green reminded people of eating cabbage

(b) Red boxes were more easily seen

(c) Red paint was cheaper than green paint

Also, what do the letters 'VR', on this particular box, tell us?

To see the answer and move along the Trail...

(continued)

  Post Box  

 

The reason was...

(b) Red boxes were more easily seen

Post boxes were often set against shrubs or hedges, so green postboxes did not stand out clearly.

And VR? That stands for Victoria Regina - that is, Queen Victoria. Since the box carries the initials VR, we know it was made during the reign of Victoria.

Although Victoria reigned for 64 years (1837-1901) we can date it rather more precisely, because this particular style dates from the 1880s.

 Did you know... ? 

By an 1838 Act of Parliament (1 & 2 Vict. c.98) the Postmaster General was authorised to require railways to carry mail at any time - and that included Sundays.

However, it was a period when strong views were held by many against working or travelling on a Sunday... and at first, some railway companies did run any trains at all on Sundays.
 

Other railways not only ran Sunday mail trains but also attached passenger coaches, to gain additional revenue from those who felt Sunday travel to be morally acceptable.

Gradually, travel on Sundays came to be generally accepted, as it is today.

Walk on, in the direction of the toilets (look for the 'Ladies' and 'Gentlemen' signs). Look for...

  Old Suitcases  

Trail stage 3 of 13

 
Old Suitcases

Many travellers need to take luggage!

What two extra things do most modern suitcases have, compared with these old ones, so that a modern one is easier to move?

(a) Wheels

(b) Extendable handle

(c) Electric motor

Have a think...

To see the answer and move along the Trail...

(continued)

  Old Suitcases  

 

Most modern suitcases have wheels, and a handle that can be extended. So there are two correct answers...

(a) Wheels

(b) Extendable handle

 Did you know... ? 

Suitcases as we know them didn't exist until the late 1800s.

Before then, 'carpet bags' were used for short trips - top-opening with simple handles, and made from... carpet.

For more significant journeys, hefty trunks had been used. Built of wood and leather, and often with a heavy iron base, these heavy trunks were impracticable for all except those rich enough to be able to rely on their own servants or railway porters.

As rail travel grew more common and tourism became popular, a lighter and more convenient approach was needed - and the result? A suitcase!

Now look a little further on for the...

  Paytrain Guide  

Trail stage 4 of 13

 
PayTrain Guide Poster

In the final years of its passenger services to Dereham, British Rail introduced 'Paytrains'. Travellers did not buy tickets at the stations, but from the guard/conductor on the train.

You will see that this 'Paytrain Guide' shows both times and fares, and also the connections (at Norwich) for trains to London.

Using the Guide...

You are travelling by train from Dereham to London, to meet someone for lunch soon after mid-day. What is the latest time you could leave Dereham?

(a) 07.18

(b) 08.51

(c) 10.35

To see the answer and move along the Trail...

(continued)

  Paytrain Guide  

 

The correct answer is (b)...

(b) 08.51

You would need to depart Dereham 08.51, arriving Norwich at 09.31. There, you would change to the next train to London (Liverpool Street) - due to arrive there at 11.40, in time for your lunch appointment.

  Also...  

Did you notice the cost of a one-way ticket between Dereham and Norwich? The Guide shows that in 1969 it cost 3/3 ('three shillings and thrupence' - which converts to 16p in the decimal currency we use these days).

Although the Guide covers a one-year period running from 5th May 1969, the service was actually withdrawn from that October. Thereafter, no more British Rail passenger trains came onto this line and the remaining stations north of Wymondham were closed.

 

Continue along the platform, on past the toilets, and look down to your left - alongside the flower bed. You are looking for some...

  'Chairs'  

Trail stage 5 of 13

Railway Sleeper Chair 1892 GNR

From the picture, obviously they are not like chairs for you to sit on!

If no train is moving and there is no train already in the platform, go VERY CAREFULLY towards - but not right up to - the platform edge and look down. Can you spot some of these chairs?

So, when used, what would have sat in them??

(a) The wires from the signalbox that controls the signals

(b) The station cat

(c) A rail, for the train to run along

To see the answer and move along the Trail...

(continued)

  'Chairs'  

 

Chairs like these are used to support...

 

(c) A rail, for the train to run along

In any situation where misunderstanding might arise, they should be referred to by their full name - 'rail chairs'.

  Also...  

Have a look on the rail chairs that are beside the flower bed. You will see a date and also some initials stamped on them. The date is the year of manufacture, and the initials are those of the railway that made for them, e.g....

GER - Great Eastern Railway

LNER - London & North Eastern Railway

BR - British Railways / British Rail

M&GN - Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway

Continue towards the end of the platform. Look for the small contraption in the picture It's called a...

  Water Crane  

Trail stage 6 of 13

 
Water Crane

What do you think it's for?
(Tip: read the information board nearby)

(a) Loading heavy luggage onto a train

(b) Filling the water tank on a steam engine (or its tender) so it can go on working

(c) By adding an extra tube, for sucking up rainwater from the platform

To see the answer and move along the Trail...

(continued)

  Water Crane  

 

The answer is (b)...

(b) Filling the water tank on a steam engine (or its tender) so it can go on working

  Did you know... ?  

While providing water cranes to top a steam engine's water through the day is usually adequate, there is a situation where it isn't! Think for a moment... it can only work if there is opportunity to stop where there is one.

This was not a problem for locomotives on cross-country services, such as those that served Dereham. These trains had scheduled stops at stations along the way, where water could be topped up if necessary.

But what about long-distance, non-stop expresses, where the locomotive might run out of water? In East Anglia, this was true for the fastest trains on the Norwich-London line.

The solution was to put water troughs between the rails at strategic points along the route, and equip the locomotive tenders with a retractable scoop. While travelling at speed, water could be scooped up to refill the tender's water tank.