The Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway to Poppyland

From the Midlands to Norfolk & Norwich

Rob Shorland-Ball

M&GNJR was a Midlands to East Anglia railway linking towns and villages like a patchwork knitted together by clever business entrepreneurs.
Date Published :
April 2023
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
95 color illustrations & a system map
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526790095

Dimensions : 9.7 X 6.8 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-OrderPages : 120
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M&GNJR was a Midlands to East Anglia railway linking towns and villages like a patchwork knitted together by clever business entrepreneurs. It started in the 1850s when there was intense rivalry between railway companies and two rich and powerful companies – MR and GNR – were behind the project. ‘Joint,’ added by a Special Act of Parliament in 1893, confirms this patchwork was the amalgamation of several small independent railway companies plus the MR and GNR. The company was especially interested in stealing a march on the Great Eastern Railway (GER) which believed it was the principal railway serving East Anglia. Poppyland was the nickname created for the Cromer area of the Norfolk coast by Clement Scott, an influential poet, author and drama critic of The Daily Telegraph who first visited in 1883. He claimed that ‘...clean air laced with perfume of wild flowers was opiate to his tired mind.’ Scott publicized his delight and many rich families, and their servants, visited too; the railway business entrepreneurs saw a growing market for their patchwork. The M&GNJR grew eastwards to Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and attracted passengers from the Midlands and London. The M&GNJR grew – then withered as cars, buses, overseas travel offered new holiday options. Closure came on 28 February 1959 but North Norfolk Railway – the Poppy Line – has survived as a heritage line so the Joint is not forgotten!

About The Author

Rob Shorland-Ball remembers childhood holidays in Southwold when much of the derelict Southwold Railway, which closed in 1929, could still be discovered and explored. Rob, a one-time teacher and good story teller, worked for BR and from 1987 to 1994 was Deputy Head of the National Railway Museum in York so has a good working knowledge of railways and railway history. His co-author, David Lee now in his mid-90s, has researched the history of Southwold Railway for many years and welcomed Rob's knowledge and expertise in bringing together this substantive book on the Railway. Another important contributor is the late Alan Taylor whose opening chapter and several pictures are a tribute to his interest.

Rob has woven together the scholarship of David Lee and Alan Taylor to create a story of a railway which fascinated passengers while it worked, has lived on in memory, and is now being re-created by a Charitable Trust along much of its original track-bed.

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