TF4806 : Wisbech & Upwell tramway - Collett's Bridge

taken 10 years ago, near to Elm, Cambridgeshire, Great Britain

Wisbech & Upwell tramway - Collett's Bridge
Wisbech & Upwell tramway - Collett's Bridge
Collett's Bridge, also known as Emneth Bridge, was a request stop on the route from Boyce's Bridge depot to Elm.

Boyce's Bridge depot > LinkExternal link was considered the half-way point between Upwell and Wisbech. From here, the route followed Outwell Road in northwesterly direction > LinkExternal link to the request stop at Shepherd's Cottage and onwards from there to Collett's Bridge (the bridge was also known as Emneth Bridge) and Inglethorpe Hall request stops.

Wisbech & Upwell tramway's Upwell depot > LinkExternal link was 5 miles 72 chains distant from Wisbech. The line had eleven sidings, with two originally allocated for passenger traffic. During the fruit season the sidings could hold more than a hundred vans. The depot had a cattle dock, a depot office, a passenger waiting room, and a coal merchant's office and staithes. There was also an ash pit, and an old GER tender was used for a water tower until 1953 when it was removed. LinkExternal link

From the Upwell depot, which was the southern terminus of the tramway, the trains headed northwards > LinkExternal link to the village of Outwell, crossing Small Lode > LinkExternal link and passing a farm before emerging on Low Side > LinkExternal link which was the final request stop. A farm driveway now runs where the railway trackbed used to be > LinkExternal link.

The line crossed the village street and re-entered Norfolk. It ran alongside the bank of Well Creek before it reached the final section of reserved track at Goodman's Crossing request stop > LinkExternal link.

Outwell Village depot was located by the old course of the River Nene and adjoined by St Clement's church on the other side. It originally had four sidings and was equipped with coal chutes to transfer coal to barges for distribution through the Fens. The depot had a small office building built from red brick > LinkExternal link and an old van body for storage. The brick office still stands, but most of the depot site has since been built over by modern housing > LinkExternal link. The name of the cul-de-sac/access road is called "The Tramway".

From the Outwell Village depot, the line ascended a short 1 in 30 stretch before crossing back into Cambridgeshire where it ran 30 chains on reserved track before crossing the main road at the Horn's Corner > LinkExternal link request stop.

From here the line followed the canal to Outwell Basin > LinkExternal link where it widened in order to enable mooring and turning of barges, and to the location of the first terminus with its depot covering a large area including a loop, a booking office and a waiting room > LinkExternal link. The line then rejoined the canal at the actual Boyce's Bridge > LinkExternal link and the Dial House Farm > LinkExternal link request stop.

When during the 13th century the estuary silted up, the fens surrounding the market town and port of Wisbech were reclaimed for agricultural use. The new agricultural prosperity soon attracted railways such as the Eastern Counties Railway which opened a branch in 1847. In 1848 the East Anglian Railway built a branch from Watlington. A third line was built by the Peterborough, Wisbech & Sutton Bridge Railway (later the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway) which opened a station on the other side of the River Nene in 1866. The trains carried fruit and vegetables to markets as far afield as London. In addition, the construction of a tramway line connecting the villages Upwell and Outwell with Wisbech commenced in 1882. Board of Trade's tram restrictions resulted in the unusual-looking locomotives which not only had speed restrictions but controls at both ends and wooden cowcatchers and skirts over the wheels. Six trams a day in each direction provided passenger services, with the full one way journey taking one hour. By October 1884 traffic had grown to 3000 passengers per week, with peaks of 2000 in a day for fetes and other special events. The tram competed with a canal that ran between Wisbech and Upwell and with the canal being in a poor financial condition the tram eventually finished it off. When motor omnibuses started to appear, however, passenger numbers declined drastically and passenger services were withdrawn in 1927, whereas freight traffic continued to flourish. With the introduction of two Drewry Shunters (BR Class 04) in 1952, Wisbech & Upwell became Britain's first all-diesel line. The line closed in March 1966. LinkExternal link
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TF4806, 33 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 22 April, 2009   (more nearby)
Thursday, 23 April, 2009
Railway   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 483 063 [100m precision]
WGS84: 52:38.0933N 0:11.4705E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 483 063
View Direction
East-northeast (about 67 degrees)
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