BLUESTONE STATION

The M&GN GREAT YARMOUTH to MELTON CONSTABLE ROUTE.

Bluestone M&GN station, in the parish of Oulton, North Norfolk; this was not an original station on the line. It is said to have been built shortly before 1900, and a brick pavement outside the station with a Diamond Jubilee (1897) brick would appear to confirm this date. It was not a well used halt. This is not surprising; Oulton is not a populous village, and the station lies completely isolated from any surrounding houses. Heydon, itself a small though compact hamlet, is the nearest concentration of potential passengers. Cawston is the nearest village of any substance, and that was already served by a Great Eastern Station when Bluestone was built. The station was three miles from Corpusty and four miles from Aylsham, the next stations to the north and south. So poor was the traffic that the station was closed to passengers as long ago as March 1st 1916, nearly 50 years before the rest of the M&GN. It had been opened for passengers for less then 20 years.

Joe and Margaret Mason at Bluestone

It still stands, now as a private dwelling, and it has half a century’s growth of trees obscuring it from view. When the line had finally been closed to traffic in 1959 it stood alone in splendid isolation. The track can’t have been lifted long before. It must have been in the early autumn when my father stopped on the way home from Holt one Sunday, when I had an exeat from school. My sister Tiggie (Margaret) was there too on a day at home from Ipswich where she was teaching at the High School for Girls. Considering that the station had been closed to passengers since the First World War it was in remarkably good condition, as you can see. The reason is that only the passenger station was closed – the goods siding remained open for the agricultural industry, and no doubt the station building was still used until ultimate closure by the railway staff. The track bed was still in pristine condition and the barge boards of the station building were still crisply painted in bright white. The whole railway had not been allowed to run to rack and ruin prior to closure.

HUT AT BLUESTONE

This little shed was, I think, an example of a very small signal box protecting just one or two point levers. That accounts for the large window to give the operator a view of the metals – not something that would have been needed for a platelayer’s hut. The little shed tickled my Dad’s fancy and he said it would make a great garden shed. It was certainly attractive, and very well made as all railway architecture was, even something as humble as a lineside hut.

What was the Bluestone which gave the station its name? It is adjacent to a forest known as Bluestone Plantation where a number of glacial stones of blue boulders may be seen. So I read at least; I have never seen them myself.

JOSEPH MASON

FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

joemasonspage@gmail.com

 

 

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