FROM MY DIARY, 1 SEPTEMBER 1982
It is a Wednesday. Up for breakfast of scrambled egg (Tig had a kipper). I drove up to Norwich in the yellow Fiat 127. I left the car in the car park by Norwich Station– it cost me 75p and I got my railway ticket that cost me £4; my whole day out cost me about a fiver. I picked up a timetable and planned my day’s journey while waiting for the train to Yarmouth, which arrived in Norwich at 10.13. I got the Daily Telegraph to read on the way, because I couldn’t spend all my time looking out of the window. All the trains I used today were quite full.
The journey to Yarmouth took half an hour and I arrived at 10.45. I walked to Mr Ferrow’s bookshop looking for music but he had no music list today. The train back to Norwich went at 11.46, but this time going via Reedham rather than Acle, as the train I had caught to Yarmouth had. I had never been on this line past the Berney Arms before. At Reedham station I got off the Norwich bound train. I had to wait on the platform for Norwich to Lowestoft train. It is almost twenty years since the station went unmanned and the waiting room was closed. There was a convenient pub where I had a drink (the Top House, previously called the Railway Tavern). I had my packed lunch while waiting for the train.
The train from Norwich continued from Lowestoft to Ipswich so I remained on it for the journey through Beccles on the East Suffolk line. This was another line I had not been on before. When I got to Ipswich station I bought myself an apple. The rain set in for the next stage of my adventure but I had already seen much of interest; wild animals (rabbits); strange crops (asparagus); chickens on the line and unusual views of ships. I was very surprised to find myself going through a tunnel just before the train got to Newmarket (this prevents it going across the racetrack). I had always thought that the only tunnel in East Anglia was the one just south of Ipswich station. As you can see my next stop after Ipswich was Cambridge which I reached via Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds. Next to Ely which I got into at 4.50 p.m., just in time for me to walk up to the town and have a look at the cathedral. I also did a little shopping and bought a couple of chews for Fido (which he has already eaten as I write my diary in the evening). The train back to Norwich left at 5.37. The journey through Thetford and Wymondham was uneventful and I got back at 7.15. (The train was a quarter of an hour late). I had a drink at the Wherry Bar on Norwich Station.
When I got home I found Fido alone at home while Tig had gone to the WI Meeting. I took him for a walk and then watered the garden. For supper I had a roll mop and salad; Tig had left me a rice pudding in the slow cooker. When she got home Tig said she had taken a phone call from Liz the cellist inviting me out for music making this evening, but of course I was unavailable.
This was thirty-two years ago; the equivalent ticket today is called the Anglia Plus One Day Ranger and costs £17.70. It doesn’t go as far as Royston or Audley End any more, nor does it run from Ely to Kings Lynn or from Ely to Peterbrough. Although this would not have affected my journey in 1982 it is definitely an inferior service today. I again purchased an Anglia Ranger ticket about 15 years later with my wife Molly and young family Peter and Polly. We were staying at our caravan in Trimingham and Gunton Road on the Cromer line was the nearest station, five miles away. We went from there to Norwich and then along the mainline to Ipswich. From there to the beach at Felixstowe, returning to our car at Gunton Road in the evening. This time the parking was free of course.
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