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Eastward In Search of Transport

(or 'Off His Trolley')

Martin Lovell

MARTIN LOVELL visits the East Anglia Transport Museum.

Well, holiday time again, and once more I head eastward, to visit a great friend in sunny Lowestoft.

Whilst there this time, I thought I would re-visit the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville, just a few miles from Lowestoft. So catching a bus, a 20 minute ride from Lowestoft deposited me at the very gates of the museum.

East Anglia Transport Museum

While not being a large museum, there is a very good collection of working Trams, Trolley buses, (which you can take a ride on), buses and other vehicles, including a short length of narrow gauge railway, plus other exhibits relating to the local transport theme.

Back in 1962 four local tram enthusiasts rescued the body of a Lowestoft tramcar (No. 14) and as time went on, more vehicles were collected and somewhere to store, restore and exhibit these was being looked for.

The museum dates from 1966, when the society was given a 2-acre site by the owner of Headley House, a certain Mr A.V.Bird. Some Tram track was laid, the first buildings were erected, and they were off.

The Collection

The present collection now consists of six trams from as far apart as London, Blackpool, Sheffield, Amsterdam and Lowestoft, most of which are running; seventeen trolley buses, with examples from London Transport, Hastings, Maidstone, Derby, Belfast, Newcastle and Portsmouth, and even Copenhagen, Switzerland and Germany. Once again, most of these are in working order, with the rest currently under a full restoration programme.

Click the images to view larger versions.

East Anglia Transport Museum

A trolley bus passes two trams.

East Anglia Transport Museum

East Anglia Transport Museum

Add fourteen buses, mostly local area, plus numerous other vehicles (cars, vans, milk floats, steam rollers etc.) and the visitor will find plenty to look at.

East Anglia Transport Museum

East Anglia Transport Museum

Buses on display in the museum.

East Anglia Transport Museum

A hefty old Steam Roller.

East Anglia Transport Museum

East Anglia Transport Museum

Many of the street cars in the exhibition are available in the Oxford Diecast Range.

The Museum is now looking at expansion, with new projects being set up, so a visit is well worthwhile.

The Railway

Although only a short trip at present, there are plans to increase the run at a later time.

The 2ft Gauge track runs along the perimeter of the museum site, and is the second line here; the first was realigned and rebuilt following a new road layout in 2006.

A typical small station building was constructed in 2008, which houses various artefacts.

East Anglia Transport Museum

East Anglia Transport Museum

The signal box is fully equipped, including a block system from the former Aldeburgh branch line.

East Anglia Transport Museum

East Anglia Transport Museum

The stock consists of three Simplex Motorail Diesels; two of which are from the Anglian water authority built in 1964, and the other, built in 1934, which was donated by Kings Lynn quarry.

East Anglia Transport Museum

The fourth locomotive is a Ruston 30hp diesel, built in 1936, which was originally used by Associated Portland Cement at Lewes, from over here in sunny Sussex no less.

East Anglia Transport Museum

Also of interest to Narrow Gaugers, is the only remaining item of rolling stock from the famous Southwold Railway, namely a 3ft gauge luggage van.

East Anglia Transport Museum

The passenger stock comprises of site built 18 seat bogie carriage, built on a late 19th century Hudson under frame, and a 4 wheeled passenger/brake van, built on an ex-Simplex diesel chassis.

So there we are, a very pleasant afternoon spent at what appears to be a quiet backwater of Suffolk, but quite a busy re-creation of local travel in the 1930s to the 1950s, and beyond.

Thanks must be made to the volunteers I met, who were all very helpful and informative about their collection, so a very nice place to visit if you are in the area.

For more information, opening times etc, there is a website so check it out.

Happy Modelling.


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